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HER Number:MDV9949
Name:Topsham Bridge Mill, Clyst St. George


Topsham Bridge Mill comprises an 18th century watermill with millhouse attached and a redbrick mill building added in 1911. The waterwheel and gearing were scrapped in about 1960. The buildings continued in use, with some millilng machinery and a mixer driven by electric motors, making and supplying animal feed. The business finally closed in 2005.


Grid Reference:SX 970 882
Map Sheet:SX98NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClyst St. George
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST ST.GEORGE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX98NE/21
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TIDE MILL (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SX98NE19, 19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV114475.

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

Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J., 1971, Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall, 34 (Monograph). SDV114474.

Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J., 1971 - 1973, Tidemills in Devon and Cornwall: Part 2, 6-7 (Article in Serial). SDV114469.

Shown on the 1809 OS map and on the Tithe Map, where it is marked as Marsh Mill. Part of existing building dates from the 18th century and part of it is dated 1911. The building is used for packing animal foods.

Minchinton, W. E., 1973, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 3 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Tidemill called The Bridge Mill. The mill was working with its original machinery and water-wheel until 1960 but it has now been dismantled except for the building which can be seen from the outside.

Department of Environment, 1987, Clyst St. George, 1 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV114470.

Corn and feedstuffs mill buildings and attached dwelling. Late 18th century or early 19th century, with later 19th century and early 20th century additions (1911). Mill and dwelling plastered brick; gabled-end and hipped slate roof, the dwelling with red crested ridge tiles; the 1911 block, red brick with yellow brick dressing, and gabled-end slate roof. The house of two storeys, the other buildings of three. Old mill front with four two-light windows at various levels with original casements and some leaded panes; two doors at ground floor, and another at first floor. Right-hand end with delivery access just above ground level and one small gable wall window. The attached house with prominent front internal stack and an end stack, both with brick shafts; the front is of two planes, one well forward of the mill and parallel to it, the other canted and linking the two; two mid 19th century casement windows at first floor, and one late 20th century ground floor window to the left of the door which has a canopy on shaped brackets. A later 19th century extension stands to the rear of the house. The 1911 building, three--window range with yellow brick decorative bands, window surrounds and quoins. When listed in 1961 this mill was believed to be the last functioning tidal mill in Devon; the wheel was enclosed on the road side; it no longer operates as such, but some of the gear is said to survive.

Bodman, M., 1998, Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 3 (Report - non-specific). SDV305931.

Called Topsham Bridge Mill. Other details: 1.

Bodman, M., 2003, Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon, 22-23 (Report - Interim). SDV325576.

Reference to "all those well accustomed mills, commonly called TOPSHAM MILLS" in the Exeter Flying Post, 20/11/1806. And in another sale notice on 21/6/1832, the mill is referred to as "TOPSHAM BRIDGE MILL" and described as "an excellent CORN-MILL", "having a constant supply of water from the River Clyst" Other details: Draft Report.

Watts, S., 2005, Topsham Bridge Mill (Personal Comment). SDV322167.

The 1880s-1890s first edition 25 inch Ordnance Survey map shows a weir and sluice above the mill suggesting that, in the late 19th century at least, the mill may not have been a tide mill. In addition, the sale notice of 21/6/1832 recorded by Bodman, 2003 (above) refers to the mill "having a constant supply of water from the River Clyst".

Watts, M., 2006, Bridge Mill, Clyst St George, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV336019.

The original watermill dates to the late 18th century and comprises three floors and a gallery in the roof. Attached is a distinctive red brick mill building added in 1911. When the wheel and gearing were scrapped c1960 the wheelpit was backfilled and a new concrete floor inserted. This floor was removed as part of the works to convert the mill to domestic accommodation, revealing a brick base supporting the columns and posts that indicate the position of the hurst frame, a granite millstone, reused as the hearth of a fireplace in the north east corner, and the inner end of the waterwheel shaft on which the pitwheel was mounted. In the south east corner are the remains of the operating gear for the waterwheel sluice or penstock. The positions of the surviving bridge posts together with a horizontal recess in the brickwork above the wheelshaft indicate that the gearing layout was relatively conventional with a spurwheel driving two pairs of millstones.
Few features survive at first or second floor level. An iron ring fixed to the underside of one of the main ceiling beams on the first floor was originally used for slinging a hoist to lift the millstones and a pair of sack traps with iron hinges still remain on the second floor.
The new mill does not appear to have housed water-powered machinery but was probably originally served by an auxiliary engine located in a building to the north. The water-powered machinery in the old mill continued in use into the late 1950s when the wheelshaft broke. The buildings continued in use, with some milling machinery and a mixer driven by electric motors, making and supplying animal feed. The business closed in October 2005.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV114469Article in Serial: Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J.. 1971 - 1973. Tidemills in Devon and Cornwall: Part 2. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 32. Unknown. 6-7.
SDV114470List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Clyst St. George. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 1.
SDV114474Monograph: Minchinton, W. + Perkins, J.. 1971. Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall. Tidemills of Devon and Cornwall. Unknown. 34.
SDV114475Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SX98NE19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. 19.
SDV305931Report - non-specific: Bodman, M.. 1998. Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 3.
SDV322167Personal Comment: Watts, S.. 2005. Topsham Bridge Mill. Not Applicable.
SDV325576Report - Interim: Bodman, M.. 2003. Watermills and Other Water-Powered Sites in Devon. A4 Spiral Bound. 22-23.
SDV336019Report - Assessment: Watts, M.. 2006. Bridge Mill, Clyst St George, Devon. 150/2006. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1973. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 3.

Associated Monuments

MDV39905Related to: Millpond at Marsh or Bridge Mill, Topsham (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3877 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV3878 - Unnamed Event

Date Last Edited:Feb 7 2012 9:20AM