Griggs’ Report 1844:No 4 Lock Called Hunsdon Mill Lock affected by a mill. Has a cart bridge over the tail with 5 oak timbers oak covering. Headway under bridge 6’ 0’’. Brickwork below the lower gates is very shaky and indifferent. Depth of water on lower sill 4’ 0’’; ditto upper sill 3’ 9’’. The lower gates are worn; dated 1820. Brickwork below lower gates in middling order. The upper gates and brickwork in fair condition dated 1819. On the whole this lock with the exception of the brickwork below the lower gates may be called equal to its work.
Beardmore’s Report 1870: Hunsdon Mill Lock is in middling repair
Childs’ Report 1880: Hunsdon; Lower end gates &c renewed 1873 and deepened 9 inches, in good repair. Sides main piles 1 side new, the other old and dilapidated. Upper gates old, require renewing. Brickwork only requires a little pointing. About £300 would place lock in a satisfactory condition.
1884 Report: ''Lower end gates, &c., renewed 1873, and deepened 9'', in good repair. Side main piles new. Upper gates old, require renewing, to be repaired next week. Brickwork only requires a little pointing, about £200 would place lock altogether in a satisfactory condition.''
1901 Report: ''Lower end gates, &c., renewed 1873, can be repaired. Side main piles bad above the water. Upper gates very old, Forebay very bad, require renewing; about £300 would place lock in a satisfactory condition.''
The derivation of the name is from the Mill, one of the eight which gave their names to the associated locks. Hunsdon Mill was recorded in Domesday in 1086 as being either on this site or close by. A timber-built mill is recorded on a map of 1676. The map below dates from 1781 and has been inverted to put north to the top. the Navigation (and Hunsdon Mill Lock) can be seen across the south east quadrant
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries the mill was rebuilt and a steam driven mill was added on the south side. The buildings were demolished in either 1901 or 1902. The two images below date from the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The man standing in front of the mill is Mr Samuel Hickling, the foreman miller. The 1891 census reveals that the miller (and, presumably, the lessee or owner) was Mr Ernest Ayling, who was also the lessee or owner of Roydon Mill. A Stort barge can be seen on the left hand side and a horse and cart at the right hand end of the mill. The steam mill is the extension on the left. The sluice gear feeding the water wheels can be seen to the left end of the water mill.
In the image below, the sluice can be clearly seen with the overspill channel to the left. The water mill originally had three luccombs to enable materials to be lifted directly to the top floor. The building of the steam mill effectively rendered the one at the left end redundant! The ivy covered Hunsdon Mill House is at the right hand side.
The scene after 1902 is somewhat altered although the sluice gear is still prominent. Today, the below ground workings survive in a remarkably good condition and include the four unusually large water wheels
The images and history of Hunsdon Mill have been kindly provided by Sally and Oliver Grundy.
In the postcard from about 1908 below, the lock chamber is to the left with the girder indicating the entrance. The channel ahead is the start of the mill stream. The mill would have been almost in the centre of the photograph
(Postcard image, post 1914 but exact date not known - Sally and Oliver Grundy)
Hunsdon Mill Lock was converted in 1914 from a turf-sided lock to the present concrete chamber. The millstream is to the left of this picture and the Navigation is to the right.
This site was last updated 30/06/20