Upton Papermill, Oxfordshire

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Location and general description

Situated at Upton, Oxon. On the southern side of the Windrush valley and just upstream from Burford.
William Foreman (1983, pg 119) stated that Upton Mill now exists as 'site only' and is at Grid Ref  SP240127 (see SP2412 at www.geograph.org.uk), upstream and westward of Burford. Raymond and Joan Moody confirmed this (1983, pg 102), indicating that the only evidence of the mill's waterways consists of shallow channels between Lower Upton Farm and the River Windrush. By the time of its sale in the early 19th C, the mill was powered by spring water, conveyed by pipes and pumps into a reservoir.

The only mill mentioned on the Upton Enclosure Award of 9 Dec 1773 is in connection with a public road that went from Burford to Cirencester, past the Rose and Crown, through the hamlet of Upton and then toward a Paper Mill (Gretton, pg 704)

The name Upton Mill has also been used at times for the mill now called Burford Mill, which lies in the detached portion of the parish of Upton & Signet, but in Witney Street, Burford (e.g. see Joan Moody's 1998 book on the 1758 Smallpox outbreak, pg 17).

Joan Moody, in her 1998 book on the 1758 Smallpox outbreak (pg 17) suggests that the Upton Mill used for paper production was in Witney Street, Burford, Oxon., that lay in the detached part the parish of Upton & Signett on the eastern side of Burford. However, my analysis of the history of the Witney Street Mill currently suggests no connection with paper making. [Paragraph updated 15/Sep/2007]


Site only, with the only remains being possibly a few pieces of masonry incorperated into another building.

History (from 1521 to 1835)

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)

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, a fulling mill in Burford, Oxon., and a corn-mill in Upton, Oxon. (Gretton, pg 193-4)

In his will dated 8 March 1576/7, Edmond HARMAN devised to his wife Katherine, for her life, and on condition that she did not re-marry and paid the relevant rents etc., property including:
" the mills called the Porte mills of Burforde withe all the com[m]odities thereunto belonginge or any waies appertaininge" (Dix 2007, 3);
"the moytie or one halfe of my manour of widforde and also my mills called upton mills in the County of Oxon and also all my landes tenementes and hereditamentes in upton aforsaide with th[e] appurtun[an]ces now or late in the tenure of Richard Dalby butcher of the yearely rent of x shillinges" (Dix 2007, 2), which was valued at 40 and out of which 10 was to be paid to fund the school in Tainton (Dix 2007,4).
Harmon's will devised to his brother James HARMAN, for his natural life, "all those my mills called or knowen by the name of the olde walke mylls" set alongside "witney streate" (Dix 2007, 4). After the death of James HARMAN they were to go to Esmond's wife Katherine, again for her life,
After the death, or re-marriage, of Katherine HARMAN the set of mills were to pass to Edmond's 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).
On 19 Dec 1679 Paul SILVESTER the elder of Burford, clothier, signed his Will (probate 1680, Public Records Office: Prob 11/363). He left to his Son in Law William ROGERS and Alice his wife 'my Great Dyeing Furnace and my Grate with the vessels thereunto be ponysing And my Presse and all my Parchments All which goods now are in and about the mill and mill house in upton'. At the time he also owned a moiety of  Port Mills in Burford and held a lease for the other moiety from Sir John LENTHALL (both of which were to go to his daughter Susanna SILVESTER).

On Nov 9 1686 an entry was made in the Burford parish registers for the Baptism of one Isabella ACRES, daughter of William ACRES of Upton Mill. There is no indication what purpose the mill was used for.

The first trace of paper making at Upton appears to be the appointment of a boy to 'old Quelch, the paper man' in 1687, presumably related to the Thomas QUELCH of  Upton, 'an old man' who died in 1696 (see Raymond and Joan Moody,1983, pg 101). QUELCH happens to be the surname of the family who owned New Mills at Rotherfield Peppard, Henley on Thames, Oxon., prior to their conversion for paper production. 

