Economic infrastructure and institutions: Mills and fisheries

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2005.

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J S Barrow. J D Herson. A H Lawes. P J Riden. M V J Seaborne, 'Economic infrastructure and institutions: Mills and fisheries', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005) pp. 104-114. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

J S Barrow. J D Herson. A H Lawes. P J Riden. M V J Seaborne. "Economic infrastructure and institutions: Mills and fisheries", in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005) 104-114. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

Barrow, J S. Herson, J D. Lawes, A H. Riden, P J. Seaborne, M V J. "Economic infrastructure and institutions: Mills and fisheries", A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, (London, 2005). 104-114. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,

In this section


Dee Corn Mills

The survival of millstones of appropriate size suggests that there may have been Roman power mills at Chester. (fn. 1) Otherwise there is no evidence for milling until the late 11th century, but probably, given its position at the centre of a relatively extensive arable area and the presence of water power on the Dee, the city had its own corn mills from an early date.

The corn mills were located at the Chester end of the weir or causeway just west of the Dee Bridge, a site which in 2000 was occupied by a former hydroelectric generating station. (fn. 2) Although almost certainly they were always controlled by the secular authorities, Earls Hugh I and Richard apparently intended that they should include a mill for Chester abbey. (fn. 3) Possibly they were augmented in Earl John's time; (fn. 4) by 1237 there were six mills on the site. (fn. 5)

From earliest times the mills were exceptionally valuable. In 1237 they were leased for the enormous sum of £100, half the earl's revenue from the entire city and over twenty times that for most other mills of the period. (fn. 6) That the figure nevertheless reflected genuine income is suggested by the large sums which the king received when the mills were administered directly in 1237. (fn. 7) The ultimate source of that income was the earl's monopoly over corn milling within the city and its liberties: all corn and malt, except the abbot's, was ground at the Dee Mills and was subject to the payment of toll in kind (also called multure), probably then as later levied as a sixteenth of the grain brought for grinding. (fn. 8) The custom was established before c. 1200, when Earl Ranulph III exempted the nuns of Chester and his chancellor-clerk Peter from the tolls. (fn. 9)

The earl's rights probably bore heavily on the inhabitants, for at Earl John's death in 1237 the mills were destroyed by the citizens, despite the fact that they were themselves lessees of one mill for an annual rent of two tuns of wine. The mills were eventually restored at the king's expense. (fn. 10) It is unlikely that such large sums derived entirely from corn ground for local use, especially since there is no evidence that the monopoly extended outside the liberties. Indeed by the 13th century there were numerous other mills near by. (fn. 11) More probably Chester had by the late 12th century become an entrepot for corn, serving Ireland, Wales, and north-west England, and inflating the profits of the Dee Mills by tolls levied in kind on corn brought into Chester for grinding before being shipped out again as flour. (fn. 12)

Figure 62:

Dee Mills and fisheries, 1867; the salmon cage is the small building next to the snuff mills

Although the king rented out the mills in the first year after the annexation of the earldom, thereafter they returned to royal hands, perhaps because the damage sustained in 1237 had reduced their profitability. Certainly the revenues in 1238–9 were well below the earlier annual rental value. (fn. 13) In 1241, however, the mills were repaired out of the revenues of the county, (fn. 14) and thereafter profits probably increased. (fn. 15) By 1245 they were again leased, to Roger of Mold, steward of Chester. (fn. 16)

In the early 1270s the mills were leased to Richard the engineer. (fn. 17) When he renewed the lease for five years in 1275 Richard was charged £140 a year, and in addition was to maintain the mills and causeway at his own cost. (fn. 18) By 1279 he was evidently in arrears, and the king considered granting the mills to his new monastic foundation of Vale Royal. (fn. 19) In 1281, however, Richard received a fresh three-year grant of the mills together with the Dee fishery for the very large annual sum of £200. (fn. 20) The grant was renewed in 1284 for twelve years, (fn. 21) and by 1300 Richard had been made lessee of the Dee Mills, fishery, and bridge for life. (fn. 22)

Initially, Richard undoubtedly encountered some difficulty in meeting the rent due for the mills and fishery, and by 1286 he was apparently £100 in arrears. (fn. 23) A partnership with a second lessee, Hugh of Brickhill, failed in 1287. (fn. 24) Richard's difficulties were caused by flood damage to the mills, causeway, and fishery in the mid 1280s, (fn. 25) and by local resistance to his attempts to exploit his rights. In 1289, for example, certain tenants of lands associated with the castle were exempted from paying multure because their holdings had been granted in exchange for land surrendered to Vale Royal. (fn. 26) Richard attempted to enforce the monopoly by seizing corn and malt which was sent for grinding outside Chester, and even by confiscating bread baked elsewhere. (fn. 27)

In 1290 the king remitted £100 of the annual rent to enable Richard to erect two additional mills on the site, and for the remainder of the lease fixed the sum at £200. (fn. 28) By 1298 substantial works were begun upon all five mills next to the Dee Bridge. Then housed under two roofs in groups of two and three, they were moved to an adjacent site and completely rebuilt, perhaps because of alterations to the causeway. (fn. 29) The mills' importance in the late 13th century is illustrated by the scale of that reconstruction and by the quantities of wheat (1,752 qr.) ground for the king's use over seven months in 1282 and 1283. (fn. 30)

Richard the engineer was lessee of the mills and fishery until his death in 1315. (fn. 31) Thereafter the lease passed to Robert of Glasham, (fn. 32) and later still to the abbot of Chester, who in 1335 claimed that he had been forced to rent the mills against his will. The ensuing inquiry established that the arrangements disclaimed by Abbot William Bebington had begun under his predecessor Thomas Birchills (d. 1323). The abbot was discharged from his responsiblity for the mills, which were leased instead to two leading citizens, Richard of Capenhurst and Thomas of Strangeways. (fn. 33) By 1339, however, they were in the keepership of the chamberlain of Chester, (fn. 34) a leading official of the palatine earldom, and they remained directly managed until 1341 when they were once more leased. (fn. 35)

The earl's difficulties in leasing the mills may indicate that he was demanding too much in rent. Nevertheless in 1346 they and the fishery were leased for three years to Bartholomew of Northenden for over £240 a year. (fn. 36) To make them more attractive, in 1347–8 the earl repaired the bridge and built structures at both ends to protect the mills and causeway. (fn. 37)

