Clyston Mill History
Visit this historic watermill to discover how the mill harnessed the power of water to grind the farmer's grain.
History of Clyston Mill
There has been a mill named Clyston at Broadclyst for many hundreds of years. The first mention of the mill was made in The Domesday Book in 1086, where it was referred to as Clistone/tona mill. Its location was a mystery at this time, but it was thought to be on a stretch of a river north of where the mill is today. Back in the day, the mill would have been a busy and noisy place, with grain arriving by the wagon load and prices being argued with local farmers.
In 1806, Samuel Flood had the mill and a windmill on the other side of the village. Proof of it in this location was given in 1859. The tenant miller Richard Burton was unable to mill flour on many occasions due to the lack of water, so he bought a steam engine from London to power the mill.
In 1862, a disasterous fire started in the mill stable and ruined the dwelling house, but luckily the mill and its machinery were saved. The waterwheel used to drive the millstones was a low-breast shot wheel made mainly of cast iron and wooden cogs. Taylor & Bodley, engineers and millwrights of Exeter, installed it in 1880, and it's a fine example of Victorian engineering that you can gaze at on your visit.
In the 1930s, the mill was a very busy place, and it was active into the early twentieth century. It pressed apples from 1915, ground corn into the 1930s and pumped water until the 1940s, when a water tower was built to supply the village. It served the local community, pumping water to a reservoir behind the Red Lion pub for Monday wash day. This stopped in the 1940s when the water tower was built.
The mill is open every Friday and Saturday afternoon, 1-4pm from 22 July to 24 September.
Pick up a leaflet on yur visit and speak with the knowledgeable volunteers to discover how the mill harnessed the power of water to grind the farmer's grain.
We're unable to show the mill wheel turning at the moment, but do hope to do so in the future.
Whilst you're at the mill, the orchard is a perfect sunny spot to enjoy a picnic.