In 1706 the LENTHALL family owned the Manor of Upton Signet and there is a record from that year that Sir Edmund FETTIPLACE of Swimbrook [=Swinbrook] (acting as Executor for William LENTHALL) conveyed the 'manors of Besselsleigh, Berks., and Burford, Upton Synett and Yelford, Oxon.' to his heir John LENTHALL. See Somerset Archive and Record Service: Dodson and Pulman, solicitors, records, Ref DD\DP/12/13.

On 12 Jan 1698/99 of the Bull in Burford was sold to one Peter RICH of Upton, paper maker. Gretton's book (R H Gretton's book The Burford Records, pg 474)

Gretton describes an unexecuted lease dated 1709 between Peter RICH of Upton, papermaker and John LENTHALL of Burford, Esquire (Gretton, Pgs 465-476). It mentions a moiety of the fulling mills and paper mills at Burford and Upton, also that the lease for a year was 5 shillings. The moiety referred to is presumably that held by lease in 1679 by Paul SILVESTER. 

Gretton (pg 477) mentions a counterpart lease dated 12 Jul 1727 in which John ASTON leased a messuage called Martins to Peter RICH of Upton, papermaker. It was witnessed by John JORDAN and George MAYER.

Gretton (pg 477) mentions a Deed of Partnership dated 29 Sep 1739 whereby Joseph FLEXNEY of Burford, Clothier & William SUMMERFIELD of  Burford, Distiller provided capital and Peter RICH of Upton, papermaker ran the mill and instructed FLEXNEY and SUMMERFIELD. It contines several insights into the administration of the arrangement:
'Rich is to receive weekly wages, 1s. a week to be deducted as interest due upon a bond of 50 by Rich to Robert Raikes of the City of Gloucester, printer ; Rich is not to drink ale or strong drink with any of the workmen at the mills or elsewhere on pain of a fine of 5s. to be deducted from his wages ; nor is he to draw bills upon Flexney and Summerfield for more than is really due to him on pain of forfeiting twice the amount of the bill ; Rich is to enter all the manufacture of paper in a book and to write on every ream the quality of the paper ; Flexney and Summerfield are to receive all moneys and make all payments.'
The Robert RAIKES mentioned here is almost certainly the father of the well known Gloucester stationer and printer of the same name (the latter being born in 1736 and going on to found the Sunday School movement). Robert published the Gloucester Journal. There is a Wikepedia entry for Robert RAIKES the Elder of Gloucester that provides more details. Robert RAIKES the Younger was married at St James, Westminster, as were several of the children of the HATTON papermakers from this area.

Alfred H Shorter's 'Paper Mills and Paper Makers of England 1495-1800' cites that on 26th May 1741 'A very convenient paper mill, lately very considerably repaired' was let in Upton and that enquiries were to be directed to one Peter RICH at the mill.

In their book Paper Making in Little Barrington, Basil Harley & R T Holmes state that mills at Upton (including the paper mill) were run  throughout the 18th C by the RICH family and that by 1800 it had passed to one George WARD.  

Joan Moody (1998, Pg 7) suggests that rags used at the paper mill in Upton may have been the origin of the 1758 Smallpox epidemic in Burford. She also mentions the business connections that were in place with the RAIKES family in Gloucester and the possibility that the disease could have come from there. Harley and Holmes also mention how in 1758 smallpox broke out in Upton and that filthy rags, a staple ingredient of paper making, may have been the source of the infection.. The infection spread to Burford where it killed an eighth of the population.

Shorter recounts (Pg 225) a reference from 10th July 1762 in which a Paper mill was let that was late of Peter RICH. He also states that on 29th Jan 1763 one Samuel MILLBORN advertised his services and offered 'the best price' for old rags. Later in  the year (21 Oct 1763) Samuel & Joseph MILLBORN insured the goods and stock at the mill.

