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Bradbourne Mill

Extract from "Derbyshire Watermills – Corn Mills – Alan Gifford – published by Midland Wind and Water Mills Group ISBN 0951779435

This three-storey stone corn mill is still standing on the A524 road to Bakewell, some four miles north of Ashbourne. It is just back from the road where it bends, near Tissington Ford. The mill is built into the hillside and although disused from about 1923 represents an interesting variation on the normal mill encountered in Derbyshire.

The stone building, which carries the date 1726, is shown on a whole range of maps starting with Burdett’s survey of 1767. The mill is complete with a garner above and had a coal fired kiln alongside, although the ventilation ducts were removed when the building was re-roofed in about 1966. Behind the mill is a dried up mill pond which had been fed by an extensive system of leats, the water supply from the Bradbourne Brook having been cut some years ago. Water from the pool passed under the path to the miller’s cottage and fed two overshot waterwheels, located on the north side of the building. These were offset from each other and their iron pentroughs are still in place, as is the framing of an iron waterwheel of about 12ft in diameter. The other wheel was said to have been wooden construction but has been removed. The tail race runs under the road and emerges close to Tissington Ford.

Inside the mill most of the original machinery was still in place in 1996, although at that date completely submerged under the debris of years. There are three pairs of millstones still in place, one pair was measured at 54ins diameter but the type of stone could not be determined. The vats and associated furniture are still intact. In the ground floor the iron pit wheels and wallowers are visible and whilst one set of stones used a screw tenter adjustment, another has the old type lever and peg system, with multiple staggered holes in the vertical support giving fine adjustment to the separation of the stones. The remains of a wire machine and sack hoist are also still in place. The mill last worked in 1923, probably under the control of Frank Wright Ltd of Ashbourne, although an attempt to get it working again in the 1940s apparently failed.

Simmons reports that in 1815 John Bustons of Bradbourne Mill was in prison in Macclesfield jail for debt. However, he also recorded that a partnership between John Buxton, Thomas Dawes and Walter Buxton was dissolved in 1800 and that John Buxton would carry on the business. It seems reasonable that the earlier reference to Bustons should therefore read Buxton. Millers mentioned in the trade directory include: Joseph Jarrett 1835-1876, Joseph Gerrard 1876, Elijah Hall 1881, Frank Wright Ltd 1891-1912 (also at Ashbourne).

An interesting investigation into timbers associated with the mill dam about 1 mile upstream, at Springs Bridge by R Morgan et al, was reported in Volume 100 of the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. During land drainage work in the bed of the disused mill dam a number of well preserved but very blackened timbers were discovered. They appeared to form part of the sluice gate of a breached dam wall and it was considered they could be very ancient. However examination by radiocarbon dating techniques at Harwell unexpectedly confirmed that the tree from which the timber had been cut had been felled in the winter of 1836-37 and was therefore of relatively modern origin.



This is the last Will and Testament of Samuel Gerrard of Bradbourne

Proven 18/4/1835 of Bradbourne Mill.

The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Gerrard of Bradbourne, Proven 18/4/1835.


This is the last Will and Testament of me Samuel Gerrard of Bradbourne in the County of Derby Miller and Farmer. First I will and direct that all my past debts funeral and testamentary expenses be fully paid satisfied and discharged by my Executrix and Executor hence after named, I give and bequeath to my Wife Mary Gerrard all my stock in trade also all my farming stock both live and dead all my household furniture, dairying and brewing utensils, plate, linen, glass, china and all other effects that I stand possessed of at the time of my decease, together with all my monies and securities for money, whatsoever and whosesoever, and in whosoevers hands the same may be placed during the term of her natural life if she shall so long continue my Widow, but if aforesaid wife Mary Gerrard shall not continue my Widow, then at the time of her marrying again I give and bequeath all my before mentioned property to my several children (Viz) John Gerrard, Elizabeth Gerrard, Joseph Gerrard, Mary Gerrard and Judith Gerrard share and share alike but if she shall continue my Widow during the term of her natural life then after her decease all I bequeathed to her I give and bequeath to my before mentioned children to be divided amongst them as she and my executor herein after named may think proper. And lastly I do nominate constitute and appoint my aforesaid Wife Mary Gerrard and Joseph Johnson of Sitterlow in the Parish of Parwich in the County of Derby Farmer Executrix and Executor of this my last Will and Testament, And I do hereby utterly disalow, revoke and disanul, all and every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies bequests, and Executors by me in anywise before named, Willed, and bequeathed, ratifying and conforming this and no other, to be my last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty eight day of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Five.

Signed Samuel Gerrard

X His Mark

Signed, sealed published, pronounced, and declared, by the said Samuel Gerrard as his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us, who in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names.

Frances Gent

John Bowler

Kindly provided and transcribed by Keith


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