Listing verified as genuine
Posted on 15th January 2018 / 418
Industry Type : Agricultural, Textiles, Manufacturing
Power Type : Water
Public or Private Site? : Private Land
Condition : Partially Restored

Cricklepit Mill is the only surviving water-mill in Exeter.

A mill was originally granted on this site circa 1180!

After the Norman invasion, the Earls of Devon took possession of Exe Island and Shilhay and it was sometime between 1180 and 1190 that Robert Courtenay granted Nicholas Gervaise the right to construct a mill.  Cricklepit Mill became the first of many mills to line the leats of Exe Island.

In the 13th century Cricklepit Mill was converted to working cloth, known as a ‘fulling’ mill. It finished woollen cloth by pounding it!

The unusual name probably comes from ‘crickenpette’, meaning a hollow, or pit, beneath cliffs.

Over its long working life, the mill was used for a great variety of functions. Records show that in 1463, Crickenpette was working steadily as a grist mill or corn mill again. In 1529 the mill was remodeled (and part of the present structure dates from this time), but still worked as a corn mill.

In 1689, one of Cricklepit’s wheels used a treble mill gearing system to drive 2 millstones.

By the 18th Century, Cricklepit Mill was (again) fulling wool, grinding malt and producing flour!

By 1757, the mill complex had 3 waterwheels; driving 3 grist and 2 fulling mills.

A single wheel could drive 2 fulling stocks directly off the mill shaft, through a simple trip-cam mechanism.

During the 19th Century the waterwheels also drove a rubble machine, and a manganese mill alongside its other duties!

The Napoleonic Wars greatly affected Exeter’s woollen exports and the processing of wool quickly died out.

The coal fields were a long way from Exeter, so the waterwheels were continued to be relied upon to provide power for a variety of industries, hence this mill’s long and varied career, while other areas of the country turned to steam.

In 1857, Richard Kelland (a Cricklepit Miller) was was accused of adultering his flour with alum in a court case in 1858, along with other millers, a charge which was not proven. Alum is short for aluminum potassium sulphate, and was used by dodgey bakers to make their bread whiter and heavier! Today alum it is used as an ingredient in detergent!

By 1866, the mill was in the occupation of Mr Frederick Pitts, and was capable of producing 80 to 90 sacks per week, which made it one of the smaller mills in the city; as Powhay Mills, a short distance upstream, could produce 500 sacks a week in 1877!

In Exeter, the industrial revolution saw the emergence of many iron foundries, often using machinery driven by water. In 1868, Cricklepit took delivery of a new iron wheel, cast nearby by William Bolt at the Old Quay Foundry.

A fire in January 1878, on woodwork surrounding the millstones, was put out by the foreman and neighbours dipping buckets in the leat. By then, the owner was Woodbridge and Sons, who also ran the Lower Mill a few metres further down the leat.

In 1907, Cricklepit also became a saw-mill; at this time, perhaps a half of the Shilhay part of Exeter was devoted to storing and sawing timber.

And all this time, Cricklepit was still grinding corn for animal feed and flour!

In 1914, the mill was occupied by William French & Co, corn dealers, who sold the mill in 1953 to Henry Eke and Walter Percy Keeling. By 1970 the buildings were no longer a working mill and were used by Shears for storing animal feed.

Cricklepit was the subject of much speculation during the last years of the 20th Century – abandoned and deteriorating, it suffered a fire in 1999. It was decided to save what remained of Exeter’s last water mill and the site was sold to the Devon Wildlife Trust, with help from Exeter City Council, Exeter Canal and Quay Trust and English Heritage.

Traditional millwright Martin Watts was contracted to renovate the mill. On completion, the mill became the headquarters of the Devon Wildlife Trust, and is now used as offices and a wildlife information centre that is open to the public.

On the second Friday of every month, from 10am until 12 noon, the mill still grinds corn into flour!

Check out the visitor guide with everything you will need to know – HERE!

