Burford Mill, Witney Street, Burford, Oxfordshire

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On the north side of Witney Street in Burford, Oxon., and currently known as Burford Mill. This mill lies at Grid Ref SP25551205 (see SP2512 at www.geograph.org.uk). Further details of the location may be obtained at the Burford Mill self-catering holiday accommodation web site.

It has also at various times been referred to as The Witney Street Mill, Upton Mill or Lower Mill, it may never have been used for papermaking, however because of the scope for confusion between this mill and the Upton Mill in the West of the Parish of Upton & Signett, a history is being built up to allow disambiguation. 


Thanks to its long association with the wool industry Burford used to have several fulling mills in the vicinity of the town. One of these was on Witney Street.
 Burford Mill


In 1521, Burford's four mills were leased by the crown to Thomas WILDYNG, a Yeoman of the Ewery, through a Patent, dated 3 May, 13 Henry VIII (Gretton, pg 194, 655)

By 1538, the daughter and administrator of Thomas WILDYNG, deceased, had sold her remaining interest to John JOHNES of Burford. (Gretton, pg 655)

In Feb 1538, on the surrender of the Patent, dated 3 May, 13 Henry VIII,  John JOHNES of Burford, Oxon., leased for 21 years at 16 13s. 4d. rent and 4d. increase:These were part of the lands of the late Earl of Warwick (Gretton, pg 655) and the fulling mill appears, from the evidence below, to be the Witney Street Mill.

July 1545 saw the purchase by grant in fee to Edmund HARMAN [sic Edward HARMAN] of
These, for which HARMAN paid 187 3s. 5d., were then in the tenure of John JONES. (Gretton, 657)

A survey of 1552 identifies the Burford Mills (i.e. Port Mills), a fulling mill in Burford, Oxon.(which Gretton takes to be the Witney Street mill due to a reference elsewhere to a close 'in Witneystret iuxta le Walkemylle') and a corn-mill in Upton, Oxon. (Gretton, pg 193-4)

In his will dated 8 March 1576/7, Edmond HARMAN devised to his brother James HARMAN "my mills called or knowen by the name of the olde walke mylls now sett and beinge in the end or side of a certaine streate in Burforde aforsaide called witney streate, and also one meade by the same mills wherin are certaine pooles and clothe rackes, and also one close and a little ham there called or knowen by the name of pigg hill, and the ham belonging to the saide mills" [Dix 2007, 4] for his natural life, then to his wife Katherin HARMAN until her decease, after which to his daughter Agnes BRAY and her heirs. Should the succession of any of the property to Agnes heirs be threatened by her death without issue, then the mills were to go to his other daughter Mary JOHNSON, wife of William JOHNSON [Dix 2007, 5]. From the description this mill was evidently being used for fulling.

From 11 May, 36 Elizabeth (1593), through until 12 Jan 1698,  the ownership of a package of property was summarised by a Mr. HARDING. This package (hereafter referred to as WILTON's land) comprised:
On 11 May, 36 Elizabeth (1593), WILTON's land, with the exception of the two acre
close, was sold by Walter JONES and Hellen his wife to Richard
MERYWEATHER for 120 (Gretton, pg 474)

On 12 August, 40 Elizabeth (1598), WILTON's land, with the exception of the two acre close, was sold by MERYWEATHER to Sir Anthony COPE (Gretton, pg 474)

On 28 July, 2 James I (1604), WILTON's land, with the exception of the two acre
close, was sold by COPE to MERYWEATHER (Gretton, pg 474)

On 23 May, 5 James I (1607), a two-acre close was sold by Thomas SILVESTER to
MERYWEATHER (Gretton, pg 474)

On 17 January, 1619, MERYWEATHER mortgaged WILTON's land, except the messuage, to Thomas CHURCH for 205 (Gretton, pg 474)

On 11 September 1620, WILTON's Land was conveyed by MERYWEATHER , Thomas WIETT,
and CHURCH to John HIGHLORD and Susanne his wife (Gretton, pg 474)

On 30 & 31 May 1656, WILTON's Land formed part of the marriage settlement of John HIGHLORD (son and heir of Zac. HIGHLORD) to Elizabeth STYLE (Gretton, pg 474)

