Tudor Tour

The end of Willen watermill

In 1822 Willen watermill looked like the illustration on the right. It was weatherboarded with a thatched roof. The ford over the River Ouzel, where people cross the river, is this side of the building.
The Busby Trust took care to make sure the mill was well kept: in 1756 they ordered that 'The footbridge between Milton Gate and Willen Mill (the posts, rails and planks of which are quite decayed) be forthwith repaired with Oak Timber, under the direction fo the Bailiff'.

Picture by Brian Giggins

In a survey of 1822, the surveyor, Thomas Higgs, remarks that 'The mill is an undershot one and used in dressing leather. It is rented by Mr Jefferson of Newport - much of the wheel work and dams are old and worn out- there appears much waste of water - and in the working wood work too much friction.'
He goes on, The mill is a 'poorish place, and probably more prejudicial to the Estate by penning up the water upon the meadows belonging than beneficial to it in any way, but it appears that if the Mill is removed , dams must be kept there, to maintain the water at its accustomed height. There was a corn mill until 1762 when it was taken down.
The advert from the Northampton Mercury June 25th 1825 tells us that the Willen watermill was broken up and sold on 30th June 1825.