The Mill Buildings
There has been a mill in Fairford since Medieval times. The mill even gets a mention in the Domesday book.
In 1086, there were actually three mills belonging to the Fairford Manor, one of which was on the site of the current mill.
In 1296 Fairford had a fulling mill, but by 1307 there were only corn mills. One corn mill was connected with Milton End farm and the other 2 mills were in demesne (that is, land retained by the lord of the manor for his own use).
In the 17th Century a mill was recorded where Mill Lane crossed the Coln. This is the main part of the mill that we see today. The left wing was added in 1827 and further alterations were made in 1841 and 1857.
The Mill was used as a store between the First and Second World Wars and was derelict until it was converted to residential property in the 1950s. At that time, the machinery that had become dangerous was removed, but some of the machinery remained to minimise the impact on the environment around the mill. Consequently, there are still five mill sluices in place – three of them under the buildings.
The Fairford estate was acquired by Ernest Cook in the 1920s and the Mill later came under the care of the Ernest Cook Trust. The Mill house and adjacent Mill cottage were renovated and the Mill is back in service – this time as holiday lets.
It is likely that the early mill was operated on the lord of the manor’s behalf by villeins or by serfs in fulfilment of their feudal obligations.
In 1791, William Carter was a Miller in Fairford, but it’s not clear if this was at Fairford Mill. More definite news of this mill’s occupants comes from Pigot’s Directory of the 1830s. There are two entries for millers in Fairford. The first is Robert Bosberry of Fairford Mill, whose occupation was as a miller, and the second entry is for Henry and Robert Tovey of Fairford who were also millers by occupation. Between 1839 and 1847 Messrs Tovey were the millers at Fairford Mill. From 1889 until 1906 the Fairford Mill resident was Mr Richard Cole; a farmer, coal merchant and miller.
The last millers were the Bartletts, who moved here from Arlington Mill in 1910. They ran the mill until the First World War, but from 1919 there is no record of any millers working in Fairford.