On 5 June, 7 William III, 1695 John HARDING leased property for a year, comprising a capital messuage or tenament on the East side of the High Street at Burford, Oxon., together with 24 acres of land, all occupied by John MINCHIN. He leased it from John WARWICK of Curbridge, yeoman, Thomas SILVESTER of Curbridge, clothier and Ralph TRUMBULL of Witney, clerk. On the next day (the 6th) this conveyence was confirmed by an Indenture of sale between the same parties. On the 7th HARDING settled the property on George WHITE of Little Barrington, yeoman, and Samuel WHEELER of Burford, clothier. Then on the 8th, HARDING settled it on Thomas HARRIS of Lineham, in Shipton under Wychwood, yeoman, George WHITE of Little Barrington, yeoman, and Samuel WHEELER of Burford, clothier, for the benefit of his wife Anne and her children. (Gretton, pg 472-3)

On 1 August, 7 William III, 1695, an indenture, tripartite was drawn up between:
  1. John SOUTHBY of Caswell, Berks., Esq., and Mary his wife, of the first part ;
  2. John WARWICK of Curbridge, Thomas SILVESTER of Curbridge, Ralph TRUMBULL of Witney and Hester his wife, of the second part ;
  3. Samuel WHEELER of Burford and John HARDING of Burford, of the third part.
Declared the purposes of a fine to be levied. It concerned WILTONS land, now described as :
These were sold by the first-named parties to Samuel WHEELER (Gretton, pg 473)

On 22 & 23 April, 1697 the premises were sold by John HIGHLORD of Micham, Surrey, Esquire, only brother and heir of Tho. HIGHLORD Esq., deceased (the eldest son and heir of John HIGHLORD Esq., deceased, the eldest son and heir of Zac. HIGHLORD, the eldest son and heir of John HIGHLORD, citizen and Alderman of London), to Sir John COTTON and John STONE the younger of London, merchant (Gretton, pg 473)

On 11 & 12 January, 1698. The premises were sold by COTTON and STONE to John
HARDING. (Gretton, pg 473)

On 12 Jan 1698 Mr. HARDING cited the previous ownership of the mill in defence of his title. It was then in the possession of Tristram WILTON or his assigns.(Gretton, pg 473)

In 1740 Henry KEYLOCK and his wife Jane moved to Burford to take over the operation of the mill (Moody, 1998, Pg 17).

In June 1758 Henry KEYLOCK died in the Burford Smallpox outbreak. From around this time a gift of 1.1.0 was given by William JORDAN to KEYLOCK's widow and her family, which William recorded, undated, on a list of disbursements on behalf of  John LENTHALL. (Moody, 1998, Pg 18)

On 30 Jan 1759 KEYLOCK's widow recieved 10s.6d from the Overseers for the "use of her Mills cleansing Bedds and Blanketts" (Moody, 1998, Pg 18).

On 20th Aug 1759 an inquest was held into the suicide of KEYLOCK's widow, which returned the verdict 'Lunacy' (Moody, 1998, Pg 18)

The only mill mentioned on the Upton Enclosure Award of 9 Dec 1773 is in connection with a public road that goes from Burford to Cirencester, past the Rose and Crown, through the hamlet of Upton and toward the Paper Mill belonging to Edward BAKER. This appears to be a reference to Upton Papermill, Upton, Oxon., rather than this one. (Gretton, pg 704)

On the gabel end of one of the main buildings there is a small commemorative stone with the initials WH and the date 1790. (personal observation in 2007)

In the Burford enclosure award of  28 Feb 1795 an allotment of Thomas HUNT and Lois HEYES includes ground in Stevens Ham "Bounded on N. by back water course running from Higgins's Mill into the Windrush on S.E. by allotment to Oriel on S. by Witney Turnpike Road and on N.W. by an old inclosure in Burford called Chavasse's Paddock. is a reference to (Gretton, pg 695) and later under William HIGGINS "Mill and Premises in occupation of himself" and "The Meadow" (Gretton, pg 698)

Thomas HUNTLEY snr.of Burford, mealman, occupied Chavasse's Close after Chevasse and occupied it until he died. (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/18).

In 1822 Thomas HUNTLEY died and his brother John HUNTLEY of High Wycome, Bucks., gent. occupied Chavasse's close, with the mill and other closes. (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/18).

On Saturday, 12 Oct 1822, Jackson's Oxford Journal carried  (Issue 3624.) carried a notice from the executors of Thomas HUNTLEY of Burford, mealman, calling for his debts etc. to be forwarded to Robert HUNTLEY, Surgeon at Faringdon, Berks., or John HUNTLEY at the Mill, Burford.