The Upton Enclosure Awards of 9 Dec 1773 does not include the papermill, but does give some indication of its location, in the description of a road through the hamlet of Upton, which reads as follows -
'Publick road and highway branching out of the Turnpike Road leading from Burford to Cirencester at N.E. side of an inn called the Rose and Crown and leading northward through and over the second allotment to W. LENTHAL into and through the hamlet of Upton and from there toward the Paper Mill belonging to Edward BAKER and several Farms of Wm. LENTHAL.' (capitalising of names is mine)

If this mill was the one mentioned in the Upton Enclosure Awards (as noted above) then by 1773 it was in the posession of one Edward BAKER. According to Joan Moody (1998, pg 39) the name BAKER was associated with the Upton paper mill, though she gives no further details and so she may be basing that conclusion on the above reference. A Rent Roll for Burford dated 1685 mentions that one John Minchin BAKER had tenure of property in the high street (Gretton, Pg  457), suggesting prior connections between a MINCHIN family and a BAKER family.

In 1774 a draft affidavit attributed to John OAKE of Christchurch (Dorset Record Office: Christchurch Borough, DC/CC/G/2/22 ) mentions the following individuals acting as referees of Robert BARRETT for the post of Schoolmaster in Christchurch: William LINTHALL, esq; the Revd H HARRIS, clerk; William SUMMERFIELD, distiller; Edward BAKER, maltster; Joseph WARNER, maltster. All (or possibly just the last) of Burford, Oxfordshire.

Edward BAKER's wife was Susannah. In 1785 the watchmaker Matthias PADBURY of Burford married one Susannah BAKER, daughter of Edward BAKER of Burford, gent, and his wife Susanna HARRIS. Tho's MINCHIN and John MINCHIN are listed as relatives and W'm LENTHALL, Tho's RICH, Ann ANSELL and Jn'o Jordan ANSELL among the many witnesses (Quaker Register of Marriages for the Monthly Meeting of Witney, Oxfordshire from 1776 to 1794, RG6 / Piece 175 / Folio 6.  Bristol Record Office: Quaker Marriage Certificates, 37652/2). 

A Quaker marriage record for his son Thomas mentions John WOOD 'of Upton, in the county of Oxford, aforesaid, Paper maker and Mary his Wife' (Register of Marriages for the Quarterly Meeting of Oxfordshire from 1776 to 1796, RG6 / Piece 121 / Folio 12.) 

In 1781 an insurance policy was taken out with Sun by one William WARD papermaker with George WARD at Upton (Vol. S297, Policy  451745, value 500, see The British book trades 1775-1787 : an index to insurance policies. NamesT-Z, published by Devon Libraries Local Studies Service, online at http://www.devon.gov.uk/etched?_IXP_=1&_IXR=119922, Accessed 22 February 2007). WARD was involved with the other local paper making families of MINCHIN and RICH (see comments on Port Mills, Burford)

On 2 Dec 1782 the Burford registers record the burial of one Mary WARD, wife of George WARD of  Upton, though the transcript bears the note 'of Upton Mill' in the P.R (P.R.=paper register elsewhere in the transcript).

In 1791 and 1794 a George WARD of oxfordshire, papermaker was involved in the lease and release of premesis in Taynton (over the river from Upton), acting along with John WHEELER of Gloucester, gent and Richard TUCKWELL of Oxfordshire, corndealer. (see Plymouth and West Devon Record Office: Shelly and Johns, Solicitors of Plymouth, 567/99/44a and b & 567/99/47a and b).  

The Burford Enclosure Awards of 28 Feb 1795 mentions mills as follows  These may be interpreted respectively as Upton Mill, Witney Street Mill, and one of the Port Mill.

The Enclosure Awards lists several houses with yards owned by PADBURY & RICH. This was probably Peter RICH mentioned below. Gretton (pg 478) mentions that most of the RICH papers examined had the name PADBURY written on the outside of them. Quaker records record that, on 10 May 1774, a Matthias PADBURY, watchmaker of Burford, married Sarah MINCHIN of Burford, and on 19 October 1785 Matthias PADBURY of Burford, watchmaker married again, this time to Susannah BAKER of Burford (Bristol Records Office, 37652/1&2).  The same records contain a reference from 1806 to one William Sumerfield PADBURY, of Hyde Farm nr. Minchin Hampton, co.Glos, suggesting a link with Peter RICH's backer William SUMMERFIELD, and also where the MINCHIN family home might have been (Bristol Records Office, 37652/3).

