There are five mill-related road names in the Salisbury area, [1]

  • Millbrook which skirts the northern bit of the Godolphin school
  • Mill Road which is the road that loops from the train station around past Queen Elizabeth Gardens to Crane Bridge Road.
  • Mill Lane and the adjacent Millers Close, in Stratford and
  • Mill Stream Approach

Rather pleasingly, in a perverse sort of way, none of these I think, relate to the existing ‘mills’ in the city.

Mill Stream Approach

The Mill Stream, Salisbury

The Mill Stream, Salisbury

Mill Stream Approach is in the centre Salisbury. It runs from Castle Street to the Central Car Park, alongside the coach station and the Afon Bar on one side, and Friends Provident and a Car Park on the other.

It crosses both the Avon and a smaller stream which branches off from the Avon itself, just upstream from Mill Stream Approach. The stream runs down by the car park, before ‘disappearing’ under the shops near Sainsburys. It re-appears next to the Maundrel Hall (now the Slug and Lettuce), but it’s not very easy to see.

The Town Mills

There are references to various mills in the Victoria County History of Wiltshire.

In the Domesday Book [2] the Bishop of Salisbury’s estate contained four and a half mills

There are references to various mills in the 13th and 14th centuries. The VCH says that there were mills ‘above Fisherton Bridge’, known as the Bishop’s Mills or Town Mills.

In the 18th Century there were two mills – a grist mill near Fisherton Bridge, and a tucking mill to the North of that. A grist mill is a mill that crushes grain [3]. A tucking, or fulling, mill is a cloth mill – felt was pounded with hammers to increase its thickness [4].

I would assume the grist mill is the building which now hosts the ‘Bishops Mill’ pub. In 1865, the grist mill was used for the processing of tobacco, but was converted into a power station by ‘the Salisbury Electric Light and Supply Company’ in 1899. The pub opened at some time in the 1990s.

The tucking mill of Mill Stream Approach

Mill Stream Approach, location of old tucking mill and swimming pool

Mill Stream Approach, location of old tucking mill and swimming pool

The tucking mill was ‘on a channel leading from the main stream into the western stream.’[5].

This implies that the tucking mill is the derivation of the name of Mill Stream Approach – Mill Stream Approach is to the North of the current Bishops Mill, and it crosses a stream which is to the west of the Avon (assuming the Avon is the main stream).

Further to this, though, according to the Victoria County History, the tucking mill was still there in 1860, but was demolished when a swimming pool was built in 1874. I’m just about old enough to have used that swimming pool in the 1960s, and that was in Mill Stream Approach. It was the opposite the coach station, on the left as you look towards Castle Street.

Footnotes

  1. excluding ‘Milford’ []
  2. ‘Salisbury: Bridges, bars, gates and mills’, A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6 (1962), pp. 87-90. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41788 Date accessed: 14 September 2009. []
  3. grist – definition of grist by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. []
  4. Fulling – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia []
  5. ‘Salisbury: Bridges, bars, gates and mills’, A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6 (1962), pp. 87-90. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41788 Date accessed: 14 September 2009. []

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