Corn Mill


1279 The mills (plural) of Pool are mentioned in an inquisition taken at York in June 1279 “as yielding with other things there an annual rental of 50s. to the Lord Archbishop of York, and the said lord is bound by his charter to defend them against whomsoever it be.” This would probably be the corn mill as the name of Milner (Miller) is shown in the poll tax returns of 1379 for Pool, as John de Milner paying 4d. ( H.Speight).

Corn Mill

Map of 1847


CornMill pondc

Mill gathering pond c. 1920


c. 1935

The remains of the corn mill are on Mill Lane, known as Corn Mill Lane in 1851. The mills of Pool were mentioned in 1279, as above. This may well have been this same corn mill on Mill Lane. According to the survey by West Yorkshire Archaeological Service, (WYAS PRN 1406) carried out in 1992/95, the Nuns of Arthington owned the mill when Thomas, son of Isaac de Pouill in 1254 gave a culture of land in Pool existing in length from Milnbeck to the highway leading to York to the Nuns of Arthington. The owner of Pool in 1166 was Serlo de Povel (Leeds Library) who was the son of Peter de Arthington who founded Arthington Nunnery in 1166. Through the centuries the mill was owned by the Lords of the Manor. Miln is the old English for mill.

The map of 1756 shows that “Kiln Garth”, ” Dam” and “Mill Hill “ were on the estate of Thomas Thornhill, who was at that time Lord of the Manor of Kirskill (Creskeld) and Poole. In 1767 the corn mill is shown on Jeffreys Survey map of the County of Yorkshire and also on a map of 1847 as “Poole Corn Mill”.

Another name for the mill pond was “gathering pond”. The field along side, to the east of the mill pond, has been known as Mill Hill and “Yellands” (Tythe map of 1849) which is from the Anglo Saxon meaning sloping land. This area was used as a waste disposal site in the 1930’s, the reason it is now level.

The mill was fed by water from three streams which came from the land and not from the nearby River Wharfe. The first, was Kirskill Beck (old name for Creskeld) or Pool Beck on Pool map of 1756. This fast flowing beck ran in the opposite direction to the River Wharfe, diverted befpre 1756 to feed the mill pond from a beck which began near the railway at Arthington, and ran at the bottom of the cricket field until c. 1970 before being re-routed past Pool Crookes Farm into the river Wharfe. This still forms the boundary between Arthington and Pool to the west of the Wharfedale Hotel.

Another beck ran down behind Plainville.(Monkmans, demolished, now The Hollies) which still continues alongside the cricket field. A third beck came down through Hall Farm (now Chapel Hill) which now runs under the main road and Millcroft, (originally past Brook Cottage), to emerge near the garages and into the mill pond. Both the beck from Hall Farm and one which runs between the Hollies, and to the back of some houses on Parklands, are deep culverts lined with stone.

Two paths also served the mill. One ran to Main Street and presumably the Manor House or Pool House (owned by John Millthorp, woollen mill owner farmer and maltster or brewer, in 1822). The other, part of which still remains, running to Arthington Lane, emerging at the Bar House. This connected the mill with Pool Farm Cottage, originally a malting (brewing) house and the White Hart owned by the Milthorp’s when a farm. This early family were farmers and maltsters, the family living at Arthington in the late 1600’s and later Leathley with Elizabeth & Isabella Milthorp at Arthington also malsters in 1821. Some members owning Pool High/Walk mill and Low Mill.

Drying tiles removed from the site during the 1992 excavation

We know that the remains of the site we see today was a water powered mill from at least the middle of the 18th century. (suggested medieval by WYAS) As well as making flour, it was also be used for drying cereal for the making of malt used in brewing. The main farmers in the area in the 1700’s were the Milthorp’s who are recorded as also being maltsters, owning both the Half Moon Inn and The White Hart Inn in 1822. Other maltsters were John Fleetham of Pool Hall 1719, Michael Nicholson, Snr. (1750-1818)

The corn mill would have played a very important part in the development of the village and was much sought after by landed gentry who were the Lords of the Manor. As early as 1293 Richard de Goldsburgh purchased Creskeld and Pool from William de Povel

1254 Thomas de Pouill gives land to Nuns of Arthington (see above)

1279 The mills (plural) of Pool are mentioned in an inquisition taken at York in June 1279 “as yielding with other things there an annual rental of 50s. to the Lord Archbishop of York” (H. Speight)

1673 The Lady of the Manor, Everyld Thornhill fines Ralph Allan, “tenant of the aforesaid manor, 10/- because he ground all his grain and malt which he spends and consumes in his house at a mill outside the aforesaid manor and not at the mill of the lady of the manor against the custom of the same manor.”

