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Further information on Sussex Watermills
Compiled by Robin Jones and Simon Potter
Watermill


Barcombe Mill   Barcombe Oil Mill
Bartley Mill   Benhall Mill, Frant
Bolebrook Watermill, Hartfield   Boringwheel Watermill
Brambletye Watermill, Forest Row   Brightling Saw Mill
Bucksteep Watermill   Bugsell Watermill, Hurst Green
Buxted Watermill   Charne (Rushlake) Watermill
Cox's Watermill   Lurgashall Watermill
Park Mill, Batemans   Plumpton Watermill
Plumpton Place Watermill   Plumpton Upper Watermill
Polegate Watermill   Rowner Watermill, Billingshurst
Tickerage Watermill, Blackboys   Twissells Watermill
Upton's Watermill, Framfield   Wannock Watermill
Millers of Warbleton   Woods Mill

Sussex Mills Group

Barcombe Mill, Barcombe TQ 432148
The mill was first mentioned in the 16th century and a further reference was made in 1706 that it was a combined corn and paper mill. Further development took place in the 1790's when the River Ouse was made navigable from Lewes to Cuckfield. A new and much larger mill was built here in 1870 using pitch pine and incorporating a semi-classic facade. The mill had four floors and was powered by two enclosed waterwheels. It was capable of producing 500 to 600 sacks of flour per week.

The mill was sold in 1879 to William Catt & Sons who were also operating Bishopstone Tide Mill located between Newhaven and Seaford. By 1903 Barcombe Mill was in the occupation of William Wilmshurst who continued until its closure in 1918. The mill caught fire in March 1939 and quickly burned to the ground. The only evidence of the mill today is a grass mound and two peak millstones that lie discarded by the river.
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Sussex Mills Group

Barcombe Oil Mill, Barcombe TQ 438158
One of the first references to this mill was in a sale notice in the Sussex Advertiser dated 25th April 1848. The Freehold Oil Mills fitted with two breast wheels and two pairs of large vertical grinding stones, for producing oil, as well as four pairs of French stones for corn grinding, was to be sold at auction at the Star Inn, Lewes on 16th May 1848. However disaster struck on 6th June 1854 when the mill caught fire. The mill was again up for sale in June 1880 when it was described as The Oil and Upper Flour Mill on the River Ouse at Barcombe. Edward Kenward was the occupier from 1905 until 1909, but he only used the corn mill.

The mill closed down and was demolished in 1917. A sluice gate and a pile of discarded edge runner stones is all that remains on the site.
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Sussex Mills Group

Bartley Mill TQ632357
Bartley Mill is located on the Winn Stream, one mile east of Bells Yew Green and 3 miles south of Tunbridge Wells. The mill was originally owned by the Monks at nearby Bayham Abbey.

Bartley Mill - drawing by R G Martin

The mill was once part of a thriving Hop Farm. It was restored to working order in the late 1990s, which was the first time the mill had ground flour since the early 1900s.

The owners have agreed to make the mill workings (on the ground floor only) available for inspection strictly by appointment. This arrangement will continue for as long as there is someone on site during the week.

Contact details [e-mail] bartleymill@gmail.com

 


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Sussex Mills Group

Benhall Watermill, Frant TQ607376
Benhall Watermill, Frant was located on the River Teise at TQ 607376 next the Benhall Farm, northeast of Benhall Mill Road.

This was a watermill that was erected following the demise of the iron industry. There was a forge here in 1574, still working in 1653 although in 1667 it was 'laid aside and not used'. Benhall Mill was erected near or possibly on, the site of the ironworks, but it is not marked on Budgeon's map of 1724.

During the compilation of the Defence Schedules in 1803, drawn up for the purpose of arriving at the estimated quantity of flour that could be expected from the local mills in time of invasion, Richard Jones, the miller, was willing to supply two sacks of 280lb. of flour every 24 hours and to supply his own wheat. His son Stephen, carried on until at least 1845, when Christopher and Henry Smith took over and continued as a partnership until 1870, after which Henry continued alone until 1887. There are no trade directory entries for the mill after this date, indicating the cessation of commercial milling. It appears that the mill may have continued grinding animal feed for Benhall Farm for some years after.

The mill was finally demolished in the summer of 1964 after many years of lying in a ruinous state. It had three floors, two of brick and one of wood with predominately wooden machinery, which drove 3 pairs of stones (two peak and one burr). In its latter days the top floor was replaced by a corrugated iron roof, with entry into the mill from the road onto the stone floor.

