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HER Number:MDV5994
Name:Ruins of Babeny Mill


The ruins of Babeny Mill are located 8 metres west of the Walla Brook, adjacent to and north of the road where it crosses the river at Babeny Bridge. The site of a medieval corn mill is noted by building foundations only. It was first documented in 1302-3.


Grid Reference:SX 672 751
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Ruins of Babeny Mill west of the Walla Brook, first documented in early 14th century

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67NE20
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442466
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/19
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CORN MILL (Built, XIV - 1302 AD (Between) to 1303 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, SX67NE20 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV248395.

Burnard, R., 1907, 25th Report of the Scientific Memoranda Committee, 73-4 (Article in Serial). SDV248382.

Ruined mill, Babeney. Mill constructed here in 1302-3. Situated close to ford across the Wallabrook. Some remains still exist, millstones, the stone blocks which carried the shaft of the water wheel and portions of a dwelling. Some small broken millstones found when the clapper bridge was being built in 1902, and these older than those in the mill.

Devon County Council, 1974, Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer (Report - Survey). SDV83967.

Condition very poor. There are several large grooved stones lying around, one in use as a gate-post. Parts of dwelling still remain. Stone blocks which carried shaft of waterwheel still visible. Leat diverted. 14th century.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 526-9 (Monograph). SDV249702.

The original floor level of the mill is below the present topsoil, and stood at an easy angle and gradient of approach from the ford. Three large slotted stones formed the base supports for revolving axles, and the pit for the water-wheel that provided the power is at the NW corner of the ruin. The outline and one side of a recess situated in the W wall is connected by a tunnel or conduit, with the exterior of the building. This may have accommodated a chute for the delivery of grain into a wooden hopper above the millstones.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit, P. Newman (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(22/11/1993) SX 67287515. The ruins of Babeny Mill are sited 8m west of the Walla Brook, adjacent to and north of the road where it crosses the river at Babeny Bridge.
The building is sited on a levelled stance at the foot of a slope against which the rear, north-western wall forms a revetment. The walls are constructed from a combination of large earthfast blocks and coursed stone and stand to a maximum height of 1.7m. The front, south-eastern wall is now missing though its position is marked by a small scarp of approximately 1m high. The overall length of the building is 11.6m north-west to south-west and the end walls are 5.7m on the south-west end and 11m on the north-east. A small amount of tumbled masonry lies on the floor of the interior.
The wheelpit was sited internally on the northern corner of the building, orientated north-west to south-east. It is not currently visible beneath tumbled stone and leaf mould but its position is obvious by the location of an earthen leat embankment which stands above the outer north-west corner. The leat survives as a patchy, narrow terrace of up to 1.5m wide which may be traced up to its source on the Walla Brook at SX 67347526 where a fall in river bed height marks the probable position of the headweir. Near the mill the leat is revetted with stone on the lower side where the flow of water was turned through ninety degrees onto the leat embankment.
Within the building are three large granite slabs, each with rectangular slots cut into a flat surface which accommodated fixtures for mounting machinery. A fourth stone of similar character has been re-used as a gatepost nearby to the south.
the dimensions of the stones are as follows:
Sited against the north-west wall the slab measures 1.3m long by 0.6m wide and has a rectangular slot placed centrally on the upper, level surface measuring 0.45m by 0.1m by 0.05m deep.
Sited centrally within the building an elongated slab 2.2m by 0.5m wide and 0.3m thick. Placed centrally on the upper, level surface is a rectangular slot measuring 0.6m by 0.1m and 0.05m deep. A second slot of 0.1m wide runs from the centre of the first and connects to the outer right edge of the slab, forming a `T' shape slot.
A stone now used as a gatepost 2m south of the mill, measuring 1.3m by 0.35, has a similar `T' shape slot which connects to the opposite left edge of the stone. These two stones together clearly formed a pair.
Sited within the building an approximately rectangular slab 1m by 0.8m by 0.4m thick. This stone has a slot 0.7m by 0.1m 0.09m deep cut into its southern, vertical face.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Environment Agency WMS, 2022, Environment Agency LIDAR Composite DSM 2022 - 1m Last return (Cartographic). SDV365448.

Ordnance Survey, 2023, Mastermap 2023 (Cartographic). SDV365227.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV248382Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1907. 25th Report of the Scientific Memoranda Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 39. Digital. 73-4.
SDV248395Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. SX67NE20.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 526-9.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown. P. Newman.
SDV365227Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2023. Mastermap 2023. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #141033 ]
SDV365448Cartographic: Environment Agency WMS. 2022. Environment Agency LIDAR Composite DSM 2022 - 1m Last return. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital.
SDV83967Report - Survey: Devon County Council. 1974. Survey of Watermills in Devon: Gazetteer. Devon County Council Report. Unknown. A4 Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV45614Related to: Babeny Bridge (Monument)
MDV77442Related to: Babeny farmstead, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV102781Related to: Possible weir 200 metres north-east of Babeny (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Aug 21 2023 12:21PM