Mill Archive

A number of deeds relating to Badsey Mill, ranging in date from 1747-1864, were found in the attic of Malvern House in the closing year of the 20th century. The documents came into the possession of The Badsey Society via a circuitous route. For many years, the deeds had lain undisturbed in the attic. Arthur Edward Jones (1863-1950), who owned Malvern House but who lived at Badsey Hall from 1915, was also the owner of the Mill cottages, having bought them after the death of William Corbett Parker in 1914. He thus had possession of the old deeds relating to when the buildings had been a corn mill and then a silk mill. Arthur Jones died in 1950 and Malvern House was inherited by his son, Llewelyn, who had been living there since 1931. Llewelyn died in 1976 and his widow, Bertha, remained living at the house until her death in 1996.

In 1999, the documents began their travels. Tom Sandham, who had bought Malvern House in 1996 but was moving out three years later, appreciated their historical significance but did not know what to do with them. He passed them to Wendy Gwynn of Mill Lane “because you like history”. Wendy then passed them to Alan Tutton of Seward Road in the hope that he might be able to scan the documents. For a year or so they sat in a shoe-box propping up Alan’s hi-fi until a fortuitous conversation with Maureen Spinks at Badsey First School’s Summer Fete established that there were people in the village keen to do something with the documents. This was in 2001, less than a year after the birth of the Badsey website, and eight months before the birth of The Badsey Society. Transcripts of the deeds were put on the Badsey website and led to email correspondence with Kate Pearce (née Thorp) of Cornwall, the great-great-granddaughter of the cousin of John Thorp who had built the Silk Mill in 1818.

The documents relate to the mill or mills which stood by Badsey Brook for several centuries, firstly two Corn Mills, then one Corn Mill, then a Silk Mill, and then converted to residential accommodation in 1864. They date from 1747 which was the year in which Anthony Smith (1694-1747), miller, died, and end with the sale of the mill in 1864 by Eliza Thorp and Frank Thorp to William Parker. William Parker immediately began converting the Mills into cottages. The cottages were completed in 1864 and a date plaque inserted on the wall. There were ten cottages on the former Mill site: a row of five converted from the 1818 Silk Mill building which still exist today (though in a refurbishment in the 1970s, the five cottages became four), and five which were demolished in 1972.