Research reveals the following were occupiers of the Corn Mill

1750 (Land Tax returns from 1781 show William Pilling paying £1.2.0d. to the proprietor, George Thornhill), Running the corn mill was *William Pilling, Yeoman (Fawkes papers) (d.1807 grave age 74), wife Phoebe, son died 1766 age 3, daughter Mary died 1790 aged 21, 2 brothers John died 1818 aged 57 & William d. 1823 age 48. Grave record seem to indicate one William married Hannah Pighills died 1857 aged 53 years. Phoebe Pighills died 1858 aged 32

Pilling grave in St. Wilfrid’s churchyard.

William Pilling owned land just below Sandy Lobby on Award map of 1774.

1756 part of map of Pool showing “mill, mill garth and killn” (from Pool Archives courtesy of Don Cole)

Mill house in 2003

1774 Date above door of Mill House on Mill Lane. This is the date when the mill property was advertised to let. (William Pilling, yeoman was running the mill at this time)

1781 George Thornhill & William Pilling (land tax returns Pool 1781)

(George Thornhill of Diddington, Hunts, in 1805 sold the Manor of Pool, which included farms, cottages, the water corn mill, fields and closes to Edward Armitage of Farnley Hall, Leeds, ironmaster, of Farnley Iron Co. (Armitage & Co) iron and coal masters.) Joseph Pilling born in Pool in 1767 was most likely related renting land from the Fawkes family in 1775 for 10/6d

1807 21st March. William Pilling dies. (d.1807 grave age 74), “we may confidently add he was indeed an honest miller” (Leeds Mercury)

1807 John Pilling son of William (d.1818 age 57) wife Phoebe,

1818 William Pilling died 1823 aged 48)

1821 The Bains Directory states Samuel Grunwell was at the corn mill.

1822 Samuel Grunwell, miller.

1829 Thomas Pullein purchased the Manor of Poole which included the “water corn mill”.

1834 William Leafe (also on 1841 Census) William Leefe and John Lister were millers who worked there.

1841 census Abraham Huddleston then aged 70, shown as a corn miller. (this could be Arthington Mill but living in Pool, see gravestone.) Also William Leafe corn miller on 1841 census.

1841 John Lister (shown as “Journeyman corn miller in 1841 census)

1849 Tythe Map shows Joseph Dyson as occupier of “Yellands, Mill Dam, corn, barn, outbuildings & hard.”.

1851 census shows J. Dyson & Sons (Joseph) employing 20 men. (Elder son Joseph, younger son John 1857 James Harrison . John Harrison (1871 census)

1861 P.O. directory “commercial” gives James Harrison – corn merchant and miller.

1871 census shows Thomas Horner being a corn miller.

1871 census Thomas Pullein (then Lord of the Manor of Pool) owner of the property, employing 3 men & 1 boy and farming 100 acres. Wife Hannah, sons Robert, Walter, William, Alfred, daughters Issmey, Sarah, Hannah.

1874. 4th April ad. in Leeds Mercury – “To Let , at Poole near Otley, a well-watered CORN MILL, with four pairs of stones, four acres of Land, House and Outbuildings. Apply to Messrs. Pulleins. Immediate Possession can be given. Rent £35.”

1874 Nov 2nd. Thomas M. Pullein leases the mill to Thomas Grunwell for £30.10s. per quarter (Pullein documents). An advert in the Wharfedale Observer announced an auction of the Weeton Corn mill by Thomas Grunwell in 1886.

