Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Mills on the Doverbeck by W A James

I have visited the site of all these mills except Salterford mill. The evidence I have collected for this list is as follows. By and large ancient spellings are in italics.

2] Salterford mill: In the records of the last Justice’s seat as it was called, or the last Iter or Journey of the Justice in Eyre for all King’s forest north of Trent made before William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, from 1662 onwards, when all persons claiming any ground or privilege in the forests had to appear, put forward their claim with proofs, and obtain a verdict, I found the claim of William Willoughby to hold the manor of Salterford, and to be allowed to rebuild a mill on the Doverbeck in the place where a mill formally stood. The claim was allowed. The date of this entry is 1662, and I suppose the site of the mill was known then, but it is quite lost now. All we know is it was in the forest, that is on the south side of the river.

3] Oxton Mill: In Domesday book dated 1086 this mill was worth 5s.4d. per annum in Saxon days. In 1086 it belonged to Roger de Busli, and in 1570 it belonged to Strelley Manor (Thoroton). I visited the site in 1933. It is now called Harvey’s mill, and belongs to the Oxton Estate and is in the tenure of Mr William Esam. It is also called Oxton Mill Farm. Three generations of Harvey have occupied this farm, and the present Mrs Esam was a Harvey. The house was built about 50 years ago, and the old house standing on the north side of the river bank is now inhabited by a labourer. The mill building has been pulled down but the site remains. The mill is marked on the ordnance map, and the road leading to it. It is in Oxton parish, and on the north side of the river.

4] Epperstone Mill: The perambulation of the forest in 1663 says “And then to Salterfordam, and from thence in a direct line to Oxen [Oxton] milne, and down to Epperston milne, and to Grimes Moor”.

There can be no uncertainty about Epperstone mill, it was above Grimesmoor. In Domesday book there are four mills mentioned in the parish of Epperston and Woodborough. They are not called water mills. At an inquest held after the death of Pagan de Tibtoft in 1314 the jury said that Pagan and his wife held jointly on the day that Pagan died the manor of Epperston. Sir John de Odingsells was chief lord. Then follows a list of what belonged to the manor including “also 1 water mill worth nearly 20s”. They also said John is son and heir of Pagan and is one year old. Among the Oxton papers connected with the forest there is a copy of a regard or survey of the forest made in 1357. In this the regarders reported that “Gervas Clifton, Knight, that is dead, held one water milne at Epperston that is called Payne milne, to the which the water of Doverbeck, that is a bound of the forest, is drawne out of ye right course by the said Gervas to the said milne to the King’s hurt, and noysance (nuisance) of the town of Calverton, and John Jors is now tenant”. The late Major Huskinson told me that Alford’s mill is Payne’s mill, called after Paganus de Tibtoft. Among the marriage bonds at Southwell Minster I find one Jonathan Parkes, miller, of Epperston, mentioned in 1790. I visited the site of this mill in 1933. It is called Criftin mill, and Mr Alford, keeper on the Oxton estate lives there now. The remains of the mill stream are still in existence, but no machinery or buildings. It is entirely in the parish of Epperstone, and a footpath from Calverton leads to the mill, which was on the north side of the river. The site is marked on the ordnance map. I have found the name Criftin as far back as 1687.

6] Woodborough Mill: In Domesday book one Ulchel had a mill at Woodborough in the Saxon times and he held the same after the Conquest [1066]. The mill was worth 20s. Paganus de Vilers held land in Woodborough in Edward III’s time, and he passed some of it to Richard de Strelley. In 1535, the Canon of Oxton and Crophill, second part, in Southwell Minster, owned half the tithes of Woodborough mill. In 1662 Philip Lacock claimed the manor of Woodborough called Strelleys manor and one ancient mill in Woodborough. The claim was allowed by Court. I visited the site of this mill in 1933. It belongs to Mr Bourne of Epperstone Manor, and is in the occupation of Mr Henry Harvey. The mill works were removed by the late Sir Francis Ley when he lived at Epperstone. The buildings remain on the south side of the river. They are in Woodborough parish. In the church registers are recorded the marriages of William Mettam, miller, in 1763, of Joseph Whitehead, miller, in 1755 and William Mathain, miller, in 1763.

