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Holman Bros., Millwrights of Canterbury: A history

Solly’s Mill, Preston

Solly's Mill, Preston
Solly’s Mill, Preston. Photo: Herbert Filmer

Canterbury May 15th 1852

Memorandum of agreement made this day between John Holman & John J Holman of the City of Canterbury, Millwrights and Stephen Solly and Stephen R Solly and Charles Solly of the parish of Preston for the erection of a windmill at a certain place in the parish of Preston next Wingham to be built to the following particulars 20 ft diameter at bottom and 10 ft at the curb and of sufficient height to admit of 33 ft sweeps to have a fantail and oak cills 9in by 4in and the whole of the timber to be Memel or Red Pine, boarded to 3in gauge, the floors 1in thick and tongued together stone floor 11/4 thick. 1 pair French stones 4ft diameter. 1 pair Peak ditto 4ft 2in diameter. Flour machine 16in cylinder 5 sheets long and jumper. Cast iron upright shaft, bridge trees, and stone boxes. Cast iron spur wheel. The mill to stand on brickwork 10ft in height and 14 ins thick the first floor about 2ft 6in from the ground with a porch. To have a stage with oak posts and joists & fir bottom. Cast iron windshaft, brake wheel arms and wallower. 4 patent sails and all necessary iron work to act with a lever and the whole to be completed in a substantial and workmanlike manner for the sum of  seven hundred pounds (the machine to have an improved feed roll) with the exception of the straps and ropes and such other articles as are considered the tenants property and the said John Holman doth engage to have 1 pair of stones ready to work by the 15th day of November and the said Messrs Sollys do agree to pay unto John Holman Three hundred and fifty pounds immediately the body of the mill is raised and the weather boarding begun and the said Messrs Solly do agree to give to the said Messrs Holman good security till the remainder is paid

Dated this 17 day of May 1852


John Holman

Stephen Solly

Charles Solly

John J Holman

Witness George Fright

[George Fright b.1820 was the father of Harry Branford Holman’s wife Lilian born in 1867]


1 new midling 11 1/2in deep 12ins wide. 39ft 6in long 7in by 7in at point. Sweep rod 32ft 6in long 6 1/2in wide X 5in at heel. 7in X 7in at midling end, point 4 3/4in X 4 1/2in. 19ft from heel to midling end.

Aug 22nd.

Taking down 2 sweeps and midling at mill including carriage and use of ropes and tools £1-5-0.

1 cwt white lead £1-16-0

2 gallons linseed oil 9/-

1 gallon turps 4/6.

2 brushes 8/-

2 painters tools 1/2.

Sep 8th

1 best quality pitch pine midling prepared for mill £9-0-0

2 new harps and poppets fitted £2-5-0

Repairing ends of short slings 3/-

6 new pins and keys 3/-

1 new plate to fork and new ends to do. 2/6

Running down nuts in forks, repairing 1 gripe, new screwed end to 1 do. and repairing sweep bolts 3/6

9 – 6in x 1/2in coach screws 3/-

10 prep. back stays 5/-

Pony to mill with men and tools 4/6

Sep 29th

2 men 4 days each to mill @ 5/- & 4/6 1 do. 1/2day £2-1-3

Self and man to mill assisting getting up sweeps 7/6

Pony twice to mill with man and tools 9/-

2 men 3 1/2 days each to mill £1-13-3

Rail fares 1/-


May 19th

1 new Danzig fir midling prepared £9-0-0

1 new framed mill sweep £8-0-0

2 men to mill taking down sweeps and midling. 15 hours each 15/9

Carriage of do. to mill and back 5/-

May 23rd

2 men 6 1/2 days each to mill 5/6 & 5/- £3-8-3

Rail etc. 1/2

June 13th

One new mortice wheel (bevil) bored and keyed on shaft and geared with 37 new cogs and pins to do. £3-10-6

To valuation of mill, fixtures therein, granary cart and wagon lodges, stable and outbuildings £5-0-0

Inventory 10/-

Stamp £1-0-0

May 29th

Man 40 hours to mill. Marsh £1-3-4.

Rail 7d

1 gallon best lard oil 4/3

Aug 31st

Millwright 64 hours. Rackham £2-8-0

56 hours Cruikshank £1-17-4

Assistant 66 hours Lishman £1-2-0

Rail 1/9

In 1875 the mills ownership passed to Stephen Solly:

Inventory and valuation of corn wind mill, store, stabling and mill fixtures and effects, implements in trade and corn, flour and barley meal sacks made this day of January 1875 situate at Preston nr Wingham and transferred from Messrs Stephen and Charles Solly to the aforesaid Stephen Solly.


One corn windmill standing on brickwork with stage driving 2 pairs of wheat stones and one pair of barley stones and one small pair of bean stones with flour dressing machine 5 sheets long 16in diameter and jumper to do., small smut machine, hoisting tackle, patent sails and fan tackle complete as fixed.

One granary or corn store 21 feet long X 19 feet wide standing on 9in brickwork 2ft 6ins high with slate roof and iron guttering to do. and out house adjoining do.

