©The Mill at Bures
is situated on the Nayland Road opposite the entrance to Claypits Avenue.
The "Stour Valley" public footpath runs through the site from
the main road towards Wormingford.
Brief history of Mill:-
In 1640 the timber framed Mill House was erected and extended in 1820. Part of this structure can still be seen today.
The river was opened to
navigation in 1715 which enabled barges to transport material to the mill
for grinding. Foreign wheat was used mainly for grinding into flour which
arrived by barge from Mistley.
Cornelius Hitchcock purchased
the mill in 1875 and a further mill at Wormingford during 1879. His greatest
achievement was in 1893 when he changed over from stones to roller flour
milling at Bures. Instead of producing wholemeal flour on stones, the
new Hungarian system of roller flour milling produced the white flour
so eagerly demanded by the public.
The river navigation was closed in 1912 - the last barge to the Mill was during 1911.
Flour production ended in
In 1935 three feet of water
was lost from the river following the breakdown of the floodgates at Wormingford
Mill. The gates were never re-installed and the river has never regained
this full height since.
Wheat flakes were taken to Driffield in
Yorkshire with additional journeys to Doncaster and Carlisle to collect
Peat Moss in 100 bale loads.
As production increased the
buildings were extended on three occasions, 1957, 1963 and 1980. During
the last extension a second production line was installed.
However, with the great changes in agriculture culminating in the almost total demise of mixed farming saw the collapse of its market. Production fell sharply between 1984 and 1989 with the result the business was sold to Clark & Butcher of Soham.
1990 was the last year of
animal feed production at the Mill and the end of three generations of
milling by the Hichcock family over a period of 115 years.
At one time on the Stour and
its tributaries there were 30 mills producing flour. Only three changed
to roller milling, which extended their life span considerably. The three
were Dedham (flour milling, closed 1982), Bures (animal feed,closed 1990)
and Cornard (pet food) which is still in existence although production
has been moving to their site on the Industrial Est.
The row of cottages along Nayland Road were owned by the Hitchcock family and rented out to their workmen. These are now in private ownership.
Mary Anderson was in the Office until the 1980`s when she retired and was replaced by Janet Mead who stayed on until the Mill closed in 1990.
(Information supplied by Mr Witgar Hitchcock, previous mill owner)
Witgar Hitchcock, great-great-great nephew of Matthew Flinders,
Ref:- Captain Matthew Flinders
RN (16 March 1774 19 July 1814) was a distinguished English navigator
and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify
it as a continent.(Wikepedia)
Flinders, who was one of Captain Cook's Lieutenants (together with Bligh
and Vancouver on his first voyage of discovery in HMS Endeavour.