7] The Paper Mill: As regards records this is a most disappointing mill. It is obviously very old and is on the north side of the river, and not in the forest. It is not mentioned in any of the forest records that I have seen. The only entry about it that I know of is on a map belonging to the late Major Huskinson dated 1732. Here it is called the paper mill. It is the parish of Epperstone. It was owned for many years by Mr Wood of Tintagel who died in the year 1935, and by his father before him. It lately belonged to Colonel Dowling but was sold in the summer to Mr J.F. McLellan of an ancient Scottish family. Mr Wood told me that his father manufactured all the wads known as Bolton wads for the old muzzle-loading canons used in the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny. Brown paper was afterwards manufactured here. In the church registers there are the marriages of William Chandler, paper maker, in 1763, and of Haig Smith, paper maker, in 1779.

8] Carby’s Mill: The perambulation of 1663 says “And from Grimes Moor downe to Woodborow milne, and to Lowdham milne, and so to Gunaston milne, and from thence to Lowdham milne”. I have recorded what I know of Woodborough mill and the next mill is Lowdham mill. There are unfortunately two Lowdham mills mentioned; the first must be Carby’s mill still called Lowdham mill. In Domesday book Lowdham, Gunthorpe and Caythorpe all come under one heading as if they were one parish. No mill is mentioned for Lowdham. I think this mill is possibly that given to the Priory of Thurgarton by Ralph de Bellafago at the same time that he gave the church of Lowdham to the Priory. But the curious thing is that the church of Lowdham is not mentioned again as being the property of Thurgarton. In the rent roll of the Priory dated 1328 neither the church of Lowdham nor the mill of Lowdham is mentioned. I do not find that Thurgarton Priory owned Carby’s mill at the dissolution of the priory. In 1662 John Clay claimed Lowdham mill and this claim was allowed by the Court. In 1765 the owner was Mary Leake and she was allotted 3 acres, 1 rood and 23 perches of land in the Lowdham Award. In the marriage bonds in Southwell Minster one Brian Flinders, miller of Lowdham, appears. Mr Bourne of Epperstone is the present owner [1933]. The mill is on the south side of the river with a road leading to it. Recent tenants have been Goodacre, Singleton and now Mr Carby. The mill is in Lowdham parish.

9] Parkinson’s Pit: This pit in the river is in the parish of Gonalston and marks the site of Parkinson’s mill, the Gunerston milne of the 1663 perambulation. The mill belonged to Brodbusk Spital, an ancient hospital for lepers founded before 1179. In 1625 it passed, after much trouble, into the hands of the rectors of Gonalston, and finally into those of the Gonalston estate, when the estate exchanged lands with the rector for land in a ringed fence, now the glebe farm. I do not know how the Spital obtained the mill. It is possible that it is the Heverard mill opposite to Lowdham church which was given to the Spital before 1179 by William de Heriz. The charter, updated, says “I William de Heriz have given to the infirm of Bradebusc the mill called the Moor mill and the mill called Heverard, which stands opposite the church of Lowdham at a rent to Simon my son of one mark yearly, as long as he will receive it, etc.” This mill must have been on the Cockerbeck one would imagine, which runs close to Lowdham church, but it is never mentioned again. If we take a pair of compasses and put one leg of them on the map at Lowdham church we find with the other leg that Parkinson’s pit is the nearest mill on the Doverbeck to the church. Perhaps this is the meaning of the entry. It is possible the Spital refused to pay the rent and so the gift lapsed, or it may have been exchanged for Parkinson’s pit. It is hardly likely any further information will be forthcoming about it so we must leave it alone. In Domesday Book two mills are mentioned in Gonalston and there were two mills there in 1662. Now unfortunately they have both disappeared. Parkinson’s pit was presumably one of them. The mill is called by several names and was a fulling mill, Parkinson’s mill, Walker’s mill, Saunderson’s mill and Bonwick’s mill.