On 27 April 1793 one Peter RICH papermaker and Lois his wife, of Upton, buried their daughter Ann in the Friends Burial Ground at Witney (source Register of Burials belonging to the Monthly Meeting of Witney, Oxfordshire from 1777 to 1805, RG6 / Piece 299 / Folio 47). [Paragraph added 15 May 2008]

A record from 20 June 1796 records how some lands at Upton were taken in exchange by Edward ANSELL from John LENTHALL, in particular a meadow called The Ham in Upton is mentioned (this is described as lying south of the River Windrush), also The First Meadow near to Burford and Fulbrook Bridge in Fulbrook. Also involved in the deal are the trustees of the marriage settlement of one John Jordan ANSELL of Burford, gent. and Margaret, his wife. See Oxfordshire Record Office: Property in Banbury, Adderbury and Caversham, Ref Kem/III/1

One William FAULKNER, Papermaker of Upton, died in 1798 (he married Betty BOYCE in 1769 in Burford).

Harley and Holmes mention that early in the 19th C the mill was run by Sarah HATTON. In the 1810 Will of John HATTON, Paper Maker of Widford, he grants his son Richard HATTON the right to a lease on the mill lands at Upton.

On 23rd August 1814 the London Gazette carried the notice of the bankruptcy of  Richard HATTON of Upton Mill.

In August 1815, the Bankrupt’s Dividend’s column of the New Monthly Magazine (Vol 4, no 19, August 1815:282) carried the following entry “Hatton R. Upton, paper maker, Oct 6

On 12 September 1815 the London Gazette (Issue:17060 , pg 1870) carried the following notice:
THE Commissioners in a Commlssioon [sic] of Bankrupt,
bearing date the 18th day of August 1814, awarded
and issued forth against Richard Hatton, of Upton, in the
Parish of Burford, in the County of Oxford, Paper-Maker,
Dealer and' Chapman, intend to meet on the 6th day of
October next, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, at the
Plough Hotel, in Cheltenham, in order to make a Divi -
dend of the Estate and Effects of the said Bankrupt ;
when and where the Creditors who have not already proved
their Debts, are to come prepared to prove the same, or they
will be excluded the Benefit of the said Dividend. And all
Claims not. then proved will be disallowed. 

An Excise list of 1816 has Sarah's son William HATTON noted as Master Paper Maker of Upton Mill (excise mill no.226 ). Clearly, Richard HATTON's personal bankruptcy had not proved terminal for the HATTON's business. [Paragraph updated 10 Sep 2008]

On 24 Aug 1825 an advertisement appeared in Jacksons Oxford Journal for the sale by auction of Upton Mill. It read -

To be sold by Auction,
By Mr. Wilkinson,

At the Bull Inn, Burford, on Monday the 3rd day of October, 1825, at Four o’clock in the afternoon, ‑  All those capital PAPER MILLS, with the Messuage or Tenement, Stable and Garden, to the same adjoining and belonging; together with an excellent Piece or Parcel of early Meadow or Pasture Land, containing by estimation about Three Acres; with the Machinery, Utensils and Fixtures, belonging to the said Mills, which are in every way adapted for carrying on the Paper Trade, upon an extensive scale.

The Mills work three vats, are capable of working more and on that account might be advantageously appropriated for a clothing manufactory‑ the situation for which is admirable.

There is an excellent spring of clear water in the Mills, never known to be dry, which is conveyed by a pump and pipes to reservoirs to supply the engines, an advantage, which few mills possess; besides an extensive right of fishing on the premises.

The above premises are situated at Upton, in the parish of Burford, in the county of Oxford, and lie near the Turnpike road leading to Cheltenham and London.

The Tenure is freehold of inheritance, and immediate possession may be had.

