Shipton Mill: A mill with history
PUBLISHED: 10:31 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 25 April 2018
As recorded in the Domesday book, there has been a mill at Long Newnton for over 900 years
When the Mill at Long Newnton was discovered by the current owners in 1981 it was a derelict, though impressive, Cotswold stone building at the end of a rutted track. A tributary of the River Avon wound round the site but the mill race was choked and the mill wheel was all but rusted away.
The machinery to clean the corn and drive the traditional French Burr Stone Millwheels has been lovingly restored and where necessary modern equipment has been cunningly blended in. Stoneground flour of the highest quality is once again being milled by dedicated and highly skilled Shipton Millers as it was in Medieval times. There has been a mill here for over 900 years, as recorded in the Domesday book and even in those days much of the grain milled here would have come from the surrounding fields as it does today.
There was a time when the local mill would have been the centre of the local social life as individual farmers and villagers brought their own corn to be milled. In 1339 the miller who paid rent of a quart of a good ale and a bushel of flour would surely have approved of the mill today.
In nearby Malmesbury, site of a Benedictine monastery, the High Street is partially paved in Shipton Mill millstones, seized by the Abbot in a quarrel with the miller over who owned the mill stream fishing rights. Closer to the mill, its current layout was created during the Napoleonic wars when the miller needed more water to power the mill. He persuaded the local authorities to lend him a platoon of French Prisoners of War to divert the stream closer to the mill.
Nowadays the mill and its associated waterways are home to a thriving and diverse ecosystem from the bats in the mill eaves to the trout and crayfish in the crystal pure stream waters fed by springs. It is said that otters pass by and the striking blue flashes of the kingfishers are an almost hourly occurrence.
Flours from the 40 strong range of speciality flours can be bought from the office during normal working hours and on Saturday by special arrangements. There is also an online shop and web site at www.shipton-mill.com.