After Domesday Book we get no information about the mill till 1391. There is at Gonalston a copy of a lease, dated at Gonalston 27th October in that year, between Roger de Wydnerpoll, master of Brodbusk and the brethren, and Arnald de Clyffmylne of Lowdham and Beatrice his wife, by which the master and brethren let to Arnald the priest’s mill on Doverbeck and a bovate of land for 30 years at the rent of 40s per annum, Arnald to keep it in repair for fulling cloth. In 1535 the mill was included in the return to the crown of the value of Brodbusk Spital as being worth 40s per annum. In 1549 it was accompanied by John Saunderson in 1550 by John Key. In the court rolls of that year I find that the jury say “John Key has cut down and carried away a tree in the Lord’s wood without leave. Therefore he is fined 2d. He has put his cows in the cow pasture, fined 4d., and ordered to do so no more under a fine of 3d each time. He is ordered to stop up a certain way generally used by him from his field to the Westfield to the hurt of the tenants before Sunday next under a penalty of 12s”. In 1553 the lord of the manor at the request of Thomas Cooper Esquire gave leave to John Key the miller of the Spital mill to continue, as agreed by the whole homage, (manor court) to pasture (?) one cow and one horse. In 1555 William More brought a plea of trespass against John Key for 2s 8d in the manor court. The jury say that John Key lets his pigs run in the corn fields beyond Doverbeck bridge. He was fined 4d.

In 1578 the mill was occupied by Ellis Walker, in 1586 by the same man. In 1599 by John Parkinson. In 1603 by George German, and later by Parkinson. In 1620 and again in 1690 by John Parkinson. In 1820 it is called Bonwick’s mill, late Parkinson’s. The rent was always 40 shillings a year. The site is opposite the Carr Holt wood and is on the north side of the river.

Thomas Cooper mentioned above comes into this history as follows. In 1547, the first year of Edward VIth, Parliament gave to the crown all the chauntries. Thomas Newton was then master of the Spital. He said the hospital was a chauntry because one of his duties was to sing mass in Gonalston church twice every week. Many of the chauntry lands including Brodbusk were sold by the crown to one Nevill, who sold the Brodbusk lands to the Coopers. They allowed Newton to remain for life in the house and were content to take the rents. When Newton died John Kirkby, rector of Gonalston, got himself appointed master of the Spital and took possession. He then brought an action in the chancery to have it determined that the property was a hospital and not a chauntry, and that the sale to Nevill was wrong. Queen Mary was on the throne then, and Kirkby won his case, and the property was restored to him as master. When Elizabeth came to the throne she discovered that Nevill had never paid for the lands he bought. She therefore wrote to the sheriff of Nottingham “to capture the body of Nevill and send him up to London”. The sheriff held an inquest and found that Nevill was dead and had not lived in his jurisdiction. The Queen replied by ordering the sheriff to take into his hands all the property that Nevill had bought and not paid for. Kirkby on hearing this petitioned Sir Walter Mildmay, the chancellor, to prevent the Spital property being taken, which Mildmay did, and so the property belongs to the rectors of Gonalston to this day.

10] The Lord’s mill: The site only of this mill remains. It is between the Spital mill, or Parkinson’s pit, and the Hermitage bridge. It must be the second Lowdham mill mentioned in the perambulation of 1663. The buildings seem to have been on the south side of the river, which is the Lowdham side, but it was really in Gonalston parish. by the boundary of the manor of Gonalston made by rector Kirkby in 1574, we find the beck field lay on the Lowdham side of the river. This mill is called the Beck mill, the Lord’s mill, the Bark mill and Becker’s mill. These two last names occur in the court rolls which are written very badly and hurriedly and are doubtless meant for the Beck mill. This presumably is the second of the two mills mentioned in Domesday Book as being in Gonalston.

