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Towcester Mill Time line Chronology

Towcester Mill 

 Time line Chronology
DateEvent Related to Towcester Mill
1086Domesday Book records one mill in TOVECESTRE rendering 13s 4d
1317John de Haule of Towcester quitclaimed a piece of meadow 13 perches in length and 18'0" (5.4m) in width leading to a watercourse to the lord's mill (recently renewed?). Tenant may build bridge and have all easements over the water except fishing. [probably north of 174 Watling St on narrow section of Mill Leet][Ref 3 p.169; Ref 4 p.31; Ref 5].
1317Walter le Warde of Towcester granted Sir Aymer de Valence cottage and curtilage between two desmesne cottages held for life by William Whiot and Richard de Haghele and 13 perches (65.4m) by 18 feet (5.4m) of meadow in Coresmede Meadow for a watercourse to the Lord's mill. [probably north of 174 Watling St on narrow section of Mill Leat][Ref 3 p.170; Ref 4 p.31; Ref 5].
1392 There are within the site of the Manor :A hall with a chamber at the south head roofed with slate; A chamber at the end of the hall thatched; A kitchen with a small stable attached thatched with straw; Two great barns at a distance; An oxhouse with stable and carthouse under one roof; A sheepfold for 200 sheep with their lambs; There is a dovecote worth 6s 8d; Within the said manor is one moat and within the moat is one mound tower. There is no mention of a mill. [Ref 6].
1451Foundation Trust Deeds had 15 feoffees . Of the two priests serving the chantry one was 'enjoined' to teach the young. The executors granted to William Hall and Nicholas Germayne two messuages. One was 'at the corner opposite the gate of the Rectory between the tenement sometime of Master Sponne to the north and the lane extending towards the mill of the lord to the south, and between Watling Street on the west and the gate of Towcester Manor on the east.' A second messuage and garden lay 'between the tenement of the lord on the south and the burgage of John Possell on the north, one end abutting church lane towards the west and the other towards the courtyard.' in Towcester. These and other lands were worth 13s 2.5d per annum but the bulk of the endowment came from a rent charge of £16 paid by the Priory of St James, Northampton. [Ref 2].
1451Letters patent (Ref 2) enabled the execTime line Chronologyutors of Archdeacon William Sponne and others to grant a messuage for the Chantry House 'on the corner opposite the rectory gate by the Mill Lane between Watlyng Strete and the gate of the manor house'. From the name of the lane we can deduce that there was a mill located not far from the present day mill building.
1542View of frankpledge held in March. Two millers were fined for taking excessive toll. The miller who held 'le Church Mylnes' was fined 1 shilling and the miller of 'le North Mylne' charged 6d. [Ref 4 p.31; Ref 9].
15491549-1550. Thomas Davie to Francis Morgan. Messuage & toft called courtburn and courtyard between tenement of Bennet Dark on the west and the river to the Lord's Mill on the east, from a close called Crosswells close on the north to tenement of William Norton on the south. Plus garden called Berymouthyl, from Lord's river called Padyse (Paradise?) by Lord's land Time line Chronologycalled Court Stable on south and by said tenement of William Norton, on west as far as said river. Plus close called Berry orchard between the messuage and the Lord's Meadow called Church Meadow, from Crosswells close by the ditch and water leading running to the Lord's Mill. [Ref 3 p.865; Ref 5].
1609Rental of the Manor of Towcester only records the North Mill for which £5 p.a. was received. [Ref 3 p.31].
1643"Having made Towcester 'very strong and brought water round about the town,' Prince Rupert left a strong garrison there and advanced to Oxford at the beginning of December" [Ref 7 p.323].
16xxThe present mill leat was constructed on the line of town ditch in the late 17th century
1711Engraving shows buildings between the church and the millstream.
1779Eyres map marks an un-named building
1790Lease between the Earl of Pomfret and Thomas Perkins about demolishing a mill building and rebuilding on the same site.
1792Datestone with inscription '1792 TP' on the southern stone abutment of the of the mill base. [Ref 8 p.298].Time line Chronology
1794The date on the date-stone of the oldest building. The last digit is unclear - it may be 1799. [Ref 8 p.298].
1795Thomas Perkins of Towcester, miller, insured £500 on utensils and stock in trade in his Water Corn Mill in Towcester.
1815Thomas Perkins of Towcester insured £300 for the dwelling house with brewhouse and stable adjoining, as well as the mill near the house, plus £300 on the water mill near the house, plus £200 on stock in hand with machinery and implements therein.
1815The building was described as 'stone and slate' on insurance.
1823Insured as carrying three pairs of stones for a total of £1,100.
1827Bryants map shows the building again un-named
1830Sarah & James Perkins at Towcester Time line ChronologyMill, also Richard Gallard, High St. Towcester were Millers
1831Partnership between Sarah Perkins and James Stuard [sic] Perkins, miller in Towcester, was dissolved on 12 April 1831.