The Black Death sharply reduced the mills' prosperity, and when Northenden renewed the lease in 1349 the rent had been reduced to c. £166. (fn. 38) After his murder, (fn. 39) the mills were held until 1353 at the reduced sum by his associate Robert of Bredon, rector of St. Peter's in Chester, (fn. 40) but even so, they probably remained unprofitable, for in 1351 the citizens complained of new levies by the millers. In response, the justice and chamberlain of Chester were ordered to check and authenticate all the corn measures in use at the mills. (fn. 41)

The Black Prince resumed direct control in 1353. (fn. 42) In the ensuing year the recorded revenues amounted to only £94, but in 1354–5 they improved to £170. (fn. 43) Besides the keeper, the staff then consisted of a master, three yeomen (valetti), three boys (garciones), and six apprentices (pagetti), two in the corn and four in the malt mills. Both the staff and the rental were still below the levels recorded in the 1340s. (fn. 44)

The customs which had obtained in the mills 'since beyond the memory of man' were carefully recorded in 1353–4, perhaps because of the complaints of 1351. All the inhabitants of the city had to grind their corn in the mills and surrender a sixteenth of the grain as toll. The abbot and monks of Chester, the abbot of Dieulacres (Staffs.), Sir Peter Thornton as heir of Peter the clerk, and two other named individuals were exempt from paying toll. The master of the mill and his staff were entitled to a share of the multure levied, in the form of unmilled grain, flour, and malt. Severe penalties were decreed against those infringing the regulations, and the lessee or keeper of the mills was to hold a court to deal with them. (fn. 45) The court, which seems to have been held only intermittently, was presided over by the justice of Chester (the chief judicial officer of the palatinate) or his representative, and the fines exacted were reckoned as part of the revenues of the mills. In 1355 they were the third most valuable item on the account. (fn. 46)

The mills' principal profits in the 1350s, however, came from selling the grain received as tolls paid in kind. The main types were wheat, wheat flour, and unmilled oat malt, the last being by far the largest item. Other products included wheat malt, milled oat and barley malt, 'milldust', and maslin. In the mid 1350s the keeper accounted for up to 100 qr. wheat, 24 qr. wheat flour, 28 qr. wheat malt, 239 qr. unmilled oat malt, and 40 qr. milled oat malt a year, (fn. 47) quantities which presumably represented the earl's sixteenth of what had been processed at the mills. (fn. 48)

In 1355 the causeway was raised to provide extra power, and the corn mills, together with the new fulling mills and fishery, were leased to Robert of Bredon and three associates. (fn. 49) Robert retained the lease with one or more of those associates until 1369 and then alone until his death in 1377. The period was one of relatively prosperous stability, with the annual rent remaining constant at c. £200 until the mid 1360s, and thereafter increasing to £240. (fn. 50)

The considerable quantities of millstones acquired, often from Anglesey, in the later 1350s and 1360s imply either that the causeway then powered many corn mills, or that heavy use required frequent replacements. (fn. 51) A reserve of suitable stones was kept on hand, and in 1361–2 the lessees accounted for 30 millstones. (fn. 52) Throughout the period there were also constant repairs to the mills themselves and to the causeway. (fn. 53)

After 1377 the mills were no longer leased. With one brief and unsuccessful exception, they were directly managed until c. 1500 by 'keepers and approvers' who were paid a wage. (fn. 54) The reasons for the change are unclear, but presumably relate to fluctuations in the price of corn in the 1370s and 1380s and to the continuing decline in prices, especially of oats in the late 14th and 15th century. (fn. 55) In his first year, Thomas of Moston, Robert of Bredon's executor and keeper 1378–90, (fn. 56) accounted for annual revenues of only just over £230, less than the previous rent. (fn. 57) By 1380–1 the sum had risen to over £333, (fn. 58) but in 1386–7 it dropped again to just under £200. (fn. 59) In fact, throughout his keepership Moston was substantially in arrears in handing over the revenues from the mills, perhaps because the charges for which he had to account were not wholly realistic. (fn. 60) Moston's difficulties may have engendered long-standing irregularities and extortions. In the late 1380s he and his millers were accused by the citizens of Chester of taking additional tolls, falsifying the traditional measures (the 'schole' and the 'tolhop'), and imposing cash charges. In addition, Moston was alleged to have maintained a staff of only three 'masters', instead of the traditional six and a 'superior master', and to have appropriated the dues of the unfilled posts. (fn. 61)

Sales of wheat and oat malt remained the principal source of profit. In 1380–1, a good year, the keeper accounted for the sale of some 171 qr. wheat, 39 qr. wheat malt, 298 qr. oat malt, 40 qr. milled oat malt, and 77 qr. maslin, (fn. 62) a pattern which remained fairly constant throughout the 1380s and 1390s. (fn. 63) Revenues declined in the 1390s, when lower prices outweighed increased multure, (fn. 64) and the keepers, increasingly designated 'clerks', (fn. 65) remained mostly in arrears. (fn. 66)

In 1391, despite the increasing difficulties, the mills and fishery were once again leased, to John Walsh at £240 a year, (fn. 67) an arrangement opposed by the citizens of Chester, who sought the lease themselves. (fn. 68) In fact the mills were taken back into the king's hands after only a year, and although in 1393 they were leased once more to Walsh, (fn. 69) in 1394 they were permanently resumed by the king. (fn. 70) They remained in the hands of royal keepers, who usually exercised their office through deputies, for the rest of the Middle Ages. (fn. 71)

In 1394 two malt mills were destroyed by fire. (fn. 72) In 1398, after the mayor and citizens had again complained of the millers' extortions, the king conceded that for the next four years all those who lived within the liberties should grind their grain and malt free of any additional tolls charged above the customary sixteenth. In the ensuing accounts, the keeper did not answer for the sale of any milled oat malt, 'feemalt', flour, or the dust produced by milling. Wheat, maslin, unmilled oat malt, and wheat malt were, however, unaffected and the charge on the keeper was not significantly reduced, presumably because the mills' principal business was not the grinding of corn for the citizens but the collection of toll on grain passing through Chester. (fn. 73)

In 1399 the keeper, Thomas Marshall, a serjeant of the duke of Norfolk, was replaced by Henry Strangeways, almost certainly a member of a prominent Chester family. (fn. 74) Strangeways was made keeper for life, (fn. 75) but by 1401 had been succeeded by Robert Castell, an esquire of the young Prince Henry who throughout his long period of office (1401–36) was an absentee. (fn. 76) By then the income from the mills was undoubtedly falling. The concession of 1398 to the citizens of Chester was revoked in 1400, on the grounds that the revenues were smaller than formerly; at the same time the millers were permitted to increase their fees and take additional wages. (fn. 77) Moreover the court held in the mills was revived, primarily, it seems, to pursue those accused of grinding their corn elsewhere. (fn. 78) Such actions were perhaps stimulated by the fact that 1400–1 was an exceptionally poor year: receipts amounted to only c. £170. (fn. 79) By 1413 they had dropped to an even lower level, and arrears remained a problem. (fn. 80)

