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The Mill at Badsey: A history of the Mill as summarised from the deeds

Pre 1747 – At some stage, two Water Corn Mills existed, formerly owned by Joseph Smith, then by his son Anthony Smith. Anthony Smith probably died in 1747 and the estate passed to his son, Joseph, who may well have been a minor.

1747 – One Water Mill existed, known as Badsey Mills. The estate consisted then of:

  • one Water Mill
  • An adjoining dwelling house
  • All the machinery and equipment
  • A piece of Garden Ground known as the Swan’s Nest which was surrounded by the Mill Pond
  • Two pieces of Meadow Ground of about two acres, known as the Naite, bounded by the Brook and the Mill Bridge on the north side and the floodgates on the south side
  • A small piece of Ground then used as a Garden adjoining the Mills, with the Orchard of Richard Badsey on the east and a Ground called the Stockey on the south (formerly belonging to Clement Dingley, Gentleman, but then, 1818, of William Collett)

Mrs Ann Smith of Badsey, the widow of Anthony Smith, late of Badsey and Harvington (this may have been the Anthony Smith baptised at Badsey in 1694), Miller, mortgaged the Mill to John Hughes of Evesham, Gardener, for £100; if she paid the money back with interest, the Mill would be returned. This was presumably because her son, Joseph, who was to inherit the estate, was under age, and Ann needed the money.

1753 – Ann Smith had paid the interest but not the £100. John Hughes, by the direction of Ann Smith, mortgaged the Mill to Miss Bridget Laugher of Evesham for £150, £100 of which went to John Hughes and £50 to Ann Smith.

1759 – Ann Smith, now living at Evesham, sold the Mill to her son, Joseph Smith, Miller, of Harvington, presumably having attained the age of 21. Joseph Smith redeemed the mortgage with Bridget Laugher, paying £150 with £6 interest, and he agreed to pay his mother a yearly rent charge of £12 and within six months of his mother’s death, pay £120 to the Executors and Administrators. Benjamin Smith, another of her sons, was the tenant of Ann Smith. The mortgage was at that stage assigned back to John Hughes (presumably to safeguard Ann Smith’s position).

1774 – Edward Wilson sold a piece of ground called The Orchard to Joseph Smith for £63; Joseph was then living in Evesham. This was a plot of about half an acre which included:

  • A tenement, which was being used as two tenements, and was occupied by Elizabeth Badsey and John Cotton Taylor
  • A close of Ground called the Little Stockey, of James Jarrett, Esquire, on the south side
  • The Barn and land of Mrs Alice Byrne, Widow, on the north side
  • The Garden belonging to Badsey Mills on the west side
  • The Barn and part of the Bankside of Mr Robert Hill, Clerk Vicar of Badsey, on the east side
  • Way or passage from Badsey Mill towards the Street

1786 – John Hughes died. In his will, John Hughes appointed Richard Hirons of Winchcombe, Gentleman, John Hughes of Bristol, farmer, and Thomas Hughes of Evesham, Gentleman, as his executors.

1793 – Now used as a Corn Mill. Joseph Smith died and the Corn Mills passed to his son, Anthony; Joseph’s brother, Benjamin, had been living at the Mill.

1795 – Anthony Smith mortgaged the Mill to William Ford, maltster, of Bretforton, for £300.

1813 – William Ford assigned the mortgage to Richard Hirons, who paid £300 to Ford and advanced £200 to Anthony Smith. The value was now mortgaged at £500.

1817 – Richard Hirons died and his wife, Elizabeth, became the mortgagee.

1818 – The Mill was now being used as a Grist Mill. Anthony Smith, son of Joseph Smith, sold the mill for £1200 to John Thorp, a Silk Manufacturer from Coventry (£400 was paid to Elizabeth Hirons, Mortgagee, and £800 to Anthony Smith); John Thorp immediately set about converting it into a silk mill. He erected a very large and substantial brick building nearly adjoining the old Mill, on part of the land called the Naite.

1819 – John Thorp obtained a mortgage of £1400/£1500 from Robert Lunn of Norton and Lenchwick in order to complete the silk mill.

1834 – John Thorp died; John’s half-brothers, Thomas Thorp and Samuel Thorp, were Executors and Trustees, acting in trust for John’s daughter, Elizabeth, who was to inherit at the age of 21. Part of the mortgage was paid off.

1847 – Robert Lunn died and his eldest son, Robert, became Mortgagee.

1848 – Thomas Thorp died leaving Samuel Thorp as sole surviving Executor and Trustee.

1851 – Robert Lunn, the eldest son of Robert Lunn, the Mortgagee, reconveyed the Mill back to Samuel Thorp.

1853 – Elizabeth Stratton (née Thorp), John Thorp’s daughter, died. She had married her cousin, Henry Thorp, in 1838, and had four children; after his death, she married Robert Mansell Stratton. Two of the children died in infancy, leaving Eliza Thorp and Frank Thorp to inherit the Mill.

1863 – Eliza Thorp and Frank Thorp sold the Mill by Public Auction to William Parker of Badsey, having earlier sold off the Orchard to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford. (Christ Church Library has a large poster for this auction - their reference Badsey & Wickhamford 165. The sale was on 12 October 1863 at Evesham. Lot 1 was 'Badsey Silk Mill with the Dwellng Cottage'. Lot 2 was 'Garden with Orchard'. Also sold was a 'Quantity of Valuable Machines Now in Badsey Mill'. The poster gives the dimensions of some of the rooms in the mill.)

See also:

The Mill at Badsey
Mill Cottages: photos between 1945 and 1968
Deeds for the Mill Buildings
Thorp family:  owners of the Silk Mill