Mill Hill Road, SW13

Place Name

At a little over 8metres (26.78 feet) this is the highest point in Barnes which was formerly all common land with the exception of a windmill at its peak. The earliest reference to a mill at Barnes is in the Court Rolls for 1443 which record a Milhyll, the site of the mill however is uncertain. Mary Grimwade and Charles Hailstone in Highways and Byways of Barnes write: “The rate books from 1740 – 1838 mention mills and millers and from them it is possible to form some idea of its importance. Philip Walton was the miller from 1740 – 1761 and apparently erected – or rebuilt – a mill on his arrival and then paid rates for his house and mill which stood on land measuring 7 1/2 rods by 6 rods. When Thomas Yewd took over from him he applied for, and apparently obtained, an extra piece of Waste [land]…” Yewd was a victim of the great hurricane of 1780, Grimwade and Hailstone take up the story: “On 15 October 1780, a most unusual hurricane struck the area. The wind swept down Roehampton Lane, across Barnes Common and so onto Hammersmith causing great damage in its path which was estimated as a width of 200 yards. The mill was upturned and broken to pieces and the surrounding buildings lost their roofs. Wall, paling and young elm trees were levelled to the ground and so extraordinary was this event that a pamphlet was published concerning the phenomenon.” Within three years Yewd replaced it with a stronger, smock mill. When Yewd died the mill passed to two more millers Stephen Page and Thomas Falkner. At some stage it was replaced again becoming a brick built tower mill, later captured in a painting hanging in the Tate, that at one time was thought to be by Constable. But the mill’s days were numbered. In 1827 Charles Trock took over the cottage and the mill but by 1837 the rate books had recorded “Late Track, Cottage, windmill etc” by the following year the entry read “Late track. Cottage.” There was no mention of the mill that was never featured again in the records, perhaps not surprising since Trock had died at Richmond Workhouse. But it was not the end of the site.The mill may have gone but the name lived on in 1849 three properties were recorded as standing there in An Atlas of London and its Environs published in 1849. They were Windmill Hill cottage, Bell Cottage and Castle Cottage. By 1861 Windmill had been shortened to Mill Hill Cottage and the site was later developed – however the area covered has not increased since Yewd obtained his extension in 1763.

 

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