© N.L. Stones
POWDERMILL FARMHOUSE, LITTLETON LANE (west side)
WINFORD, NORTH SOMERSET, SOMERSET
17 June 2001
18 September 1980
Date of last amendment:
18 September 1980
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
1816/7/123 LITTLETON LANE
18-SEP-80 (West side)
House. Mid C16, room added to S later C17, N end demolished early C18, upper storey added mid C18, S end extended C19. Roughly-squared limestone rubble, some roughly-dressed quoins, ashlar doorway, truncated front exterior stack, brick gable and ridge stacks, double Roman tiled roof, hipped to S end of extension.
PLAN: C16 through-passage plan with kitchen to right of passage, originally a further room beyond; hall to left, with S extension of two rooms, and S C19 range further to S.
EXTERIOR: Main range of three storeys; three-window E front, slight change in walling to later top storey, with right hand truncated exterior lateral stack. Main entrance has C16 Tudor-arched doorway with ogee moulding and pedestal stops, a flat hood on moulded brackets, and door with 6 raised panels. Scattered fenestration with wooden lintels, a small casement over the doorway and one to the right, and horned 6/6-pane sashes. Quoining to former C16 window openings visible in walling.
W elevation has a left-hand half-glazed door under a C18 flat hood, the door from the trough passage has chamfered stone surround cut low down to accommodate barrels. Scattered fenestration, small casements to centre, and 6/6-pane sashes to left over door and right-hand side; a small stone-lined C16 stair light to centre. S gable has small attic window. 2 storey; 3-window S extension, set back, has one ground-floor and three first-floor windows with modern casements The extension has a stone bridge over the basement area to a left-hand door, and modern casements. Late C20 lean-to-porch to right-hand end.
INTERIOR: Former kitchen at N end, separated from passage by C18 screen, has chamfered beams with runout stops, a large fireplace with bread oven, and an inserted mid-C18 stair with turned balusters which cuts through C16 floor to rear. Mid C18 shutters, architraves and doors survive from this phase of the building. Hall has a fine moulded framed ceiling in 9 panels, fireplace to the N end, with H-hinges to spice cupboard and two other cupboards; a later cupboard occupies a former window to the front; blocked 3-light chamfered mullion window to rear. First-floor C16 stone fireplace to S gable, partly restored 1997. Mid C18 roof with collar trusses and nailed saddles, two original purlins one with tusk tenons; much re-used timber. The central stack in the attic has steep C16 ridge drips from original roof.
HISTORY: The gunpowder works at Littleton are thought to have started production in the mid C17 and a century later was the largest powder producing complex in SW England, apparently producing 3500 barrels of gunpowder by 1762. It was one of three in Somerset which were started to supply local mining interests and also foreign markets through the port of Bristol, and all of which closed by mid-C19. It survives as the best surviving gunpowder works from this period in the country.
The anomalous position of the large external stack suggests that the house continued to the N, now occupied by Powder Mill Cottage (qv). The original stair adjoined the hall fireplace. When the gunpowder mill was established to the north of the house, it served as accommodation for the owner or superintendent.
(Gilson R G, Unpublished VAG Report, September 1979; Buchanan, B and Tucker, M T, 'The Manufacture of Gunpowder', Industrial Archaeology Review, V . 3. 1981; Crocker, G, The Gunpowder Mills Gazetteer, 1988; Former Avon County SMR entry 2190; Brenda Buchanan, "The Technology of Gunpowder Making in the Eighteenth Century: Evidence from the Bristol Region", Transactions of the Newcomen Society, Vol. 67 (1995-6)).