in 1795, it ceased milling corn about 16 years
ago and now out of the dust, grime and decay,
the mill has taken on a new life with the far
reaching reputation of a fully licensed free
house and a restaurant of high quality. Corn
has been ground on the present site for many
years going back to the time of King Henry VIII.
The site then was the Priory Mill, milling flour
for the monks there, now the site of the present
St. Michael's Church. It is believed the mill
.had two water wheels and was described as “Two
Mills under one roof*.
present building dates back to 1795, being built
by Robert Bill in that year. A stone on the
front of the mill is inscribed thus 'R.B.
erected in the year MDCCLXXXXV'. After over
four hundred years of milling, the site and
building, now restored, offer a pleasant setting
for your enjoyment. The Mill is fed by a leat
which enters the building by means of a bridge
at second floor level.
to 1890 the water rotated an over-shot wheel of
some 25ft. in diameter. In 1890 the wheel was
replaced by a turbine which could produce up to
30 kilowatts of electricity. The main spur
wheel, measuring 13 feet 3 inches across,
survives, and pierced wooden struts indicate the
existence of three pairs of millstones, one pair
of which remain.
pairs of stones would produce 18Olbs of fine
dressed flour per hour while the top floor of
the mill would house up to 100 tons of grain.
The pair of millstones can be found in the
Millstone Bar. Also to be seen is the arched
cast Iron window removed from the front of the
wheelhouse, which Is now the entrance,
Millstone Bar with its relaxing atmosphere and a
wide selection of drinks is available to
non-diners. On the first floor, the Mill is
proud of its unique restaurant with seating for
70 persons offering superb meals in leisurely
comfort. A new addition to the Mill on the
ground floor is a Function Room affording
pleasing views to the Coppice Valley,
accommodating up to 85 persons seated for
functions, in particular now having gained a
high reputation for weddings.
Richard Smith, son of Richard Smith, was born
in the mill house opposite on 16th February 1836.
His brainchild is “'Hovis Flour”. Smith
conceived the idea of extracting the highly
wheatgerm from the wheat, lightly cooking it to
preserve the nutrients, then putting back into
the flour many times more wheatgerm than it
originally contained. This flour was known as
'Smith's Patent Germ Flour* and the bread
produced from it 'Smith's Patent Germ Bread'.
patented his process In October I887 and teamed
with a firm of millers in Macclesfield, S.
Fitton & Sons Ltd. He joined the Board of
Fittons and died in 1900. He is buried in
Highgate Cemetery, North London, close to the
grave of Karl Marx. 'Smith's Patent Germ
Flour' was considered a cumbersome title, even
by Victorian standards, and in 1890 a
competition was held to find a mre appropriate
name. The competition was won by a Mr Herbert
Grime, an Oxford schoolmaster, who suggested 'HOVIS'
as a contraction of the Latin couplet 'Homonis
Vis' (the strength of man). Until after the
second war the 'O' in `Hovis' was always shown
thus: — 'o' thereby indicating the original
word 'Hovis' was registered as a Trade Mark in
1890. Later, in 1898, Fittons changed their
name to 'The Hovis Bread Flour Company'. Later
still in 1918, 'Hovis Limited' was launched
as a public company. The Hovis Trade Mark is
registered throughout the world.
by kind permission of Hovis Limited.