The Mills of Maiden Newton

Their history, of course, begins in Domesday Book. Duo instini reddentes, 20s at Neweton, indicating the existence of two mills, valued at 20s. (Eyton). We know that there were two mills in 1799, and we hear of one at Cruxton in 1299, but this is probably the same as Notton where there was one grinding corn in 1903. So it seems that our two mills (if not three) were water mills and are very old.

On October 5th, 1588, in the 30th year of the reign of Elizabeth the First there was a sale of a water mill, by Barnabe Samborne of Tymsborough, Som’t. esq and Francis Samborne of Maiden Newton, gent. to John Browne of Frampton esq. The following names are recorded in connection with this ‘bargain sale’ – Ric Goughe, Barnard Lison and Eleanor his dau., Cecill wife of Barnabe Samborne, Joan wife of Francis Samborne, Thos Warham, W-Gosley, Angel-ngton, Ric Faizer, Angel Smith, Mich(ael) Hardye, Wm Baker, Wm Bartlett, Wm Littell, Jn Bishope, Ric Good.

On 24th July, 1651, we find Hugh Wyndham, Lord of the Manor, leasing to Christian Feaver a water grist mill at Maiden Newton.

An inventory of goods of John Gray, miller of Maiden Newton, is in the County Archives, together with about a dozen deeds of sale or lease of mills and attached property in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Gray’s inventory is very interesting, is dated 1711, and reads as follows:

An inventory of all the, and singular all the goods and Cattols (cattle, chattels) of, and debts of John Gray, late of Maidon (-ton) in the County of Dorsett, miller, deceased evalude and aproved by John Homber, the tenth day of December one thousand seven hundred and eleven in the tenth yeare of our Soveron Lady Anne, in form as follows, viz-

£ s. d.

Imprimus one horse   2 0 0

Item for clothes and money in pocket   10 0

Item for one bed and bed-clothes   15 0

Item for croke (crook) and kittle (kettle)  3 0

Item for putter (pewter) and killet (stewpot)  2 6

Item for a tabell, bord and forme, chaires  4 4

Item for a covoll (coat?) and trendols*  3 0

Item for a pocke (peck?) in stie**   10 0

Item for bages and coborn clothes***  4 2

Item for iron doges, fire pans and tongues  1 6

Item for chest, box, and cubar (cupboard)  2 9

Item for a bedstead    1 0

The totale in full ys   4 17 03

foure pounds seventeen shillings and threepence.

  • *a trendle was a bundle of partly cleaned wool, a dialect word. If covoll is a coat, then trendols may be wool.
  • **sty?
  • ***clothes-cupboard?
  • In 1734 Sir William Napier of Moore Critchel, Bart, leased to William Chipp of Maiden Newton, miller, for £100 two water grist mills with one farm of two acres for 99 years on lives at rent of 20s. In 1744 William Chipp assigned the two mills to Robert Coombes, mill-wright. In 1788 there was a lease and re-lease of these two mills: Francis John Browne of Frampton, esq. To George Lilly of Martock in the county of Somerset, tobacconist for £180 the sale of two mills. By 1800 the value of the two mills had gone up considerably for in June that year George Lilly and his wife, Sarah, sell them to Thomas Hopkins of Stoke Abbot, miller, and John Hopkins the younger as trustee for the sum of £1,250. In 1825 they are worth £3,100 and in 1828 a moiety of the mills went to Samuel Hutchings and to George Bullock for £7,500. In living memory, the Swatridges were millers here.

The first World War 1914-18, brought the mills to the close of their long history as corn mills. The picturesque mill in the center of the Village has been used in recent years for making church carpeting, has been used for rope making, and currently (2004) houses a business which designs and manufactures screen print machinery. The mill stands as possibly the most attractive building in Maiden Newton close by the confluence of the two streams – the Frome and the Hook, and the two bridges.