Dewlish is a village a few miles north east of
Dorchester. The watermill, which originally had an
overshot wheel, is situated about three quarters of
a mile north of the village on the Devil’s Brook.
The long building is constructed mainly of brick and
flint and consists of the mill and mill house
(complete with a bread oven), and also a mill
cottage which is partly built of cob and was at one
time stables and looks out onto an orchard.
The first mention of Dewlish
Mill is in an Assize Roll of 1318, and involved
a dispute over the ownership of land. It next
showed up 482 years later in the land tax returns of
1780, when William Oxford owned the mill; he lived
there until 1785, but in 1786 he let it to John
Adams and John Michael.
In the 1841 census Levi Riggs is the miller. Four
years later The Tithe Rent Apportionment
records that Levi had four plots of land (one of
which was a dwelling house), a gristmill, and an
orchard; there is still an orchard attached to the
property today. The parish records of Dewlish show
that Levi had two brothers John and George. The
1851 census says that George had become miller and
was employing two labourers. In the same census
Levi is shown as having moved to Cheselbourne and
had become a farmer employing 16 labourers and
farming an area of 380 acres.
The 1861 census shows Stephen Cutler as the grist
miller at Dewlish and Kelly’s Directory
shows him as a miller until 1875 when he became a
farmer. No further references to a miller at
Dewlish have been found which would suggest it was
no longer operating as a mill, although it is still
shown as a flour mill on the1902 Ordnance Survey
By 1900 the mill had passed into the hands of ‘Old
Farmer Kent’ who had a reputation for being mean.
By the 1920s it was in the hands of the Chester
Estate and then in 1933 a Mr Frampton bought it; he
also owned Manor Farm, Dewlish. Soon after this a
misunderstanding led to the loss of the waterwheel.
Some scrap dealers called and asked Mr Frampton if
he had any scrap metal; he said they could have
the old junk down at the mill, meaning the old
rusty tools, buckets and things. When he next came
to the mill he was flabbergasted to find that the
dealers had taken his waterwheel away. Finally, in
1969 a Mr Phillips was looking for a holiday home
and bought the disused mill with its two cottages.
The mill cottage was grade 2 listed in 1987.