Again, as with many other sites, no trace of the mill can be found- but its position is marked by a depression at the foot of the embankment, while on the other side of the road are the dried-up remains of a millpond.

The above information has been extracted from:- Watermills of Sussex Volume 1 - East Sussex by Derek Stidder & Colin Smith.

In the Simmons Collection the following information is given about Benhall Watermill. The watermill is located 1 ½ miles north east of the Church. On the 6 inch map of 1910 the mill is marked ½ mile east of the railway near Benhall Mill Road and Windmill Farm. In 1938 the owner of Benhall Farm was Percy Longhurst. A report in the Sussex Advertiser dated April 16th 1827 - Stolen from R & S Jones, Benhall Mill, Frant . . . . a horse. In the Sussex Advertiser dated September 23rd 1884 a Miller and Grinder is advertised. One who understands baking would be preferred. Apply to Henry Smith, Benhall Mill.

Benhall Windmill
The Simmons Collection gives the following details about Benhall Windmill.

She was located 1 mile 3 ½ furlongs north east of the Church on the north side and overlooking Benhall Mill Road and west of Benhall Windmill Farm. The mill was a post mill with roundhouse and fitted with two cloth-covered and two spring sweeps. She was run in conjunction with the watermill. Earliest reference to the windmill is 1818, then in occupation of Henry Latter. In 1845 Stephen Jones was using her, whilst another reference occurs in 1849 when Mr. Edward Field appears to have occupied her. Mr. F. J. Standen, at one time connected with Cousley Wood Mill, Wadhurst remembers Benhall Windmill as being in more or less a dilapidated condition in the 1880s, although in occasional use, but she had ceased to exist by 1900 and nothing remains today.
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Sussex Mills Group

Bolebrook [Bolebroke] Watermill, Hartfield TQ481373
This mill stands on a tributary of the River Medway at the end of a lane and forms part of a group of buildings, which includes the mill house and the miller's barn. The mill is of three floors with white painted weatherboarding above a ground floor of dressed stone.

The present mill dates from 1740. Until 1977 the mill possessed an 11 ft. diameter wooden clasp arm oak waterwheel 5 ft. 6 in. wide, but during a violent storm the wheel was damaged and had to be dismantled. However much of the internal machinery remains. Various millers operated the mill over the years, with Alfred Tester taking over in 1899. The mill then continued operating until 1931.

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Sussex Mills Group

Boringwheel Watermill TQ455264
Situated in Toll Lane near Maresfield, Boringwheel Watermill is a small corn mill, which was originally fitted with a composite overshot waterwheel and iron shaft driving two pairs of millstones. Only one pair of millstones can now be seen, although the bedstone is in situ, the runner stone is leaning against the wall. On the bin floor a number of bins can be seen, but the flooring is in poor condition. Some gearing below the stone floor is still in place including the iron shaft of the waterwheel. Outside of the mill the cast iron centre of the shaft which takes the spokes for the wheel can be seen, but there is no evidence of the waterwheel.

Boringwheel Watermill - drawing by Frank Gregory

The large mill pond, located some distance from the mill is now used as a trout farm. The building of the watermill is a brick substructure on which is supported a timber framed and weatherboarded superstructure with a half hipped roof covered with clay tiles. Boringwheel Watermill is privately owned and not open to the public.
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Sussex Mills Group

Brambletye Watermill, Forest Row TQ416353
This mill no longer exists, but was located on the River Medway just to the west of Forest Row and close to the ruins of Brambletye House.

A number of mills have stood on the site since Domesday. The last mill was rebuilt in 1866, following a fire destroying most of the previous mill. The 1866 mill was constructed of brick and timber in a typically south east England style. The mill contained 3 pairs of stones and was powered by a wooden overshot waterwheel.

Operated by various millers over the years, the mill was still known to be working in 1945, but it was eventually demolished in 1968.

Brambletye Mill - Photo supplied by Rosemary Bridger
Brambletye Mill - Photo supplied by Rosemary Bridger


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Sussex Mills Group

Brightling Saw Mill, Brightling TQ684200
Located on a tributary of the River Rother, this saw mill is accessible from a track off the road south of Brightling. In 1968 the mill was complete, but the combination of neglect and storms has allowed this Grade II listed building to fall into disrepair.

It is probable that the first saw mill built on this site was constructed in about 1870, which was an unusually shaped building made of wood. The cast iron overshot waterwheel, which still exists, is 16 feet in diameter and 3 feet wide, and was made by Neve Brothers in 1891, indicated by an inscription on the rim. The present saw mill was probably built in 1902, incorporating the 1891 waterwheel into its construction. The brick and timber building was constructed below a high pond embankment.