There is no mention of this mill in the inquest taken in 1299 on the death of John de Heriz which is curious, but in that taken 1537, on the death of Thomas Monoux ii is mentioned. It is mentioned in the court rolls in 1528 and 1537. In 1528 the complaint is made that William Ady (whose proper name was William Addeson, the tenant of Cliff mill, which belonged to the prior of Thurgarton) had inclosed a common way leading from a certain bridge to Saltercroft towards Beck mill. In 1537 the same Addeson had made a fence between the highway and the soil of the Lord between the Hermitage bridge and the mill called Beck mill to the hurt (damage) of his neighbours. The mill was occupied by Lawrence Ward in 1607 and 1608, and by Ralph Cooke in 1629. It is mentioned as White’s mill in 1820.

11] Cliff mill: This is perhaps the most difficult of all the mills to clear up. The perambulation of 1663 calls it Baker’s mill, which was between the second Lowdham mill and Hoveringham mill, called in the perambulation Forringham mill, doubtless a mistake of the person copying the records. After passing the Hermitage bridge the river takes a sharp bend to the south. The mill is on the east side of the river and not in the forest, in the parish of Lowdham and a bridge leads to it. The new by-pass road crosses the river just south of the mill. It is not mentioned in Domesday book. Just behind the mill is a large field which is Moor mill close. I find this field called “a close of the Marshy mill called Moor Mill Close” in 1619. Moor mill close belonged to the Spital all the time we have any records of that property. I wonder if it is the mill called “de la More Mill” given to the Spital by William de Heriz before 1179. If it is the same mill it would be interesting to know how the Spital lost it, for it belonged to Thurgarton Priory for centuries. In their cartulary there two charters about this mill. (1) William Carpenter gave to Thurgarton Priory with the consent of his heirs, Henry Biset his son, and Manasserus Biset his brother, and Ernulph Biset his nephew, his mill of Cliff on the Doverbeck and all its belongings, for the good of his mother Havisia and his own wife Susan and others, to be used for building the new church, and when that is finished then for the commons of the brotherhood. He also gave his body to be buried in the church if he died in England. This charter is undated and un-witnessed, but as the mill was given for the building fund of the church at Thurgarton which was taking place in 1228 we must take this as about the date of the charter.

The second charter is (2) a charter of Henry Biset son of the said William Carpenter confirming his father’s gift. He mentions a bovate of land in Lowdham and a toft next the mill as given by his father.

The next place to find any record of this mill is of the income of the Priory in 1328 in the same book. Unfortunately there is no mention of the mill in Lowdham, only of 3 acres once Richard de Ludham’s in that parish.

In 1535 Henry VIIIth had a book made of the value of all the property of the church which is called Valor Ecclesiasticus. In this return the water mill of Lowdham belonging to Thurgarton Priory was entered as being worth 53s.4d.

In the Public Record office, among the Augmentation of the income of the crown records, I find the Cliff mill on the Doverbeck in Lowdham was leased by Thurgarton Priory to William Addeson under the seal of the Priory dated 22nd February, 1518, and to his heirs for 13 years at the yearly rent of 53s. 4d. The mill was probably sold by the Augmentation authorities in 1553 to George Cotton and William Manne of London, but the entry is not very clear.