(An auction advert in the Wharfedale Observer of 1886 (below) which seems to suggest that it was the same Thomas Grunwell, or relation of, who rented Pool Corn mill in 1874.)

1877 Thomas Grunwell miller

1881 Thomas Horner is shown on the census and a corn miller. (see also 1871)

1886 21st MayAt the White Horse Hotel, Otley, Water Corn Mill at Weeton for sale by auction on May 24th. Fixed machinery, drying kiln, stable, yard, pig cotes and a close of land called Mill Green otherwise Mill Garth now in the occupation of Mr. T. Grunwell. Containing an area of about 1a.2r.”

1889 Fairburn family, 1889 John Fairburn miller, is described as being at a steam mill (at Leathley Mill from 1895-1910)

1891 Fairburn’s wife, Margaret (a widow in 1891 census)

1891 Reginald Fairburn, her son was the miller aged 15. Later c.1901, moved and was running the Half Moon Temperance Hotel in 1910. Again, c. 1915 he and his family lived at 5 Chevin View operating Pool telephone exchange.

c. 1900 Dibb & Reginald Fairburn were there

Workers at the corn mill c. 1900

1902 The Corn Mill, grass field, mill house outbuilding and grass paddock came up for sale in 1902 by the Lords of the Manor of Pool, the Pulleins, but were withdrawn at £750. Thomas Pullein’s younger brother John of Pool married Sarah Jane

Jowett of Idle and were living at the Corn Mill in 1910 (Pullein records on computer)

c.1910 to 1913 Jonathon Fairburn (he had worked at Leathley Mill 1895-1910.) 1881 census shows John Fairburn miller at Arthington Mill). John was the father of Reginald.

1910 It was owned by the Lords of the Manor, John Milton Pullein & Percy Pullein (Electoral roll).The property at this time contained “Corn Mill Farm or Mill House Cottage, stabling, mistal and other buildings and mill pond”.

1912 Hartley Boulton.

1925 Dec. William L. Whiteley purchases the mill, mill dam and land to the River Wharfe from Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Margaret Elizabeth Glover (formerly of Pool) for £450.(deeds). The deeds show “A right of way for all purposes over Mill Lane so as to give access to the main road from Otley to Harewood”. There were four doors giving access to the Mill. CornMill sale” “Documents & Maps” on computer)

Corn Mill Sale map

Map Sale of corn mill and land to W.L. Whiteley in 1925

1936 After being used by Pool Fishing Club and Tankards, partly demolished for “safety” by the Whiteley’s.

1992/5 Survey of mill remains with full report carried out by West Yorkshire Archaeology Service.

In 1992/5 West Yorkshire Archaeology Service made a superficial examination of the Mill with extensive proposals as to how to ensure the continued stability of the MONUMENT (copy in Archives under Information I.1.9). During the examination tiles were found from the drying floor which date from the middle of the 18C. The sluice gates, mill dam and mill race can still be seen, though rapidly becoming covered by weeds.

A Bed Stone survived from the corn mill and is on loan by the R.G.M.C to Pool School, now placed at their entrance. The report also stated that part of the remains showed signs of dating to medieval times.

1995 H.G.Muller of the West Yorkshire Archaeological Society in his report states,

“The site of Pool Mill has been occupied by a water-powered mill from at least the middle of the 18th century. It is possible that the water mill which appears on the Jefferys map of this period (1767) has its origins in the Medieval corn mill of Pool, for which documentary evidence exists, although the exact location is unknown. This possibility would seem to be supported by a superficial examination of the upstanding masonry on the site. The remains of Pool Mill are, therefore, not only of archaeological interest for the Industrial Period but also of potential archaeological interest for the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods.”

