Hampton Gay Papermill, Hampton Gay, Oxfordshire

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Location and general description

Located in Hampton Gay, Oxon., at SP485 166 (SP4816 at www.geograph.org.uk). 

The 1884, Ordnance Survey, 1:10,560 map shows a substantial building NNW of the Church and just upstream of the railway bridge on the southern loop of the Cherwell (which is named Millstream). This was LEE's reconstructed mill (see 'History' below). 

In 1846, prior to LEE's reconstruction, Parker described the mill as adjoining the manor house (Parker 1846, Pg 56). Suggesting that the original mill was in the same spot.

A History of the County of Oxford notes that Davis' map of 1797 marks a 'Mill Lane' parallel with the northern loop of the river Cherwell.


Long since demolished. Foreman notes that there are some ruins and waterways, some gear in headwater and part of a breastshot metal wheel in its chamber. (Foreman, 1983, pg 109)

History (for period 1681- 1875)

Frances Wakeman has produced a four page short history of this mill which I have yet to see. It contains an appendix detailing parish register extracts - "Hampton Gay Mill," The Quarterly, No. 64, October 2007, British Association of Paper Historians.

The mill at Hampton Gay was leased in 1681 by John ALLEN for 9 per annum, with the stipulation that it was to be used solely for paper making. 10 was to be paid for re-building or to supply rough timber of elm or ash to equivalent value (LOBEL, 1959).

In 1684 one Michael HUTTON from Hampton Gay proposed paper making at Deddington, Oxon, and soon after became paper maker there.

On 4 Sep 1733, Hannah the wife of John HUTTON, son of the above Michael HUTTON, delivered their son John, at which time the records of the Friends Meeting in Banbury gives their abode as Hampton Gay Paper Mill. The same was true for the births of daughters Mary (30 Jun 1734) and Hannah (28 May 1736)

On 4 Dec 1755, Thomas MILES of Hampton Gay, papermaker took as an apprentice Robert TAYLOR, late of Bletchingdon an adjacent village, for seven years. (Oxford Records Office: PAR36/5/A4/7)

On 3 Apr 1756 one William FOSTER was apprenticed to Thomas MILES, papermaker of Hampton Gay, Oxon, from the parish of  St Peter Le Bayley, Oxford.(Oxfordshire Poor Law Name Index, Par/214/5/A1/1/57)

On 26 Apr 1794 a lease for a year mentions the name TILSON in connection with mills in Hampton Poyle and Hampton Gay (Oxford Local Studies Catalogue entry for E31/36D/2)

Around 1805 a family by the name of HOWARD moved from the Wooburn area to be papermakers at the mill (source: posting on Roots Web by Eve McLaughlin, http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/BUCKS/1999-01/0916848660, accessed 16 May 2008)

1812 seems to have seen continuous paper-making equipment installed, the equipment having been manufactured by Fourdriniers of London (Foreman, 1983, 71).

In 1846 the Manor was 'at present only partially occupied by the superintendant of the adjoining paper-mill, belonging to C. Venables, Esq.' (Parker, 1846, Pg 56)

The list of Bankrupts in The Jurist for Friday January 2 1851 includes and entry for John DREW, as follows :
'John Drew, Hampton Gay Mills, Hampton Gay, Oxfordshire, paper maker, Jan 27 at 1, Court of Bankruptcy, London, div.' (The Jurist, London:S Sweet,  Vol XV, part II, 1851, pg 475)

The 1854 Post Office Directory (pg 715) gives VENABLES, C as Paper Manufacturers at Hampton Gay, Oxford

In 1863–73 the mill was reconstructed and James LEE, an iron-founder of the Oxford and Millbank Iron Works, erected a gas-works and a steam-engine and other machinery. (LOBEL, 1959)

In 1870 this mill was under the same management as Adderbury Grounds Papermill and both closed (Foreman, 1983, 72).

In 1875 the mill was destroyed by fire. (LOBEL, 1959)

In 1876 610 was spent on re-roofing the building, the sheets, supplied by St. Vincent's Corrugated Iron Works of Bristol, came by canal (LOBEL, 1959)

By July 1880, the fittings included  '
an iron water-wheel, 2 iron pitwheels, 4 iron rag-washing and heating engines, a 60-inch paper-making machine, a 30 h.p. Cornish steam-boiler, a new 8 h.p. high-pressure steamengine, and various other machinery '. This was said to be capable of an output of around one ton of paper each day. (LOBEL, 1959)

In April 1887, when the manor house was demolished by fire, it was jointly owned by a farmer and Messrs J and B NEW, paper manufacturers. The stock in trade of the mill, comprising 'about 15 tons of rags, waste paper, &c., 8 tons of white and brown mineral alum, resin, face-blue, oil, a quantity of paper bags, colouring, string, &c.' was sold to pay the rent. (LOBEL, 1959)

The mill was later demolished.


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