Welcome to the home page of the Wessex Mills Group. The Group was formed in 2003 as a centre for the milling heritage of Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. We meet regularly, often in one of our local mills, and we welcome new members and their guests. For membership and other information please find out more about us.
Tenants sought for Stembridge Tower Mill House
The National Trust is seeking tenants for the miller's house adjacent to Stembridge Tower Mill, a thatched windmill at High Ham, Langport, Somerset. Tenants would live in the house and open the windmill to the public occasionally. The outside of the windmill is open to view daily throughout the summer and the interior currently 3 days per year. There is a viewing day on Friday, 15th November and anyone interested in attending should contact email@example.com or call 01392 883 108 to book an appointment. Further information will shortly be available on www.rightmove.co.uk.
Mills on the Yeo: New publication from Martin Bodman
Mills on the Yeo and the Men Who Worked Them: A Gazetteer of Water-Powered Sites in South East Somerset and North West Dorset is now available. A gazetteer of almost 90 water-powered sites in south-east Somerset and north-west Dorset, focussing on their history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book covers mills on the Yeo and all its tributaries, including the Cam and the Wriggle. Full index with references to 196 millers, 38 bakers, 13 silk throwsters, 15 sailcloth manufacturers, and 14 flax spinners, as well as farmers, ironfounders, millwrights and landowners. 120 pages. Soft covers. Distributed by the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society, available directly from their Sherborne HQ or by post currently at £10, also from online retailers. An excellent and well-produced volume.
Petition to save Throop Mill
The Traditional Cornmillers Guild have commissioned a documentary on traditional corn milling, which can be watched on their website at www.tcmg.org.uk/mill-films. Also on that page are a set of short videos about their mills.
On 21st September Wessex Mills Group visited Little Norton Mill, near Norton-sub-Hamdon in South Somerset. Click on the photos for full-size versions.
Little Norton Mill is a small country watermill situated at the foot of Hamdon Hill, to the east of Norton-sub-Hamdon in south Somerset. It is listed Grade II, built of local limestone, and contains three floors under a plain, clay tiled roof.
The mill machinery is basically intact and is nicely representative of a late 18th century layout, with some elements replaced in cast iron during the 19th century. The overshot waterwheel is 13ft 9in diameter and was cast by G. Parsons of the Parrett Works, Martock.
The mill last ran commercially in about 1921, and the building and machinery were restored during 1996/97.
The visit was well-attended and enjoyed by all; our thanks to Peter and Julie for showing us round the mill and their lovely gardens, and for the delicious refreshments afterwards.
Featured Mill ‒ Alderholt Mill, Dorset
Photo © Stuart Buchan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Alderholt Mill, on the Dorset-Hampshire border, is a working watermill dating back at least to the 1330s, when it was known as Padner's Mill and was part of the manor of Cranborne. The mill takes its water from the River Allen, which subsequently becomes Ashford Water before joining the Hampshire Avon at Fordingbridge.
The mill is said to have had an internal wheel at some point, but the current breastshot wheel is outside at the rear of the brick mill building, fed via a depressing sluice. The cast-iron wheel measures 11' diameter, 7' 10" wide, and is marked with the name W. Munden, Ringwood. It is believed to have been made around 1850.
Working commercially until the 1940s, the mill fell out of use until being restored around 1987. It now mills regularly producing a small amount of flour from local wheat. The mill is open at weekends during the summer for cream teas, sale of bread and flour etc., with milling demonstrations on Sundays at 3pm. Self-catering and Bed and Breakfast accommodation is also available.