The site of the saw mill is now a ruin in the woods, with various artefacts laying about in the undergrowth, although the adjacent mill pond still survives.
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Sussex Mills Group

Bucksteep Watermill TQ652160
The first reference to a watermill at Bucksteep occurs in 1326 from manorial records, as the mill was within the manor of Bucksteep. Further reference can be found up until 1375, then there is no mention of the mill until 1660, although it is assumed that the mill continued operating during this time. A number of millers operated Bucksteep mill over the next few years including members of the Keys family and two members of the Sanders family in the mid 18th century. Walter Armstrong was the miller in the late 1890s, but by 1907 when Frederick Agate was the miller a steam engine was installed to assist with the grinding. Shortly afterwards the watermill closed down. Remains of the waterwheel could still be seen in 1936.

Bucksteep Mill at Bodle Street Green was located on Huggett's Stream, a tributary of Wallers Haven at TQ 654155. It was at the end of an unmade road half a mile north of Bodle Street Green.
[Extracted from the Warbleton & District History Group Publication No. 12 entitled "Cornmills in and around Warbleton" by Molly Beswick]

Update - August 2006 : E-mail from Helen Baker
It is with great interest that I have read your website on the windmills and watermills of Sussex. I am a descendant of a family of millers in Sussex. Richard Keyes, Miller of Catsfield between 1678 - 1706. His son John Keys, Miller of Warbleton between 1710 - 1725. His son Richard Keeys, Miller of Chiddingstone, and his son Richard Keeys, Miller of Chiddingstone.

I suspect relationship with a John Keyes, Miller of Wartling between 1610 - 1628. His sons John Keyes, Miller of Wartling, and William Keys, Miller of Hawkhurst who moved to Waters Farm.

Response - compiled by Robin Jones
According to 'Cornmills in and around Warbleton' the millers of Bucksteep Watermill at Bodle Street Green were the Keys family in the 17th century, interestingly 'Watermills of Sussex Volume 1 - East Sussex' by Derek Stidder & Colin Smith makes no mention of the Keys having been millers there. There are many different spellings of the 'Keys' surname.

The millers in the 17th century were members of the Keys (Keas) family. As they were all called John, it is difficult to say just how many generations there were. Like the other millers in the district at this period, they seem to have been quite prosperous, at least to begin with. In 1638, John Keas of Warbleton stood surety for a marriage licence for a relative in Wartling, who was also a miller and in 1650, he took Mary Morris, an orphan from Ashburnham, into his house as an apprentice or, more probably, a domestic servant.

Who then was the John Keyes who was described in 1656 as 'a poore and impotent person of the parish', when the overseers of the Parish of Warbleton were ordered to pay him 18 pence weekly until further notice? Probably he was an elderly member of the family who others were unwilling to support.

The name of John Keys is next encountered in the Land Tax in 1704, when he was assessed on property valued at £25 but this was not the watermill. Keys had married the widow of Thomas Elliott and was now living at Little Bucksteep, as emerged when this property was sold to Thomas Bennett in 1712. In his will, made in 1725, Keys still called himself a miller but his probate inventory, taken shortly afterwards, makes no mention of a mill.

With respect to the mill site, excavations in 1995 exposed the ground floor and two discarded peak millstones, a concrete platform with bolts, suggesting an engine of some sort, and the single pipe feed to the former overshot waterwheel.
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Sussex Mills Group

Bugsell Watermill, Hurst Green TQ723255
This was a mill site located on the River Rother, originally used for the iron industry as there was a forge here in 1588. By 1644 the forge was in ruins and a corn mill was erected here in 1777. The mill was identified on the 1813 Ordnance Survey 1 inch map as Bugshill Mill, but became Bugsell Mill soon after.

This tall watermill had two wooden waterwheels, one overshot and one breastshot and each worked 2 pairs of stones, although the gearing arrangement was such that either set of stones could be worked by each waterwheel. Bugsell Mill was built of brick and timber on stone foundations and comprised of three floors. Although the mill was demolished in 1953, some wooden shafting and two French burr millstones can still be seen at the site.
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Sussex Mills Group

Buxted Watermill, Buxted TQ495233
Buxted Mill is a Grade II listed building comprising of brick to the first floor with two floors of hung slate above. It was built in the early 19th century. The first reference to a mill on this site, by the River Uck, appeared in 1655 and over the years various millers worked the mill, including John Catt from the family of millers who operated other watermills in the county.

