Very old flour mill site, later Chudleigh's Mills
Pen Mill was one of the two Yeovil mills mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 - a mill valued at five shillings which was almost certainly the predecessor of Pen Mill. In 1255 the Feet of Fines recorded "Roger atte Penmalne" and in 1337 a reference was made to "William de Penmull".
The 1589 Terrier refers to ".... on the north side of Penmill.... ".
A lease, dated 29 September 1686, by the Hon. Edward Lord Stourton of Stourton, Wiltshire to Hugh Hasnott of Trent, gent, "of a moiety of a water grist mill and maltmill known as Penn Mill with lands in Yeovil".
In 1699 Rev Martin Strong recorded in his ‘commonplace book’ (see Gallery below) in which he complains of not receiving his due tithes "Mr Harbin pretends a Custom of paying 3s per annum for Penmill, But is no doubt a wrong custom too, he was wont to pay". This reference to 'Mr Harbin' would have been William Harbin (1654-1705).
On 20 December 1706 Pen Mill was sold by by Anne, Elizabeth, Frances and Katherine, the spinster daughters of William Harbin to Wyndham Harbin of Newton Surmaville, Esq.
On 5 March 1771 Swayne Harbin of Newton Surmaville, Esq. leased to miller Samuel Trent of Ilchester "a messuage and lands known as Penn Mill, Yeovil." It was leased to Samuel Trent again in 1793 by Swayne's son, Wyndham Harbin.
In 1827 Robert Allen was recorded as the Miller at Pen Mill in the 'Return of men qualified to serve on Juries'. In an agreement dated 10 March 1832, Wyndham Harbin let the mill to "Robert Allen of Penmill, miller" and Allen was also listed as a Miller in the Somerset Gazette Directory of 1840. In the 1846 Tithe Apportionment it was noted that Pen Mill, Garden and Orchard (Parcel 859) and Yeovil Bridge Mead (Parcel 860) were owned by George Harbin of Newton House and occupied by Robert Allen. In his will of 1848, Robert Allen refers to himself as the miller of Pen Mill.
Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1882 listed George Marden as the Miller, Pen Mill.
On 1 September 1892 Elizabeth Harbin of Newton Surmaville leased "to Albert Ben Marsh of Pen Mill, Yeovil, miller, of Pen Mills, Yeovil, for the term of fourteen years". The 1892 to 1903 editions of Whitby's noted that Albert Ben Marsh was Miller of Pen Mills.
W White was listed as the Manager, Pen Mills, in Collins' Directory of 1907.
In July 1948 the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, in its Provisional List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest in Yeovil Municipal Borough, recorded Pen Mill as a Grade III Listed Building with the following description "It is probable that this is a very old mill site. The mill building and part of the Mill House are 17th century or earlier. The latter retains original beams and some 17th century, or early 18th, stone mullioned windows with lead glazing. The west end of the house was added early or mid-19th century. The Mill building has recently lost its stone slate [sic: tile] roof. Water wheel removed. All mill buildings are listed except the westernmost range at right-angles to road, which is more recent."
By the time of Snell's Directory of 1954-5, B Chudleigh & Sons were listed in the Millers & Corn Merchants section as being of Hendford and Pen Mills as well as Gawbridge Mills, Martock. Foord's Directory of 1964-5 listed Jack Frederick Chudleigh and in 1974 Kelly's Directory listed DR Chudleigh.
The following description is from the Somerset Historic Environment Record of 1977 -
The main sluices across the River Yeo are modern and maintained for river control. The mill building is unexceptional, built mainly of local stone with many recent additions. The wheel pit, over which part of the mill is built, is large. The external wall is massive and built onto the bed rock of the river. Three stones each about 18" by 24" built into the pits internal walls and have deeply carved identical designs. In the outer wall is the stone lintel on which the wheel bearing was fixed, originally had either a high or mid breast wheel approximately 16ft diameter and 8ft wide. None of the mill machinery remains. At the bottom, upstream, end of the wheel pit there are the partly submerged remains of the casting of a large vortex turbine together with sluice value, and the screw opening mechanism on the ground floor. There is a name plate on the value on which the name "Thompson" is visible. The metal seating and iron support pillars for two pairs of 4ft diameter stones driven by this turbine remain. Also one short section of long shaft with two pulley wheels.
An extract of 1699 from the ‘commonplace book’ of Rev Martin Strong in which he complains of not receiving his due tithes - this entry reads "Mr Harbin pretends a Custom of paying 3s per annum for Penmill, But is no doubt a wrong custom too, he was wont to pay".
A notice place in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal, 18 February 1751. The value of the £45 annual rent at 2017's value is about £6,500.
Sherborne Mercury, 26 February 1770
An advertisement in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1892 placed by Albert Marsh.
From my collection
A postcard of about 1910 looking southeast and showing Pen Mill at centre. At bottom right is the Pen Mill Station engine shed and the signal box just below and to the left of the mill at centre. Between the engine shed and the mill is the mill stream and the Sherborne Road runs from just above centre left to the mill. Pen Mill Station is off image to the left.
Penn Mill, by the time of this 1970's photograph known as Chudleigh's Mills.
Chudleigh's Mills, again photographed in the 1970s.
.... and a very grainy photograph from the 1980s.
Courtesy of Bill & Audrey Robinson
The mill buildings seen from the other side, photographed in the 1990s.
Courtesy of Bill & Audrey Robinson
Interior photograph of the roofspace in the mill building, photographed in the 1990s.
The mill race survives even though the water wheel went years ago. Photographed in 2016.