The Old Watermill

1st Prize Winner of the KSM plate, Best Local Exhibitor, Royal County of Berkshire Show 2007!

The Mill at Mapledurham is the only mill on the Thames still working and producing high-quality stone-ground flour. A mill was here at the time of the Domesday Survey. The core of the present building dates from the 15th century. It was increased in size in the 1670s, when the second waterwheel on the village side was added, and again around 1700.

A new barn was added on the island in 1777. The Mill continued in work until just after the Second World War and was restored and brought back into use in 1980. At its busiest it employed five people, and the miller was prosperous enough to rent the finest house in the village street.

James Webb leased the Mill and the lock in 1690 at 60 per annum. His son Daniel Webb took over from him in 1726 at a rent of 100. He was succeeded at a rent of 150 p.a. in 1747 (raised to 205 in 1776) by Thomas Antrum, who went bankrupt in 1784 over a debt of 100 to Myrtilla Mayhew. The tenure of these three millers covered the most profitable years for the Mill.

So important was the mill to the local community that as late as 1823 plans were drawn up to rebuild the Mill in classical style, by J. Phillips of Reading. This startling plan was considered seriously enough for detailed constructional plans to be drawn.

*The watermill is perhaps best known for its starring role in the 1976 film, The Eagle Has Landed, where the mill leat is the scene of the dramatic rescue of a local girl by a German paratrooper that results in the unmasking and ultimate failure of the raid.

*It is also the backdrop in the image on the cover of Black Sabbath (album), by the band of the same name.

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