For much of the 15th century the keepership of the corn mills and fishery was granted to royal yeomen, such as Thomas Pulford (1436–61), (fn. 81) and William and David Malpas (1464–75), (fn. 82) or local gentlemen, such as Robert Hanbury (1485–1503). (fn. 83) Daily administration was left to deputies under whom profits declined, complaints about extortion by the mills' officials were frequent, and the mills' jurisdiction eventually lapsed. (fn. 84)

The main cause of the decline in profits was the low price of grain and malt, coupled with some reduction in the quantities collected as multure. The reduction became more pronounced in the mid 15th century. By 1444–5 the annual revenue had fallen to c. £96 and Pulford accounted for the sale of only some 93 qr. wheat, 188 qr. unmilled oat malt, 14 qr. milled oat malt, and 25 qr. wheat flour. (fn. 85) By 1463–4 his successor Ranulph Bold, a protonotary of the justice of Chester, was charged for only 23 qr. wheat, 69 qr. unmilled oat malt, and 9 qr. milled oat malt. (fn. 86) Even at that reduced level of operations the keepers continued to experience difficulties, and in 1470 their arrears were cancelled. (fn. 87)

In 1503 the corn mills were again leased, at an annual rent of £50. (fn. 88) Although the lessee, Hugh Hurleton the younger, who already held the fishery, died shortly afterwards, they were retained by his widow, and by 1514 the family also held the fulling mills. (fn. 89) In 1532 the corn mills were leased to Robert Brooke, but he assigned his interest to Ralph and Thomas Goodman, who increased profits by energetically enforcing their monopoly. (fn. 90) When the king granted the corn mills and fishery to Sir Richard Cotton in 1553, their annual value had risen by nearly £40. (fn. 91) In 1567 the Goodmans, who continued to operate the corn mills, began proceedings against the lessee of the former abbey mills at Bache and the proprietors of other watermills and windmills in the environs of the city for infringing their monopoly. Most allowed the case to go by default, but Margaret Bavand, lessee of Bache watermill, continued to defy the prohibition until 1571, when she was fined and imprisoned. (fn. 92)

Ralph Goodman died in 1570 and his interest passed to William Goodman, while serving as mayor, who died in 1579 having renewed the lease of the mills and fishery in 1575 from Cotton's widow at the large rent of £140. (fn. 93) In 1583 Goodman's widow married Alderman Edmund Gamull, later mayor, who in 1588 paid £600 in advance to renew the lease at the reduced rent of £100. (fn. 94) When Gamull became proprietor, the Dee millers were again accused of extortion. Alderman John Hankey, himself a former miller, challenged the monopoly and established a horse mill which ground for the citizens at the ancient rate of a sixteenth. Although in 1585 Gamull obtained a ruling from the palatinate exchequer court in support of his monopoly, he was ordered to take only the customary toll, and either to accept rent for Hankey's new mill or to purchase it from him. (fn. 95) Evidently satisfied with that judgement, and perhaps prompted by the extra custom generated by the needs of troops employed in the Irish wars of the 1580s and 1590s, in 1600 Edmund Gamull's son Thomas (d. 1613) bought the mills and fishery from Cotton's heirs. Shortly afterwards Gamull built a new corn mill, bringing the number up to five and a malt mill, all housed under two roofs. By then he had few rivals in the locality: most of the citizens, the Bakers' company, and many who dwelt within a 10-mile radius of Chester brought their corn and malt to be ground at the Dee Mills. (fn. 96)

In 1601 Gamull undertook to supply water and power to John Tyrer's new waterworks, in return for an agreement to deny water to any who infringed his milling monopoly. Shortly afterwards his mills were seriously damaged. (fn. 97) In 1607 some of the citizens, abetted by neighbouring gentry, proposed to demolish the weir, thereby ruining the corn and fulling mills and the waterworks. Gamull was among those instrumental in ensuring that the privy council quashed the orders that a breach be made in the causeway. (fn. 98)

Edmund Gamull died in 1616 and since his heir, Thomas's son Francis, was a minor, the highly profitable estate was managed by Francis's stepfather Edward Whitby, recorder of Chester. By the 1620s one at least of the mills was leased to John Brerewood, who had married into the Gamull family. (fn. 99) Increasingly, legal action was required in the face of ever more open infringements of the monopoly. The city's small tradesmen patronized cheaper mills, and despite it being customary for the 'poorer sort' to grind their corn without payment of toll, Whitby still sought to enforce his ward's rights. In 1622 the tradesmen appealed to the Assembly, apparently unsuccessfully, to intervene with Whitby on their behalf. (fn. 100) In 1623 a recently erected horse mill in Boughton was suppressed. (fn. 101)

After Tyrer's death in 1634, the waterworks was purchased by a group of citizens, led by a former alderman, Sir Randle Mainwaring, who immediately dissolved the link with the mills. Francis Gamull, by then of age, initiated legal proceedings, but apparently failed to secure the restoration of the old arrangements. (fn. 102) In 1635 there were further attacks on the monopoly. A new horse mill was built within the liberties, and its proprietor and other citizens also made use of a watermill outside the city. Gamull again instituted legal proceedings and the defendants were ordered to suppress their mills. In response, a group of city maltsters combined to buy ready-ground malt openly from sources outside the city, and in 1637 professed themselves prepared to face imprisonment rather than submit. (fn. 103)

After the fall of Chester, parliament deprived Gamull, an ardent royalist, of his income from the mills and ordered that they be demolished at the city's expense. (fn. 104) In 1647 the aldermen, merchants, and citizens petitioned afresh for an order to take down the causeway and mills, (fn. 105) and in 1648 the Assembly appointed overseers and labourers to carry out the work. (fn. 106) Defenders of the mills, however, alleged that their loss would disadvantage both the city and the government, and greatly reduce the production of biscuit required for troops bound for Scotland and Ireland. (fn. 107) Their arguments carried weight because of the large income which the state derived from leasing the mills. The mills therefore survived. (fn. 108)

