Turleigh Mill, Turleigh

A water-powered tannery in the historic county of Wiltshire, England.

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It is possible the mill’s origins date back before the Domesday survey of 1080 which records two small mills in this area. Right from the beginning it would have been part of a tanning yard which used the natural properties of the spring water arising out of the ground at Turleigh Trows to treat a variety of animal pelts. In medieval times there are signs it was operated by the monks, but from the 15th century the tan yard was in the ownership of the great names of the woollen industry in the district. The actual date of the construction of the dam and old mill building is lost in the mists of time, although such evidence as there is suggests the buildings were already there in 1700, although the stone work around the front door and two of the old windows and the fireplace have been dated to c.1450. In 1820 Emanuel Byfield, a part of the wool hierarchy, put the tannery on a new footing and modernised the mechanical side of the mill, taking out the old wooden wheel and installing the latest 20 foot diameter wrought iron wheel enabling it to operate as a bark mill, providing the power to strip the bark from sawn lengths of oak and chestnut. Tannin was extracted from the bark by soaking in hot water and prepared skins were immersed in the liquid in stone troughs before being hung up to dry and turned into leather. But technology moves on and the mill became obsolete in 1880 when it closed and came into private ownership. It was converted into residential accommodation in the 1960s.

Full details

Power source Water
Mill type Watermill
Mill function Tannery
Archive ID 13408
Location Turleigh
Historic county Wiltshire
Country England, United Kingdom
NGR ST 8061 6065
Latitude/longitude 51.34468225, -2.27976795





David Cope, January 2019.


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