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Location of Fryars Mill with coordinates circa 1880. Courtesy of National Library of Scotland geo-referenced maps
Fryars Mill as it appears on the Barrington Estate Map of 1866 from SHS Archive
Aerial view of Fryars Mill. Photo by Neil B. Maw
Aerial view showing the course of the water being split for the mill. Photo by Neil B. Maw

Friars Mill Shrivenham

The water mill that was located at Fryars Farm, Shrivenham, was used extensively throughout the 17th to 19th centuries. Its origins almost certainly lay much earlier and if we accept the evidence presented in the listing numbered N1495 in this catalogue, then it can be placed into the early part of the 14th century. It was popular belief until recently that  "Fowers Mill" of the Royal White Capon fame, was located within Beckett Park, but the evidence presented in N1495 strongly suggest that Fowers and Fryars are one and the same.

From the time that the Fryars Mill Estate enters into the hands of the Warnefords, there is very little mention of it again in documentary sources until the early 17th century. In the Manor Court papers of Shrivenham Salop for the 10th October, 1616, it states that Thomas Bassett is the Miller at Friars Mill. Around this time there are numerous spellings for it; Fias & Fryers being mainly used. By 1618, the Manor Court papers state that Stephen West keeps the mill at Shrivenham, but “Thomas Forshere and John Grundye are the Millers at Fryers Mill”
Today, Friars Farm is still on the road from Shrivenham to Highworth and Friars Mill was located just next to it. There are no buildings remaining that housed the mill mechanism itself, but the course of the River Cole has been altered at this location to form the leet that directed the water onto the mill wheel. The two maps included in this listing depict how the building were laid out on the site.
The Berry family were known throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as Millers. Their name appears as owners of numerous mills around the area of Wanborough. In his Will (PROB 11/773/479) dated April 1747, John Berry describes, 'as for my Mill known as Tryas  Mill in the Parish of Shrivenham... ' Another name synonymous with milling was Spindaloe. The Shrivenham Parish records show that Richard and Hannah Spindaloe were at Fryars Mill in 1705 where on 26th April they have Richard baptised at St Andrew's, and the following year on 26th December Gwin is also baptised. (SHS N1230). The name Spindloe also appears at Kingston Winslow Upper Mill a century later. (SHS N144).
The census for 1841 confirms that George Kinch was the Miller. The listing shows that he lived there with his wife Sarah and four children. George died later that year in November, but the 1851 census shows that his wife Sarah and her sons continued to operate the mill.  The following census of 1861 confirms that Sarah's two sons, George and William were operating the mill together. By 1871, the Fairthorne family were in possession of Friars Farm and Mill, although we have no indication of exactly who in the family was operating the mill. The census for 1881 shows that Richard Looker was operating the mill, whilst at the same time his brother was running West Mill in Watchfield. The census for 1891 records that Thomas Pound was  there, but his occupation lists him as a, 'Farm Servant,' rather than a Miller. There is no mention of a mill at all in 1901 and similarly, the census for 1911 lists that Francis Moore occupied Friars Farm with his family, but there is no listing for the mill. This would suggest that the mill, like many others in the country, became obsolete around 1900.
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    14th - 20th centuries
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