Wolvercote Papermill, Oxfordshire

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Location and general description

On the Thames/Isis at Wolvercote, Oxon., at SP487 098 (SP4809 at www.geograph.org.uk)


In 2008 the mill had been demolished though a building called Mill House remained (personal observation).

History (from 1729 to 1771)

1616 the mill comprised two corn mills and an adjoining fulling mill (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

By 1674 Wolvercote Mill was making some sort of rough paper (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

By 1683 the mill produced paper suitable for books (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History')

About 1686 the mill was rebuilt (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

In the 1690s seems to have been operated by members of the paper-making QUELCH family (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

In 1698 John QUELCH leased a cottage from Sir John WALTER (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

In the late 17th-century the initials of  Thomas QUELCH appear on some  paper used by the Oxford press (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

During the 18th century both corn and paper mills were owned by the dukes of Marlborough and leased them to a succession of managers (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

About 1700 a 'miller' called John BECKFORD built No. 11 Mill Road (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Introduction').

John Beckford, a local man, was tenant in 1708 (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

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

On 4 Jan 1727 the Will of one John BECKFORD Paper Maker of Oxfordshire was proved (Nat Arch, PROB 11/613). The details of th ewill are yet to be investigated.

On 1 Sep 1729 one John BECKFORD of Wolvercote, paper maker entered into a bond to pay 40s with the Mayor, bailiffs and citizens of Oxford (Oxford Local Studies Catalogue, O164/5/D/1).

In 1752 William FAICHEN leased Wolvercote Papermill from the Duke of Marlborough at 31 a year, with an initial outlay for mending the roof and walls of 200 (Robinson, 1998). The duke at that time was Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough (Wikipedia).

A letter dated 20 Nov 1755 (postmarked Oxford and Bristol), from William JACKSON, Oxford, to Rev. William BORLASE, Ludgvan, concering a publication for the latter, mentions that Mr FAICHEN has not any mould that will make paper of an adequate length for BORLASE's long plate (RIC, BLP/1/37). The correspondent was probably the William JACKSON (1724–1795) who published Jackson's Oxford Journal from at least May 1753 and the author was probably the Rev. William BORLASE (1696–1772) who published 'The Natural History of Cornwall' in 1758.

In a reply letter dated 22 May 1757,  from William JACKSON, Oxford, to Rev. William BORLASE, Ludgvan, concering a publication for the latter, JACKSON reassured BORLASE concerning  Mr FAICHEN's ability to deliver on time and to the required quality  (RIC, BLP/1/43).

A letter dated 15 August 1759, from William JACKSON, Oxford, to Rev. William BORLASE, Ludgvan, enclosed a replacement receipt from Mr FAICHEN (RIC, BLP/1/50).

In 1771 William FAICHEN left.

In 1782, when the [unidentified] tenant became insolvent, both paper-making and flour milling equipment was present. Repairs and improvements to both the mills and their machinery were undertaken for William JACKSON (of Jackson's Oxford Journal) the new tenant (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History').

In 1792 or 1793 John SWANN,  took over JACKSON's lease, the mill was then greatly enlarged to meet the growing demands of the Clarendon Pressand. The business of corn grinding ceased. (Crossley & Elrington, 1990, 'Wolvercote: Economic History'). Shortly after this a J SWANN became a partner at Eynsham Mill and in the early 19th C a Jas SWANN took over Sandford Mill which was then converted to paper making.

In his Will dated 6 Dec 1803 (probate 16 Feb 1804),  Stephen FAICHEN of Wolvercot, Oxford, gent. left his freehold estates in Wolvercote to his wife for her life and after her decease to his nephew Stephen FAICHEN and his lawful heirs.  Nephew Stephen FAICHEN was to recieve freehold estate at Wolvercot "in which he now lives"(ORO, Blake/I/iv/1)

On Teusday, 2 Mar 2004 the mill was demolished.


The FAICHEN Family

The FAICHEN family had moved to Oxfordshire from northern Hampshire
William FAICHEN (-abt 1790) of Wolvercote was the uncle of Stephen FAICHEN of Eynsham, Oxon., papermaker and acted as one of the executors ont he former's Will dated 1790 (Robinson, 1998)

The Will of Stephen FAICHEN of Wolvercote dated 6 Dec 1803 mentions the following family

The executors were his wife Ann, nephew Stephen FAICHEN and one Thomas EATON


Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2008 unless stated otherwise.