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Late C18-C19 mill complex, ropeworks and associated water management system immediately east of Millpond Avenue, Foundry

A Scheduled Monument in Hayle, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1815 / 50°10'53"N

Longitude: -5.4213 / 5°25'16"W

OS Eastings: 155846.988

OS Northings: 36881.556987

OS Grid: SW558368

Mapcode National: GBR DXZ6.KJK

Mapcode Global: VH12M.ZPCP

Entry Name: Late C18-C19 mill complex, ropeworks and associated water management system immediately east of Millpond Avenue, Foundry

Scheduled Date: 5 October 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1402648

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Hayle

Built-Up Area: Hayle

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Erth

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a late-C18 and C19 hammer and grist mill complex and ropeworks together with an associated water management system.

Source: Historic England


A former industrial complex which includes the earthworks, standing and buried remains of hammer mills, a grist mill, ropeworks, store, reservoir and leat. It was established in the late C18, and was expanded and altered in the C19. The site is situated in a slight valley extending south from Penpol Creek, and to the east of Millpond Avenue.

In the north-east part of the site are the ruins of a building which map evidence confirms as the earliest mill at the site. Rectangular in plan, the grist mill was converted to steam power in about 1830 and was extended southward by about 1832. By the end of the C19, photographs show the mill rising five storeys high to a shallow pitched roof. In 1940 the mill was reduced to first-floor level, reputedly to prevent the tall building from being used as a landmark to guide German bombing raids. The surviving north end and east side walls of the mill are faced externally by granite block masonry and internally by granite rubble, with dressed granite quoins and lintels. Large brick arches pierce each ground-floor wall, with an original window above the north wall arch. A ground-floor doorway and first-floor window in the east wall are now blocked.

Extending west and south-west from the grist mill are remains of Harvey's C19 hammer mills. Early-C19 map evidence indicates that they occupied most of the area between the grist mill and the millpond, with an extended frontage to the millpond which provided the power. An 1864 plan adds detail, showing three elongated roofed ranges adjoining side by side, ending along Foundry Hill to the north but extending south to different lengths, the central range being the shortest. The western range has a rounded projection with a dormer roof extending into the edge of the millpond and is considered to have housed sluices controlling the distribution and force of water to the mill. Early-C20 photographs, taken about the time of the mill's closure, show the western range and its projection as a single-storey building with a shallow-pitched slate roof; a later aerial photograph, prior to 1940, shows that the hammer mills were roofless by this date. The hammer mills survive with their north, west and southern walls standing to single-storey height, of granite rubble masonry with dressed granite quoins and lintels. The north wall, extending west from the grist mill, shows at least three construction phases, corresponding with the ends of the three ranges: the gable end of each range has two window openings with blocked doorways beneath, and the west range has a large brick-arched opening. Against the internal north-east corner of the west range is a masonry chimney stack base with its brick lining projecting above. The mill's west wall, facing the millpond, has closely-spaced window openings, all truncated just below lintel level; the rounded projection into the edge of the millpond is entered by a doorway in its rear wall, set back slightly within the mill, and has a small window facing towards the millpond. The mill's south wall again combines several construction phases, with a window near its west end and the base of a first floor opening at the east.

The ropeworks is situated to the south of the hammer mills. The ropewalk extended SSE, straight along the narrow strip between the millpond and the leat, eventually reaching about 210m long at its maximum extent by the 1840s. Of this, the northern 158m survives, lacking its roof. The ropewalk interior, about 5m wide, is defined to the west by a substantial rubble wall, now slightly reduced, with frequent external buttresses. Along the wall, small rectangular sockets with iron linings are considered to have held spars used in stretching the rope. The eastern side of the ropewalk has a very low wall and was largely open-sided to assist ventilation, the roof being held on supports which no longer survive. East of the ropewalk's northern end are two large, wall-lined flat-bottomed pits; one of these, circular with a rectangular extension to the south, is identified as housing a former steam-powered rope-spooler. The 1870's mapping shows a roofed building over the pits, of which some walling survives, with another ropery building to the south which stands to gable height. At the north-eastern end of the ropeworks is a mid- to late-C19 building that is marked on a plan of the 1880s as a store. It survives to first-floor height and is roughly square in plan, subdivided into several rooms, one containing a chimney base and another, a small hearth. The frontage to the lane has three broad brick-arched openings appropriate for wagon-loading.

The reservoir, known as the millpond, remains largely waterfilled, though partly silted at the south end. It measures about 200m NNW-SSE by up to 55m wide; its slender northern third is sub-divided as an inner pool by a bank. On the east it is defined by a strip of raised ground, broad on the north but narrow further south, separating the millpond from a leat which allowed the Penpol stream to bypass the millpond as required. The leat, part of the Harvey's original water management at the site, powered the wheel of a metal-boring mill.

All modern fences and railings, the pedestrian barriers under the entrance arches, modern path surfaces and kerbing, signs and notices, seating, electricity supply cables, control and fuse boxes, telephone pole, cables and guys, lamp posts, modern drains and covers, playground equipment, modern statuary and artwork, litter bins, life-belt and housing, and the modern culverts along the millpond edge are all excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The late C18-C19 mill complex, ropeworks and associated water management system are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the upstanding remains of the various mills and ropery survive well as consolidated ruins and clearly show the sequence and differences in character of the various components of this industrial complex;

* Potential: significant buried remains will survive relating to the range of technological processes that occurred at the site and to the operation of the related water management system;

* Group value: they represent one of the most coherent surviving groups of industrial structures associated with the internationally-renowned Harvey's Foundry, retaining elements that date to the initial establishment of the company.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Noall, C, A Book of Hayle, (1985)
Vale, E, The Harveys of Hayle, (1966)
Buck, C, Smith, J R, 'Cornwall Archaeological Unit' in Hayle Town Survey, (1995)
Cahill, N And CAU, 'Cornwall Archaeological Unit' in Hayle Historical Assessment, Cornwall, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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