Warminster: Mills

Pages 114-115

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.

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Seven mills belonged to the manor of Warminster in 1086 (fn. 1) but in 1300 the lord of Warminster held only one water mill in demesne, while another was held under him by a free tenant. (fn. 2) There is little doubt that the demesne mill was that at Boreham, which was held by Thomas Mauduit, lord of the manor, in the early 13th century. (fn. 3) Boreham Mill was in hand in 1385 and 1391, and still, or again, in 1409, when it was repaired, and in 1412. (fn. 4) By 1442 it was let for 66s 8d. a year, which was reduced to 53s. 4d. in 1454-5 when the new tenant was John Bowerman. (fn. 5) It continued to be let on lives at this rent until the 18th century. Among long tenancies may be mentioned those of the Bowerman family, who still held it in 1508, (fn. 6) the Goodridge or Goodrose family between 1626 and 1682, (fn. 7) and the Marsh family, 1700-65. (fn. 8) In 1810 the mill was included in the Longleat property exchanged with F. D. Astley, (fn. 9) and remained the property of his family until 1884, when it was sold. (fn. 10) The new owners evidently rebuilt it, for the large brick mill is dated 1886. It contained a 20 h. p. turbine in 1893. (fn. 11) In 1962 it was used by Wiltshire Farmers Ltd. for grinding animal food; water power was still used.

The mill which was held as a freehold of the capital manor in 1300 may have reverted to the lord very soon afterwards, for in 1309 Thomas Mauduit let the water mill of Fishwear to Robert the Miller. (fn. 12) It was still let at farm in the late 14th century, (fn. 13) and in 1496. (fn. 14) A tenant held it at a rent of 28s. in 1578, (fn. 15) and in 1659 the same rent was paid for Henry Allen's mills. (fn. 16) By 1690, however, a close 'on which formerly stood a mill called Fisher's Mill' was let with other lands; (fn. 17) it lay on the Cannimore stream near the western end of Warminster Common, between the roads leading to Folly Farm and Cannimore Farm, (fn. 18) where a weir still remains in 1962.

No mill belonging to the manor of Smallbrook was mentioned in 1086, (fn. 19) but there was one in 1268. (fn. 20) In 1366 John Mauger paid a rent for Smallbrook Mill to the manor of Upton Scudamore, (fn. 21) and the mill and land immediately around it may already have lain in Upton parish, as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 22) It was probably the mill which belonged to the manor of Warminster Scudamore in 1444-5, (fn. 23) but nothing more is certainly known of it until the end of the 15th century, when it was appurtenant to the manor of Portway. (fn. 24) It passed in the same way as that manor (fn. 25) to the Middlecott family, for in 1582 William Middlecott paid the chief rent of 1s. 6d. for it to the manor of Warminster Scudamore. (fn. 26) After his death his son Edward sold the mill in 1602 to William Adlam, (fn. 27) although it was held on lease by members of the Middlecott family for many years afterwards. (fn. 28) In 1650 this or another William Adlam sold it to John Bennett, lord of the manor of Smallbrook, and it descended in his family as the manor did. (fn. 29) By 1837, however, the chief rent was paid by John Webb. (fn. 30) Before 1849 it had passed to the Astley family, and was sold with the rest of their estate in 1884. (fn. 31) Smallbrook Mill seems always to have been a corn mill. (fn. 32) It was still so used in the late 19th century, but in c. 1900 it was converted to pump sewage to the Warminster sewage works nearby. (fn. 33) After the abandonment of the sewage works the mill was partly demolished, but part of the 19th-century brick building remained in 1962.

The mill at Henford's Marsh lay in a detached part of Norton Bavant, and is dealt with in the account of that parish. (fn. 34)


  • 1. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 116.
  • 2. Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1242-1326 (Index Libr.), 249-53.
  • 3. Longleat MS. 8987.
  • 4. Ibid. 9062, 9421, and Parcel XXVII, Acct. Rolls 1385-6 and 1390-1.
  • 5. Ibid. Parcel XXVII, Acct. Rolls 1441-2 and 1454-5.
  • 6. Ibid. Rental 1508.
  • 7. Ibid. Rental 1626 and MS. 10652.
  • 8. Ibid. MSS. 10211, 10274, 11254.
  • 9. W.R.O. 132, Bath to Astley, 1810, and see above, p. 103.
  • 10. Bishopstrow Parish Records, Eastleigh Estate Sale Catalogue.
  • 11. U.D.C. Mins. of Sewage Cttee. 1893-8.
  • 12. Longleat MSS. Parcel XXVIII, Lease.
  • 13. Ibid. Parcel XXVII, Acct. Rolls 1379-80, 1385-6, 1390-1.
  • 14. Ibid. MS. 9040.
  • 15. Ibid. Rental 1578.
  • 16. Ibid. Parcel XXVII, Rental 1659.
  • 17. Longleat Estate Office, Survey 1743, p. 42.
  • 18. W.R.O. Inclosure Award.
  • 19. V.C.H. Wilts. ii, p. 167.
  • 20. J.I. 1/998 m. 7.
  • 21. S.C. 6/1061/9.
  • 22. See p. 79.
  • 23. S.C. 6/1119/11.
  • 24. C.P. 25(1)/257/66/25, 27; C 1/411/26.
  • 25. See p. 99.
  • 26. W.R.O. 442/1.
  • 27. C.P. (25)2/242/44 Eliz. I East.
  • 28. C 6/154/113.
  • 29. Bristol Univ. Hodge (Baker) MSS. 76/105; see above, p. 103.
  • 30. Longleat Estate Office, Rental 1837.
  • 31. W.R.O. 160 a, Astley Settlement, 1849; Bishopstrow Parish Records, Eastleigh Estate Sale Catalogue.
  • 32. C 6/154/113; W.R.O. 442/1, Newspaper cutting stuck to f. 56 v.
  • 33. U.D.C. Min. Bks.
  • 34. See p. 55.