Spotlight on watermills at DRA

Spotlight on watermills at DRA

Mills and the ancient art of milling come under the spotlight at the Devon Rural Archive (DRA) on Thursday 7 May at 7pm in May’s evening lecture, to be given by writer and mill enthusiast Martin Watts.

Entitled “Mills in the Devon Landscape”, in this illustrated talk Martin will explore the history and usage of mills and the development of waterpower in Devon, as well as the place of mills in Devon’s landscape.

“Watermills used to be a very common sight in the Devon countryside and often were located in very picturesque locations,” explained Abi Gray, Consultant Archaeologist at the DRA.

“Although many share their roots and history with other buildings such as churches, castles and manor houses, as mills were working buildings that were often rebuilt or updated, much of their history has unfortunately been overlooked or lost, and many have also been converted for other uses.   It will be enlightening to hear Martin share his extensive knowledge about these buildings that were so integral to daily life in past generations.”

Trained in design and architecture, Martin has been interested in mills since the 1960s, becoming curator of a working watermill museum in South Yorkshire in 1979.   He moved to the South West in 1982 and spent the next seven years repairing a derelict watermill in South Devon.

Since then he has worked full time on repairing, conserving and recording traditional water and wind-powered mills and has written several books including ‘The Archaeology of Mills and Milling’ (Tempus 2002) and Water and Wind Power (Shire 2005).

Find out about Devon Rural Archive, here

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