1831Auction on the premises of Mrs Perkins at Towcester Mill, "who is declining business" on "Tuesday the 19th day of April, 1831". Nag & draught horses, stout iron-arm wagons, carts, excellent dairy cows. The sale included "a quantity of household furniture &c". Auctioneer John Martin. [Ref 10].
1834First edition one inch Ordnance Survey map does NOT show the Mill.
1837Advertised to let by Mr Perkins. The tenant at the time was Mr Tatam. The mill was working four pairs of stones when advertised to let as "now in full-trade, and most eligibly situated for markets".
1838"The former (The River Tove), approaching from Norton Mill, after crossing Watling Street at the north west end of the town, divides into two branches; the principal or old current by its artificial expaTime line Chronologynsion ornaments Easton Park, and the southern one - 'whose channel' says Bridges, [circa 1720] 'was cut within these hundred years' - [vol.1, p.72] encircles the foot of Berrymount and supplies the Mill-dam." [Ref 7 p.320].
1842Samuel Perkins succeeds his father Thomas Perkins as Miller.
1847S Perkins was the Miller
1852Samuel Harris was the Miller
1854S Perkins, Mill Cottage, and C Perkins, High St. were Millers
1864J L Gallard, of Mill Cottage, was the Miller
1881Wheat Damper installed
1883Roller grinding introduced - but not in the main mill building as far as we know.
1888Joseph Lee Gallard, who died a bankrupt, was the Miller
1888Waterwheel was fitted with 50 new starts.
1888Mill was being run by Easton Neston Estate.
1890John Franklin Chapman was the MillerTime line Chronology
c1895George Groom, millwright of Eastcote, fitted the Armfield Turbine and repaired the old overshot waterwheel. Reference was also made to a special flange for disconnecting the engine drive.
1906A F Bishop was manager for Towcester Flour Mills
1911On 14th September 1911 the Mill was completely gutted by a fire, which started in the steam engine room. The owner at the time was Sir Thomas Fermor Hesketh, Bart.
1914Albert Laurence was manager
1920Operated by Towcester Flour Mill and Trading Co. Ltd. using only water power.
1922August 1922 - 1925. Plans for a brick extension on the west side of the mill were drawn up between J.P. Maitland, Land Agent, Towcester Estate Office, Easton Neston acting for the Towcester Mill and Trading Co. Ltd. and the Architects and Surveyors, Law, Harris and Croft, of Gold Street, Northampton [source: NRO] but were later abandoned due to the cost.
19xx(after 1925) A large rectangular brick extension was built on the south side of the mill.Time line Chronology
c1936Further semi-octagonal brick extension in Art Deco style built on the west side.
1940 onwardsThe original stone building housed two pairs of peak stones (rarely used) for grinding, a bean crusher, an oat clipper, a maize crusher, and the sack hoist. These were powered by the Turbine until lunchtimes when water ran out and the electric motor was switched on. The sharpening stone was also connected by belt drive through the floor of room behind the present day main conference room. The front brick building housed an electric 'hammer mill' for producing animal feed pellets.
19xxMilling Ceased.
1996Building restored by Phoenix VLSI Ltd, a High Tech Microchip Design firm. Windows were replaced, the building was made waterproof, internal ladders were replaced by staircases. mains water, mains sewage, mains electricity, mains gas and telephones services were all added. Toilets and showers were installed. The building was fitted with lighting and air conditioning and was wired for telephones and computers.Time line Chronology
19975th October, Turbine again functional.
2000June. Phoenix VLSI Ltd was taken over by Texas Instruments Ltd. and all the staff moved to Northampton. The building was then occupied by Infra Red Integrated Systems Ltd and by Towcester Technical Services.
2005Most of the staff of Infra Red Integrated Systems Ltd moved to new premises on the Swan Valley Industrial Estate near Junction 15A of the M1 Motorway.
20061st December. Towcester Mill building was bought by South Northamptonshire Council.
2007November 2007. The remaining staff of Infra Red Integrated Systems Ltd moved to new premises at Mansard Close, Northampton.
2008April 2008. South Northamptonshire Council "revamp [the] new offices at the Mill in Towcester".
2014June 2014. Towcester Mill Brewery and Tap Room established at Towcester water mill.
References
  1. Most of the information was collected by Geoffrey Starmer (18th June 1997). Additional research by Bob Simpson, David Wilcock and Brian Giggins.
  2. Letters Patent of Henry VI, cited in P.C.C. Luffenam p278 cited in Victoria County History of Northamptonshire, Vol 2, 1906 p225.
  3. Fermor Hesketh papers. Northamptonshire Record Office.
  4. "Northamptonshire Extensive Urban Survey", Towcester 2002. (NEUS)
  5. Private Communication from G.Foard.
  6. "Extent of Towcester" 1391/2 (dated 18th March) Public Record Office DL/43/14/3.
  7. "The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton" by G.Baker 1822 and 1836 (two volumes), London.
  8. "Towcester - The story of an English country town". Towcester and District Local History Society 1995, ISBN 0 9524619 1 9, Compiled and edited by John Sunderland and Margaret Webb.
  9. Public Record Office, SC 2/195/86, m.1
  10. Northampton Mercury, 16th April 1831.
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