By the 1650s the millers' monopoly had been broken and their income was correspondingly reduced; in 1654, although the leaseholders paid £179 in rent, the profits were allegedly only £44. By then Gamull was dead and the mills were vested in his five coheiresses. The husband of one having purchased two other shares, the resulting three fifths, after passing to the Westons and the Shaws, were sold in 1743 to Edward Wrench, who acquired a fourth share in 1753 and bought out the reserved rent due to the Cottons in 1776. (fn. 109) The mills burned down in 1789, but were rebuilt and extended soon afterwards by E. O. Wrench. They were advertised for sale in 1807, (fn. 110) but evidently remained unsold, for in 1808 Wrench purchased the fifth and final share. (fn. 111) The property was again advertised for sale in 1811, when it comprised '18 pair of stones, suitable warehouses, drying kilns, [and] complete machinery'. It was burned down in 1819 (fn. 112) and rebuilt, and in 1830 contained 22 pairs of stones, let to several tenants by E. O. Wrench the younger. (fn. 113)

After further destruction by fire in 1847, the corn mills were worked by Alderman William Johnson, who installed rolling machinery. (fn. 114) In 1885 Johnson acquired a share in the mills from the Wrench family, and, after yet another fire in 1895, the whole property was purchased by the corporation. The buildings were used for storage until they were demolished in 1910. (fn. 115)

Figure 63:

Dee Mills, mid 19th century

Dee Fulling Mills

The fulling mills were located in Handbridge at the eastern end of the causeway. There appear to have been mills on the site by the mid 12th century, since the tithes of a mill 'beyond the bridge' were bestowed on Chester abbey in a grant attributed to Earl Richard I (1101–20) but more probably issuing from Ranulph II (1129–53), (fn. 116) In 1298–9 two mills 'across the bridge' received new claves (fn. 117) and mill houses. (fn. 118)

In 1355 new mills were built on the site and thereafter their business was definitely the fulling of cloth. (fn. 119) Leased from 1355 to 1376 to Robert of Bredon, (fn. 120) thereafter the fulling mills were managed directly by the Crown, and their revenues, generally under £10 a year, were recorded in the accounts presented by the keeper of the mills. (fn. 121) With the building of a new mill in 1392, they were leased separately for £3 a year. (fn. 122) Difficulties between the lessees and their men were resolved in 1395 when both sides were bound to keep the peace towards each other. (fn. 123)

In the 15th century the fulling mills continued to be leased separately, usually to citizens and clothworkers of Chester for c. £10 a year. (fn. 124) The lease was held in the 1480s by a consortium which included Hamlet Goodman, member of a family destined to have a long association with the mills. (fn. 125)

By 1514 the three fulling mills were leased to Nicholas Hurleton, whose family already held the corn mills and fishery. (fn. 126) After Nicholas's death, they apparently passed together with the other properties to Robert Brooke, and were assigned by him to Ralph Goodman. (fn. 127) They were not sold with the corn mills in 1553, and remained with the Goodmans until 1577. (fn. 128) Brooke evidently retained an interest for in 1557 he sought to renew the lease for a further term, beginning in 1574. (fn. 129) In 1577, however, they passed to John Bingley and others, presumably members of the Fullers and Clothworkers' company, which was said in 1607 to have long rented the mills and to hold them by a lease recently renewed. (fn. 130)

Burned down in the siege of Chester, the mills were restored at the instance of the Clothworkers, whose trade depended upon them. (fn. 131) They continued in the company's possession until 1725, when two were sold to George Scott, a paper maker. Scott, who had been based at the site since c. 1705, was also lessee of the third mill, which had been sold to the waterworks company. By 1745 he was operating two paper mills and a mill for grinding logwood (a dye), tobacco, and snuff. (fn. 132) By 1757 one of the mills had been acquired by Edward Wrench to grind snuff, while the two in Scott's ownership ground snuff and logwood. (fn. 133)

The Scott family's interest was acquired c. 1805 by Robert Topham, a skinner, and Joseph Evans, a needlemaker, (fn. 134) and in 1828 Topham also bought the Wrenches' mill, together with the Dee fishery. (fn. 135) By then Topham's property comprised snuff and tobacco mills, leased to a tobacco manufacturer, skinners' workshops, and some dwellings. (fn. 136) Evans's share of a mill, used to make needles until his bankruptcy in 1833, was sold in 1845 to Thomas Nicholls, a tobacco maker. (fn. 137) The Nichollses continued to operate on the site throughout the later 19th century, and in 1895 bought the rest of the property from the Tophams. (fn. 138) By 1911 the mills, which had passed to the duke of Westminster, were acquired by H. E. E. Peel and Sir Henry Robertson, owners of important fisheries on the Dee. (fn. 139) The tobacco factory remained in operation until 1954, when it closed and the site was acquired by the city. The buildings were demolished in the mid 1960s and replaced by housing, (fn. 140) but the mill leat survived and a waterwheel was restored by Chester Civic Trust in 1988–9. (fn. 141)

Dee Fisheries

The earl of Chester inherited from his Anglo-Saxon predecessor important fishing rights which included a fishery recorded in 1086 under the manor of Eaton; it then had six fishermen rendering annually 1,000 salmon. (fn. 142) The earliest unquestioned record of the fishery at Chester itself is the grant by Earl Ranulph II (1129–53) of a tithe of the profits from the fish taken at the Dee Bridge. (fn. 143) Thereafter the earl granted favoured religious houses such as Calke (Derb.), Garendon (Leics.), and Chester nunnery rights to fish in the Dee above or below the bridge. (fn. 144) The monks of Wenlock (Salop.), in particular, were allowed to fish wherever they wished downstream of the bridge or upstream to Eaton, using seine nets, stall nets, and float nets, and were given a house in which to maintain a fisherman to man their boat. (fn. 145)

Such grants were continued by Earl Hugh II (1153–81), to the communities of Bordesley (Worcs.) and Trentham (Staffs.). (fn. 146) Under Hugh and Ranulph III (1181–1232) fishing rights were also extended to laymen, including officers of the earldom such as Roger the constable and Peter the clerk, tenants such as Robert Lancelyn, and citizens of Chester such as Nicholas son of Robert and Andrew son of Mabel. (fn. 147) The right to maintain a boat on the Dee was hereditary; that granted to Peter the clerk, for example, had descended by the 14th century to his great-grandson Peter Thornton. (fn. 148) It was also alienable, for c. 1270 such a right was granted by Stephen, son of Richard the fisherman, to his sister Ellen. (fn. 149) By the 14th century named fisheries were established in the river, such as 'Mabbes stalls' at Portpool, to which four nets were attached. (fn. 150)

