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HER Number:MDV43181
Name:Building 7: Gunpowder Drying House at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory


Building 7: Gloom or steam stove, a group of buildings built in the 19th century at Powder Mills gunpowder factory


Grid Reference:SX 627 774
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/51/7
  • Old SAM Ref: 28718

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GUNPOWDER DRYING HOUSE (XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Gerrard, S., !998, 14981 (Un-published). SDV260345.

Drying building forming part of the gunpowder factory at Powder Mills.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Group of adjoining buildings with associated chimney shown on early 20th century map.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX67NW99 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV350197.

Pye, A. R. + Robinson, R., 1990, An Archaeological Survey of the Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills Farm, Postbridge, Devon, 25-27 Figure 9, Plate 15 (Report - Survey). SDV254157.

Building 7: ?'gloom' or steam stone used for drying gunpowder at Powder Mills gunpowder factory. A set of very ruinous structures divided into units (A) - (E). Complex consists of a long rectangular building (E) with a small rectangular building (D) at right angles to it, to the south. South of (D), units (A) and (B) may have formed a similar building. Unit (D) was connected to a granite chimney by a flue, this suggests it may have held a furnace or boiler.
Unit (A): survives only as a terrace, to the rear of which is a granite retaining wall. The line of the front (east) wall is visible as a parchmark. Parchmarks and some slight mounds within the northern part suggest internal divisions.
Unit (B): walls survive as low mounds of rubble with some facing stones. Approximately square in plan with hollows, probably doorways, in the centre of the east and west walls. No visible internal arrangements.
Unit (C): located immediately to the west of (B) and partly flanking (A). Part of its eastern wall survives to about 1 metre. At the northern end of this is a possible doorway into (B). The north wall appears to abut both east and west walls, suggesting a later insertion/blocking. There may originally have been an access point between the south-west corner of (D) and the northern end of (C).
Unit (D): rectilinear structure. North and south walls survive as low mounds of rubble. North wall consists of narrow wall built on wider base. South wall may have been similar. A portion of the west wall survives, in the centre of which is a flue leading to the chimney 5-6 metres to the south-west. The line of the east wall, which may have been largely open, survives only as a very low mound and parchmark. Two wheel cogs lie at the east end of the building, but may not be in situ.
Unit (E): long rectangular building immediately to the north-west of (D). The south-west wall either abutted or bonded into the back of (D). Originally had two broad openings at south end of west wall, probably double doorways. Parts of the west and north walls survive to 1.5 metres, only the footings of the east wall are visible under heaps of rubble. Internal east-west wall divides off the northern third of the building. Just north of this is a probable doorway from the north-east. Possibly another doorway into southern part through the same wall. In a second phase the double doorways were blocked, and a broad wall built to divide off the southernmost part of the building. Another division may run down the middle of the central portion.
The chimney has recently been conserved and is in very good condition. Built on a broad, circular base. Rectangular openings into the base on the north-eastand south-west sides.

Pye, A., 1996, The Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills, 221 (Article in Serial). SDV254160.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Ruins of gunpowder mill. Established in 1844 by a Plymouth alderman George Frean. Originally quite an extensive complex of buildings running up the valley with several water wheels turned by water from a leat and with two chimneys. All the buildings are now in varying degrees of ruin although one chimney survives and three main groups are recognisable of granite rubble with granite lintels, all roofless. The chimney is well constructed with stringcourse near the top and plinth. It has a covered channel running downhill from it towards the largest ruinous building. The invention of dynamite in 1867 rapidly superceded gunpowder. and the mills, which employed about 100 men closed in the 1890s

English Heritage, 9/10/1981, Gunpowder factory at Powder Mills (Schedule Document). SDV350194.

The gunpowder factory at Powder Mills survives well and contains a complete range of buildings and other structures and features associated with the industry. Many of the buildings remain essentially intact, with only the roofs and machinery having been removed. The system of leats and trackways provides useful additional information concerning the character of the factory. The unique survival of the associated proving mortar emphasises the quality of the surviving archaeology. Together with a comprehensive historical background this represents a fine example of a gunpowder production site.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV254157Report - Survey: Pye, A. R. + Robinson, R.. 1990. An Archaeological Survey of the Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills Farm, Postbridge, Devon. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 90.07. A4 Grip Bound. 25-27 Figure 9, Plate 15.
SDV254160Article in Serial: Pye, A.. 1996. The Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 52. Paperback Volume. 221.
SDV260345Un-published: Gerrard, S.. !998. 14981. Monument Protection Programme.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91610 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV350194Schedule Document: English Heritage. 9/10/1981. Gunpowder factory at Powder Mills. The Schedule of Monuments. Website.
SDV350197Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX67NW99. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.

Associated Monuments

MDV5913Part of: Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory, Cherry Brook (Monument)
MDV43175Related to: Building 1: Incorporating Mill at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43184Related to: Building 10: Store Building at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43185Related to: Building 11: Glazing Mill at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43186Related to: Building 12: Breaking House at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43187Related to: Building 13: Press House at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43188Related to: Building 14: Incorporating Mills at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43189Related to: Building 15: Mixing House at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43190Related to: Building 16: Office or Store at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43191Related to: Building 17: Saltpetre Crystallising House at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43192Related to: Building 18: Group of Buildings Including a Cylinder House and Chimney at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Monument)
MDV43176Related to: Building 2: Incorporating Mill at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43177Related to: Building 3: Incorporating Mill at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43178Related to: Building 4: Charge Magazine at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43179Related to: Building 5: Charge Magazine at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43180Related to: Building 6: Charge Magazine at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43182Related to: Building 8: Charge Magazine at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)
MDV43183Related to: Building 9: Building with Several Elements at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6029 - An Archaeological Survey of the Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills Farm

Date Last Edited:Aug 8 2014 11:18AM