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Rushden Echo, 16th November 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers Mill Worth £1
Two at Ditchford for £22
Money for Wood, Nails, and Drink

Much interest has been aroused by the article we published recently on the demolition of Chown’s Mill, Higham Ferrers. We stated that there was mention in the Domesday Book of a mill on that site, and this is borne out by the following letter from Mr. J. Enos Smith, who has a copy of such record:

I notice that the old watermill known as Chown'€™s Mill is being demolished. In the account of Higham Ferrers in the Domesday Book (1086) a '€œmill' is mentioned as being worth 20s. There are ten acres of meadow, the woodland being one furlong in length and one furlong in breadth. A common adjunct to a manor was the lord'€™s mill.

In 1298 the mills of Higham produced an annual income of £8; and the value of the fishing belonging to them was estimated at a further sum of 6s. 8d. In the Minister’s Accounts for 36 Henry VIII (1544-5)  we find the following: “The Farm of three mills under one roof near Higham, and of two watermills under one roof called Dicheford Myll: £22 1s.”

In 1380-1 the manorial mills needed repair. The Reeve’s account for that year states: “61lb. of iron bought for making and repairing the spindles, hoops, and treadles of the mills of Higham and Ditchford, 5s. 1d.—The wages of a smith for forging the said iron, 5s. 1d.—The hire of four carpenters for five days to fell and cut up oaks in the park for making the wheels and ‘grounds’ of the mills, receiving each of them 4d. a day, 6s. 8d.—The hire of two sawyers for 23 days to saw the said timber for making the wheels and ‘grounds’ at 5d. a day each, 20s.—To four carpenters hired for 24 days to make the wheels and ‘grounds’ receiving each of them 4d. a day, 32s.—For 100 great nails, 10d.—One brass brace for making the spindle of the mill at Higham, 2s. 6d., and £8 3s. 9d. for the carriage of timber from various places.—12d. for drink etc.,” (Note: the ‘grounds’ are the heavy timbers supporting the wheels.)

In the officials’ accounts for 6 & 7 Henry VI. there is a charge of three new millstones bought for William Lawe, tenant of the Higham mill. In 1550 a new lease for 30 years was granted to Daniel Payne at a rental of £23 4s. 4d. In 1587 the same mills were let to William Payne for 31 years at the same rental.

It is suggested that some of the stones may have been taken from the old college. The foundations of this were laid in 1424-5. How long it has been dilapidated I do not know; but for some considerable time. The records (as I have copies of them) speak of carriage of timber from various places and of oak being cut up in the park (which I suppose means Higham Park, Bedford-road). Wood used to be fetched from the Temple (meaning, I think, the wood called Temple Wood, near Sharnbrook). There were two cottages about opposite the second turn off the Bedford road to Sharnbrook, which were called Temple Cottages. It also speaks of the “woodland” being one furlong in length and another in breadth. This,  believe, was near the mill, as I have found it marked on maps.

1586. xv. Apryll
8 Elizabeth.
Hyham Ferras.

“The hallymoot at oure ladye day ye xv. of Apryll 1566. The presenttmentt of the omadsche.

“Allso: we wyll that Mesterys [Mrs.] Jenkins schall nott keep the Myll yatts above iiii. foot bye yn payne of xx. s.”

Dates on Stones:


Rebuilt 1786 by Right Hon. Fitzwilliam.

Repaired 1832.

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