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HER Number:MDV43185
Name:Building 11: Glazing Mill at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory

Summary

Building 11: Glazing mill built in the 19th century at Powder Mills gunpowder factory

Location

Grid Reference:SX 627 773
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/51/11
  • Old SAM County Ref: 921
  • Old SAM Ref: 28718

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INDUSTRIAL BUILDING (XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Rectangular building with an internal division shown on 19th 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, 30-31, Figure 11, Plate 21 (Report - Survey). SDV254157.

Building 11: Possible glazing mill at Powder Mills gunpowder factory. Long rectangular building, gable-ended, aligned north to south. The north gable end survives. Single-storied, with doorways at north and probably at south ends of east wall. West wall survives to full height in the north, half height in south. The structure contains supports for a raised floor, or to support machinery such as glazing barrels. The internal supports may alternatively have been to provide under-floor ventilation. At some point prior to 1885 it was extended southwards. A wheelpit at the south end of the building probably dates from this period.


Department of National Heritage, 1992, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV260311.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 30th April 1992 to consolidate existing remains and some rebuilding to prevent further collapse.


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


Gerrard, S., 1998, 149185 (Un-published). SDV260316.

Glazing mill forming part of the gunpowder factory at Powder Mills.


Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Rectangular building shown on modern mapping.


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

Powder Mills. 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. Source: Dartmoor : A New Study - Industry : Frank Booker.


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.
The monument, which falls into five areas, includes a gunpowder factory, a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement and a round cairn situated adjacent to the Cherry Brook. The gunpowder factory, which is Listed Grade II, comprises at least 18 buildings involved in the production, storage and management of gunpowder. Many of these buildings contained machinery which was powered by water which was carried to the site by three large leats from the East Dart and Cherry Brook rivers. These are included in the scheduling. A system of trackways link the buildings and the river was crossed by way of clapper bridges. The gunpowder factory established in 1844 by George Frean, was certainly operational by 1846 and remained in use until 1897, when it closed as a result of increasing competition from dynamite and a slump in local mining activity. The production of gunpowder involved combining a mixture of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal and the buildings in which the different stages of the process were carried out survive at Powder Mills. The process was inherently dangerous and to reduce the chances of cataclysmic explosions, the buildings were situated at a safe distance from each other and each had a flimsy roof which would have allowed any explosion to be carried upwards. Several explosions are known to have occurred at Powder Mills and fortunately these precautions may have ensured that no workers were ever killed. Amongst the buildings identified at Powder Mills are: grinding mills, where the ingredients were crushed separately between horizontal rotating millstones; blending mills, where the ingredients were mixed in rotating barrels; incorporation mills, where the material from the blending mills was mixed further into a single compound; a range of buildings where the gunpowder was broken, pressed, corned, dried, dusted and glazed; and finally charge magazines, where the gunpowder was stored. Further buildings on the site may have been used as storage or office accommodation. The quality of the finished gunpowder had to be tested and at Powder Mills this appears to have been carried out using two very different techniques. At SX 63777681 a proving mortar, which was used to test the strength of the gunpowder, still sits on a restored carriage. Whilst at SX 62757750 a number of large boulders have been split using a single charge, possibly the result of of testing. To the south west of the gunpowder factory stands an isolated rectangular building in which finished gunpowder was stored prior to transportation. Within the vicinity of the gunpowder works there are four quarries from which material was derived during the construction of the buildings. Parts of the valley bottom contain earthworks related to tin streamworking. Modern post and wire fences, a shed and piles of sand and other materials associated with a consolidation programme are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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. 30-31, Figure 11, Plate 21.
SDV254160Article in Serial: Pye, A.. 1996. The Gunpowder Factory at Powdermills. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 52. Paperback Volume. 221.
SDV260311Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1992. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
SDV260316Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 1998. 149185. Monument Protection Programme.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91614 ]
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)
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)
MDV43181Related to: Building 7: Gunpowder Drying House 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)
MDV43197Related to: Leat supplying Western Buildings at Powder Mills Gunpowder Factory (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

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

Date Last Edited:Aug 8 2014 11:26AM