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Kellaways Mill

In 1654, George Knight brought Kellaways 'Mills' from the Long family, who owned the manor of Tytherton Kellaways. George was already resident at the Mills and his occupation was given as miller. According to the conveyance, there were three separate water mills on the site, one of which was grinding grain. The other two were fulling mills involved in the manufacture of woollen cloth. Fulling was the only aspect of cloth manufacture which was mechanised during the seventeenth century. It was the process by which fabric was shrunk and thickened. Hammers, called fulling stocks, driven by the water, lashed the sodden fibres. Surrounding the Mill, George owned four acres of pasture, and here is likely to have stood a rack where the shrunken textile was stretched on big frames known as tenters (a link to the origin of the phrase 'on tenterhooks'). The Knight family remained at the Mill for several generations, but after George's death, his heirs stopped fulling cloth and concentrated on grinding grain. In 1760, two corn mills were listed on the site when a subsequent George Knight leased Kellaways Mills to an ironmonger from Chippenham.

During the nineteenth century the Mill featured in Francis Kilvert's diary. On one occasion Kilvert enjoyed fresh watercress from Kellaways Mill that he brought from a man called 'Summerflower'. On another he walked to the Mill with Dora and poetically described the thunders of the mill weir.

'Then we stood upon the bridge over the weir and watched the solid bright green mass of water forced through the hatchway where the immense hatches were raised come rushing and tumbling into the bay below in one large wave which rebounded and curled back fiercely with a tumultuous crest of broken green water and snowy foam.'

The Kellaways Mill building dates from the seventeenth century and is now in residential use.

 

Kellaways Mill,
Maud Heath's Causeway,
Kellaways

 

NGRef: ST 94848 75860
Historic England 1022355 

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Kellaways Mill House

In 1803, a simple floor plan was made of the dwelling house attached to Kellaways mill. The miller's home was formed of a large living area downstairs with two hearths and a door and windows to the front and rear. Stairs to the first floor were marked but did not feature the first floor. The house was attached to a mediaeval chapel. The plan was made because the chapel next door was ruinous, damp and rat-infested and local people, including the mill tenant, wanted to have it demolished and rebuilt elsewhere. The plan formed part of a petition to the bishop. It may be that the miller's residence was similarly in a poor condition.

Subsequently, the chapel was demolished and rebuilt on the opposite side of the road, where it still stands. A new red brick mill house was built around the same time, which thereafter served as a residence for the miller. For most of the nineteenth century, this house was occupied by the Bethell family, who both ran the mill and farmed the surrounding land. On the death of John Bethell, the house was occupied by the Curtis family from the 1870s until the twentieth century. The tenure of the Curtis family was at times difficult. In 1883, William Richmond, the miller's stepson went to get water from the mill pond and was accidentally drowned.

 

Kellaways Millhouse,
Maud Heath's Causeway,
Kellaways

 

NGRef: ST 94898 75822
Historic England 1363835 

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Kellaways Farmhouse

The name Tytherton belongs to three adjoining settlements. To avoid confusion the prefix 'Kellaways' was added to the Tytherton hamlet and manor owned by the Kellaways family, who possessed it from 1226 and likely from the twelfth century. In the late fourteenth century, the estate of Kellaways passed out of the family's hands and quickly through several others.

In 1484, Kellaways manor was granted by the infamous Richard III to one of his supporters, Edward Redmayne, after seemingly being confiscated from its owners, the Bagot family. After Richard's death at Bosworth Field in 1485, the family, supporters of the victorious Henry Tudor, regained the manor after he ascended the throne as Henry VII. Around 1500 the manor of Kellaways was sold to Sir Thomas Long of Draycot Cerne, in whose family it remained intact for over a hundred years. The Longs owned a number of manors. Kellaways was a lesser estate, and their manor house there was likely used only sporadically. However, it was sometimes used as a dower house, the residence of a Long family widow.

During the English Civil war, Kellaways was confiscated by parliament, its owners again on the wrong side of a civil war. It was granted back to the Long family in 1651, but thereafter the Longs sold off parts of the hamlet, including what became Kellaways Farm.

From 1797, Kellaways Farm was owned by local landowner and noted agriculturalist Thomas Crook, at a time when there was great experimentation in farming techniques. The farm was likely enhanced by some of Crook's improvements, including extensive land drainage, but possibly less so by others, such as feeding his dairy cattle on steamed potatoes. When the farm was sold in 1834 it was 'considered to comprise some of the best land in the county'.

Kellaways farmhouse is believed to be the manorial residence within the hamlet. Much of the now grade II* listed house dates from the seventeenth century. During the research for this project, evidence came to light of a separate, probably earlier moated house of status 'adjacent' to the river Avon and 'adjoining the lane', the precise location of which remains unknown although likely to be close by. Intriguingly it is possible this second house may have been the original manor house, and the current Kellaways farmhouse is its replacement built by the Long family after their acquisition of the Kellaways estate.

 

Kellaways Farmhouse,
Maud Heath's Causeway,
Kellaways

 

NGRef: ST 95025 75456
Historic England 1199380 

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