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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB08/02/001 A

Extent of Listing:
Mill building, steps, race and sluice gate

Date of Construction:
1740 - 1759

Address :
Old Mill William Clark and Sons Ltd Upperlands Co Londonderry BT46 5UP


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
21/07/1995 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Gallery/ Museum

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
C8728 0459

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

The entrance elevation of the building that faces south-east is positioned alongside and slightly below the main access driveway to the factory complex. On the opposite (south-west) side a lade from the river and the mill race lead to the head race and flume that fed a fourteen foot breast wheel. The wheel powers a beetling engine housed in the lower floor of the mill. The building is sited on the south-west side of the driveway about 150 yards to the north of the main entrance that occurs about a mile and a half from the intersection of the Maghera/Garvagh road travelling north-eastwards towards Kilrea. The two-storey beetling mill of whitened stone construction is partly built into the hillside and is fully exposed only on the north-west and on the south-west sides. The roof is thatched with reed between parapets finished with plaster on top of concrete. The eaves are square cut and there are three rows of scollops on either side of the ridge. Entrance on the south-east side is by means of a timber sheeted door under a voussoired stone lintel. Otherwise this elevation is blank. The north-east side has two openings each filled with timber louvre boards seven in number. There are no sills and the lintels are of timber. The openings are surmounted by a board inscribed “ORIGINAL BEETLING HOUSE 1740” The north-west elevation has two blocked openings at the upper level with brick dressings and rough concrete lintels. There are no sills. At the lower level there are a pair of timber sheeted doors with brick dressings and a concrete lintel. To the left of this entrance there is a blocked window opening with brick dressings and concrete lintel. At the upper level on the south-west side there are two openings filled with timber louvres eight boards to each. Lintels are of timber. A stone built wheel pit on the south-west side contains an iron-framed timber wheel with a timber channel above. The present wheel was obtained from a mill at Swatragh. From this side the upper entrance level is accessed by means of a flight of rough stone steps that curve around the south-east corner.


Not Known

Historical Information

In 1680 John Clark from Abbots Salford in Warwickshire acquired some farmland near Maghera. When a prohibitive tax was placed on Irish wool entering England in 1698 Irish linen was admitted free of duty and soon after 1700 John Clark began to bleach cloth produced by weavers around Upperlands. The firm he founded survives to day as the oldest family linen business in the world and spans nine generations. When John died in 1707 his son Jackson started to mechanise the business. He built the old mill in 1740. Up until about 1960 damp linen was beetled and given an even shine on the ground floor and carried up the steps to dry in the upper loft. References _ Primary Sources 1. OS map, 1st edition 1831-2, Co. Londonderry sheet 32 Secondary Sources Clark, Wallace, Upperlands, The World’s Oldest Linen Village, including a map showing the position of the middle house (old mill) on page 18 and a sketch by Richard McCullagh depicts the building on page 25. There are photographs of the mill on pages 33 and 35. Clark, Wallace, Linen on the Green, An Irish Mill Village 1730 – 1982. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837, page 330. McCutcheon, W A, The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland, 1980, pp., 251, 253, 267 and 323 note 61. Plates 59.3 and 76.1. Upperlands Website, Survey of Thatched Buildings 1992, report by Colin Hatrick to EHS Monitoring of Thatched Buildings, report by Colin Hatrick to EHS dated 15 June 1994. Information obtained on site on 22 July 2003.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

D. Plan Form F. Structural System I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting

Historic Interest

Z. Rarity W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


A two-storey whitened stone building with thatched roof between raised parapets. A beetling engine on the lower floor is driven by a water wheel enclosed within a stone pit on the south-west side. The building occupies the original site of 1740 and is a unique example of a thatched mill.

General Comments

Date of Survey

22 July 2003