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The Mill House

Swallowcliffe Mill stopped working at the beginning of the twentieth century when it was converted into a house. Before this it had milled flour for hundreds of years. Although not mentioned in the Doomsday Book for Swallowcliffe (1087) it is referred to in documents dated 1249 (Civil Pleas of the Wiltshire Eyre) and 1256 when the Foot of Fines records Galfrid de Hewenebergh and Claricia his wife passing the tenancy of the mill over to Henry de Cobham for the price of three silver marcs. (Foot of Fines 1256 - Public Record Office). The mill at this time belonged to the Abbess of Wilton. It is possible that the lowest storey of the west part of the mill dates back to these times. The mill at that time would have been smaller than it stands today.

In 1917 Robert Hyde leased the mill to Matthew Bealing. It was described as;
"A dwelling house built with stone in good repairs consisting of one room below and two butterys and two above with a mill at the east end of the said house and a barn of two rooms and a stable adjoining and a garden and orchard in which is about twelve trees." It also came with common of pasture for ten sheep, one horse and a cow.
(Surveys of Swallowcliffe, West Harnham and Easton Bassett - C18th and C19th.)

In 1742 the mill came under the ownership of Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. It remained a part of the Pembroke Estate until 1894.


Until the nineteenth century the mills water source was a stream fed by numerous springs. The mill was then greatly enlarged: The building was heightened with a new range built on the eastern side. A bakery with bread oven was installed. The south of the mill was embanked and a large mill pond was constructed. The course of water was diverted by a new leat, three quarters of a mile long, that was dug at a higher level and lined with clay. A new iron breastshot wheel was installed. It was a breastshot ponsolet wheel widely used from the 1830's onwards and invented by a Frenchman named Ponsolet. From 1889 Kelly's Directory lists the mill as being both water and stream powered. At this time steam milled grain was believed to produce white flour. The miller then was James Hiscock. He is remembered as a generous man who ground the villagers field gleanings and made their bread for them at the end of harvest, charging them nothing.

By 1903 the mill had stopped working and was converted into a house. The machinery was removed and all that remains is a large sluice gate at the end of what was once the mill pond and a grindstone that now sits on a tree stump.©2001
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