In Spring 1836 John HUNTLEY gave up the premesis to Thomas HUNTLEY's son Thomas Squire HUNTLEY. John later (in 1857) declared that during the entire of his tenacy of the mill and closes he paid the rent for the whole (including Chavasse's Close) to Richard SQUIRE (trustee of the marriage settlement of his late brother Thomas HUNTLEY), during which time he did not receive any demand for rent from Matthew FINCH for the said close nor from any other person. (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/18).

On 31st March, 1857 one Thomas Squire HUNTLEY late of Burford, Oxon. but now of Horsley, Gloucs., gent. sold to James SAUNDERS of the City of Oxford, Land Agent, meadow land including an ancient inclosure called Chevasses' Close, situate in Steven's Ham between the back watercourse from Burford Mill into the River Windrush on ne and Witney Turnpike Road on the s.  (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/16). On the same day the Trustees for sale under and Indenture of Settlement of 13 Oct. 1807 (Thomas Squire HUNTLEY, of Burford, Oxon, gent., Richard HUNTLEY late of Kings Langley, Herts. and now of Nottingham, gent.,  John Andrew GROOME of Kings Bangley aforesaid, gent. [who married Margaret HUNTLEY] and William HUNTLEY of Stoke upon Trent, Staffs., miller) agreed to sell the mill, its adjoining cottage and farm and some associated meadow land to James SAUNDERS of the City of Oxford, land agent. for 3160. At the time the premesis were occupied by Miss Clare and Thomas IMPEY.

On 4 May, 1857 John HUNTLEY of High Wycombe, Bucks. gent. aged 73, made a statutory declaration concering Chevasses' Close that touched on the history of that close (with the mill and other closes). (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/18).

Dating from around 1857 Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/19-23, 25-26
contain a series of copies of burial and baptism certificates relating to 'the freehold mill and heredits. at Burford'. These, all of which are Quaker records, include:
On 17 Jul 1858 James SAUNDERS  mortgaged 2 corn mills and 1 seed mill (formerly 2 fulling mills) with appurts. in Burford  together with land associated with his earlier purchase of Chavasse's Close and the Mill, all described as formerly occupied by Thomas HUNTLEY.

On 8th November 1870 the officers of the church entered into an agreement with one William Wilson SAUNDERS of Reigate, Surrey, Esq, to permit them to put a drain into the mill pond or stream that supplied SAUNDER's 'water corn mill called the Lower Mill at a point under the said Mill Pond or Stream approx. 30 yds. from the se. corner of the said churchyard.' (Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/44).

In 2006 the Lord of the Manor of Burford assured me that Upton Mill (in Witney Street) was owned by the LENTHALL family until his family bought it, and that this would have covered the period during which the HATTON family were involved with mills in the Burford area.


The HUNTLEY family

On 13 September 1768 at the Burford Meeting, in a Quaker ceremony and before a long list of witnesses, William MATTHEWS of Coggeshall, Essex, (son of John MATTHEWS of Milton, Oxon., Cordwainer, and of Mary his wife) married Mary HUNTLEY (daughter of Joseph HUNTLEY of Burford, Oxon., and Mary his wife, both deceased). (Register of Births belonging to the Monthly Meeting of Witney, Oxfordshire from 1656 to 1736, with a Register of Marriages from 1664 to 1776, and a Register of Burials from 1659 to 1710, RG6 / Piece 1370 / Folio 71)

Thomas HUNTLEY was born on  24 Mar 1782 in Burford, to Thomas and Hannah HUNTLEY, the birth being witnessed by W'm CHAVASSE, Sarah CHAVASSE and Susannah BAKER (Quaker birth record, Register of Birth Notes belonging to the Quarterly Meeting of Berkshire and Oxfordshire from 1760 to 1785 with one Death note for 1779,  RG6 / Piece 1617 / Folio 143). ( Register of Marriages for the Quarterly Meeting of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire from 1795 to 1836,  RG6 / Piece 1 / Folio 22)

On 28 December 1807, at the Friends Meeting Place in Hemel Hempsted, Thomas HUNTLEY of Burford, mealman, (son of Thomas and Hannah HUNTLEY), married Margaret SQUIRE, daughter of John SQUIRE of Kings Langley, Herts, and sarah his wife, he being deceased. (

Dating from around 1857 Oxford Records Office Catalogue, Hey/XI/i/19-23, 25-26
contain a series of copies of burial and baptism certificates relating to the HUNTLEY family. These, all of which are Quaker records, include:


Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2005 unless stated otherwise.