One lean to lodge 21 feet long X 10ft 9in wide with slate roof and pair of folding doors to do. and fowl house at back of do.

Stable 14ft wide x 18ft long x 9ft 6in high with loft above and cart lodge adjoining do. 16ft long x 10ft wide with pair of folding doors to do.

Inventory of fixtures in mill

In top

1- 56lb weight, 3 spanners, iron work on brake lever. Brake rope. 3 new brake wheel cogs.

In wheat bin

Iron sack block. 52 feet sack chain, pulling in line. 1 ladder and 1 wood scuppet.

In stone floor

1 – 18 tread step ladder, 3 stone wedges, notches, saddles. 2 pins and blocking for raising stones, 2 rub bars, 1 rub stone, iron pulley blocks and fall. 2 pairs slings, 2 long handle brooms, 4 brushes, 1 hammer, 1 shifting spanner, 1 tee spanner for stone box screws, 2 irons for letting in boxes, 1 grooving chisel, 2 pritchels,, 2 stone levers, 1 mahogany stone staff and canvas cover, 1 oak staff, 3 crow bars 41lbs, 1 stone level, jackstick, trammell, 1 turn table, 2 old fir staves, 4 bill thrifts, pair of bellows, 1 iron scuppet, 3 bells to stones, 4 splines, 1 iron grease pot, hose to barley stones, 19 mill bills 42 lbs, 3 pick bills 5lbs, old lead 18lbs.

In grinding floor

8 files and 2 handles, 15lbs coach screws, 14 brass cleats, jack chain and old iron, 17 sail lifts, 1string of nuts and washers, 1 iron square, 1 sledge hammer, brass plumb bob and line, 1 hammer, pair of pincers, 2 cold chisels, 1 set, 3 spout scrapers, putty knife, 5 spanners, 1 screw hammer, 1 small machine wiring hammer, steel scraper, jack stick, slate prover in case, slotted iron for turning tool, 2 scuppets, 1 sack barrow, cask containing horse oil, 1 crock and small ladle, 2 glass lubricators, 3 small oil cans, 1 can containing benzolene, 1 oil feeder, tin of screws, tin of lamp black, 1 iron and 1 copper sieves, 2 balls ?, bundle of twine, box with sundry iron work, 1 pair steps,1 spy glass, 1 old 56lb weight, 1 – 28lb do., 3 – 7lb do. 2 hand lamps. 1 sheet each 64, 60, 54 & 48 & 1/2 sheet 44 wire for 16inch cylinder. 1/4lb copper rivets and burs, 16 socket screws, split pins, 3 brushes, 1 long handle broom, 1 scuppet, 1 vice with 3 1/2in jaws. Flour machine strap 23ft long x 4in wide. Bean mill strap 14t long x 3 1/2in wide. 1 regulator strap 12ft x 1 1/2in wide. 1 do. 15ft x 1 1/2in. 1 do. 9ft x 1 1/2in. 1 smutter strap 6ft x 2ins. 2 jumper straps each 6ft x 3ins, 1 crank strap 6ft x 2ins. 2 hoses and liners, bell to bran stones, 1 gallon stone bottle, 2 candlesticks..

In bottom floor

Pair large scales and beam, 5 – 56lb, 1 – 28lb, 1 – 14lb, 1 – 7lb, 1 – 4lb. 1 – 2lb & 1 – 1lb iron weights. 1/2 & 1/4lb brass weights, pair scoop flour scales, iron sack jigger, 1 sack barrow, 1 wood scuppet, 1 tin scoop, 1 long handle broom, 1 writing desk, slate and time paper, 5 large hoses and lines, 4 small do.

In granary or store

1 sack barrow, 1 wood scuppet, 1 long handle broom, 2 bushel measures, 1 – 1/2 bushel do./ 1 of each 1 gallon, 1/2 gallon and quart measures. 1 x 10 step ladder, 25lbs rope yarn, 1 pair wood blocks and fall, 1 tarring fall, 4 small cords, 11 yards of 24in wide canvas, 1 tin od anti-corrosion paint 40lbs, 1 tin of oil 31lbs, 1 piece of fir 5ft x 12ins x 3 1/2ins, 1 corn blowing machine, 1 work bench, 1 scry, 1 axe.

Out of doors

3ft grindstone with frame and handle, sundry fir blocks under store and sundry old timber, 2 pieces of old midling.

Under mill

1 old stone, old iron hooping, 1 x 2 gallon stone bottle

In pig pound

1 circular hog trough 2ft 8ins diameter 10 partitions (2 broken) 1x 3ft pig trough, 13 wattles, 3 water butts and taps.

In stable

Hand cutter box, 1 basket and sieve, harness, 2 iron pails, 1 bass broom, shovel, prong spade, stable fork, leather halter & 3 spare shutters for sweeps.

