15 members met at Godís House Tower in Southampton
for drinks before the lecture in the Crawford Room.
Matt Garner was, until 2017, the project officer for
Southampton City Council Archaeology Unit for 33
years and worked on numerous sites within the city.
He is currently working on the Graffiti Survey for
Southampton Archaeology Society and the Hampshire
Field Club, and showed us pictures of the
carpentersí assembly marks found at Eling Tide Mill.
The survey of Testwood Mill has also started but was
paused by the Covid pandemic. Matt showed us an
image of a salmon labelled Ď44.5í carved into a
brick wall. This might be a record for a fish caught
in the River Test!
Prehistoric ritual sites Ė like burials, but without
a body Ė have been found in Southampton with remains
of pottery, freshly flaked flints, and stone rubbers
(used with saddle querns). Saddle querns were in use
from about 4000 years ago.
In the Saxon period the querns, now rotary, of which
remains have been found, were made from lava from
Mayen Niedermendig in the Eifel Hills near the
Rhine, which would have made for easy transport.
(Millstones were still cut from this area into the
late medieval period). The quern stone remains show
the marks made by the stone dresser.
The centre of Southampton was at Hamwic, which was a
busy and successful Anglo-Saxon port where
excavations have produced the remains of pottery
shards and coins, which show mercantile activity but
not industry; so milling was, presumably, still done
Excavations in the French quarter have produced
collared, projecting hopper, dished pots, and other
querns and millstones made from limestone or lava;
they included a stone cut with concentric grooves,
not a cut used in other millstones. The site of the
demolished Customs House has also produced, under
piles of roof tiles, a 14th century stone with
An animal powered mill site has been found, during
excavations at Orchard Place. It is 8.5 metres in
diameter with fragments of burr stone, wood, and
quern fragments of lava and greensand. The animalís
track was still visible.
The groupís meeting was arranged for Godís House
Tower because Matt was sure that, looking at old
maps, documents and drawings of the building, and
examining the relieving and other arches, it must
have had a tide mill. The later construction of a
canal has complicated the water channel remains in
this area. However this information is not yet in
the public domain so we could not be told about It.
More recently, mills in Southampton were built for
Walter Taylor (1734-1803) who was a very successful
engineer; following Mr Messer and his father, he
developed a business making blocks for naval
rigging. His properties included Weston Mill and
Woodmill. His mills were originally powered by water
but later by steam. (His wikipedia entry is well
worth reading). Weston Mill has had a sewer dug
through the site, but it looks as though it was
built on the site of an earlier water mill with a
deep wheel pit.
The site known as Chapel Mills, adjacent to the
River Itchen just north of the bridge, includes the
site of Trinity Chapel (which was dissolved by Henry
VIII)..Excavation here located the foundations of a
mill, built within the chapel, and a wooden axle
with two iron collars preserved in the ground. Two
tidal mill ponds are clearly recognisable on the
early maps that Matt showed us.
The adjacent American Wharf area became a corn mill
making biscuits for naval rations, with buildings
from 1781, 1800, mid-19th century and 20th century.
It had a very early atmospheric engine, said to be
of Newcomen-type, and made by Wasborough of Bristol.
Matt then kindly answered questions. A very
successful afternoon, despite the heat, the traffic,
the parking, and the access problems found by