By the late Middle Ages the fisheries were policed by the serjeants of the Dee and by the mayor and corporation, whose role as conservators, confirmed by the 1506 charter, eventually made the serjeants redundant. (fn. 151) Fish continued to abound in the river until the early 19th century. By 1830, however, when the fisheries were worked by c. 32 rowing boats, numbers were down and prices had risen, allegedly because of the netting of young fry with small-meshed nets and the netting of the millrace at the weir. (fn. 152) In 1866 the River Dee Fishing Board was established with powers to protect the salmon fisheries through licensing and the establishment of a hatchery. A fish pass at the weir, first proposed in 1869, was built in 1913 or 1914 by agreement between Chester corporation, the River Dee Fishing Board, and the owners of the weir. It comprised a 'ladder' of four broad pools, constructed parallel with the weir at the Handbridge end. The fortunes of the fisheries varied in later years. The 1920s were generally good, the 1950s relatively poor. From the 1970s there was a decline in the numbers of fish caught, though there were signs of improvement in the 1990s. (fn. 153)

Figure 64:

Fishing with bag nets in King's Pool, 1760

By far the most important fishery was the King's Pool, situated by the Dee Bridge. (fn. 154) In the Middle Ages hurdles were attached to the bridge, presumably as a frame for the nets, (fn. 155) but by the later 16th century they had been superseded by a device known as the salmon cage, fixed within the tailrace of the fulling mills on the Handbridge side. (fn. 156) The King's Pool, which belonged to the earl, passed to the Crown in 1237 and was leased by the 1270s; in 1278 it was granted to the citizens of Chester for three years at an annual rent of £50, with a proviso to protect the poor. (fn. 157) In fact the citizens seem to have held the fishery for only two years, for in 1280 it passed to Richard the engineer and from 1281 was linked with the mills, again at an annual rent of £50. (fn. 158) Richard is the first person known to have leased the mills and the fishery together, but thenceforth they were generally inseparable, except for a brief period in the mid 1350s, when the keeper of the fishery accounted separately for c. £10. (fn. 159)

In 1347–8 the earl spent considerable sums repairing the arches and parapet of the Dee Bridge for the benefit of the fishery. (fn. 160) Rented with the mills during the tenure of Robert of Bredon, thereafter the fishery appears in the keeper's accounts. By then the profits were mainly from the sale of salmon, but other fish included lampreys, eels, whiting, and sparling. The annual income was c. £40. (fn. 161)

The fishery was again briefly leased with the mills in the 1390s, (fn. 162) but throughout the earlier 15th century the revenues, which rarely rose above £25, were generally accounted for by the keeper. (fn. 163) By 1463 the fishery was leased for c. £16. (fn. 164) It was still leased in 1475, when it was held by the widow of Hugh Hurleton, janitor of the castle, and an associate at an annual rent of £24. (fn. 165) It remained in the hands of the Hurleton family until 1532, when it passed to Robert Brooke. (fn. 166) In 1553 it was sold with the corn mills to Sir Richard Cotton, and thereafter generally descended with them. (fn. 167) In 1661 it was held by Francis Gamull's widow Elizabeth, but thereafter, like the mills, it was divided among Gamull's coheiresses. (fn. 168) In 1746 the then owners, Edward Wrench and John Brerewood, were in dispute with George Scott, whose regulation of the channels and gates near his paper mills had allegedly impaired the fishery. By 1800, when the annual rental from the fishery was £120, its income derived largely from salmon, although as earlier eels and lampreys were also taken. (fn. 169)

In 1828 the fishery was purchased by Robert Topham from E. O. Wrench; by then, however, it was in decline, and in 1831 the annual rent was only £60. (fn. 170) Still in the hands of the Tophams in the 1870s, the fishery was increasingly controlled by the Salmon Fishery Acts. In 1869 an inquiry was held to investigate the removal or alteration of the fishing equipment installed at the mills. By then the salmon cage served merely as a fish pass. The cage, which had come with the weir to the duke of Westminster, was sold in 1911 to the fishery owners Peel and Robertson, who directed that on their deaths it and the weir should be offered for sale to the conservators of the River Dee Fisheries. (fn. 171)

Figure 65:

Fishing with draft net below Dee Bridge, c. 1890

Abbot's Mills

The abbot of Chester's mills, the only watermills within the liberties except for the Dee Mills, lay north of Chester on Bache brook. (fn. 172) The site of the mill pool, near Bache railway station, was still identifiable in 1995. In the abbey's so-called foundation charter, dated 1092 or 1093, Earl Hugh I is said to have granted the community a site for a mill at the Dee Bridge. (fn. 173) The only other reference to the abbot's mill by the Dee is highly dubious: Earl Richard (1101–20), in confirming his father Earl Hugh's gifts to the monks, also granted them the site of a mill 'at the nearer end of the bridge' together with a mill at Bache. (fn. 174) That the grant of the riverside site was a later interpolation into the text of the charter is suggested by the fact that in the mid 12th century it was ignored by the compiler of Earl Ranulph II's 'great charter', which confirmed in detail the grants of his predecessors, including Earl Richard's grant of the mill at Bache. (fn. 175) Most probably, the abbot's mills were always at Bache, and the record of both Hugh I's and Richard's grants by the Dee Bridge reflects monastic tradition relating to an unrealized claim to a riverside site.

By the late 13th century the abbot's millers were, like those of the earl, important local figures. (fn. 176) Especially prominent was David the miller, sheriff of Chester at least twice in the 1280s and 1290s. (fn. 177) That David was the abbot's miller is suggested by the fact that he was the tenant of all the abbot's holdings in Bridge Street (fn. 178) and in the 1290s also acquired extensive holdings in Bache. (fn. 179)

The abbot's mills passed with the rest of the abbey's property to the new cathedral in 1541. (fn. 180) They were among the property reserved by the Crown in 1553 to be regranted to the dean and chapter. (fn. 181) In the later 16th century they were held by Alderman Thomas Bavand and his widow Margaret, under whom there was a dispute with the Gamull family over the milling monopoly. (fn. 182) Although by c. 1607 Bache mill was allegedly often inoperative from lack of water, (fn. 183) in 1613 the then lessee, Alderman Edward Dutton, perhaps spurred on by the Gamulls' example at the Dee Mills, took steps to preserve his own rights over certain tenants of the abbey's former possessions who had set up a handmill of their own to grind malt. His efforts were evidently resisted, for in 1616 their leader was fined for failing to resume grinding at Bache. (fn. 184)

The mill remained in the hands of the dean and chapter until 1816. By then used for preparing skins, it was sold to a Mr. Brodhurst. (fn. 185) It had disappeared by 1872. (fn. 186)

The abbot also had a windmill outside the Northgate by the late 14th century. (fn. 187) Having passed with the watermill to the dean and chapter and been leased to the Bavands, (fn. 188) the 'great windmill' was taken down in 1643 to prevent its use by parliamentary forces during the siege. (fn. 189)

