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HER Number:MDV72001
Name:Dolton Mills, Dolton


The present mill building appears to be early 19th century in date. However, there has been a mill here since the medieval period and it is possible that some early fabric survives in the pit wall. The waterwheel and gears which were probably later 19th century in date were removed for scrap during the Second World War. However, the millstones are still in situ. The mill last worked in the 1890s.


Grid Reference:SS 553 115
Map Sheet:SS51SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDolton
Ecclesiastical ParishDOLTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATERMILL (First mentioned, XIII to XIX - 1273 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Dolton Mill marked. The mill building is depicted alongside the watercourse.

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

Dolton Corn Mills marked.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 44.46 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Bodman, M., 2016, Water Mills and other Water-powered Sites in Devon. Revised edition, 492 (Report - non-specific). SDV359634.

William Budd is recorded as miller in Kelly's Directory for 1902.

Watts, M., 2020, Dolton Mill, Dolton, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV363682.

The site of the mill is medieval in origin, perhaps late 12th or 13th century, at which time it was held by the Courtenays. A watermill and pasture are documented in 1273-4. By the late 18th century the mill was tenanted and later owned by the Budd family until sold in 1965. The last miller was William Budd who died in 1921.
The present mill building is slightly rhomboidal in plan, built of local sandstone and slatestone with coursed rubble stone walls. The roof was formerly slated but is now clad with corrugated iron sheet which extends down over a lean-to extension along the west side of the building. The east (pit) wall retains evidence of blocked openings and straight joints.
The ground floor is covered with stone slabs. The hurst frame runs the length of the east wall, against which is a central cog pit. The first floor is in two parts: the top of the hurst frame which carries the millstones. This was originally a raised platform within the building, accessed through a door in the south wall and probably also via a ladder from the ground floor. The area to the west was formerly open to the roof but was subsequently floored. Most of the joists survive but the floor boarding has gone.
The waterwheel and gearing are said to have been removed for scrap during the Second World War which suggests they were predominantly of iron. Some fragments from the cast-iron shrouds from the waterwheel have been found in the wheelpit. The wheel is suggested to have been overshot, about 4.2 metres diameter. Two pairs of millstones survive in the mill together with much of their stone furniture, spindles and stone nuts.
Dolton Mill represents an interesting survival of a small rural Devon corn mill which has medieval origins. It is possible that some early fabric (late medieval or early post-medieval) survives in the lower part of the wheepit (east) wall, which perhaps warrants closer inspection as consolidation and repair work proceeds. It is suggested that the mill originally had two smaller waterwheels, each driving a single pair of stones. The mill appears to have been extensively rebuilt in the early nineteenth century and the waterwheel and primary machinery replaced later in the same century. Although the waterwheel and main gearing have long gone, the mill building is relatively sound and weather-proof. The hurst frame timbers and other surviving working parts, including the millstones and their furniture, should be carefully cleaned and conserved, with the introduction of appropriate props as required, and retained in situ.
See report for full details.

Unknown, 2020, Dolton Mill: Heritage Statement (Report - Survey). SDV363669.

Heritage statement in support of a planning application for the renovation, consolidation and conservation of the buildings including the mill.
Both the mill and the miller's house were probably built in the early 18th century, although a mill may have stood here since 1342. The mill worked until the 1890s, the last miller was Mr Budd.
The mill building is mostly intact with original component parts still surviving within. The waterwheel has gone but the wheelpit survives.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

Building depicted.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 44.46.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV359634Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 2016. Water Mills and other Water-powered Sites in Devon. Revised edition. A4 Comb Bound. 492.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #125446 ]
SDV363682Report - Assessment: Watts, M.. 2020. Dolton Mill, Dolton, Devon. Martin Watts. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV128186Related to: Dolton Mill House, Dolton (Building)
MDV72003Related to: Dolton Mill Leat, Dolton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8275 - Preliminary survey and assessment of the mill building at Dolton Mills

Date Last Edited:May 1 2020 12:52PM