There is an old photo of c.1900 (above) showing the corn mill when still in use. In 1929 much of the old machinery could still be seen, including two wooden water wheels. Around 1930 the buildings were used by Pool Angling Club to house large tanks of fish which when hatched to “fry” were transferred to the Mill Pond. The corn mill was rented by Tankards and used as an electricians workshop for c. 30 years, until c. 1935 when the condition had deteriorated

Bert Whitehead and Roland Tankard remember it had two wooden mill wheels. Another stone found has three stones making up a circle, bound by a metal band. This was a more rare French bed stone, used for making fine flour, which is buried under the soil which covers the foundations. (Ted Joce) A much older millstone which had been replaced sometime in the past, was dug up and is now embedded in the driveway of the Old Mill House at the end of Mill Lane. Roland Tankard remembers that when he and his father, G.A.Tankard, used the buildings for their electrical business in the late 1920’s it had three mill stones inside. A red brick was found on the site marked “Whitakers, Leeds” which was almost certainly manufactured in Pool Bank Quarry.

For life in the Arthington Corn Mill see Families “Huddleston ”, who kept Arthington mill from 1771.

CornMill race 2000

2000 cleared remains of Corn Mill

CornMill Pond 2010 calendar

  2012 Mill pond area

In 2009 the remains of the mill was cleared of weeds by the R.G.M.C. Also the same year the, much reduced in size, mill pond was re-instated as a wetland area promoting wildlife, i.e. kingfishers, water and moor hens, ducks and geese. This was carried out by Harry Wardman of the R.G.M.C. Unfortunately many of the old willows and other trees were removed against the regulations given under the Conservation Area.

A recent photos 00000

In 2012 a small copse was planted nearby to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of QE2, by the children of Pool C. of E. school, again in association with the RGMC (Recreation Ground Management Committee), with the guidance of Mr. Keith Wilson, MSc. MICFOR , husband of the Rev. Rachel Wilson, who in 2006 planted a further sapling to commemorate 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta

With the agreement of the R.G.M.C. in 2014 an information board was placed near the old corn mill, designed and paid for by Pool Archives with Peter Nutchie constructing the stand.

CornMill survey P
CornMill survey P

Plans showing the water courses of the mill and the general layout of the building


Mill Cottages 2004

MILL COTTAGES, (“Parkers Cottages”) Mill Lane, which are behind Old Mill House, were originally grain stores and single storey. The original height is marked by a kneeler stone on the corner. They are marked on the map of 1756, then owned by the Lord of the Manor of Pool, Thomas Thornhill along with the corn mill, both remaining in the hands of the Lord of the Manor when owned by the Pulleins (Lords of the Manor to 1902) Around 1910 an upstairs was added by G.A. Tankard to make into four terraced houses for the then owners the Pulleins. (Vincent Parker). George Parker, son of Thomas Parker and his wife Edith (nee Kaye – daughter of Stephen Kaye Joiners and woodworkers till demolished and replaced by The Beeches) purchased the row of four terraced houses from the Pullein family. He acquired them gradually as they became vacant. George & Edith Parker occupied No 6, the end cottage nearest the river. He eventually owned the whole row. They then became known as “Parker’s Cottages”. Vinney Parker, George’s eldest son lived in the house at the other end of the row and bought them when they were sold off to settle his father’s estate. (Bryan Perrin)

Stephen Kaye’s (born 1845) saw mill business, “S.Kaye & Son Joiners, Horticultural Builder, Wheelwright” on Arhington Lane in 1910, was sold off when Arthur’s (son of Stephen) eldest son, Francis Bertram Kaye was killed in the World War 2. Arthur lost interest in the business after the loss of his son. The Whiteleys’, owners of Pool paper mill, purchased the business and George Parker, son-in-law of Stephen Kaye was made manager. This role was passed to George’s eldest son, Vincent, on George’s retirement. Vincent managed the business for the Whiteleys’ till his retirement circa 1976. George Parker passed away in circa 1953 aged 72. His wife preceded his demise in 1948. Vinney;s sister Mary also lived in the end cottage nearest to the river with her two sons, Bryan & Andrew. Vinny’s brother, Leslie, emigrated to Canada in 1947 where he became the manager of a timber firm in Clearwater, Canada. (Bryan Perrin-relation). Roland Tankard was born in one of these cottages c.1915. Vinney Parker had lived all his life in Pool and had been very involved in the village playing cricket, football, Country Players and an active member of St. Wilfrid’s Church. He died, aged 90 in 2002.