Mills in Langham - Freda Smithson Langham Village History Group
Langham Village History Group
Langham Village Web Site
In the year 1086, 5624 watermills were mentioned in the Domesday Book. Langham looks to have been one of five berewicks described as part of the Manor of Oakham making it difficult to identify if a mill was located here. The disturbed ground by the brook near Cold Overton Road suggests a mill leet and this may have been the site of Langham’s earliest water mill. Windmills were introduced around 1180 and it has been estimated that by 1400 there may have been over 4000 in England.  Many would have replaced the watermills where the water supply was not satisfactory. Horsemills were often used for grinding malt. The cost of fodder for the mill horse must have been a consideration compared with a free supply of water or wind. 1404 In late October or early November at the Court of Edward, Duke of York, held at Oakham, the Prior of Brook sued for tithes of the mills of Oakham and Langham.  These were anciently assessed at twenty four shillings per annum. Judgement was granted to the Priors of Brook in perpetuity as they had received the tithes for the previous six years. 1536 Certain mills at Langham were let at a rent of £13 16s 4d.  A windmill, in need of repair, as part of the Manor held by Henry Norris was sold along with another mill, to Sir Andrew Noel, a new kiln house being built at this time. (VCH 2)   A kiln house was used to dry the grain before milling, or to produce malt for brewing. 1600 The License of Alienation for the Manor of Langham, Gainsborough Papers DE3214/182/2) mentions two mills. 1607 DE3214/131/25 mentions Mill Close. 1614 Thomas Palmer, miller - Will Northants RO (H 117).  No mention of the mill. 1624 Deed of Gift. Gainsborough Papers DE3214/42/10-11 mentions Mill furlonge and gives boundaries. 1624 Map shows a windmill on the Ranksborough side of Cold Overton Road. The road which led up to it is still traceable and the fields there are called Mill Close on the 1841 tithe map. 1630 Lease dated 20 th  February.  Gainsborough Papers DE3214/131/27 - A windmill in Langham and malt mill in Langham Town. Stephen Palmer, miller.  Rent, weekly each Saturday one half strike of malt and one strike and a half of corn and grain called mill-corn or maselyn.  [Maselyn or maslin was a mixture of wheat and rye sown together, bread made with the flour was thought to keep fresh longer.] 1674 October 10 th  - Gainsborough Papers DE3214/131/48. Document mentions close near windmill. 1676 Gainsborough Papers DE3214/231/28. Document mentions 3 closes between the windmill and the town. 1683 Lease - Gainsborough Papers DE3214/180/48. Thomas Palmer, miller – son of Stephen Palmer deceased.  Rent paid in cash, capons, and coals. 1699 Lease - Gainsborough Papers DE3214/180/48. To William Brown of Oakham.  Messuage in possession of Ann Bloomfield, widow, includes malt mill in yard of messuage.  A later dictionary of terms describes a malt mill as being small and operated by hand, but this would seem to be something bigger. 1737 George Roads, millor buried November 14 th  1737. (Bishops Transcripts) 1760 Edmund Ripper Map DE3214/M59 shows a windmill on Mill Hill. Maps from 1781 onwards show windmill there. 1806 December, a serious storm at night when lightening struck the top of the mill, this with the sails and the axle tree were swept away by the wind. Being a post mill it is unknown whether a new building was erected but it is recorded that the Bown family who came from Gainsborough milled at the windmill through the middle of the 19 th  century. (Wind & Water Mills of Rutland by David Henry). Anne Grimmer told Freda Smithson that the Bown family are her ancestors.  She says that the mill was not rebuilt but a new one erected on the Burley Road. 1841 Richard Thorpe, Maltster.  William Towell, Maltster. William Innocent, Miller, with William Sharman and John Sewell, Miller’s apprentices. (Census) - See also tithe map and apportionments. 1851 William Innocent and John Sewell were millers. (Census) 1858-81 Robert Bown, miller. (Census) Millers tended to die early breathing in dust and flour gave them asthma, bronchitis, and other lung diseases.