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MERRIOTT, SOUTH SOMERSET, SOMERSET
10 March 2000
Date of last amendment:
10 March 2000
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.
ST 4411 MERRIOTT
1626/9/10004 Tail Mill
Former sailcloth textile factory, with later industrial and office use, partially vacant at inspection. Early C19, ( chimney base dated 1836) with late C19 additions, and early C20 alterations. Rubble stone with ashlar quoins and dressings, red brick arched heads to opening and slated roof coverings with later replacements in profiled C20 sheeting.
PLAN: Irregular plan form, reflecting gradual evolution of integrated site, with earlier buildings
sited close to the mill pond and leat to the south of the site, with later buildings grouped around a northern courtyard by 1888, and subsequently covered. The site comprises a WAREHOUSE with attached DWELLING, TEXTILE MILL with internal engine and boiler houses, SLUICE GATES to watercourse , CHIMNEY BASE, north light WEAVING SHED, single storeyed ANCILLARY BUILDINGS, and a second, external ENGINE HOUSE.
WAREHOUSE at south-east corner of site, of 3 storeys with attics, with symmetrical 8 bay front, wide gable to centre, and coped gables with polygonal finials. Former full height double doorway to centre of ground floor, now with part-glazed entrance screen with integral single doorway. Above this, tall double doors, and a further opening to the gable apex. Flanking the central gable, ground floor doorways and 2 -light windows beneath shallow brick arched heads to all floor, some to left side of first floor altered. Some window frames with one light glazed, the other with ventilation louvres.
Interior: warehouse floors carried on massive timber beams spanning front and rear walls. Roof trusses, each with queen struts supporting a collar on which is set a diminutive king post with an expanded, diamond-shaped head, support double purlins. The lower 2 storeys have cross walls which segregate the loading area of the central 2 bays from the flanking ranges. Trap doors survive in the floors of the central section, formerly served by a hand- operated hoist drum and wheel mounted between the roof trusses, ( now dismantled and stored in attic ). North end of attic segregated by timber partition and door.
HOUSE attached to north west gable of warehouse, of 2 bays and 2 storeys, and probably a mid- C19 addition, with domestic scale openings, including a tall transomed 3-light window with glazing bars to the upper lights to the front elevation.
Interior : Not inspected.
TEXTILE MILL to the north-west of the warehouse, of 9 bays, 2 storeys and attics, with projecting brick stair and hoist tower extension to north wall, and low walled enclosure against east gable. South elevation with off-centre, semi-circular arch -headed opening to former internal engine house to bay 3, and multi-paned windows beneath shallow arched heads , 2 to the left and 4 to the right of the doorway. East end with a doorway and plain planked door to bay 8, and a further window. Central part of elevation with 3 blocked arched of different sized, marking the positions of former water wheel chambers.( East arch corresponds to position of mill race shown on 1844 Tithe Map. ) Rear elevation with gabled stair and hoist tower, its external door on the east wall.
Interior: Ground floor retains evidence of internal boiler house at west end, with high-level boxed-in beams and a masonry cross wall separating it from the former internal beam engine house alongside, with a second cross wall to the east. Full height engine house compartment with brick fireproof ceiling at attic floor level, cast-iron entablature beam and beams supporting end of the entablature beam floor remain in situ. Metal ceiling beams retain pairs of lifting rings used for engine installation. Elsewhere, conventionally detailed floors with deep crossbeams and joists, with mid-C19 cast-iron columns support beams in various positions. Queen strut roof trusses with princess struts, and collar beams supporting diminutive king struts. The trusses carry triple purlins, and were also used to support line shafting for powered machinery. The attic floor is double boarded, the upper layer formed of unusually wide Elm planks.
SLUICE GATES, formerly part of water control sytem for the textile mill, to the south-east and south west of the mill, on the banks of the former mill pond. Timber gates with wrought iron raising mechanisms to control outflow from the pond.
CHIMNEY BASE , formerly supporting full-height mill chimney, and partially enclosed within a later building to the north of the mill. Ashlar masonry with stepped plinth, projecting cornice, and semi- circular arched opening to the north face, with inscriptions above which read " Richard Haywood Erected in 1836" and "Built by Tho Ward Bridport".
WEAVING SHED with north light roof and of rectangular plan occupies north-east corner of site, of 11 full bays with 3 narrow bays at the north west end.
Interior: Tall roof with substantial timber trusses supporting the 3 roof compartments. Full-width scarfed tie beams supported by 2 intermediate arcades of cast iron . Near vertical glazing with pivoting centre sections to lights.
Shaft boxes for line shafting to each of the 3 sections are located in the end walls. Narrow bays to north-west originally with open north-east side, and partition wall to separate it from the main shed, suggesting it housed a separate process which required ventilation.
ANCILLARY BUILDINGS. Single storeyed buildings to the west , north west and north-east of the textile mill housed the secondary and finishing processes, and were added between 1844 and 1886. All are of rubble construction with pitched roofs. That to the immediately west of the mill has undergone C20 alteration, that further west is of broad span with a continuous ventilation louvre to the roof apex, and a 6-bay roof with timber principles linked by wrought iron tie rods. Tall side wall windows with shallow arched heads and composite frames, comprising glazing to the lower half and louvres above. Further north, 2 ranges set at right angles, that to the north-west of 14 bays, with an apex ventilation louvre, and narrow dormers to the west roof slope. King-post truss roof. The northern boundary of the site was formed by a range running east -west, of which the 4 eastern bays survive. A further single storey, 11 bay range forms part of the eastern site boundary, and is attached to the south-east corner of the weaving shed. It has a prominent apex ventilation louvre, with slatted sides operated by an extant lever and pulley system, all supported upon asymmetrical queen strut trusses.
ENGINE HOUSE to south-west of weaving shed added post 1886, and seemingly built to replace the engine house which powered the weaving shed and the attached single storeyed ancillary range. Gabled roof with collared trusses, supporting king posts. Blocked arch for former fly wheel recess in east part of south side wall.
HISTORY: Tail Mill was a sail cloth making factory, established on the site of a former water-powered grist mill. By 1825, the site was occupied by Richard Haywood, a prominent sailcloth maker with a mill at West Chinook. The firm became one of the most important of Somerset's sailcloth manufacturers, and occupied Tail Mill until c.1929. Mid-C19 inventory evidence suggests that the site was operating as an integrated flax mill, using water and steam power, and with a weaving shed and agas works. Sail cloth, tow ( a product made from flax waste) and webbing were being produced by 1868.
Tail Mill is a highly significant site in the history of the Somerset sailcloth industry, dating from the early C19. It is an evolved integrated textile factory, retaining characteristic structures from all periods of its development, including ancillary structures used for secondary and finishing processes. These, together with its mid- C19 weaving shed, and the very clear evidence of both water and steam power provision form an unusually complete and coherent survival, which despite C20 alterations clearly demonstrates the major phases of development of a significant branch of the textile industry of south-west England
Source. Tail Mill Merriot, Somerset.' English Heritage. 1999. N.B.R.98658.