For a view of the same, apply to Mrs. Hatton, Widford near Burford; and for further particulars, to Mr. Hatton, Builder, Cheltenham; (if by letter post-paid)

Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, August 24, 1816; Issue 3305. Transcribed by R I Kirby

In this advertisement Mrs HATTON would be Sarah HATTON the widow of John HATTON of nearby Widford Paper Mill. Mr Hatton of Cheltenham, builder, was John HATTON her son. [Paragraph added 10 Sep 2008]

On 20 January 1827, one Mr. Henry BARRY of Bristol was proprietor and looking to let the mill.
To be LET by TENDER, and entered upon immediately, - All those capital PAPER MILLS, called UPTON MILLS, situate at Upton, near Burford, in the county of Oxford; together with the Cottage, Garden, and about three Acres of Water Meadow to the same, adjoining.
The Mills, which are contiguous to the turnpike road leading from Cheltenham to London, are most abundantly supplied with water; have worked three vats, but are equal to more; and are in every way calculated for carrying on the Paper Trade upon an extensive scale. There is a never-failing supply of spring water of very extraordinary quality, peculiarly adapted to the manufacture of superfine writing papers of the first description.
May be viewed on application at the Mills.
Proposals to be adderssed (post paid) to the proprietor, Mr. Henry Barry, High-street, Bristol.
Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, January 20, 1827; Issue 3847. Transcribed by R I Kirby.

On 12 April 1828, Jackson's Oxford Journal carried a similar classified advertisement, advertisement adding that these were freehold water mills and had been applied to making fine Papers for many years but were 'not at present in good repair'. The option of sale was also considered stating 'three-fourths of the purchase money may remain on security of the property'. Details could be obtained at the cottage or from one Mr. Edward BARRY, 12, Stockwell Place, Lambeth, London. (Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, April 12, 1828; Issue 3911.)

The 1830 Pigots Directory entry for Burford (pg 641) gives EMBERLIN & Sons as paper manufacturers at Upton and George WARD as paper manufacturer at Little Barrington. 

The poll of knights for 1830 reveales that William EMBERLIN owned the freehold of the mill.

On 31 Dec 1830, a partnership between William EMBERLIN amd Maria EMBERLIN was dissolved. The following notice appearing in the London Gazette Issue 18842 published on the 2 September 1831.
"Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership lately subsisting between us, at Deddington and Upton, both in the County of Oxford, as Paper-Makers, was dissolved on the 31st day of December last by mutual consent: As witness our hands the 29th day of August 1831. Maria Emberlin. William Emberlin."

In 1835, under the heading 'From the London Gazette, 26 Dec 1834' Cobbett's Weekly Register listed 'EMBERLIN, W., Deddington and Burford, Oxfordshire, paper-maker.' with no further information. [William Cobbett, Cobbett's Weekly Register, London, Vol 87, 3 Jan 1835, Pg 58.]

On 21 Feb 1835, The Bristol Mercury published 'Extracts from Friday and Tuesday's Gazette. These dealt with bankruptcies and insolvencies. Under the certificate section is listed one 'W. Emberlin, of Deddington and of Upton, Oxfordshire, paper-maker.' (The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), Saturday, February 21, 1835; Issue 2347) The business at Deddington referred to here is Adderbury Grounds Mill, near Deddington.


The RICH family

Peter RICH's origins are unknown although he owned or partially owned a number of properties in Burford.  He may have been a descendant of the Earls of Warwick as they also bore the surname RICH and once had substantial interests in Burford.

