Staines: Mills

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Staines: Mills', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington, (London, 1962) pp. 21-22. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]


Domesday Book mentions six mills in Staines. (fn. 1) This total probably included the mills in the berewicks of the manor, and there are unlikely to have been more than two mills in Staines itself. Later in the Middle Ages there seem to have been two separate mills at Staines, though each consisted of several sets of machinery and was therefore sometimes referred to as several mills. (fn. 2) The medieval mill at Yeoveney may also have been in existence in 1086. While the later history of these three mills is substantially known, there are in addition a number of references to unidentifiable mills. Hurst Mill, for instance, mentioned in 1354, (fn. 3) like the various mills and fractions of mills conveyed in the 13th and 14th centuries, may represent either an otherwise unknown mill or a different name for one of the three known ones. (fn. 4) A new malt mill was made in the 15th century in one of the lord's mills. (fn. 5) From the 16th century there seem to have been only two mills in the parish. (fn. 6)

Hale Mill was in existence in the 13th century. Part of it belonged to John in le Hale in Edward I's reign, (fn. 7) while another part seems to have been in separate ownership from 1271 to 1353. (fn. 8) After this time part of the mill belonged to Westminster Abbey. From c. 1472 to 1490 it was in decay and out of use. (fn. 9) It was probably one of the two mills in existence in 1503 and 1694, (fn. 10) and, since it stood on the River Colne, was presumably that mill in Staines whose occupier claimed to have been injured by Henry VIII's construction of the Duke of Northumberland's River. (fn. 11) By 1755 it had come into the possession of John Finch, the owner of Pound Mill, whose descendants retained it until the mid-19th century, although by 1826 they no longer worked it themselves. (fn. 12) It was used as a papier-maché factory for a few years about 1855 and then, while the papiermaché works went on for a time in an adjoining building, (fn. 13) the Linoleum Manufacturing Company took over the mill in 1864 and bought it outright in 1871. (fn. 14) Part of the 19th-century mill buildings still remain near the Hale Street entrance to the factory.

The New Mill is first mentioned in 1388. (fn. 15) In 1503 the water was said to run from it to Moor Bridge. (fn. 16) Since it seems clear that Moor Bridge and Longford Bridge (fn. 17) and Hale Mill and New Mill were respectively distinct, it is likely that Moor Bridge was the bridge over the Wyrardisbury River in Hale Street, and that New Mill therefore stood on or near the site of the later Pound Mill, just east of Staines West Station. (fn. 18) It may be that the New Mill was built after Yeoveney Mill, which was probably situated higher up the same river, had stopped working. At all events the New Mill at first belonged to Westminster Abbey, and later seems to have been divided among several owners and lessees. Part of it was used as a fulling mill in the 15th century. (fn. 19) In 1472-3 part had been disused and unoccupied for eight years, but it was all occupied in 1490. (fn. 20)

Pound Mill derived its name from the neighbouring parish pound. (fn. 21) The first reference found to it dates from 1747, when it was acquired by John Finch, mealman. (fn. 22) Although it was then said to be newly erected, its ownership can be traced back to 1682 (fn. 23) and in 1916 part of the machinery was dated 1712. (fn. 24) Unlike Hale Mill, Pound Mill continued to be worked by the Finch family until it passed out of their hands. In the 19th century part of the mill was used to grind flour, but its chief business, carried on latterly under the name of Finch, Rickman & Co., was making mustard. The mill employed a considerable number of people in the mid-19th century, (fn. 25) but its business seems to have declined by 1900, when it was sold. It continued to be used as a mill until 1912, and in 1916 it was purchased by the Linoleum Manufacturing Company who soon afterwards demolished it. (fn. 26)

A house and two mills in Yeoveney and Staines were quitclaimed by William son of Walter Poyle to Westminster Abbey in 1258. (fn. 27) These may have included Yeoveney Mill, which belonged to Westminster Abbey in 1275, (fn. 28) and probably stood on the Wyrardisbury River. (fn. 29) Repairs are frequently mentioned in the manorial accounts, and the mill was apparently rebuilt in 1320. (fn. 30) Soon after this it may have been used in part as a fulling mill. (fn. 31) It was still in existence in 1376 but apparently disappeared soon after. (fn. 32)

A corn mill, powered by steam, worked for a few years before 1919 in the buildings formerly used by Harris's Brewery and since then by A. E. Onions Ltd. (fn. 33)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 128b.
  • 2. C.P. 25(1)/147/24/489 (Hale Mill); W.A.M. 16801, 16807 (New Mill).
  • 3. W.A.M. 16872.
  • 4. e.g. C.P. 25(1)/148/26/50; /37/304; W.A.M. 16786, 16790, 16809, 16933. There are also references to the lord's mill in the accounts, &c., which cannot be identified with Hale or Pound Mill.
  • 5. W.A.M. 16943.
  • 6. See, e.g. W.A.M. 16966; M.R.O., F 34/229-37; M.R.O., Staines Tithe Award; O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Mdx. xix. 10, 14, 15; xxiv. 2, 3, 7 (1st and later edns.).
  • 7. W.A.M. 16771.
  • 8. C.P. 25(1)/147/24/489; W.A.M. 16786.
  • 9. W.A.M. 16936, 16805, 16807.
  • 10. W.A.M. 16966; M.R.O., F. 34/229-37.
  • 11. C 78/27/13, m. 15; C 3/110/64,/50/68; C.P. 25(2)/171/14 Eliz. Hil.
  • 12. Par. Rec., Churchwarden's Acct. Bk. 1750-95; M.R.O., L.T.A. Mdx. 6631, 6675, 6680; M.R.O., Staines Tithe Award.
  • 13. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1855, 1863); O.S. Map 1/2,500 Mdx. xix. 15 (1st edn.).
  • 14. Ex. inf. Linoleum Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
  • 15. W.A.M. 16934.
  • 16. W.A.M. 16966.
  • 17. See pp. 15-16.
  • 18. O.S. Map 1/2,500 Mdx. xix. 14, 15 (1st edn.).
  • 19. W.A.M. 16801, 16936; Cal. Close, 1447-54, 73.
  • 20. S.C. 6/917/29; W.A.M. 16807.
  • 21. G.P. Warner Terry, 'Pound Mill, Staines', T.L.M.A.S. ix. 455-6.
  • 22. M.R.O., E.M.C. 32.
  • 23. C.P. 25(2)/692 33-34 Chas. II Hil.; /946/11 Anne
  • 24. T.L.M.A.S. ix. 456.
  • 25. M.R.O., L.T.A. 6631, 6675, 6680; M.R.O., Staines Tithe Award; T.L.M.A.S. ix. 454; Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1845-82).
  • 26. Ex Inf. Linoleum Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
  • 27. W.A.M. 16746.
  • 28. W.A.M. 16822.
  • 29. W.A.M. 16849 mentions a bridge over against (erga) the moor beyond the mill-pond.
  • 30. W.A.M. 16907, 16923, 16849, 16873, 16883.
  • 31. W.A.M. 16796.
  • 32. W.A.M. 16886; it is not mentioned in, e.g. W.A.M. 16890, 16892.
  • 33. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Mdx. xxiv. 3 (3rd and revised edns.); Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1917); ex inf. A. E. Onions Ltd.