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Castle Mill Goldington

Castle Mill on a map of 1820 [R1-32]
Castle Mill on a map of 1820 [R1/32] to see a larger version please click on the image

Domesday Book describes two mills in Goldington, these were watermills because windmills were unknown in England until the last quarter of the 12th century. Risinghoe Castle Mill was owned by Warden Abbey for much of the Middle Ages. The property was leasehold by the mid-16th century when, following the dissolution of Warden Abbey by Henry VIII (1509-1547) Richard Smith sold the five thousand year lease to Henry Dawson who, in 1607, left the mill to his Godson, Thomas Underwood [CRT130Goldington12].

The parish registers for Goldington give us names of millers, the entries being as follows [P78/1/1-3]:

  • Hezekiah Ball of Bedford, miller, buried 1686;
  • Hannah, daughter of John Gurney, miller, baptised 1700;
  • Elizabeth, wife of William Sheapard, miller, buried 1702;
  • John Tanner, miller, buried 1719;
  • Jeremiah Graham, miller, buried 1765;
  • Mahanaim Abbott, miller of Castle Mills, buried 1781;
  • John Ashby, miller, buried at the parish charge 1783;
  • Mary, daughter of Mary and Ralph Abbot, miller, baptised 1795.

In 1758 Jeremiah Graham, miller, made his will leaving the residue of his estate to his daughter Mary, wife of Mahanaim Abbot. The will was proved in 1765 [ABP/W1765/4]. The wonderfully named Mahanaim [a place beyond the River Jordan in the Old Testament] made his will in 1781 [ABP/W1781/39]. From 1778 until an unknown date, Castle Mill was owned by the Duke of Bedford [R1/31].

Poor Law records tell us that in 1804 the mill was in the hands of farmer William Clayton [PUBZ3/3/77]. At Michaelmas (25th September) 1811 John Maddams of Clophill let himself to John Clayton of Castle Mills, Goldington, as miller at the wages of £26 per annum. He continued as miller until Michaelmas 1813 [PUBZ3/3/120].

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the mill [DV1/C287/15] found it was owned by J H Howard and occupied by W H and J Rogers. The mill had three floors, with a hoist on the top floor. Inside were four separate pairs of stones for grinding the flour. The valuer commented: “Very little done now, all driven from wheel, electric light”. He also noted: “Two pairs [of stones] run at a time, sometimes one, very occasionally three. Not quite one sack an hour when two pairs of stones running”.

In 1931 plans were drawn up to alter and add to the mill [RDBP2/52]. A fire gutted the mill in 1935. At the time of writing [2017] the area of the mill is occupied by car dealers Rogers of Bedford Limited. It lies on the north bank of the River Great Ouse on a private lane which runs from the roundabout at the intersection of Goldington Road, Saint Neots Road and Norse Road.