I have already mentioned William Addeson under the Lord’s mill. The Cliff mill was not in the manor of Gonalston but was surrounded on three sides by it and the fourth side was very small compared with the others. From the manor court rolls I find that in 1525 the jury say William Addeson has made a fence in the way leading to Saltercroft so that the tenants cannot use that way as they used to do, therefore William is ordered to remove the fence within four days. In 1529 they say he will not lay open two small closes of pasture, one of them called Milhil close, as the other tenants of the lord are accustomed to do according to the custom of the manor. He is ordered in future each year to allow the two closes to be open, and moreover is to show at the next court what evidence he has to support his claim to keep these closes closed. At this court Ralph Addeson, William’s son, did fealty for a messuage late in the occupation of his father at the yearly rent of 31s.6d. In 1533 the jury say William has inclosed a bit of land with a fence in the Fallow field. He is ordered to open the said bit of land when the field is open. In 1537 he is ordered as tenant of the Prior of Thurgarton to make his own proper fence between Spicer close and the tenement of Richard Swift, and if he makes it illegally on the ground of the lord he is to remove it before All Saints Day and then put it on the Prior’s land as it used to be. In 1539 they say that William ought to come to the court. He was fined 2d. In 1541 they say he has incroached on the lord’s land beyond Doverbeck by Barker Hill.

In the boundary of the manor dated 1574 this mill is called Master Berwyke’s mill. John Berwick was the last Prior of Thurgarton. In the perambulation of 1663 it is called Baker’s mill.

The only entry of any Baker I can find is the marriage in 1619 of Francis Baker of Lowdham. In other papers at Gonalston the mill is called Lowdham or Cliff mill. Again in 1690 when Mary, widow of Henry How, sold the mill it is called Cliff mill, alias Clewlz or Clew mill. The names of the fields attached to the mill at that date were The Orchard and garden, the Croft, Willow Holme, Close and cottage, close with river running through it called Armitage toftstead, Walk mill close and Barkhouse close. Armitage is the old form of Hermitage. The names Walk mill close and Barkhouse close are curious. A walk mill is a fulling mill, so called because when the water power is not sufficient to raise the great beam used in a fulling mill men used to tread on the cloth to be fulled instead. In the records Cliffe mill is always a water corn mill and never a fulling mill. I do not understand Barkhouse close. The mill immediately above was the Beck mill twice called the Bark mill.

In 1695 Wilkinson, a miller, and Sewell bought this mill. In 1737 John Bellars bought it. In 1764 Reddish and Marshall sold it to Hodgkinson. In 1780 Lambert bought it and in 1807 he sold it to Abbott and Foster of Lowdham. In 1842 the owner was White, and it was late in the occupation of Bradley and Harvey. In 1765 the mill is called the Howe mill in the Lowdham award. In 1820 it is called Reddish’s mill now Oldham’s. In the eighteen eighties the late Mr J.L. Francklin bought it and added it to the Gonalston estate.

This is the Lowdham mill that has obtained some little fame in the history of the Poor Law and Factory Laws in this country. One Robert Blincoe, an orphan, sent at the age of 7 from St Pancras workhouse to work in a cotton mill, wrote after some hesitation an account of his life in cotton mills. He was thought to be the son of a parson and was called Saint Blincoe and Parson Blincoe. He was born in 1792 and went to St Pancras workhouse in 1796. In August 1799 he was apprenticed to Lambert’s cotton spinners of St Mary’s parish, Nottingham, and they put him to work at Cliff mill. He says Lowdham mill was situated near a village of that name and stands 10 miles distant from Nottingham on the Surhill (meaning Southwell) road. The mill was a large and lofty edifice being surmounted by a cupola. When he first saw it he thought it was a church. The apprentices’ house was half a mile from the mill. The rest of the story can be read in Highways and Byways of Nottinghamshire by J.B. Firth, pages 167 to 170. Blincoe adds “It is due to them (Lamberts) to say with the exception of Mary Richards (who was so dreadfully racked upon a shaft and her bones mostly broken) not one of the children sent to their mill by St Pancras was injured as to be made a cripple nor were they deformed in their knees and ankles…They were decently clad, a best suit for Sundays and Holy days, all went to Goose Fair and were given 6d. each and regaled with Furmety. They went to Lowdham church regularly on Sundays”. Later on he went to another mill in Derbyshire where the treatment was brutal. Blincoe lived in Manchester and was persuaded to write his story after being worried to do so by a man called John Brown. He was about 35 years old when he wrote the book and kept a small grocer’s shop in Turner Street, Manchester. He committed suicide 2 or 3 years before the book was printed. There is information at Gonalston showing that Lamberts built the Hermitage cottages, so I suppose these were the apprentices’ house. There were 10 cottages at the Hermitage but eight of them have been pulled down and two left. I am told there was a house in Lowdham called the workhouse, but as this was a mile away it can hardly have been the apprentices’ house.

