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West Mill House from the air. Photo by Neil B. Maw
Window in Cellar and timbers suggesting a Timber Framed Building
The door to the cellar. Note the candle holder still in place
A curious slot in the Cellar Wall with early bricks either side
In between the Hall and the room that was called The Buttery
From The Buttery looking out
The staircase
The first floor windows facing north
The fireplace within the bedroom
The beams in the roof showing the extension to the left circa 1830s.
Looking out north to the driveway
The end view from the east, showing the extension that has sunk and required pinning
The Mill House building on the right
The west side of the house which is the earliest side and likely dates to early 17th century
One of the two Mullion windows now inside but originally facing outside
The second Mullion window at the rear (south) of the building
The house and mill from the air. Photo by Neil B. Maw

West Mill Farm House

West Mill is located on the road from Watchfield to Highworth where it crosses the River Cole, anciently known as the Lenta.

West Mill House is located right next to the building that was once the Mill. There has been a Mill located there for several hundred years and it is quite likely that it was the site of the Mill mentioned in the Domesday Book listing for Watchfield.

Although they are separate now, West Mill House and the Mill were certain to have been associated in the past. The house was also the catalyst for the farm and is also known as West Mill Farm House. 

Many names that appear in historical documents are also linked to West Mill and these same names are similarly linked to the Manor of Watchfield. Up until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, the lands of Watchfield had always been administered by the Abbey at Abingdon. But afterwards the Manor of Watchfield became somewhat obscure. To read more and to see a list of Lords of the Manor, please go HERE

Two of the people that are included in the list who hold the Manorial Rights of Watchfield are William and Hester Stubbs. It was known that William Stubbs owned West Mill but it was unclear if he actually lived there. The answer was provided by the separate Wills of William in 1630 and Hester in 1639. Both of the Wills contained inventories which listed the contents of the house room by room. To see an abridged transcription of the inventories, please go HERE.

A visit to the house was made by Neil Maw in May 2015. The owners, David and Gill LeBon kindly assisted in trying to match up the inventories with what was there now. It was an ideal time to visit, as the property was under renovation with floor boards up exposing walls and joints. At first the house seemed to be far too large but when the west end of it was viewed as a sole entity it all fell in to place. It soon became clear that what was being described in the inventories was a rather nice but small, country farm house.

With confirmation that the house was already built by 1630, the next question to be asked is that of whether it can be established exactly when it was built. Also tantalising is the clue in the basement, where wooden beams can clearly be seen on top of the stone course. Does this point to the house being timber framed ? More research will be needed.

Many thanks must go to owners David and Gill LeBon who are sympathetically renovating the property and very happy to share the history of it with us. Thanks also to Chris Sidney of Bampton, Oxfordshire, for sharing his painstaking family research which includes the owners of the Manor of Watchfield.



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