By 1945, the mill had been converted into residential accommodation. The framework of the external overshot waterwheel, which is 9 feet 6 inches diameter by 10 feet wide remains, but no buckets survive. When working this cast iron waterwheel with its three sets of arms drove 2 pairs of stones. The rack and pinion penstock with elm boards also still exists.

E-MAIL FROM DEREK SNATT : NOVEMBER 2012
I have read with interest the article on your website "Buxted Watermill, Buxted TQ495233".

I have in my possession a copy of a deed, the original of which is in the East Sussex Record Office, whereby one John London (or, possibly, John of London) granted to my ancestor John Snatt (spelled "Johann" but the deed is in Latin so it would be), "the whole of my mill called Bulletismel with all the lands pertaining to the said mill and its other appurtenances situated in the parish of Buxted". The deed is dated the 20th October in the 36th year of the reign of Henry VI (1457).

There are records in the Court Rolls of the manor of Sheffield (Sheffield Park, Fletching) of licences granted to John, Henry and Nicholas Snatt for the taking of grain from various manor lands in the 1590s through to the 1660s, so it would appear that the mill probably remained in the family until then, although in the 1650s and 60s Henry and Nicholas are described as being "of Lodgeland" There are other, not directly related, documentary references to probably two or three generations of Johns, Henrys and Thomases around Fletching and Uckfield between 1474 and the 1590s and masses of documents relating to the family in the 17th and 18th centuries, all over mid Sussex.

Buxted does therefore appear to have had a mill at least two hundred years before the reference in 1655, as indeed one would expect, although, of course, it may not have been on the site of the present mill.

I have been trying to find out more about this mill, its location and history. Hence my visiting your website.

I wonder if anyone might be able to shed any further light on this matter ? I should be extremely grateful for any information you may be able to give me.
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Sussex Mills Group

Charne (Rushlake) Watermill TQ621180
Charne Mill was owned by Lord Dacre of Herstmonceux Castle until 1607 when it was purchased by Thomas Stollion owner of Rushlake Furnace. A number of other owners operated the mill through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The 1841 census shows Richard Baitup as the miller.

One of Richard's son's, John, operated the mill in the 1850s while his other son Richard operated the windmill at Summerhill.   About 1861 his grandson John E Baitup took over the watermill, and with his three sons, John, Robert and George, worked the mill until 1900, when Robert took charge of the business as miller until 1918, when the mill ceased operating.

The mill was dismantled in the 1930s.   It had a 15ft. diameter overshot wooden waterwheel and was fitted with a pair of French Burr stones and a pair of Derbyshire Peak stones.   In the 1880s a small Clayton & Shuttleworth engine was installed to provide auxiliary power.
[Extracted from the Warbleton & District History Group Publication No. 12 entitled "Cornmills in and around Warbleton" by Molly Beswick and from information supplied by John Buchanan, great-great-great grandson of Richard Baitup (Snr.), miller of Warbleton]
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Sussex Mills Group

Cox's Watermill TQ652201
Cox's Watermill is located within the parish of Burwash and appears to have been built at the end of the 18th century. The builder was probably William Saunders. By 1839 the owner was William Brett. An advertisement appeared in 1881 for a new tenant for "a watermill driving two pairs of stones with about 45 acres of land and two good cottages". William Kingsland, the son of the former miller at Chapmans Town Windmill advertised in Kelly's Directory and could have been the last miller at Cox's Mill, as no further advertisements appeared after 1890. In 1996 the brick built mill was still standing, but devoid of any machinery.
[Extracted from the Warbleton & District History Group Publication No. 12 entitled "Cornmills in and around Warbleton" by Molly Beswick]
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Sussex Mills Group

Plumpton Place Watermill, Plumpton TQ361136
This mill, located on a tributary of the River Ouse, is the southernmost of the three watermills at Plumpton. The mill is of brick and timber construction and has now been converted into a house. The original iron and wooden paddled 20 ft. diameter overshot waterwheel was removed in 1927. The mill was built by Lord Pelham, the Earl of Chichester in 1802. The last miller operating the mill commercially was James Harris who ran the mill until 1895, although it was operated on a casual basis until 1916. In the 1980's a new iron overshot waterwheel 7 ft. 6 in. diameter by 5 ft. 3 in. wide was installed for aesthetic reasons. It was cast at the British Engineerium in 1984, but looks out of place in the large wheelpit.
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Sussex Mills Group

Plumpton Upper Watermill, Plumpton TQ362147
This is the middle and smallest of the three mills. It was rebuilt as a corn mill in 1740 and was in joint ownership with Plumpton Mill to the north in 1780. The previous structure on the site was a fulling mill. The iron overshot waterwheel 11 ft. diameter by 4 ft. 10 in. wide was manufactured by A. Shaw of Lewes in 1886 as indicated by the inscription on the wheel. The wheel has been repaired by the present owner and the iron pit machinery is of the same date as the wheel. However the machinery in the rest of the mill was removed when the stone floor and bin floor were converted for use as a workshop and studio.

