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HER Number:MDV63563
Name:Waterwheels at Raleigh Mill, Pilton Barnstaple


The corn mill at Raleigh Mill is recorded as having two overshot waterwheels in the later 18th century, by the mid 19th century these had been replaced by a larger, single waterwheel. The carding and spinning houses, built in the later 18th century, also each had a waterwheel. The shaft of one of the wheels was still extant in 1994.


Grid Reference:SS 563 341
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPILTON
Ecclesiastical ParishWEST PILTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/3/3

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATER WHEEL (XVIII to XXI - 1751 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

University of the Third Age, 1995, Watermills in North Devon 1994 (Monograph). SDV74915.

Visited approximately 1994. the building is now occupied by a firm of sausage skin manufacturers. The building is sound, with shaft for an undershot wheel still in position, and wheel supports on the mill leat. The wheel and machinery were taken out in 1951. The mill was purpose built as tucking mill circa 1820 and changed used in 1903. Documents refer to large wooden waterwheel.

Exeter Archaeology, 1999, Archaeological assessment of a site in Lower Raleigh Road, Barnstaple, 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV337863.

A waterwheel is shown on the plan accompanying a lease of 1852 for Raleigh Mills. In 1861 machinery from the textile mills was auctioned and included an iron waterwheel, 22 feet by 6 feet, and an iron and wooden wheel of large dimensions with an iron shaft which was 'never erected'.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 259-261 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Rawleigh Mills is described in a sale notice of 1789 with four waterwheels. According to the notice the corn mill had 'two overshot wheels, one of 12, the other of 13 feet diameter. The water wheel of the carding house is placed in the centre of the building and is an overshot 18 feet diameter 3 feet wide. The main wheel of the spinning-house is placed to the east side of the building, and is 29 feet diameter, 3 feet wide. Two waterwheels are mentioned in a subsequent advert for the lace factory in 1849. The premises were to let again in 1862 at which time the then woollen factory is described as having one iron overshot waterwheel 20 feet diameter, 4 feet 6 inches wide and the flour mill as having a waterwheel 20 feet diameter. There was also apparently a fall for another wheel below these wheels.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 259-261.
SDV337863Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1999. Archaeological assessment of a site in Lower Raleigh Road, Barnstaple. Exeter Archaeology Report. 99.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV74915Monograph: University of the Third Age. 1995. Watermills in North Devon 1994. Watermills in North Devon 1994. A5 Paperback.

Associated Monuments

MDV377Part of: Raleigh Mill, Pilton, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 12 2012 12:53PM