Ancient Monuments

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Bovey Potteries

A Scheduled Monument in Bovey Tracey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5825 / 50°34'56"N

Longitude: -3.6745 / 3°40'28"W

OS Eastings: 281545.289995

OS Northings: 77198.639054

OS Grid: SX815771

Mapcode National: GBR QM.HPNF

Mapcode Global: FRA 376J.D96

Entry Name: Bovey Potteries

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002638

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 925

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bovey Tracey

Built-Up Area: Bovey Tracey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bovey Tracey St John with Heathfield

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Three muffle kilns forming part of a pottery, on Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 November 2015.
This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes three muffle kilns which formed part of Bovey Tracey Pottery situated to the south east of the town in the valley of the River Bovey. The kilns survive as three upstanding structures aligned north to south and adjacent to one another, the southernmost is freestanding the other two are conjoined. The kilns are constructed from yellow bricks with decorative roll mouldings around the necks, although the southern kiln is made from slightly smaller bricks and is of a subtly different design. All are reinforced with iron rails, (originally from the South Devon Railway) the two to the north were made in Bovey Tracey whilst the southern one bears the stamp ‘Thos Willett & Co Ltd Burslem’.

The pottery was originally founded in around 1750 when it was leased from and partly controlled by Lord Courtenay, the earl of Devon. The muffle kilns date to the period of expansion in around 1850 to 1900 following the foundation of the Bovey Tracey Pottery Company. The pottery was visited by Wedgwood in the 1860s, experienced an influx of workers from Staffordshire and employed up to 200 people in its heyday. It produced transfer printed earthenwares which were supplied to the Admiralty and also exported, stonewares, bricks, tiles and sanitary wares. There were up to 16 kilns, five of which were muffle kilns. Following a protracted strike in 1957 the pottery was finally closed and all but the three surviving kilns were demolished by 1958.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The distinctive bottle shaped muffle kilns were an innovation in the pottery firing process whereby the hot air heated by coal was directed through the exterior walls of the kilns, whilst the vessels were stacked inside an interior chamber which was bricked up prior to firing to prevent the vessels from coming into direct contact with the smoky hot air. The rate of heating was controlled and only increased slowly in order to evaporate excess moisture from the clay at a more gradual speed and thus reduce the risk of breakage. Earlier kilns had fired the vessels more directly.

Following some restoration and re-pointing the three muffle kilns forming part of a pottery, on Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey survive comparatively well and bear witness to a once important and thriving pottery.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-446852

Source: Historic England

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