The mill is set into the pond embankment and is built of red brick to two floors with weatherboarded gable ends under a tiled mansard roof.
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Sussex Mills Group

Plumpton Watermill, Plumpton TQ362150
This was the largest of the three mills at Plumpton. The present mill possibly dates from the beginning of the 19th century. Plumpton Mill is built of brick to the first floor with white weatherboarding above, under a double mansard half hipped roof. The 1842 Tithe Map Apportionment refers to Joseph Beard as the owner and occupier, while later on the mill worked in conjunction with the Upper Mill, the same millers operating both mills. The 12 ft. diameter by 5 ft. 6 in. wide waterwheel is in good condition with the makers name 'A SHAW 1892' inscribed four times on the outer rim of the wheel. Internally the majority of the machinery is set out in a standard layout.
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Sussex Mills Group

Polegate Watermill TQ 579040
Originally known as the Lower Watermill, it was built by Joseph Seymour in 1833, which together with Wannock Watermill were owned by the Seymour and Thomas families. Albert Ovenden was the last miller at Polegate Watermill as well as at Polegate Windmill. Within Polegate Watermill were two pairs of Derbyshire Peak stones, one pair of French Burr stones, an oat crusher and a maize kibbler.

Polegate Watermill - drawing by Frank Gregory

The mill went into decline in the 1960s due to housing development in the area, which brought the risk of flooding. The mill was put up for sale in 1972, but with no buyers coming forward, it was demolished in 1974. The waterwheel however was saved and went to Wateringbury in Kent. The backs of garages at the end of Windmill Place, Polegate, the fronts of which can be seen at the end of The Millrace behind and to the right of the houses, now occupy the site.
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Sussex Mills Group

Rowner Watermill, Billingshurst TQ071260
Located on a tributary to the River Arun.

This was an exceptional site one mile northwest of Billingshurst, with two mills built at different times. As the river and the Wey and Arun Canal passed the site, the position of the two mills was critical as the area was prone to flooding and, to combat this, the mills were raised up on a small island using both low breastshot and undershot waterwheels.

The older of the two mills, according to an inspection of the mill in 1944, was built of timber and powered by a 12 ft. diameter low breastshot waterwheel that drove 3 pairs of stones, a wooden upright shaft, 7 ft. 6 in. diameter spur wheel and wooden stone nuts. Upstairs there were three octagonal wooden tuns and the inscription 'Flood Nov 21, 22, 23 J. Sawyer 1815'.

By contrast the newer mill, brick built with an iron undershot waterwheel, was about 18 ft. in diameter by 6 ft. wide, but by 1946 the machinery had been removed with the doors and windows boarded up. There is a report that water pumping took place in this mill but little is known about this venture.

There is nothing to suggest that they were anything other than flour mills, as the 1896 Ordnance Survey 6in map refers to the mills as 'Corn', indicating that by then it was mainly just producing provender feed. During World War II the mill apparently restarted, for a short period, to produce cattle food.

The first reference is found on Budgen's 1724 map, while the first record appeared in February 1809 when William Carter insured his mill. According to Pigot's 1826 directory, James Carter was the occupier and it was still in the same family in 1842, according to the Tithe Apportionment, when reference is made to the second mill being built in the control of Joseph Carter. Kelly's 1855 directory names William Botting as the occupier, and he remained until 1870. It appears that Hammond and Son (later Hammond Bros.) were the last occupiers until the mill closed down commercially towards the end of the 19th century.

An article in the West Sussex Gazette South of England Advertiser in October 1962 stated that the derelict mill was showing signs of water ingress. Both mills came into the possession of the West Sussex River Board in 1958 and despite last minute representations that they should be preserved, they were demolished in 1966. The area around the mill site floods on a regular basis and naturally the river board wanted to remove all possible obstructions to river flow. There is now nothing to be seen at the site, apart from the wheelpit of the older mill.

