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HER Number:MDV74340
Name:Beaford Mill House


Beaford Mill House and adjoining garden walls. Mill house, now house. 16th century, altered and enlarged in the 17th century.


Grid Reference:SS 543 143
Map Sheet:SS51SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBeaford
Ecclesiastical ParishBEAFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (XVI to Post Medieval - 1501 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Department of Environment, 1989, Beaford (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV321165.

Beaford Mill House and adjoining garden walls.
Mill house, now house. C16, altered and enlarged in the C17. Rendered cob on stone rubble plinth. Gable-ended wheatstraw thatched roof. Stone end stacks to right and rear and lateral stack to rear, partly rendered.
Plan and development: C16 three-room and through passage plan, facing north-west (ground falls to right). Central hall with external lateral stack to rear, former service room to right with external end stack and former inner unheated room to left. The house may have been originally open to the roof and heated by an open-hearth fire (possibly open from end to end). External lateral stack added to the rear of the hall in the early C17, probably while the hall remained open to the roof (see high lintel). Early C17 one-roomed kitchen wing projecting at right angles to rear of hall with integral end stack and C17 winder stair in corner. First-floor inserted in the hall, probably in the late C17. Probable C19 lean-to addition (possibly formerly dairy) in left-hand angle of rear wing, and late C20 lean-to porch in right-hand angle of rear wing. Probably C19 staircases rising from left-hand inner room and right-hand lower end room. Two storeys.
Exterior: Asymmetrically fenestrated front. Central first-floor C19 two-light small-paned wooden casement (lighting chamber over hall) with wooden lintel. Three ground-floor windows, mid to late C19 four-paned sashes lighting hall to centre and to right-hand end, with wooden lintels, and late C20 plate-glass window to left. Passage doorway off-centre to right has mid C19 five-panelled door (lower panels beaded flush, centre panel recessed and upper panels glazed) and wooden lintel. Left-hand gable end has C19 two-light wooden casement to each floor. Right-hand gable end has first-floor 2-light wooden casement to left of stack with wooden lintel and raking buttress to right. Rear of right-hand end has first-floor C19 two-light wooden casement and ground-floor C19 three-light wooden casement, both with wooden lintels. Passage rear doorway to right. South-west side of rear (kitchen) wing has ground-floor C19 three-light wooden casement, lighting kitchen and lean-to bread oven to right. Doorway to left has C17 chamfered wooden frame (now inside C20 lean-to porch). North-east side of rear wing has first-floor C18 three-light wooden casement and ground-floor boarded door.
Low C19 stone rubble walls enclosing small garden to front (north-west) of house, with central gateway. Short length of stone rubble wall adjoining to south-west of rear wing with slate coping and gateway with wooden lintel.
Interior: Stone-flagged passage with C19 matchboarded dado and C19 panelled doors. Hall has late C17 chamfered spine beam with ogee stops and plain joists. Fireplace to rear (altered in the late C20) with high wooden lintel. Trimmer in ceiling to right of fireplace, evidence of possible former staircase. Window seat to front. Former inner room to left has C17 spine beam with broach stops. Right-hand ground-floor room has brick floor, longitudinal joists and C17 open fireplace with splayed dressed stone jambs and plain wooden lintel. Stone cross walls between rooms in hall range, possibly later additions or rebuildings. Owner (December 1987) reports that the roof over the hall range has trusses with straight principals (roofspace is ceiled). Ground-floor room in rear wing (kitchen) has C17 chamfered cross beam with stepped run-out stops and joists. Open fireplace to rear with large wooden lintel and bread oven to right with cast-iron door. Window seat in side wall. First-floor room in rear wing approached by steep C17 winder stair in corner by stack. Old floor-boards and old plaster ceiling, up to collar level. C18 window in north-east wall has wooden diamond-section stanchion to centre light. C17 truss visible, with straight principals and collar. Roof-spaces not inspected (ceiled).
The house forms part of a mill complex, also including the mill, leat retaining walls and bridges. Other details: LBS Number: 91625.

Passmore, A. J., 2009, Recording at Beaford Mill (Report - non-specific). SDV344650.

Recording took place during structural modifications and re-thatching. Beaford Mill is a 16th century three-room and cross-passage building, that possibly originated as an open-hall farmhouse (rather than a miller's house), with a 17th century rear kitchen range and later additions including a possible dairy or buttery.

Initial appraisal:
Initial appraisal of the roof suggested that the flooring over of ground floor rooms may have occurred over a period of time, possibly with the service room (current dining room) initially left open, and only ceiled over at a later date. There was no evidence that any of the roof structure is contemporary with the original building, i.e. that it is smoke-blackened or was intended for display above open rooms below. The trusses are probably of 17th- or 18th century date. The high-level collars are indicative of a roof over a building with two floors, although it is unclear whether the present roof structure dates to the original insertion of the first floor, or is a later replacement. The roof of the kitchen range was not inspected. However, the layout, including provision of (servants') stairs indicates that the range was two storied from the outset. The roof could therefore be similar or identical to that in the main range.

A record of the roof of the main range was prepared, and a watching brief was undertaken during lowering of the kitcehn floor and construction of a new conservatory.
The area of the conservatory was reduced by 0.80 metre, and this exposed natural subsoil overlain by levelling and modern make-up for the former patio. The cob walls of the main range and kitchen range were exposed, and were found to have been laid on stone footings. Modern concrete make-up for the stone surfacees within the house were also uncovered. A test pit within the kitcehn exposed natural subsoil overlain by 0.05 metre of redeposited soil and modern gravel and concrete supporting the present slate floor.
The roof structure comprises six primary A-frame trusses constructed of pairs of principal rafters, all except one truss having applied collars. At the west end of the building a seventh (intermediate) truss has been inserted using a mixture of sawn timbers and poles. This may have been added to counteract the racking south-eastwards of the trusses, caused by the lack of longitudinal support (see below). The apexes of the rafters are lap-jointed with wooden pegs, and the timbers cross indicating they may have been designed to support a ridge purlin, although such a feature is not currently present in the roof. There are no side purlins to the roof and no evidence (for example sockets or trenches) were observed on the rafters for positions of former purlins. The high level of the collars relative to the length of the purlins indicates that they were designed for a building with a first floor. The current lath and plaster ceiling is positioned 0.25 metre above the top of the adjacent walls. However, in the south elevation there is evidence, in the form of joist sockets, for an earlier, slightly higher ceiling. The roof is covered with thatch, and this is supported on rows of small poles used as thatching batons.
The chimney stacks serving the former hall and service rooms are constructed of dressed blocks of pale grey limestone bonded in orange-yellow gravelly lime mortar and covered with modern cement. They are toppped by rows of red brick, and white bricks from neary Peters Marland, with modern rain covers.
There is no evidence that any of the roof structure is contemporary with the original building. The high-level collars are indicative of a roof over a building with two floors, and there is evidence for two phases of ceilings over the first floor. The trusses are probably of 17th- or early 18th century date. The latter might be more appropriate due to the extensive use of poles rather than sawn timbers as thatching batons, although these could relate to a later episode of re-thatching.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV321165List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1989. Beaford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV344650Report - non-specific: Passmore, A. J.. 2009. Recording at Beaford Mill. Exeter Archaeology Historic Environment Record Entry. EA 6699. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV21332Related to: Beaford Mill (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4735 - Building Recording and Watching Brief, Beaford Mill

Date Last Edited:Jun 15 2010 10:01AM