The Water Mill, Ashurst, Kent

I was extremely pleased to be able to purchase this card on eBay as it depicts the mill in the village where I spent my teenage years and where my mother still lives. In fact her house is built almost exactly where this fine mill once stood, the course of the old mill stream runs through her garden.  It only really flows after heavy rain these days.

It was posted in in the early 20th century and had found its way to New Zealand!

It is from the H & K Series, #1053, consecutive to the one showing the weir which raised the water for the mill which I am also fortunate to own. There is also a contemporary photograph of the village post office here.

The Water Mill, Ashurst, Kent from an old postcard

The mill was destroyed by fire in September 1930, when it was around 150 years old.  The water wheel was apparently 8 feet wide and 16 feet in diameter.

The Wall on this side of the road is still there, and there is also a pond still on this site.  The railway embankment visible on the extreme left (where the white sign is) of the picture still carries trains, although the banks are now covered in trees.

An article from the Kent and Sussex Courier, 28th September 1930, describes the fire at the mill.  It was discovered in the early hours of the morning by the local railway signalman, Mr. Robinson, who was on his way to work from his home in Blackham, just up the road, to the signal box at Birchden Junction. He roused the owner, Mr. Thomas Caffyn, and the Miller, Mr. Woods, and phoned the Tonbridge Fire Brigade who arrived in 30 minutes.  It took ten firemen 2 hours to get the fire under control, which by then had destroyed the upper storey and scorched the machinery in the ground floor beyond repair.  The miller is quoted as saying hundreds of bushels of corn were also destroyed.  A Mr. Crowhurst, who had worked at the mill for 39 years since he left school at 12 years old, was also said to be full of "obvious regret."

The drawing below is by R H Yates and compares well with the photograph above.

The Mill, Ashurst, Kent from an old drawing

There is a picture of the railway line further downstream, where it crosses the river, in my photograph album.

There are pictures of St Martin of Tours Church, Ashurst, in my Church Album.

Here is the 1851 census information for the Mill and Mill House, it looks as if the transcriber has misread CAPPYN for CAFFYN.  Presumably the Thomas Caffyn (owner) referred to in the coverage of the fire, is the 12 year old eldest son Thomas in the 1851 census.

AddressNameSurnameRelation to head of familyMarital StatusAge last birthdayRank, Profession or OccupationBirth CountyBirth Place
Ashurst Mill HouseThomasCAPPYNheadmar55millarSussexWest Grimsted
 FrancesCAPPYNwifemar43 KentTonbridge Wells
 ThomasCAPPYNson 12scholarSussexWithyham
 William SCAPPYNson 11scholarSussexWithyham
 CharlsCAPPYNson 8scholarKentAshurst
 FannyCAPPYNdau 7 KentAshurst
 FrancisDODSONnepwunm22work in the millSussexWithyham
 SamuelDODSONnepw 18work in the millSussexWithyham
Ashurst MillJaneEVERESTservant 16house servantKentAshurst
 JaneHEASMARservant 19house servantSussexHartfield
 JosiahHUMPHARYmill servmar68mill rightSussexBarkham

Scanned antique postcard

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