Rowner Farm is south of the mill site, on higher ground, and in its garden is to be found an unusually constructed gazebo. A close inspection reveals a 7 ft. diameter spur wheel and a 5 ft. diameter crown wheel from the older mill. A rather inglorious reminder to what was one of West Sussex's most attractive and picturesque watermills.

Extracted from : 'Watermills of Sussex' by Derek Stidder and Colin Smith


Further information supplied by John Hurd on ROWNER MILL

Your website - also "West Sussex Watermills" - suggest that references to Rowner Mill (now demolished in the 1960s) only date from the 1720s - but the documentary record is much longer. It was probably one of the Pulborough mills mentioned in Doomsday.

Rowner was in the manor and parish of Pulborough until c1935 when boundaries were altered and Rowner became part of Billingshurst Civil Parish.

1086: Robert holds Pulborough from the Earl (Roger). Wulfric held it before 1066. Then & now it answered for 16 hides. Land for 18 ploughs. In lordship 4 ploughs; 35 villagers and 15 cottagers with 13 ploughs. 9 slaves; 2 mills at 11s; meadow 50 acres; woodland at 25 pigs; 2 fishereies at 3s. 2 churches. Theobald and Ivo hold 2 hides and half virgate of this manor's land. In lordhip 1 plough; 3 villagers and 4 cottagers with 1 plough. Value of the whole manor before 1066 £16; later £16; now Robert's lordship £22; the mens' 35s. [Doomsday Book]
1482 21 May: Bond in 200 marks from Richard Gaynefford, esq., to Thomas Stydolf, esq., to levy a fine, with Margaret, his wife, in respect of lands, tenements, rents and services late of Richard Rowner and sometime of William Rowner, his father, in Pulborough, Wisborough Green and Billingshurst [WSRO Wiston 2187]
1503 24 May: Grant from Edmund Dawtrey, John Dawtrey of Southampton, Roger Lewkenore, John Ernley, John Dawtrey, jnr, and John Arnold to Thomas Stidolffe and Joan, his wife; Water mill called Rowner Mill in Pulborough with the adjacent pond on N. and E. and the water from those directions which feeds the mill; two ponds on S. and W. of said mill with 40 ft. of land around them; 40a. land or pasture beside the meadow called Holmede on N. and abutting E. on king's highway from Rudgwick to Pulborough. [WSRO Wiston Arch 2190].
1503 Conveyance (bargain & sale ) £40: Thos Stydolf of Mykclam Sy to Rd West of B'hurst yeo: Rowner Mill in Pulbro; Rowner Mill in Pulborough with mill pond and water coming from the N. and E. sides as far as the grounds of grantor extend; mill ponds to S. and W. of said mill; 40 ft. of land adjoining the ponds. [WSRO Wiston Arch 2189].
1583 13 Aug: Grant from Joan Leedes of Pulborough, widow, to her son and heir apparent, Allan Weste of Pulborough and Mary, his wife; Annuity of £15 from messuages, buildings, barns, mills and lands called Rowner and Rowner Mills in Pulborough and Billingshurst, following articles of agreement, 22 Aug. 1583, between the said Joan and William Goringe, esq.; if said Mary survive her husband she will receive only £13 6s. 8d. yearly. [WSRO Wiston 2198 ]
1593 16 Aug: Bargain and sale, in consideration of £63 6s. 8d. from Allan Weste of Arundel, gent., to John Ede of Wisborough Green, woodbroker; 142 oaks, the best growing on lands called Rowner and Noreland in Pulborough and Wisborough Green and 4 beeches in Noreland; (reservation of oaks growing in lane from Rowner House to the highway there, eastwards from the said house, and in the hedge of the said land, and one 'greate oke' on the hill on N. side of the way from Rowner House to Rowner Mill, and the oaks in a field, near the said house, called South Feld). [WSRO Wiston 2199 ] In the C17th Guildenhurst & Rowner in Pulborough were occupied by members of the Garton family of Billingshurst - they used Billingshurst as their parish church:
1678 28 Dec: Lease 15 yrs at £68pa from Sir Hn Goring of Highden bt to John Garton of Pulbro yeo:
mesg Rowner Farm House etc; 120a arable,
two watermills under one roof & one Overshott mill with all waters etc in Pulbro;
Mesg & farm Little Eaton & Fox Croft ? (60a) in B'hurst [WSRO Wiston Arch 2203]
1683 John Garton, miller of Pulborough, buried at Billingshurst
1685 24th Sept: Lease for 7yrs 11 months 3wks at £40pa from Kathren Garton of Pulboro wid, to Thomas Greenfeild of Kensfold in B'hurst yeo; Rowner Fm Hse with bldgs & 120a as in preceding [1685]. [WSRO Wiston Arch 2204]
1700 Giles Garton s/o John, miller of Pulbro, buried at Billingshurst
1709 John Garton miller buried, Billingshurst
1721 15 May: Deed to lead the uses of a fine; Between (a) Edward Paine of Horsham, mason, and Mary, his wife, Edward Longhurst of Horsham, baker, and Sarah, his wife, and Richard Garton of Rowner in Billingdhurst, miller, and Elizabeth, his wife, and (b) John Geere of Horsham, mercer, John Dendy of Horsham, apothecary, and Thomas Swayne of Horsham, cordwainer [WSRO HC/GB2/&/4]

