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Colmworth Mills

looking towards the site of former Colmworth windmill Mar 2007
looking towards the site of Colmworth windmill - March 2007

No mill is mentioned in Colmworth in the Domesday Book of 1086. The According to J.Steele Elliott in Bedfordshire Historical Records Society volume XIV [pp.11-12] the mill was first mentioned in a Eyre Roll for Bedfordshire in 1227. The Justices in Eyre perambulated the country hearing cases in the middle ages and when they were at Bedford. A certain William, son of Hugh brought a case against Robert de Waldebof over the mill in Colmworth. Robert maintained William's brother Peter had mortgaged the mill to him. It was found that William's father gave a mill to Peter and that Peter did indeed mortgage it to Robert. During the mortgage term Robert moved the mill, rebuilding it on William's land (showing that it was likely a wooden structure, easy to disassemble and reassemble). Robert then built a house on the former site of the mill. The jury decided that William should have the house and that Robert should also let him keep the mill until the end of the mortgage term.

Interestingly in the coroner's rolls for the county for 1268 [Volume XLI of Bedfordshire Historical Records Society entry 26] the death of the five year old son of John the Miller is recorded. this took place down the well at his father's house which was noted as being in the South End of Colmworth. This implies a mill of some description in the southern part of the village, unless the house and mill were separated by some distance.

The first map evidence for a windmill at Mill End is on a map of 1826. A year earlier an assignment of mortgage on the "post corn and grain windmill" was made by the miller, William Doncaster to Richard Bull of Kimbolton [Huntingdonshire], butcher [WG334]. A post-mill was known to stand on this spot in 1898 and was demolished around 1906 and the sails, two of cloth and two of shutters, were taken to Bolnhurst mill. By the time Steele was writing in 1931 all that remained in Colmworth was a five foot high mound and 30 yards across, surrounded by a ditch. Jabez Stringer was the miller in 1848 and George green is noted in directories of 1869 and 1877, he was followed by William then by his son James Green, then by James' brother George who was there in the 1890s. No miller is mentioned in Kelly's directory for 1903.