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Title:Weycroft Mill, Axminster; Brief Report for DCC
Originator:Exeter Archaeology
Summary:Weycroft Mill is situated on the River Axe about a mile to the ne of Axminster. The site lies on the line of a Roman road (The Fosse Way) which is now represented by the modern Chard Road. The mill occupies an ancient site which has almost certainly been used for milling since before the Domesday Survey of 1086. There is a medieval manorial site at Weycroft on the hill above the road and it is most likely that the mill was originally developed as part of this manor. The core of the existing complex is an 'L' shaped stone-built range which runs for some distance to the n along the e side of the Chard Road and extends to the e at the rear. This building is two storeys high with extensive lofts. It appears to be mainly of late C18 or early C19 date though it incorporates some fabric reused from an earlier building, including a door frame with a shaped timber head in the form of a cranked 'arch. This feature may date from the C16 or C17 and it is not unlikely that elements of earlier structures may remain concealed within the fabric. The roadside wing of the building housed the mill machinery and grain storage facilities and still retains much machinery, most of which probably dates from the late C19 or early C20. The grain storage bins still survive in the loft, accessed by a low level gallery. The e wing now contains the miller's house which is largely C19 in appearance and contains a good staircase. It is probable that the mill has encroached upon the house and further domestic accommodation in a new wing was added to the n in the C19. Behind the house and the mill, extending to the ne along the n edge of the leat is a long range of stone built buildings, two storeys high. These buildings may also date from the late C18 or early C19 and may possibly have housed additional machinery or storage space. These buildings continue as a one-storey range, possibly stabling or cart sheds. The se wall of this building contains a doorway at ground floor level opening upon the leat. This may have led to a bridge or gallery over the leat allowing access to sluices or possibly to service a wheel. The doorway is now a window but retains a small porch or canopy. To the s of the earlier buildings is a large tower-like range with an upper storey clad in corrugated iron. This range is of uncertain date, though it is probably C19 in origin. Adjoining this building to the e is a handsome late C19 steam mill, with arched metal windows and a tall chimney. The interior has unfortunately been gutted and no machinery now remains. Further buildings surround a large yard to the n of the mill, including a large barn. This is partly stone built and has an early C19 appearance. However, it does not appear on late C19 OS maps and was probably constructed c.1900. Further n, and isolated from the other buildings stands a tall two-storey stone structure of uncertain function. The present owner of the property says that it was used for smoking fish and this is potentially of great interest if it could be substantiated. The extensive grounds of the property contain a wide range of structures of archaeological interest including a number of bridges, sluices, leats and channels. The complex is unusually large for a rural mill, especially as Axminster had its own town mills and there were also mills at Millbrook to the s, and Lower Couxden to the n of Weycroft. The standing buildings, though probably not of very early date, are interesting and retain much of their machinery and other fittings.

Associated Monuments (1)

MDV17622Weycroft Mill, Axminster (Building)