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Monument record MDR10104 - Duffield Top Mill/Moulbourn Mill, Duffield

Type and Period (5)

  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Tudor to Post Medieval - 1514 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

SK 33601 43851. Duffield Top/ Moulbourn Mill, South-West of the Wirksworth Branch Railway line. Two mills are recorded in the Domesday Book at Duffield. Records of the Duchy of Lancaster dated 1497 state that 'The corne milles and the sythe mills of duffield and hasilwood are letton to Nicholas Khyson for a 20 year term'. By the 19th century three corn mill sites, known locally as Lower, Middle and Top Mills, can easily be identified on the River Ecclesbourne at Duffield. One of them was, for at least part of its life, a paper mill. However, the proximity of these mills and the fact that the trade directories of the 19th century rarely nominated the precise mill in which a miller worked makes it difficult to be certain who worked where. Even the names given to the mills themselves appears to have been somewhat flexible. In 1835 three millers and one paper maker are listed in a trade directory. In 1841 there are 6 millers and a millwright, together with three paper makers, whilst in 1851 seven millers and six paper makers worked in the village. There is therefore a considerable problem in allocating, with any certainty, individuals (and functions) to a particular mill. (1) Top Mill, or Moulbourn Mill, could be one of the Domesday mills and is closest to the source of the river. The river has been diverted to provide a by-pass loop round the mill. Two advertisements, one of 1828 and one of 1839, are thought to refer to Top Mill. The first describes it as 'A well arranged water corn mill containing two pair of five feet French stones, two pairs of five feet greys and one pair of five feet Shulling stones, with a dressing machine etc. A steam engine of 8 HP and one pair of french stones is also attached to the mill'. The second states '..The machinery consists of a wooden wheel, 13 feet in diameter, with a fall of water of 13 feet, one pair of 5 feet French stones and one pair of four feet ditto, two pair of grey stones, one pair of shulling stones etc. etc. Also an excellent steam engine of 8 horse power by Losedale, of Derby, which has recently been erected..'. Since 1888 the site formed part of the colour works of W Hawley & Sons Ltd. The waterwheels were said then to produce 80 horse power and edge runner stones were worked until at least 1953. Some old French burr and other millstones are still lying around on the site, heavily stained with dye stuffs, but the old mill buildings have now gone. This firm still operates on the site, as Hawley Colours, but no longer uses water power. However, during 1998 notice was given of the impending total closure of the works. (1) Top Mill at Duffield, originally a corn mill, became a hand-made paper mill in the 18th century, and lasted as such until about 1840. Afterwards it became a white mill and subsequently a colour mill worked by the firm of W Hawley & Son Ltd. (2) A document of 1514 records the building of two scythe mills at Duffield and notes that their construction had caused the decay of two more. In 1600 a reference to two scythe mills in Duffield names them as Malborne Mylnes; this mill is still called a scythe mill in 1626. A sale catalogue of 1860 refers to Moulborn or Upper Mill, allowing the site of the early scythe mills to be identified. The surnames Malbone and Marbone, given in a document of 1493-4, are probably early spellings of Malborne, and make it probable that the Top Mill site dates back to at least the end of the 15th century. At some unrecorded time, the Ecclesbourne has been diverted as a by-pass round the mill, so that the original river bed formed the leat. Its last use was as a colour mill. (3) A medieval mill site taken over for colour works in the 19th century by W Hawley and Sons. All the surviving buildings appear to be 20th century but the remains of the earlier weir and sluices are still extant. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Gifford, A. 1999. Derbyshire Watermills: Corn Mills.. B23, pp 74-75.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Hickling, G. 1958. Duffield in Appletree. p 79.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Personal communication to SMR officer. Information from B Rich.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1993. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazeteer of Sites Part III: Borough of Amber Valley.



Grid reference Centred SK 33601 43851 (97m by 147m)

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Record last edited

Aug 8 2016 5:12PM

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