Hampshire Mills Group



HMG Activity - 1


Meetings of the Hampshire Mills Group :

Saturday 7 December 2019

Members Christmas Lunch Meeting
Tubbs Hall, Kings Worthy.  Cost £7.50 per head. 



Saturday 21 March 2020

Members Meeting

Friday 12 June
 3 - 6 pm

Members Meeting

Friday 11 September
 7.30 pm

AGM and Members Meeting



Saturday 12 December

Members Christmas Lunch Meeting





Nowadays we report on most of our trips in the Newsletter, which is shown here on the site. 

A selection of visits include :

TIMS Post Tour of Denmark Sept 2011

Hampshire Water Festival July 2010

Stroud Valley Textile Mills trip May 2010

Day out on the Thames April 2010

Coker Rope Works April 2010

A Visit to Hockley Mill Jan 2010


Hampshire Mills Group september 2009 visit to somerset


Six Hampshire Mills Group members took part in a four day conducted tour which visited eighteen watermills and two windmills. Most mills were privately owned and special viewings were granted to the organisers, the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.  The two windmills were very similar in build and we were able to climb up into Ashton Mill at Chapel Allerton; however, Stembridge Mill near Ham Hill was shrouded in scaffolding following extension renovations which precluded an interior viewing of this only remaining thatched tower mill.


Ashton Mill Chapel Allerton

The watermills varied in their uses, design build and states of restoration; only Burcott Mill, Wookey, is fully working, producing stone ground, wholemeal flour. We explored former sawmills at Timberscombe and Oakford (just over the border into Devon) as well as mills which had been important to their communities grinding flour at Kingsbury Episcopi, Norton-sub-Hamdon, Crewkerne, Bruton, Evercreech, Somerton, Ashill, Sampford Brett, Williton, Allerford, Dunster, Exton, Milverton and finally coming to a halt at Bishop’s Lydeard.  Owners of this last stop, Lower Mill, Yvonne and Charlie Back had reconnoitered and charted the route with author and researcher, Martin Bodman.  Basing us at the Holiday Inn, Taunton, they did a superb job in setting up a very interesting tour over and across a vast area of Somerset, so we extend our very grateful thanks to them and all of the mill owners, including the National Trust and Sedgemoor District Council, as well as Simon Hudson of S.P.A.B.

Text and Photos by Sheila Miles Viner

Gants Mill


Gants Mill : Mildred Cookson gets to grips with the handle


Gants Mill Owner Brian Shingler


Stembridge Mill High Ham


Rowlands Mill, Ashill : owner tells Mildred and Jim all about it


Rowlands Mill, Ashill


Somerton Mill


HMG Contingent !


Burcott Mill Wookey,
 Owner Ian Burt


Demonstration of stone dressing at Lower Mill Bishops Lydeard

Sampford Mill

Sampford Mill owners Richard and Marion Gray with Simon Hudson

Town Mill Milverton

Hampshire Mills Group (HMG) members devote considerable time and expertise to the preservation and restoration of mills and milling equipment.  This ranges from giving advice and searching historical records to hard physical labour on site.  We also venture far and wide to enjoy viewing mills in other parts of the UK and abroad.


Hampshire Mills Group at Crux Easton Wind Engine:

HMG made a trip on Sunday 27th July, 2008.   We visited Crofton pumping station to see the engines in steam, Wilton Windmill which was open, but not turning as there was no wind and finally Crux Easton Wind engine, which again could not turn due to absence of any wind.  Our thanks to John Silman, who drove the bus on a very warm day, and to Andy Fish for organising the trip.

 visit to the mills archive

HMG helped make a dream become a reality as the first mills-associated organisation to support Ron and Mildred Cookson, with a £200 cheque, to set up The Mills Archive as a database to be freely accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world. 

Needing to find a larger storage area for their huge collection of photographs and documents, the Cooksons launched the idea of  a central database for research into all types of mills throughout Britain in April 2002.   

A further 30 collections were donated and the resulting  75 boxes were moved to a low ceilinged attic room in Watlington House. 

One of our members in particular, Tony Yoward, supplied literature and pictures from the groups own archives, much of which had been researched by Tony and his late wife, Mary.  The Internet Catalogue was launched in October 2003 and to date there are 18,000 catalogue entries and  14,000 scanned images.  There are also 4,000 reference items.

A large party of Hampshire Mills Group members was recently treated to a tour of the Archives and its comprehensive library by Ron Cookson and two of his volunteer team, Ken Kirsopp  and Luke Bonwick. We learned how vital correct storage and handling of precious glass slides and delicate old documents is necessary; Ken demonstrated how to access his favourite and Luke talked us through the Archive history and the way in which it works today.

Many more volunteers are needed to cope with scanning the huge volume of information into the website as well as hosting visiting researchers to  Watlington House itself.  To find out how to become a Friend of the Mills Archive or to check out a mill go to www.millsarchive.com.

Article by Sheila M Viner, photo by Andy Fish




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