© N.L. Stones
BARN TO SOUTH WEST OF POWDERMILL FARMHOUSE, LITTLETON LANE (west side)
WINFORD, NORTH SOMERSET, SOMERSET
18 September 1980
Date of last amendment:
18 September 1990
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ST 56 SE LITTLETON LANE
1816/7/124 (West side)
18-SEP-80 BARN TO SOUTH WEST OF POWDERMILL FARMH
Barn. Late C17 or C18, with inserted C18 powder magazine; the whole building then remodelled and re-roofed C19. Roughly-squared limestone rubble, brick gable stack, and pantile roof.
PLAN: Rectangular plan with inserted vaulted powder store at N end.
EXTERIOR: Central cart entrance with timber lintel and double plank doors, round-arched doorway to right with a C20 glazed door to powder store, small window to left; blocked entrance in S end under upper segmental-arched door to hayloft. N gable has a round-arched doorway beneath a C19 projecting arch supporting a brick stack, and irregular toothed ends to front and back elevation and string at eaves height, indicating position of a former lean-to. Rear has a small window to powder store and three blocked lights, with a segmental-arched doorway to the right.
INTERIOR: Barn has central threshing floor, and six C19 king post trusses; mid or later C19 joist holes cut across the entrance. The S end occupied by a chamber, lower than the barn walls, with thick rubble walls and a semi-circular arched groin vault. Above the chamber, the barn walls are plastered.
HISTORY: Littleton gunpowder mill operated for about a century from the early C18. 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 the mid-C19. It is the best surviving gunpowder works from this period in the country, the C18 powder mill complex with its canal being a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
It is probable that the vaulted structure was inserted into the barn during the early working of the mill, as storage of powder it an important part of the manufacturing process. Its location close to the house, the design, with three openings, and the unique manner of construction, within a pre-existing farm building, make it a unique example of one of the most characteristic buildings found at a powder works.
(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Review, V.3.1981; Crocker, G, The Gunpowder Mills Gazetteer, 1988; Former Avon County SMR entry 2190; Gilson R G, Unpublished VAG Report, September 1979; Brenda Buchanan, "The Technology of Gunpowder Making in the Eighteenth Century: Evidence from the Bristol Region", Transactions of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)).