In cart lodge

2 belly girths, 1 tarring cradle, 2 horse nets, millers spring cart and tilt, old stone hoops, setter? and wheelbarrow, 1 furrow plough, 2 – 3 prong forks, 1 plate spade, 3 prong hoes, 1 plated hoe, garden rake, pick axe, garden line & irons, hand truck, spring cart and pair of lamps, 1/3 barrel Stockholm tar, 12 coal sacks, 2 trestles, scythe and rake, beetle and 2 wedges, 1 large tar kettle, 4 small do. 1 ladle, 3 brushes, 3 gin poles and chain, 3/4 barrel gas tar.


22 qtrs. odd sacks, 10 qtrs. corn sacks, 17 qtrs. of 5 bushel sacks, 9 1/2 qtrs. sharp sacks, 7 qtrs. bran bags, 7 1/2 qtrs. 4 bushel barley meal sacks, 8 qtrs. 5 bushel flour sacks, 15 qtrs. 5 bushel barley meal sacks, 8 qtrs. 4 bushel do., 10 qtrs. odd do., 52 qtrs. wheat sacks, 7 qtrs. sacks (no marks), 12 1/2 qtrs. meal sacks, 6 qtrs. 4 bushel grist sacks, 4 – bushel flour bags, 12 half bushel do., 10 small bags, 6 barley meal bushel bags.

The whole of the aforesaid mill, corn store, stabling and out buildings together with the fixtures in mill and sacks as specified are valued by me this 13th day of January 1875 at the sum of eight hundred and ninety nine pounds, fifteen shillings.

Mill £700. Less for wear £100 £600-0-0

1 pair wheat stones extra      £50-0-0

Do. bean stones         £25-0-0

Smutter         £22-0-0

Fixtures in mill             £103-5-2

Granary         £40-0-0

Lean to cart lodge      £10-0-0

Stable and front lodge             £45-0-0

Privy £2. Fowl house £2-10-0

Total £899-15-0.

Solly's Mill, Preston, with no sails
Solly’s Mill, Preston, with no sails. Unknown photographer


A new 4ft 2in peak stone faced and dressed. A new set of cogs for stone nut to

be cut out in the rough – 20 cogs in nut. Cut them out 5 1/4in long 4 1/2in X 2

1/4in. A screw jack to go with stone to raise the neck. Take off cross and

poppets and fit new pins and keys.


May 24  New stone box & cock head, quant claws to be lined up.

New steam tackle for Mr. Solly

Portable mill

Nov. Bottom floor. 6ft 11ins from floor to underpart of girder and girder 12ins deep. Girder 9 1/2in wide. Joists 6ins deep.

Grinding floor. 1in thick. 9ft. 1in from top of floor to under stone floor. 7ft 7in from top of floor to under stone floor girder. Floor 1in thick. Joists 6in deep on top of girder.

Stone floor. 8ft from top of stone floor to under girder. 6ft 7in from top of stone floor to under cross girder. Cross girder 7 3/4in wide 8in deep. 7 3/8in from cross girder to centre of upright shaft.


Feb 18th. 1 pair face wheels for flour machine, 1 worm wheel, 1 worm, 1 sheet each 48, 56, 60 and 64 wire 16in cylinder

Repairs to steam engine Mr. Dunn.


Aug 3rd. Sundry timber coach screws and pins. 1 pair hard wood bearings for barley stone quant. 5in deep bearing 2 13/16in diameter.

Sept. 1 new midling 40ft 6in long. 7 3/4in wide by 7 1/4in at point. Canister (neat size of) 11 5/8in X 11 9/16in. Midling 12 1/4in deep canister 2ft 1in through.

Sweep rod 32ft 4 1/2in long. 20ft 6in from heel to midling end. 7 1/2in X 7 1/2in at midling end. 7 1/2in X 5 1//4in at heel. 4 1/2in X 4 1/2in at point. 13 bars in sweep. 5ft 3n 5/8in from heel to first bar. 2ft 0 5/8in between bars. Bars 1 1/8in X 1 1/4in 2in wide. 7 bays to midling end. 5 bays below do. Face of rod chamfered 8in above bar. Lead side chamfered 2in deep down side. (Copy of diagrams by TRH).


Apr 18. One 4ft 2in peak runner faced and hooped. A set of cogs for brake wheel. 72 cogs in wheel. 4in pitch on outside. Wallower cogs 1 5/8in X 4 1/8in wide. A new 3 1/2in wide hoop drilled for curb (measure to come on Saturday).


Sweep repairs. Tail bearing for Mr. Dunn.

March 1907

Head/neck brass, cap boarding, paint sweeps. New 4ft Peak stone . Work by Holmans.


Framing, fan stage, brake wheel, curb, brasses – Holmans.


Has gallery but no sweeps or fan.



Date when mill was demolished uncertain.

Notes: Old Mill or Dunn’s Mill was built in 1778.

Photograph exists showing the mill in 1930 without sweeps and fantail after being tail winded.

  1. Preston, nr. Wingham (Dunn’s Mill) built in 1778:  finished work by engine 
  2. Preston, nr. Wingham (Solly’s Mill) built by T.R. Holman in 1852 Pulled down in 1912 (Coles Finch)
  3. Preston, nr. Faversham stood on south side of Watling Street owned since 1850 by Benjamin Filmer. Driven by steam up to 1919 when the mill closed. Taken down in 1924.