Other Mills (fn. 190)

By c. 1600, despite the Dee millers' vigorous attempts to defend their monopoly, horse mills and windmills were from time to time established within the liberties, but probably none was operative for long. (fn. 191) A list compiled in the earlier 17th century mentioned two decayed windmills and four horse mills still in use. (fn. 192) A windmill was certainly standing on Hough Green between 1652 and 1708 and perhaps survived in 1721 when the name Windmill Hill remained known. In 1739 two of the city's bakers had a grant of two plots of waste land on the green, one near the gate leading to Brewer's Hall and the other at Red Hill, with permission to dig clay for bricks to build two windmills. No further reference to the windmills is known and it not certain that they were erected. (fn. 193)


  • 1. O. Bott, 'Cornmill Sites in Ches. i', Ches. Hist. x. 59.
  • 2. Above, Public Utilities: Electricity.
  • 3. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 4, 15–16 (nos. 3, 8); below, this chapter: Abbot's Mills.
  • 4. Cf. ref. to his new mills in Ches.: Charters of A.-N. Earls, p. 451 (no. 450); Cart. Chester Abbey, i. pp. 96–7.
  • 5. Ches. in Pipe R. 34.
  • 6. Ibid.; pers. comm. Dr. R. Holt, Birmingham Univ.
  • 7. e.g. Ches. in Pipe R. 55, 64.
  • 8. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHB 1, f. 15v.; below, this section.
  • 9. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 225, 280 (nos. 224, 281).
  • 10. Ches. in Pipe R. 27, 39; Close R. 1234–7, 538.
  • 11. Ches. Hist. xi. 53–4.
  • 12. V.C.H. Ches. v (1), Early Medieval Chester: Trade and Economic Life, 1070–1230; Later Medieval Chester: Economy and Society, 1230–1350 (City and its Hinterland); Ct. R. of Ldship. of Ruthin and Dyffryn-Clwyd, ed. R. A. Roberts, 41, 45 (thanks are due to Dr. Jane Laughton for those references); for the corn market: V.C.H. Ches. v (1), Topography, 900–1914: Later Medieval (Street Plan within the Walls).
  • 13. Ct. R. Ruthin, 42, 50.
  • 14. Ibid. 71; Cal. Lib. 1240–5, 53.
  • 15. Ches. in Pipe R. 64.
  • 16. Ibid. 86, 89, 92; Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 91.
  • 17. Ches. in Pipe R. 108.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1272–81, 105; Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, 52.
  • 19. B.L. Harl. MS. 2064, f. 19; R. Bennett and J. Elton, Hist. of Corn Milling, iv. 61.
  • 20. Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, 153.
  • 21. Ibid. 206–7; Cal. Pat. 1282–92, 135.
  • 22. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 1.
  • 23. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 56.
  • 24. Ibid. pp. 123–5.
  • 25. Ibid. p. 151; Cal. Close, 1288–96, 182–3; Ches. in Pipe R. 156. Cf. B.L. Harl. MS. 2083, ff. 125–6.
  • 26. Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 428; Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 62–3; B.L. Harl. MS. 2083, f. 126; Cal. Close, 1288–96, 106, 182. Cf. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, 282.
  • 27. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. pp. 153, 164, 166–7.
  • 28. Cal. Close, 1288–96, 77, 182.
  • 29. P.R.O., E 101/486/10, 12; Cal. Close, 1296–1302, 145, 183.
  • 30. Cal. Close, 1279–88, 202–3.
  • 31. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 78, 83.
  • 32. Ibid. 89.
  • 33. Cal. Close, 1333–7, 407–8; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 127.
  • 34. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 173.
  • 35. Ibid. pp. 82, 114, 125, 144, 221, 226, 255, 414, 429, 438.
  • 36. Ibid. p. 363; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 119.
  • 37. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 126–7.
  • 38. Ibid. 140; P.R.O., SC 6/783/15.
  • 39. P.R.O., SC 6/783/15; V.C.H. Ches. v (1), Later Medieval Chester: City Government and Politics, 1350–1550 (Decay of the Guild Merchant).
  • 40. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 160; P.R.O., SC 6/784/2.
  • 41. Blk. Prince's Reg. iii. 70.
  • 42. Ibid.
  • 43. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 221.
  • 44. Eaton Hall, Ch. 321; Hewitt, Med. Ches. 35–41, 191–3; Morris, Chester, 101–2; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 3; SC 6/784/11, m. 2d.
  • 45. Morris, Chester, 101–2.
  • 46. P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 3.
  • 47. Hewitt, Med. Ches. 191–2; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 3.
  • 48. Blk. Prince's Reg. iii. 317.
  • 49. Ibid. iii. 209–10, 310, 423; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 179–87; Morris, Chester, 105; P.R.O., SC 6/784/6, m. 1; SC 6/784/7, m. 1.
  • 50. P.R.O., SC 6/784/11, m. 2; SC 6/785/3, m. 1; SC 6/785/5, m. 1d.; SC 6/785/8, m. 1d.; SC 6/785/10, m. 1; SC 6/786/2, m. 3d.; SC 6/786/10, m. 1; SC 6/787/5, m. 1; SC 6/787/7, m. 1; SC 6/787/8, m. 1.
  • 51. e.g. Acct. of John de Burnham, Chamberlain of Chester, ed. P. H. W. Booth and A. D. Carr (R.S.L.C. cxxv), 205; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 241.
  • 52. P.R.O., SC 6/785/10, m. 1.
  • 53. e.g. ibid.; Acct. of John de Burnham, 90–1; Blk. Prince's Reg. iii. 273; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 251, 271.
  • 54. P.R.O., SC 6/787/9, m. 3.
  • 55. T.H.S.L.C. cxxviii. 42–4; Agrarian Hist. of Eng. and Wales, iii, 1348–1500, ed. E. Miller, 443–55.
  • 56. P.R.O., SC 6/787/8, m. 1; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 354.
  • 57. P.R.O., SC 6/787/9, m. 3.
  • 58. Ibid. SC 6/788/2, m. 3; cf. SC 6/788/3, m. 4.
  • 59. Ibid. SC 6/789/5, m. 3.
  • 60. e.g. ibid. SC 6/788/2, m. 3; SC 6/789/5, m. 3; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 354.
  • 61. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHB 1, ff. 15–16v.; Morris, Chester, 112–14.
  • 62. P.R.O., SC 6/788/2, m. 3.
  • 63. e.g. ibid. SC 6/790/5, m. 4; SC 6/790/7, m. 3; SC 6/790/8, m. 4; SC 6/790/9, m. 3; SC 6/790/10, m. 4; SC 6/790/11, m. 6; SC 6/791/3, m. 5; SC 6/791/5, m. 4.
  • 64. Ibid. SC 6/788/2, m. 3; SC 6/790/5, m. 1.
  • 65. e.g. 36 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 326, 354. The earliest record of the title occurs in 1384, when the office was distinct from that of keeper: ibid. 227. In the early 15th cent. the clerk was the keeper's deputy: P.R.O., SC 6/791/6, m. 7; SC 6/791/7, m. 6; SC 6/792/1, m. 7; SC 6/792/10, m. 5.
  • 66. e.g. P.R.O., SC 6/790/5, m. 4d.; SC 6/790/10, m. 4.
  • 67. Cal. Fine R. 1391–9, 35.
