Upper Mill

“On an island site created by two arms of the Bulbourne, stood the watermill – a black wooden building which leaned against the miller’s quaint old cottage. One of the ‘two mills of 20s. rent by the year’ mentioned in the Domesday Book, it was known as the Castle or Upper Mill to distinguish it from the Lower or Bank Mill. Here, within the memory of old residents, Mr. George Cook and his son kept alive an ancient industry and a grand tradition. Corn arrived by the wagon-load and sometimes in small sacks brought by gleaners, who, by paying the miler a few pence, obtained sufficient flour to provide bread for their families throughout the year.

Upper Mill_Bill Bailey

Upper Mill by Bill Bailey

The Mill’s Memorial…
A quarter of a century ago the mill was pulled down, and fives courts were built on the miller’s garden. The bed of the millstream is now dry, and the mighty millstones have been given an honourable resting place in the fore-court of the Music School. On the opposite side of the street, as a memorial to the mill, a low, half-circular wall bears a tablet with an inscription in Latin. It is a pity English was not used to commemorate a typically English institution. Prizes were once offered for a translation, and one of the successful entries were as follows:-

Here for a thousand years the old Mills stood
And gave us bread ;
Here now our School in rival Motherhood
Feeds minds instead.

The mill which gave the street its name has gone, but it will not be forgotten.”
(Beorcham, Berkhamsted Review, Jan 1950).

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