WEY AND ARUN JUNCTION CANAL was opened on 29 September 1816, was 18.5 miles in length with 23 locks, 16 locks - Rowner Lock, Malham Lock, Drungewick Lock, Stubbs (otherwise Baldwin's Knob) Lock, Brewhurst Lock, Devil's Hole Lock, Southland Lock, Gennets Lock and Locks Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 - with a total rise of 123 feet from Newbridge to the summit level, and 7 locks - Lock No. 17, Fanesbridge Lock, Park Lock, Linersh Wood Lock, Bramley Lock, Tanyard Lock and Stonebridge Lock - with a total rise of 47 feet from Stonebridge to the summit level
1907: Continuation Abstract of title of Robert Shepley-Shepley, Esquire, to the Rowner Mills [Oakhurst] Estate in Wisborough Green, Billingshurst, Rudgwick, Pulborough and Slinfold..[WSRO Add Mss16360]
1946 Sale Particulars; Rowner Mill, and four cottages, 8 May 1946. Plan. Photograph [WSRO SP1617]
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Sussex Mills Group

Tickerage Watermill, Blackboys TQ515210
The site where Tickerage Watermill now stands on the River Uck had at one time a furnace and a forge built on it, which formed part of the Sussex iron industry. The first accurate reference to a corn mill on this site appeared in the Defence Schedules of 1803 when John Smith was the miller. The last family to use the mill were the Paris's, with George and John the recorded millers. John Paris continued until just before 1930, after which the mill was closed down.

By 1946 the mill was derelict and although it contained its machinery the future was uncertain. This Grade II listed building is set beside a causeway and utilised water from a pond on the other side to power a 14 ft. diameter iron overshot waterwheel manufactured by Medhurst & Son of Lewes.

The mill is built to three storeys of brick and timber and still survives. It is thought that no internal machinery exists, but the owner of the nearby mill house prohibits access. The mill can be seen from a right of way that passes the front door.
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Sussex Mills Group

Twissells Watermill, Heathfield
Twissells Mill is located about 2 miles north west of Warbleton Church and to the south of Heathfield Park. The first reference to a mill here is in a survey of the Manor of Warbleton in 1680, when it was listed as a messuage (house), barn and watermill, and 50 acres of land. In 1695 the mill was sold to John Edwards and his son, who were charcoal burners. No details are known about the mill until 1766, then a number of owners operated the mill until 1866 including Thomas Balcombe, Samuel Noakes and James Fuller. In 1866 the watermill and five acres of land were the property of Joel Sands of Warbleton, the remaining land being owned by James Lade of Burwash. However by 1872 the mill was also owned by James Lade, eventually passing to his brother John Reeves Lade of Heathfield.

The half timbered watermill operated until October 1909, when sluice gates at Heathfield Park's four lakes were opened, causing the mill pond to overflow resulting in the mill and mill cottage being flooded. The machinery however remained intact.
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Sussex Mills Group

Upton's Watermill, Framfield TQ504211
Standing on the River Uck, this is an 18th century mill site, with the first reference appearing in May 1772, when it was advertised for sale. When it was sold for a second time in June 1791 Mr. William Newnham became the occupier, but died in tragic circumstances while working at the mill in December 1796. It continued to be operated by members of the Newnham family until 1855, the last member of the family being Henry Newnham. The last owner and occupier of the mill was George Heaver, who took over following the death of Henry Newnham in 1874. George Heaver continued as owner-occupier at the mill until he died here at the age of 96, in 1930.

According to an inspection of the mill in April 1947, the mill was complete, but disused, and its fate was sealed in 1966 when it was completely gutted and turned into a residence. It is thought that the 10 ft. 6 in. diameter iron overshot waterwheel was retained, but this had gone by 1970.

