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Winchester City Mill

In 1086 the Domesday survey records a mill on the site paying a rent of 48/- (£2.40) per annum to the Abbess – well above the average mill rent in southern England.    During this period the mill became known as Eastgate Mill.  A period of prosperity ended after Winchester lost its status as England’s capital city and the Black Death had decimated the population in the mid 14th century.  The mill became derelict by 1417.

 King Henry Vlll took the derelict Eastgate Mill into Crown ownership at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1439 and his daughter Queen Mary Tudor then gave it to the city in 1554, partly to offset the cost of her wedding to Philip of Spain in the nearby cathedral.

At this time the mill became known as the City Mill.  The city failed to find tenants willing to restore the mill for almost two centuries and from 1662 a series of leases specify a meagre rent of 10/- (50p) per year ‘plus two chickens for the Mayor’!

In 1743 a tenant James Cooke, rebuilt the mill – this is the building you can visit today – and milling on the site resumed. 

In 1928 the mill was saved from demolition by a group of local benefactors who bought it and presented it to the National Trust.  The Trust leased the City Mill to the Youth Hostels Association and it became one of the first hostels in southern England.   
 

Eventually it became possible to restore working machinery in the mill and in March 2004 the City Mill successfully milled flour again after a gap of at least 90 years.  A new waterwheel was installed early in 2005 and visitors can see this turning the mill gears each day when the mill opens.  Regular flour milling takes place (contact the mill for dates) and wholemeal flour is available for sale. 

 A small island garden behind the mill provides a welcome escape from the busy city, is home to a variety of garden birds and a place to spot water voles and trout in the river.  Visitors will also find a well-stocked National Trust gift shop.

 

The mill is open on Friday - Monday in January and early February then every day from mid-February till the following Christmas.

Opening times are 10am - 5pm in spring, summer and autumn - reduced times apply in winter. Last entry is 30 minutes before closing.

Flour milling demonstrations are planned for every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday (except Christmas) throughout the year and also on Wednesdays from mid-February to the end of October.

Milling demonstrations are between 11am and 4pm (11am - 3pm in winter) (nb. flour milling is subject to volunteer availability, river conditions and the condition of the milling machinery).

 

Contact details:  Bob Goodwin - Miller and Visitor Services Coordinator
Winchester City Mill,
Bridge St.,
Winchester SO23 8EJ

Tel. 01962 8709057

e-mail robert.goodwin@nationaltrust.org.uk, winchestercitymill@nationaltrust.org.uk

Its web site is found here :   City Mill

Photos © David Watson Bob Goodwin, National Trust

 


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