  • 68. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 96.
  • 69. P.R.O., SC 6/790/3, m. 3.
  • 70. Ibid. SC 6/790/5, m. 4.
  • 71. e.g. ibid. SC 6/790/8, m. 4; SC 6/790/10, m. 4; SC 6/791/1, m. 6; SC 6/791/5, m. 1.
  • 72. Ibid. SC 6/790/5, m. 4d.
  • 73. P.R.O., SC 6/790/7, m. 3; SC 6/790/8, m. 4; SC 6/790/9, m. 3; SC 6/790/10, m. 4; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 98; B.L. Harl. MS. 2003, ff. 228–9.
  • 74. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 454.
  • 75. Cal. Pat. 1399–1401, 11.
  • 76. Ibid. 1422–9, 49; P.R.O., SC 6/791/5, m. 1; SC 6/791/6, m. 7; SC 6/791/7, m. 6; SC 6/792/10, m. 5; SC 6/794/10, m. 7.
  • 77. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 454; P.R.O., SC 6/791/1, m. 6.
  • 78. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHB 2, f. 71; Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 66.
  • 79. P.R.O., SC 6/791/3, m. 5.
  • 80. Ibid. SC 6/791/5, m. 1; SC 6/791/6, m. 7; SC 6/791/7, m. 6; SC 6/792/1, m. 5; SC 6/792/10, m. 5; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 87.
  • 81. P.R.O., SC 6/798/7, m. 6; Cal. Pat. 1424–6, 419; 1429–36, 144, 513; 37 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 197–8, 603, 675.
  • 82. 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 506; P.R.O., SC 6/798/10, m. 6.
  • 83. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VII/1500–1, 1518–19.
  • 84. Above, Law Courts: Middle Ages (Court of Dee Mills).
  • 85. P.R.O., SC 6/796/10, m. 7.
  • 86. Ibid. SC 6/798/10, m. 6; 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 56; cf. P.R.O., SC 6/799/10, m. 4d.; SC 6/800/10, m. 4 and d.
  • 87. P.R.O., SC 6/799/7, m. 4d.; 37 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 159, 422, 506.
  • 88. 37 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 198, 395–6; cf. B.L. Harl. MS. 2083, f. 123.
  • 89. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i (2), p. 1309; 39 D.K.R. 158.
  • 90. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 84–5; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 167v.; Harl. MS. 2083, ff. 132–3.
  • 91. Morris, Chester, 105; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/1/1; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 167v., 190–8.
  • 92. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 86–91; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 109v.–110, 253–70; Harl. MS. 2083, ff. 94–114.
  • 93. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/2–3.
  • 94. Ibid. ZCHD 12/4.
  • 95. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 92–4; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 199–200; Harl. MS. 2083, f. 602; C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 1, f. 189.
  • 96. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 94–5, 100–1; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 167v., 217v.–218, 221v.; Harl. MS. 2082, f. 25; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/5–9; ZCHD 12/13/1–2.
  • 97. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 95–6; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 40–92; above, Public Utilities: Water.
  • 98. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 96–105; B.L. Harl. MS. 2083, f. 208; C.C.A.L.S., ZAF 7/35–41; ZCHD 12/10; above, Water Transport: River.
  • 99. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 106–9; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 167v., 222; Harl. MS. 2082, f. 6v.; Harl. MS. 2091, f. 307v.; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/13/1–2.
  • 100. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 107–8; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 169–71, 217v.
  • 101. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 109–11; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 121–53.
  • 102. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 111–13; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 38–92.
  • 103. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 113–19; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 2–37v., 111v.–120; Harl. MS. 2083, ff. 2–91, 173–203.
  • 104. Morris, Siege of Chester, 208; Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 122; B.L. Harl. MS. 2057, f. 56; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1645–7, 474–5; C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 2, ff. 76–78v.
  • 105. Hist. MSS. Com. 5, 6th Rep., House of Lords, 172.
  • 106. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 122; C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 2, ff. 87–88v.
  • 107. C. Armour, 'Trade of Chester and Dee Navigation' (Lond. Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1952), 64; above, Water Transport: River.
  • 108. Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, iii, p. 1875; J.C.A.S. xxxii. 64.
  • 109. Armour, 'Dee Navigation', 64; Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 122–3; Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 375; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/17–23, 25, 59, 68, 71, 90–3.
  • 110. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 123; C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 5, p. 45; ZCHD 12/107.
  • 111. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 375.
  • 112. Ibid. i. 374; Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 123; 3 Sheaf, xlvii, p. 61.
  • 113. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 373.
  • 114. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 123; 1 Sheaf, ii, p. 242; White's Dir. Ches. (1860), 145; J. H. Norris, The WaterPowered Corn Mills of Ches.' T.L.C.A.S. lxxv/lxxvi. 63.
  • 115. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 123; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/125.
  • 116. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 15–16, 36–8 (nos. 8, 26); Cart. Chester Abbey, i, pp. 43. 76.
  • 117. The meaning of clavis is unclear. The Dee claves were made by carpenters and situated 'at the head' (in capite) of the mills.
  • 118. P.R.O., E 101/486/10, 12; above, this chapter: Dee Corn Mills.
  • 119. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 230; P.R.O., SC 6/784/6, m. 1.
  • 120. e.g. P.R.O., SC 6/784/6, m. 1d.; SC 6/784/11, m. 2d.; SC 6/785/3, m. 1d.; SC 6/787/7, m. 1; SC 6/787/8, m. 1.
  • 121. e.g. ibid. SC 6/787/9, m. 3; SC 6/788/2, m. 3; SC 6/788/3, m. 4; SC 6/789/5, m. 3.
  • 122. 36 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 88, 141; cf. P.R.O., SC 6/790/1, m. 3.