Upton's mill was built on four floors, one brick and the others weatherboarding. When approaching the site from the south, the early 17th century Grade II mill house has been renamed "Upton's Mill", while the old mill is now called "Heaver's Mill".
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Sussex Mills Group

Wannock Watermill TQ575035
It is not known when Wannock Watermill was built, but on a map dated 1620 the mill and millpond can clearly be seen. The mill was owned by a number of millers over the years, including Joseph Seymour who purchased the mill in 1840. It was Joseph Seymour who built Willingdon Windmill in 1817, which since 1939 has been known as Polegate Windmill. Wannock Watermill ceased grinding corn in 1918 and was demolished in 1956 due to its poor condition. The road Old Mill Lane serves as a reminder of the mill and the building numbered 22 Mill Cottage and 20 are believed to be the Mill House.

Although the millpond was filled in and bungalows built on the site, the narrow stream at the back of Mill House, and flows between the bungalows, provided the water to turn the wheel.

A carved oak figure representing the miller wife holding a measure and strike was for many years hung above the mill door. Thought to be Jacobean, which makes it over 300 years old, this wooden figure still exists, and is owned by a member of the Turner family who were the last bakers at the mill.
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Sussex Mills Group

Millers of Warbleton

  by a great-great-great grandson
Prior to 1850 Richard Baitup (Snr.) married to Sarah (née Crittenden), was the miller at Rushlake Mill, Warbleton.   They had two sons, Richard Baitup (Jnr.), born in 1812, and John Baitup (Snr.), born in 1824. In 1850 Sarah died, and John Baitup became the miller.

A letter written in May 1850 by a resident of Warbleton to his family in Canada said "Old Mrs. Baitup at the Mill is dead and John is going to be married and live there"

John Baitup married Judith Dale at Mountfield on 20th May 1850, giving his occupation as miller.   Moving forward 20 years, the 1871 census records show that Richard Baitup (Jnr.) was at the Summerhill windmill with his two younger sons William & Robert, while the Rushlake watermill was being worked by his other son John E. Baitup.   John Baitup (Snr.), the miller of 1850, now lived as a farmer at Yew Tree Farmhouse at Mayfield, with 3 daughters and one son, John Baitup (Jnr.).

Only his eldest daughter, Fanny, was born in Warbleton, probably in 1860, the next, Louisa, being born in Mayfield in 1861. He probably moved to Mayfield in 1861.

By 1881, Richard Baitup (Jnr.), had died and his widow, Rebecca, was living with her son William, a journeyman miller, in Hellingly.

The last miller at Summerhill was John Ellis (pictured here in July 1935, a month before the mill was demolished).

John Ellis pictured in July 1935

John E. Baitup continued to work the Rushlake watermill for the rest of his life, and indeed in 1901 his widow Jane was still there with her three daughters and son George.   Her son Robert, a "Miller's manager", lived nearby.   Of John Baitup (Snr.), nothing further is known, but in 1881 his daughter Fanny, aged 20, was in charge of Yew Tree Farm; eventually his youngest daughter, Mary, married George Lazenby, a warehouseman, in Paddington in 1885, and the link with Sussex was lost for ever.   But was it ?   The question remains, why did Jack Lazenby, a warehouseman's son from London, buy a bungalow in Heathfield in 1949 to live out his retirement ?

Submitted in 2004 by John Buchanan,
great-great-great grandson of Richard Baitup (Snr.), miller of Warbleton.

Notes: 

 

The suffixes "Snr." and "Jnr." used above are only for clarity, there is nothing known to suggest that these terms were used at the time.

 

Summerhill Post Mill was built in 1824/5 and stood on brick piers. She has two pairs of millstones, tailpole & talthur and patent sweeps. She was pulled down in August 1935 and the roundhouse was cleared in 1974



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Website Design : Simon Potter

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John Ellis, the last miller at Summerhill Mill


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Batemans


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Coultershaw Beam Pump


Burton


Michelham Priory

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Batemans


Lurgashall


Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Burton


Michelham Priory

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Ifield


Batemans


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Lurgashall


Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Burton


Michelham Priory

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Ifield


Batemans


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Lurgashall


Woods Mill

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Batemans


Lurgashall


Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


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Batemans


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Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


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John Ellis, the last miller at Summerhill Mill


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Batemans


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Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Burton


Michelham Priory Sussex Mills Group logo



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Batemans


Lurgashall


Woods Mill


Coultershaw Beam Pump


Burton


John Ellis, the last miller at Summerhill Mill


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