Jo from the project’s steering committee has written this very interesting piece about why we believe there was once a mill on the Glebe Field in Abberley:
Evidence for Abberley Mill
In an Inquisition Post Mortem taken on 28th November 1309 of the lands and tenements of Robert de Tony, Lord of the Manor of Abberley, there is mentioned “a certain water mill, worth yearly 10s.” Inquisition Post Mortems were essentially enquiries made by the Crown, following the death of a landowner known, or believed, to have been a ‘tenant in capite’, a tenant in chief. That is, someone who held their land directly from the Crown. Under the feudal system, in theory, all land belonged to the king and was held directly by him, the royal ‘demesne’, or by a tenant in chief. The Crown’s concern was entirely financial, it being interested in any income that might result from the death of a tenant.
Further evidence of a mill appears In Volume 4 of Victorian County History where it is noted that; “There was a water mill in the manor in the 14th century, known in 1526-27 as Gardigasemyll.”
The medieval lord of the manor enjoyed the “ban,” a monopoly on certain activities, most notoriously on grinding everybody’s grain and baking everybody’s bread. The miller was probably recompensed by a share of the “multure,” the portion of flour kept as payment. In most villages the miller” farmed” the mill, paying a fixed sum to the lord and profiting from the difference between that and the “multure.” The popular reputation of the miller was notorious. Chaucer’ miller
“….was a master-hand at stealing grain.
He felt it with his thumb and thus he knew
Its quality and took three times his due –
A thumb of gold, by God, to gauge an oat!”
The tithe map of Abberley was produced in 1841 and two buildings feature in the field, which was known as Well Meadow. The adjoining field backing on to what was Billingham’s bakery was known as Mill House Meadow.
Are you interested in carrying out further research? We are planning research days at The Hive in Worcester. Please use the contact us link to find out more.