Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Radcliffe Trust and Wolverton - Part III The Mills

The Trust acquired two working mills on the River Ouse. At the time they were known as West Mill and Mead Mill. Both mills were recorded in Domesday. There is still a mill on the site of West Mill, which has been known as Wolverton Mill since the 19th century. Mead Mill, on the eastern side of the Manor, operated for about 1,000 years but the diversion of the river at the time of building the railway viaduct probably had an impact on its viability and it had ceased working by 1840.

This plan shows the new embankment and viaduct and the old river course is shaded. The new course is the white area between the dotted lines. It appears that the new river course decided the fate of the mill. Apparently nobody was particularly bothered about it as the Radcliffe Trustees could have insisted on a new mill-race to be constructed at the L&BR expense, but perhaps they decided that one larger mill working efficiently was better than two less efficient ones.
The 1841 and 1851 censuses record Mead Mill, but it is occupied by three families, mostly headed by railoway employees. there is no mention of a miller.

The engraving depicted above shows the then new viaduct and the old Haversham bridge. Mead Mill was still standing at this time but is out of frame on the left hand side.

Both mills were in the hands of Perry brothers in 1713. Mead Mill, together with 90 acres of meadowland, was rented by John Perry and the West Mill was leased to William Perry with 21 acres.

Wolverton Mill continued and became larger and more industrialized in the 19th century. It has now been converted into flats.
This picture was taken in 1939.

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