The machinery is still in the mill but it is not used at present, and there is only about half the water power there used to be, owing to pumping. It has been let many times for short periods in the past 30 years for various purposes but not for grinding corn.

12] Hoveringham Mill: Hoveringham is frequently spelt Horringham or Horingham in old writings. There are two mills mentioned in Hoveringham in Domesday Book, but there is only one water mill in the parish now. This mill belonged to Thurgarton Priory, but I cannot find any charter to fit it. It is called Barray mill and Baryl mill in the Gonalston papers. In the rent roll of Thurgarton dated 1328 two wind mills are entered and the mills of Barailium and Snelling all under Thurgarton, the value is given at 5 marks. Why these mills should be entered under Thurgarton and not under Hoveringham and Caythorpe I cannot tell. In 1535 in Henry VIIIth valuation the mill is not mentioned at all. Like Cliff mill, Hoveringham mill was on the border of the manor of Gonalston so I find in the court rolls the following.

In 1541 the jury say that the miller of the Barey mill shall keep his pigs out of the Wrongdoles and seed field adjoining. In 1542 that the miller of the Barrell mill let his pigs run on the Wrongdoles against orders. He was fined 12d. Further on at the same court that Henry Dankes the miller of the Barrell mill is not to let his beasts and pigs come into the manor under a fine of 2d for each offence. In 1553 that Henry Dankes has forfeited his fine put upon him in the last court for taking his carts on the meadows to the damage of his neighbours, so he was fined 3s.4d. They say he encroaches and digs on the soil of the lord in Wrongdoles bank so he was fined 12d. For letting his cattle or horses graze on the common land of the manor he was fined another 12d., and a further 6d. for letting his pigs run on the Wrongdoles, and 6d. more for letting them go on the Ox pasture. He was ordered to do so no more under a penalty of 6s.8d.

In 1550 Thomas Hay and Rector Kirkby both brought pleas of trespass against Henry Dankes in the court, and Dankes was summoned to answer at the next court, but what happened I do not know as the record of that court is missing. Further, the jury complained that Henry Dankes had taken his beasts out of the pound where they had been put when found grazing on the sown fields. He was find 12d. He also had driven his carts through the manor to the injury of the tenants and was find 12d and ordered not to do so any more under a fine of 3s. 4d. In 1555 he had forfeited his penalty of 3s.4d put on him at the last court for driving his carriages over the Wrongdoles and 6s.8d for letting his pigs trespass there. They said also that he had made an encroachment at the Wrongdoles dyke and was fined 4d.

In 1574 Rector Kirkby made his boundary of the manor. He says “from the nether end of the spital wong, butting on a hedge called Hoveringham hedge, extending in length by the said hedge to a mill standing on Dover Beck called Barray mill belonging to the late monastery of Thurgarton”.

In the public records in 1540 I find “a water mill in Hoveringham called Barrell milne upon the water of Darbecke in Hoveringham parish now let to Bartholomew Orme”. The mill was granted to Trinity College, Cambridge, who still own it. The present occupier is Mr Poole. It is often called Driver’s mill. It is on the south side of the river.

