Littlebourne Mill, Littlebourne

A water-powered corn mill in the historic county of Kent, England.

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The mill is Grade II Listed.

Geoff Holman: "White, Jarvis or Hovis mill Standing midway between Wickhambreaux and Littlebourne on the River Little Stour, this mill was one of four mills on this stretch of river. The name of a mill sometimes changed during its life and could be the name of the owners, the colour of the mill, or even, as in this case, the name of a product from the mill. There has been a mill on this site for many years, but I have yet to establish when the current mill was built, but imagine it would have been towards the end of the 18th Century. It is of brick and weatherboard construction and had five floors. It had an 8 foot diameter breastshot waterwheel - meaning that it was turned by water being directed onto it at a level just above the height of the axle. It drove 3 pairs of millstones. Wheat to be ground was imported from Russia and was firstly shipped to Sandwich and then transferred to horse drawn barges which brought it up the river to Littlebourne. These were in operation from 1801 to 1870. The sacks of flour produced were loaded onto horse drawn wagons. Some were delivered locally, but the bulk went to bakeries in Thanet. It was leased to William White in 1803 and later, in 1820 to Mr Kingsford who had a larger 12ft 6in diameter, 5ft 7in width wheel fitted to provide more power. In 1851, William Halliday was the miller. By 1890 a new waterwheel was needed, and in 1894 further repairs were described in an estimate from Holman Bros the Canterbury millwrights to Mr Jarvis. This Included new iron gearing including the pit wheel at a cost of £45.10.0. An alternative estimate was to provide new wood gearing made of sound dry timber dowelled & bolted together & geared with hardwood cogs fitted & fixed complete at the mill on the present iron, fixed for the sum of £36.0.0. The owner was to provide cartage of men & materials to & from the mill.”It would take 5 weeks to prepare the iron wheels & about 6 weeks to prepare the wood wheels, which would take 5 days for fixing.” An added note stated that “the iron wheels will make by far and away the best job”. Records show that Mr Jarvis owned the mill until 1944, when it was taken over by Vitovis who added the Hovis sign seen in the photograph. They modernised the mill in 1945 by replacing the millstones with steel rollers and converting it to be driven by an electric motor. It then produced animal feed and was fully automated, with grain being fed in at one end and animal feed coming out the other. Frank Denbigh was the manager during this time. Fortunately they kept the structure of the mill in good condition and retained the waterwheel. At some stage it was sold to Gardener and Sons of Birchington, but by 1957 it had stopped working and was converted into a house in the late 1960s. A survey undertaken in 1972 reported that the wheel and sluices were all working, but all machinery from the inside had been removed."

Full details

Alternative names Jarvis's Mill
Power source Water
Mill type Watermill
River Little Stour
Mill function Corn mill
Archive ID 8658
Location Littlebourne
Historic county Kent
Country England, United Kingdom
NGR TR 21481 58125
Latitude/longitude 51.27941100, 1.17437600




Rob Cumming, May 2016


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