Kingsley Village
in the heart of Cheshire

Further to the first article, The Mills Of Kingsley, here is part 2 around the all but forgotten existence of a second water mill. 

 

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Introduction

Here, the focus is on setting the scene, as there is a lost mill beyond the scope of published information, that is the ghost in this mystery story

The existence of another watermill in Kingsley appeared in a 1824 auction sale in the memoirs of William Gibson (1888-1975), miller, from an unpublished family manuscript.

Embarking on this research was never going to be straightforward. After all, Kingsley mill is as real now as historical documents suggest it was centuries ago. Then, an apparently unknown mill emerges with the same name. A single shred of evidence offers another fascinating dimension to Kingsley history.

The story of one mill, Kingsley, once a manorial flour mill, remains on Mill Lane, now in a more modern guise. Yet, there was another watermill, not far away, on the Kingsley-Delamere parish boundary. This site also held a tower windmill, the kind easily imagined and once more common in Cheshire and named Kingsley Mill too, at least on some maps. Confusingly, the watermill was called Guest’s Slack Mill in 1824. The word slack means a’ hollow’, and Guest, a surname, according to the EPNS1

Mills are recorded in old documents as far back as Domesday. The name of the mill or its specific location, is seldom given. Having two Kingsley mills, only raises doubts to any historical date reference. There are dates ranging from 1257 to 1602 and, on maps from 1775 to the present day. Knowing if all, or some, relate to the present mill is a real problem. Is the original 13th century watermill site at Mill Lane or was it at Guest’s Slack? Perhaps, both were around at the same time? County records present Mill Lane as the likely site of the original medieval mill with supporting evidence, but not elaborated as in the two below. In fairness, County does indicate these in a book by Ormerod (1819).

(In 1302, Allecoke de Kyngesle, the miller and Roger the Miller, at Crouton).,

Both illustrate the difficulty in location and identity. There are other references, with one of 1350 being most persuasive as confirms the original mill site. Oldemulnestude means ‘the old mill on the road,’ and a 1359 deed, Croutonway, is likely confirmation of this passing Kingsley mill, leading to Crowton.

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The last documentary date is for 1623, when George Rutter, inherited ‘a watermill, called Kyngsley’). This date might point to the present mill being remodelled or rebuilt at this time. All the key 18th and 19th century maps, and the 1845 Tithe survey, show Kingsley Mill but only the latter, a windmill at Guest’s Slack,

(1 English Place Name Society)

Creating a history for Guest’s Slack mills will demand a level of research without the favour of documents, surveys or memories...

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