13] Caythorpe mill: This mill, I am sure, is Snelling mill, but it has given me much trouble to settle it. The name had completed disappeared, although it was known so late as 1765 when the Lowdham award was made. It is first mentioned in the Thurgarton cartulary. There I find the following charter. Ralph de Bellafago has given to God and St Peter and the canons of Thurgarton for the health of his soul and the souls of all his ancestors the mill on Doverbeck called Snelling mill and the land and meadow adjoining. This is undated. Then comes another charter. Ella de Bellafago once wife of Gilbert de Norfolk has given to God and St Peter and the canons of Thurgarton for the health of her soul and that of her husband Gilbert and of all her ancestors the mill called Snelling mill with a bovate of land and meadow adjoining in the same way as Ralph de Bellafago, her uncle, gave it. This also is undated. In the same book in the rent roll of 1328 is under Gunthorpe “received from John de Holm for the mill meadow and land called Elandes 5s. 6d. From the same John for a bit of land called Terdrauht and the mill called Snelling 13s.4d”. The mill is not mentioned in Henry VIIIth valuation of 1535.

In the public record dated 1547 this mill was granted to Trinity College, Cambridge, as “our water mill called Snelling mill with all its rights etc., in Hoveringham now or late in the tenure of Bartholomew Orme or his assigns”. So that both Hoveringham mill and Caythorpe were held by Bartholomew Orme. They cannot be one and the same mill for they are both entered separately in the rent roll of Thurgarton under their separate names and were granted to Trinity College at different dates. Thoroton in his history of Nottinghamshire puts Lowdham, Gunthorpe and Caythorpe in one article as they appear in Domesday Book. He mentions the two charters I have quoted from Thurgarton cartulary and the gifts of the Bellafagos, under Lowdham, Gunthorpe and Caythorpe. Although the mill is in Caythorpe parish it is only about 50 yards from the Gunthorpe boundary so it may well be entered in the rent roll as Gunthorpe. The Ormes or Orams were a Caythorpe family. In the Gonalston papers about Brodbusk Spital one of the dated papers is a copy of a petition from Lawrence Mitchell to Queen Elizabeth dated 1586. In this Stephen Oram of Caythorpe is mentioned, being a labourer. In this same year he is called Stephen Oram of Caythorpe, yeoman, aged about 32. In another paper he is called Stephen Oram, alias Orme. He was alive in 1601 when he was called Stephen Oram, alias Orme. In 1575 Anne Orme, or Oram, of Caythorpe appears in the Lowdham registers and in 1592 Stephen Oram, or Orme, of Gonalston appears.

In 1765 J Taylor owned the mill as appears in the Lowdham Award. In the Caythorpe rate books John Taylor owned it in 1816 and Richard Wallace occupied it. In 1836 the Rev’d J.W. Edge owned it and Thomas Baker was the occupier. Now it is owned by Mr Gregory. This mill ground for Gunthorpe as well as for Caythorpe.

Mills on the Doverbeck (some aditional & final notes)

In the Forest book dated 1663 on the 4th April it was ordered that the gauge of Caythorpe mill and all other mills in the forest shall be as follows. The gate 4 feet high. The breadth of the river at the top 12 feet and at the bottom 8 feet. The wash to carry away the water 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

Up to about 70 years ago the river Doverbeck started in Blidworth parish at the Fishpools, about three miles above Salterford dam where it begins at present. This is undoubtedly accounted for by pumping operations in this district.

I find none of the mills marked on Saxton’s map dated 1576, or on Thoroton’s map dated 1676 or Morden’s map dated 1695. On Chapman’s map dated 1774, Oxton, Epperston, Woodborough, Paper mill, Carby’s mill, Cliff mill and Caythorpe mill are all marked.

The following records I cannot place with any certainty:

1. In 1662 John Grobham How and Hannabelle his wife claimed at the Forest court a mill on Doverbeck in Epperston and pasture in Grimesmoor. The claim was allowed. What mill was this? Epperston mill was on the north side of the river and not in the Forest.

2. In Domesday book it says “in Blidworth the Archbishop of York has one mill which is in Lowdham”. How can a mill be in both Blidworth and Lowdham?

