Eynsham Mill, Eynsham (formerly Ensham), Oxfordshire 

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Located on the river Evenlode, just to the NW of Eynsham, Oxon., at SP438 108. (SP4310 at www.geograph.org.uk)

Buildings and lands

Only the mill house remains (Foreman, 1983, pg 107).

A lease dated 1737 (ORO, Blake/I/v/3) mentions pieces of meadow ground adjoining Ensham Mill and used as part of it. These (hereafter called 'the Rymes land') comprised

History (from 1682 to 1785)

The mill itself

By 1682 Eynsham was producing best white paper (Foreman, 1983, 71).In 1682, George HAGAR, a London dyer, was tenant of the mill [Crossley & Elrington, 1990]. The timing is very close to the establishment of certain other paper mills in Oxfordshire, e.g. at Hampton Gay, Oxon (1681) and Deddington, Oxon (1684). HAGAR supplied white paper for books but the venture was unsuccessful, although the mill was valued at 1,500 when a creditor took over (MARKS et al, 2003, 5) 

By 1686 Eynsham's lessee was Thomas MEALES (-1706), who with his son, again Thomas MEALES (-1723), supplied white paper for printing Bibles in Oxford.  (MARKS et al, 2003, 5) 

By 1718, according to Foreman, Eynsham and Wolvercote were making the best white paper in England (Foreman, 1983, 71).

In 1723, when Thomas MEALES, the son, died, the 'the site included a corn mill and two others, one called the New Mill, both well stocked with rags. There were separate moulding and drying houses.', an inventory was attached to his will and is extracted by Marks et al. (MARKS et al, 2003, 5)

In 1724 inland revenue records record that one Anne MEALES of Eynsham, Oxon, papermaker took an apprentice named Richard MEALES, the premium being 005/00/00 [Inland Revenue record IR/1/10/129]

Charles LOCK gives a glimpse into the training of a paper maker. He appears to have been baptized at Eynsham on 4 July 1736. On 3 November 1764 Petty Sessions identified one Charles LOCK residing at Snodland, Kent, site of another paper mill. LOCK, it was said, was ' born at Ansham , county of Oxford; was bound apprentice to William FACHION of Woolvernett , Oxford, Papermaker, for 7 years (and served 5 years and 4 months); then was a journeyman in Worcestershire of 11 weeks; then about 3 weeks in Shropshire and three years with Thomas OVERTON, a Papermaker.' (see The Papermill Early History, and Ashbee, The Papermakers of Snodland. If Charles LOCK started his apprenticeship at 14, as was often the case, then the early termination of  it would have been in about 1756, the year when a fire destroyed the Eynsham mill (see below).

On 7 Jan 1752 one Charles RAMPLIN was apprenticed to Jarvis KEY, papermaker of Ensham, Oxon, from the parish of St Aldates, Oxford.(Oxfordshire Poor Law Name Index, Par/St Aldate/c/23)

On 29 April 1753 inland revenue records record that one Jervis KEY of Eynsham, Oxon, papermaker took an apprentice named Thomas MATHEWS, the premium being 006/06/00 (Inland Revenue record IR/1/19/220)

On 14 May 1754 Charles PAMPLIN, the apprentice absconded (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

In December 1755 Thomas MATTHEWS, the apprentice absconded (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

Eynsham was one of the major paper making centres in Oxfordshire and was in full production supplying paper for Bibles printed in Oxford until 1756 when it burnt down and had to be re-built (see 'Eynsham: Economic history', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12: Wootton Hundred (South) including Woodstock (1990), pp. 127-42. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=10695. Date accessed: 16 April 2006.)  In an 18th C paper mill there would have always been a threat of fire and the unfortunate papermaker at that point was Jervis KEY. The mill was then rebuilt as a corn and paper mill. 

In June 1756 William COLLINS, an apprentice absconded some two months after the fire (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

In July 1757 Charles PAMPLIN, the apprentice again absconded, accompanied by John COLLINS, another apprentice (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

At the end of 1757 'to let' advertisements appeared (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

By early 1758 the mill was for sale (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

In 1761 the owner of the mill was Jn. BROWN (Foreman, 1983, 71).

Marks suggests that the new owners were Joseph RYDER and Anthony BOXALL but that their partnership dissolved in 1765 (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

In 1768 Edward WEBB, son of William WEBB (wife Martha) a papermaker who had moved into the area from Sawston, Cambs., was christened in Eynsham. (Fisher, 2008)

On 17 April 1769 a Bond of Indemnification re Dower mentions as its parties 1) John KEY and Francis LADSON of Eynsham, paper maker 2) Sarah KEY [probably Jarvis KEY's widow], with a consideration of 100. (Oxford Local Studies Index, SL7/1/D/8)

About 1770, William WEBB moved from Ensham to Beoley, near Redditch, Worcs. (Fisher, 2008)

On 18 May 1771 a report appeared that there had been a break-in at the mill and the theft of machinery (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

By 1785 Eynsham Mill was in the hands of Stephen FAICHEN, probably a nephew of William FAICHEN who was paper maker of Wolvercote, Oxon.

In 1791 the Universal British Directory entry for Eynsham listed 'Faichen Stephen, (F.) Paper-maker

By 1798, Stephen FAICHEN was in partnership with J. SWANN. The new partnership submitted specimens and tenders to the Clarendon Press for a Royal Wove paper (possibly to print bank notes). (Colin Robinson, "Re: Wolvercote Mill," posting in Oxfordshire list at Roots Web, Fri, 18 Dec 1998. online http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com, accessed 14/Apr/2008).