It is probably this Peter RICH of Upton who between 1728 and 1731 entered into an agreement with Timothy ABRAHAMS of Burford, Mercer to rent Abrahams a house in Upton and then a bond for RICH to pay ABRAHAMS money (Birmingham City Archives: Galton Papers, MS3101/B/2/1). In 1737 Timothy ABRAHAMS gave up rights to his wife's personal estate to her executors, one of whom was Susannah BAKER, wife of Edward BAKER of London, baker, the others being George WHITE of Milton, Oxfordshire, yeoman and Edward DEEN of Burford, Oxfordshire, weaver (Articles of Agreement recited by MS3101/B/2/4). In 1741 Timothy ABRAHAMS ended a dispute with Isaac WARNER of Burford, dyer that had been arbitrated by Robert STEVENS of Kelmscott, Oxfordshire (MS3101/B/2/3). In 1748 rights to the estate of Ann ABRAHAMS were released to Timothy ABRAHAMS (MS3101/B/2/4). The surname WARNER and the name Edward BAKER are both associated with William SUMMERFIELD in 1774. [Paragraph added 25/Jul/2007]

Raymond and Joan Moody (1983, pg 101) note that he had a son, Harris RICH, who was also a paper maker but was killed in an incident on London Bridge. Quaker burial records identify that another Peter RICH, possibly a son, was a papermaker at the mill in 1793. Several of  the RICH family's children had Quaker burials or christenings. [Paragraph modified 15 May 2008]

The Burford Parish Registers record the marriage 'WOOD Jn (x) papermaker  & My RICH spinster, Lic. Wit: Tho OSMAN, Jn STEER', Mary was daughter of Peter RICH. [Paragraph added 1 June 2008]


William was a distiller by profession and so his interest in the paper mill appears to have been primarily by way of investment. He may be the William SUMERFIELD that witnessed a Quaker wedding in Banbury in 1735 as one Mathias PADBURY (a name associated with Burford Port Mills) was also amongst the witnesses (Oxfordshire Records Office, BOR/2/XLIII/i/3). In 1774 a William SUMMERFIELD of Burford, distiller was one of those who recommended Robert BARRETT  for the post of schoolmaster in Christchurch (Dorset Record Office: Christchurch Borough, DC/CC/G/2/22). In 1802 one Thomas MINCHIN of Burford, distiller is mentioned as being a devisee of William SUMERFIELD (Oxfordshire Records Office, SL9/04/01D/12-13). For much of the 18th C a Quaker MINCHIN family were paper makers at nearby Lt Barrington, though I have yet to prove a connection.


Joseph appears to have been the son of Daniel FLEXNEY of Burford. His brother Daniel appears on a list of Quaker's who arrived in Piladelphia, USA ('Daniel Flexney unm s Daniel of Burford Witney mm 6mo 11 1718 received 7mo 26 1718.' posted on Roots Web by Sandra Ferguson, 14 Nov 2003) [Paragraph added 26/Jul/2007]

The WARD family

George WARD,  paper manufacturer at Little Barrington, married Mary RICH, daughter of Peter RICH.

The HATTON Family

The HATTON Family had interests in Widford Mill, Upton Mill and Quenington Mill, starting with Thomas HATTON. Several of his sons were paper makers in this area. After the sale of Widford Mill the family appear to have gradually moved out of paper making. Thomas HATTON and several members of the HATTON family are buried in Swinbrook churchyard. [Paragraph updated 15/Sep/2007]

The EMBERLIN family

It is noteworthy that the papermill at Deddington, Oxon was also owned by an EMBERLIN family at around this time and at both mills they followed HUTTON/HATTON families. According to Wakeman (1999), the EMBERLINs took over the mill from the family of Michael HUTTON (a Quaker). Wakeman notes that in 1742 Thomas HUTTON (possibly the son of Michael) took an apprentice papermaker by the name of Thomas JOMSON. Both the names William and Sophia EMBERLIN occur in Deddington during the 18th C and are uncommon elsewhere. Furthermore a Sophia EMBERLIN was christened in Deddington in 1801 and in 1828 a Sophia EMBERLIN married Wm BYGRAVE in Burford, Oxon. The 1851 Census has a Sophia BYGRAVE born abt 1800 in Deddington, Oxon and married to William BYGRAVE a retired plumber from Aynho, Northants. Furthermore, EMBERLIN & Sons was the company name later used by an Oxford Stationary and paper manufacture firm operated in 1851 by one William EMBERLIN a descendant of the EMBERLINS of Deddington, Oxon. [Paragraph updated 4 Aug 2008]


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