A potted history of The Mill at Poston Mill Park
There has been a mill at Poston for many centuries. As long ago as 1588 records of the Sheriff’s Court refer to “…profits of the mill at Poston…” and the contents of a nearby barn which included “…five bushels of oats, two loads of hay and certain loads of straw…”. Map-making became more sophisticated and by 1786 Isaac Taylor produced a map of Herefordshire clearly showing a small building with a water-wheel attached at Poston. It was, however, Bryant’s map of 1835 which was the first to carry the name “Poston Mill”.
Poston Mill would have undoubtedly been a water mill and essential to the needs of the local farmers. It is almost certainly the largest and longest-lived mill in the Golden Valley. Millers would often learn their trade in other local mills and aspire to become the tenant at Poston Mill.
The fields attached to the Mill were clearly named by the 19th century. Most of the holiday homes are in what was Great Mill Meadow whilst the Putting Green was a part of Lower Mill Meadow.
To ensure a regular supply of water Poston Mill required a mill pond. This was situated between the building and the road and explains why the road curves at the entrance to the Park..
The supply of water was obtained by creating a weir upstream on the River Dore and digging a very long mill-race – sometimes called a ‘leat’ – to carry the water downstream to the mill pond.
Today, there is no public access to the weir, but the route of the mill-race can just be seen in the fields and if you look for the older native trees near the dog-walk you can follow its route across the Park.
To avoid the mill-pond overflowing there was a sluice before the mill complex. Water could be diverted downhill and back to the River Dore.
With a drop of over 6m water from the mill pond poured over the mill wheel, giving it its name of an ‘overshot’ wheel. The turning wheel would rotate the upper mill stone. There were two mill stones, but only the top one rotated. They were made of French Burr, imported from the Marne Valley in France.
No doubt the miller’s family would have paused to watch the inaugural train on the Golden Valley Railway. A small engine pulled three coaches, resplendent in their green and gold livery, and a guard’s van.
They would have heard the bells of St Peter’s ringing out across the valley to mark the occasion. It was Thursday 1st September 1881 and this was taking place at the bottom of their orchard! The River Dore was straightened and the railway cut through their land on an embankment – times were changing!
By the start of the 20th century milling was less profitable. Water power ceased to be used and Poston Mill was converted to a turbine which ensured a year round supply of power. You can see the remains of the more modern engine in the pit that held the waterwheel, to the right of the building. It was a 40 hp turbine manufactured by Joseph Armfield. It also powered ‘roller mills’ which produced a finer flour. In 1913 the miller and some of his family emigrated to Canada. Other family members continued to run the business, but the Mill ceased work in 1947.
Most millers were also farmers, but given that the end product was flour it was only natural for the miller to also be a baker.
Many residents of the Golden Valley still remember coming to Poston Mill for bread, but most importantly, the miller also provided a delivery service.