In his Will dated 6 Dec 1803 (probate 16 Feb 1804),  Stephen FAICHEN of Wolvercot, Oxford, gent. left his messuages or tenement mills and premises at Ensham in tenure of John NOAUN to his executors to farm the rents for the benefit of his wife. After her death they were to be divised among the children of his brother William FAICHEN except for Stephen. Nephew Stephen FAICHEN to recieve freehold estate at Wolvercot "in which he now lives"(ORO, Blake/I/iv/1).

In 1804 John SWAN of Wolvercote purchased the mill for the use of James SWAN, his brother (Oxford Records Office, Local Studies Catalogue, SL138/1/, Introduction).

In 1805 the SWANNs supplyied paper to the Clarendon Press (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

James succeded John SWAN in the business from 1807 (Oxford Records Office, Local Studies Catalogue, SL138/1/, Introduction).

Before 1811, J.C. Loudon Material, a tarred paper, was used to roof the mill (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

Under James SWAN a Fourdrinier machine was installed at Eynsham (Oxford Records Office, Local Studies Catalogue, SL138/1/, Introduction). James, a friend of William COBBET, supplied paper for the Political Register (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

From 1837 Henry SWAN ran the business (Oxford Records Office, Local Studies Catalogue, SL138/1/, Introduction).

In 1846 James SWANN died (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

Between 7 Nov 1848 and 9 Dec the same year a series of letters were exchanged between, Tatum, Upton, Johnson & Co, Thomas HALLAM and members of the SWANN family, concerning a sale at Sandford and Eynsham Mills as a result of  the Bankruptcy of Henry SWANN (Oxford Records Office, Local Studies Catalogue, SL138/1/C/01-12). 

The 1854 Post Office Directory (pg 715) gives SWANN & BLAKE as Paper Manufacturers at Ensham Mills, Witney.

In 1856 John SWANN and his partner Thomas ROUTLEDGE employed pioneering techniques to produce paper from esparto grass (MARKS et al, 2003, 6)

In 1862 John SWANN left Eynsham (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

Between 1862 and 1871 ROUTLEDGE & Co continued to use raw fibres for paper production (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

In 1872 the WAKEFIELD family held the mill (MARKS et al, 2003, 6).

1889 saw the formation of the Eynsham Paper Company, Marks offers an extract from their prospectus which shows there was a share capital of 25,000 and that the company took over from R & S.C. WAKEFIELD. Mr S.C. Wakefield was to continue to act as Managing Director for at least 10 years(MARKS et al, 2003, 6-7).

On the 13 Nov 1891 Wakefield disappeared and on Dec 26 the mill collapsed with a deficit of 12,000 (MARKS et al, 2003, 7). An entry in a local farmer's diary for Dec 14th noted that 'Mr Wakefield, Eynsham: absconded with
lots of money and his governess – left behind wife and four children!' (MARKS et al, 2003, 7).

The land occupied as part of the mill

On 1 May 1676, one William WISE of Ensham Oxon. yeoman procured from John JORDAN of Witney Oxon. gent.a 500 year mortgage of 40 against the Rymes Land (ORO, Blake/I/iv/1)

On 14 Nov 1687 (ORO, Blake/I/iv/2), William WISE's mortgage on the Rymes land was redeemed by Alexander WOOD of University of Oxon, surgeon from John JORDAN of Witney Oxon. gent, with WOOD to hold the remainder of the term in trust for Richard DODWELL of City of Oxon, gent. as part of the purchase of the land by DODWELL.

On 31st Jan 1784, one James DUBERLEY of Bently Priory, Middx. Esq., the current occupant of Twelve Acre Farm in Ensham, let that farm and the Worsey Meadow situate near Ensham Mill, that was 'usually let with said farm', to Robert WILSDEN of Ensham, Oxon, yeoman (ORO, Blake/I/v/11).


George HAGAR

HAGAR's distinctive addition tot he paper-making process appears to have been the addition of the size to the pulp and in 1682 he obtained a patent to set up paper production [Crossley & Elrington, 1990]. Under this he set up several mills including
1686 saw the formation of the Company of White Paper Makers in England under John BRISCOE [Carr, pg cviii], but 

In 1687 an appeal to parliament to approve BRISCOE's charter was opposed by William SUTTON of Byfleet amongst others (including the Ancient Papermakers). SUTTON was bought off and, the other opposition being overcome, the bill became law.[Carr, pg cviii-cix]

HAGAR's enterprise was financed with borrowed money and was presumably undermined by the Company of White Paper Makers initative. In 1690 George HAGAR raised a petition to the House of Commons in which he stated that he had been producing white paper for the past three years at several mills in Surrey[Jenkins, pg 173]. In that year a petetion (presumably the same one) claimed that, even prior to 'the French interest' taking hold, English manufacturers were producing white paper for both writing and printing [Gwynn, pg 98]. 

By 1691 HAGAR was an undischarged bankrupt and the Company of White Paper-makers took legal proceedings in the House of Lords to become owners of his patent. [Jenkins, pg 173]

The FAICHEN family

For detail of this family see Wolvercote Papermill, Oxon.


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