 

 

Cricklepit Mill, Commercial Road, Exeter, EX2 4AB

Cricklepit Mill

Cricklepit Mill is the only surviving water-mill in Exeter.

A mill was originally granted on this site circa 1180!

After the Norman invasion, the Earls of Devon took possession of Exe Island and Shilhay and it was sometime between 1180 and 1190 that Robert Courtenay granted Nicholas Gervaise the right to construct a mill.  Cricklepit Mill became the first of many mills to line the leats of Exe Island.

In the 13th century Cricklepit Mill was converted to working cloth, known as a ‘fulling’ mill. It finished woollen cloth by pounding it!

The unusual name probably comes from ‘crickenpette’, meaning a hollow, or pit, beneath cliffs.

Over its long working life, the mill was used for a great variety of functions. Records show that in 1463, Crickenpette was working steadily as a grist mill or corn mill again. In 1529 the mill was remodeled (and part of the present structure dates from this time), but still worked as a corn mill.

In 1689, one of Cricklepit’s wheels used a treble mill gearing system to drive 2 millstones.

By the 18th Century, Cricklepit Mill was (again) fulling wool, grinding malt and producing flour!

By 1757, the mill complex had 3 waterwheels; driving 3 grist and 2 fulling mills.

A single wheel could drive 2 fulling stocks directly off the mill shaft, through a simple trip-cam mechanism.

During the 19th Century the waterwheels also drove a rubble machine, and a manganese mill alongside its other duties!

The Napoleonic Wars greatly affected Exeter’s woollen exports and the processing of wool quickly died out.

The coal fields were a long way from Exeter, so the waterwheels were continued to be relied upon to provide power for a variety of industries, hence this mill’s long and varied career, while other areas of the country turned to steam.

In 1857, Richard Kelland (a Cricklepit Miller) was was accused of adultering his flour with alum in a court case in 1858, along with other millers, a charge which was not proven. Alum is short for aluminum potassium sulphate, and was used by dodgey bakers to make their bread whiter and heavier! Today alum it is used as an ingredient in detergent!

By 1866, the mill was in the occupation of Mr Frederick Pitts, and was capable of producing 80 to 90 sacks per week, which made it one of the smaller mills in the city; as Powhay Mills, a short distance upstream, could produce 500 sacks a week in 1877!

In Exeter, the industrial revolution saw the emergence of many iron foundries, often using machinery driven by water. In 1868, Cricklepit took delivery of a new iron wheel, cast nearby by William Bolt at the Old Quay Foundry.

A fire in January 1878, on woodwork surrounding the millstones, was put out by the foreman and neighbours dipping buckets in the leat. By then, the owner was Woodbridge and Sons, who also ran the Lower Mill a few metres further down the leat.

In 1907, Cricklepit also became a saw-mill; at this time, perhaps a half of the Shilhay part of Exeter was devoted to storing and sawing timber.

And all this time, Cricklepit was still grinding corn for animal feed and flour!

In 1914, the mill was occupied by William French & Co, corn dealers, who sold the mill in 1953 to Henry Eke and Walter Percy Keeling. By 1970 the buildings were no longer a working mill and were used by Shears for storing animal feed.

Cricklepit was the subject of much speculation during the last years of the 20th Century – abandoned and deteriorating, it suffered a fire in 1999. It was decided to save what remained of Exeter’s last water mill and the site was sold to the Devon Wildlife Trust, with help from Exeter City Council, Exeter Canal and Quay Trust and English Heritage.

Traditional millwright Martin Watts was contracted to renovate the mill. On completion, the mill became the headquarters of the Devon Wildlife Trust, and is now used as offices and a wildlife information centre that is open to the public.

On the second Friday of every month, from 10am until 12 noon, the mill still grinds corn into flour!

Check out the visitor guide with everything you will need to know – HERE!

 

 

Cricklepit Mill, Commercial Road, Exeter, EX2 4AB

Cricklepit Mill
Industry Type : Agricultural, Textiles, Manufacturing
Power Type : Water
Public or Private Site? : Private Land
Condition : Partially Restored
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