3. At an inquest as to the property of John de Loudham taken in 1318 he is said to hold half of Lowdham mill from Auricus de Sulvi and the canons of Southwell at a rent of 15s per annum. As far as I know the canons of Southwell never owned half a mill in Lowdham.

4. In Thurgarton cartulary is the charter of Robert de Chalz who gives to the Priory the site of his mill on Doverbeck which was once held by Sladewynus the miller, but he did not give it straight out but for two years only and the Priory was to have all the profits beyond one mark of silver per annum. Now in 1690 we find Cliff mill called Cliff mill, alias Clewlz or Clew mill. Is this meant for Chalz?


Mr Leman points out that I have not mentioned the two important maps for the Forest of Sherwood belonging to the Duke of Rutland. Both are undated but the earlier is about 1380 and the latter about 1593.

The Doverbeck is not marked on the 1380 map at all, but “Epurston Mylne” is shown.

The 1593 map is inscribed “John Manners escuyre”. This map shows “the Derbeck or Doverbecke” and the following:

1. Salterford damme

2. Oxton mill

3. Mill unnamed, but meant, for Epperston Mill

4. Mill unnamed, but meant, for Woodborough Mill

5. Mill unnamed, but meant, I think, for Carby’s Mill

6. Mill unnamed, but meant, I think, for Parkinson’s Mill

7. Mill unnamed, but meant, for Cliff Mill

8. Mill unnamed, but meant, for Hoveringham Mill

9. Caythorp Mill

It is impossible to be quite sure about numbers 5 and 6. I can only judge by the distances between all the mills. I am indebted to Mr S. Perkins, late a Chorister of Southwell, for the map.


I have to thank the Chapter of Southwell for giving me access to the cartulary of Thurgarton Priory, Mr Edward Franklin of Gonalston for access to the many papers preserved at The Hall [Gonalston], Captain Sherbrooke,  RN of Oxton for the record of the last Iter or Journey of the Justices in Eyre for the Forest of Sherwood in 1663, Mr H.M. Leman of Low Pavement, Nottingham, for information about the Forest [Sherwood], Mr Otter, the Vicar, and the Lowdham Parish Council for the Lowdham Award.

The mills on the river Doverbeck are most confusing. In the cartulary of Thurgarton Priory I found Cliff mill and Snelling mill: in the Gonalston papers, in the court rolls, Mormylne close, Berkers mill, Bark mill, Barrys mill, Barrel mill, Spital mill; in the hospital of Brodbusk papers, De la More mill, Heverard mill, Arnald de Cliff mill, Priests mill, Parkinson’s mill, Marshy mill and Mr Odinsell’s mill; in the boundary of the manor dated 1574, Barray mill, Mormylne close, Cliff mill, Beck mill and Master Barwyke’s mill; in the leases, the Lord’s mill.

Knowing that the river was a boundary of the Forest of Sherwood I hunted through all the records of the Forest I could find with the result that the perambulation of the Forest in 1663 gave me the fullest list of the mills. The perambulation says “and then to Salterfordam and from thence in a direct line to Oxen milne, and down to Epperstone milne, and so to Grimes Moor down to Woodborough milne, and to Lowdham milne, and so to Gunaston milne, and from thence to Lowdham milne, and so to Baker’s milne, and so down unto Forringham milne, and thence to Caythorpe milne, and soe as the river was want to run in antient time into the river Trent, directly over against a place where a milne stood, on the southside Trent”. This list included all the mills I know about except Salterford mill and the paper mill.

The following seems to be the full list of the mills under their modern names.

1. Salterford mill

2. Oxton mill

3. Epperstone mill

4. Woodborough mill

5. The Paper mill

6. Carby’s mill

7. Parkinson’s pit

8. The Lord’s mill

9. Cliffe mill

10. Hoveringham mill

11. Caythorpe mill

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