  • 123. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 543; P.R.O., SC 6/790/6, m. 3d.; SC 6/790/10, m. 4.
  • 124. e.g. P.R.O., SC 6/790/10, m. 4; SC 6/791/6, m. 7; SC 6/794/10, m. 7; SC 6/796/10, m. 7; SC 6/797/10, m. 7; SC 6/798/10, m. 6; SC 6/799/10, m. 4d.; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 544; 37 D.K.R. App. II, pp. 341, 547.
  • 125. P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VII/1501; cf. SC 6/Hen. VII/1518–20, 1522; SC 6/Hen. VIII/275; 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 315.
  • 126. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i. (2), p. 1309; P.R.O., SC 6/Hen. VIII/287; SC 6/Hen. VIII/294; 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 158.
  • 127. P.R.O., SC 6/Edw. VI/63.
  • 128. e.g. ibid. SC 6/Eliz. 1/293, 301, 303.
  • 129. 39 D.K.R. 36.
  • 130. e.g. P.R.O., SC 6/Eliz. 1/303–4, 317, 322; SC 6/Jas. I/139; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 216; Harl. MS. 2082, f. 25; Harl. MS. 2084, ff. 106v.–107.
  • 131. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 216–217v.; Harl. MS. 2082, f. 25; Harl. MS. 2084, ff. 106v.–107; C.C.A.L.S., ZAF 28/16–17.
  • 132. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 13/16.
  • 133. Ibid. ZCHD 12/107.
  • 134. Ibid. ZCHD 13/1–9.
  • 135. Ibid. ZCHD 12/107.
  • 136. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 378–9.
  • 137. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 13/10–14.
  • 138. Ibid. ZCHD 13/17–20; Bagshaw's Dir. Ches. (1850), 104; P. & G. Dir. Chester (1871), 97.
  • 139. R. Wilding, Miller of Dee, 120.
  • 140. P. & G. Dir. Chester (1919/20), 111; Kelly's Dir. Chester (1938), 72; (1952), 80; (1954), 80; Chester Chron. 30 July, 26 Dec. 1955; Ches. Observer, 10 May 1968; Wilding, Miller of Dee, 17.
  • 141. Inscription at site.
  • 142. V.C.H. Ches. i. 249 (nos. 16–17).
  • 143. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 36–8 (no. 26). For evidence that Earl Richard's grant of a tithe of salmon taken at the Dee is a later interpolation see ibid. pp. 14–16, 37; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 43.
  • 144. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 56–7, 59–61, 112–13 (nos. 41, 45, 99).
  • 145. Ibid. pp. 122–3 (no. 109).
  • 146. Ibid. pp. 156–60 (nos. 149, 151–2); cf. pp. 209–11, 246–7, 313–14 (nos. 207, 209, 247, 314).
  • 147. e.g. ibid. pp. 190–1, 243–5, 249–50, 266–7, 279, 312–13 (nos. 185, 244, 250, 268, 280, 313).
  • 148. Morris, Chester, 558.
  • 149. B.L. Add. Ch. 75142.
  • 150. Ibid. Add. Ch. 72271; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 74.
  • 151. Above, Water Transport: River.
  • 152. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, ii. 322–3.
  • 153. P. M. Cohen, 'Hist. of Water Management on River Dee' (Manchester Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1986), 30–1; Wilding, Miller of Dee, 120–4.
  • 154. Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, 153.
  • 155. Cal. Close, 1288–96, 182–3; Ches. in Pipe R. 156.
  • 156. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 99v., 217v.; Harl. MS. 2084, f. 106; Cohen, 'Water Management', 31.
  • 157. Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, 92.
  • 158. Ibid. 119, 153, 206; Cal. Close, 1279–80, 70.
  • 159. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 221.
  • 160. Ibid. 126.
  • 161. P.R.O., SC 6/787/9, m. 3.
  • 162. Ibid. SC 6/790/3, m. 3.
  • 163. Ibid. SC 6/790/10, m. 4; SC 6/791/6, m. 7; SC 6/794/10, m. 7; SC 6/796/10, m. 7.
  • 164. Ibid. SC 6/798/10, m. 6; cf. SC 6/799/10, m. 4d.
  • 165. 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 198.
  • 166. P.R.O., SC 6/800/10, m. 4 and d.; SC 6/Hen. VII/1500–1, 1518–20, 1522; SC 6/Hen. VIII/275, 287, 294; SC 6/Edw. VI/63; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 190–8.
  • 167. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/1/1; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 190–8; Harl. MS. 2084, f. 106v.; Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 378–9.
  • 168. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/17–22; ZCHD 13/16.
  • 169. Ibid. ZCHD 13/16; 3 Sheaf, xviii, p. 69; Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 379; ii. 322.
  • 170. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 12/107; Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 379; ii. 322.
  • 171. Chester Chron. 11 Dec. 1869, 22 Mar. 1873; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 13/21; Cohen, 'Water Management', 31; Wilding, Miller of Dee, 120.
  • 172. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 218.
  • 173. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 2–11 (no. 3); Cart. Chester Abbey, i, pp. 13–37.
  • 174. Charters of A.-N. Earls, pp. 15–16 (no. 8); Cart. Chester Abbey, i, pp. 55, 57.
  • 175. Charters of A.-N. Earls, p. 42 (no. 28).
  • 176. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 180.
  • 177. e.g. B.L. Add. Ch. 72249, 72256; C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 2, m. 1d.
  • 178. Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 341.
  • 179. P.R.O., WALE 29/249; 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 35.
  • 180. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, pp. 5–6; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 274.
  • 181. Ormerod, Hist. Ches. ii. 776; Cal. Pat. 1553 and App. 1547–53, 100.
  • 182. Above, this chapter: Dee Corn Mills; B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, ff. 253–70.
  • 183. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 218.
  • 184. Ibid. Harl. MS. 2083, ff. 160–166v.
  • 185. Ormerod, Hist. Ches. ii. 776; C.C.A.L.S., EDD 10/2/1.
  • 186. O.S. Map 6-inch, Ches. XXXVIII (1882 edn.).
  • 187. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 67, 74; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 274.
  • 188. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 253.
  • 189. Bennett and Elton, Hist. Corn Milling, iv. 59.
  • 190. For steam mills: V.C.H. Ches. v (1), Late Georgian and Victorian Chester: Economy and Society.
  • 191. O. Bott, 'Cornmill Sites in Ches. iv', Ches. Hist. xiv. 32.
  • 192. B.L. Harl. MS. 2081, f. 173.
  • 193. C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 2, ff. 98v., 184; ZAB 3, ff. 160v., 258; ZAB 4, ff. 25v., 26v., 28 and v.; ZCHD 5/21–4; cf. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 61.