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History of Priston Mill
Priston Mill has been an idyllic setting for weddings, parties and conferences for well over 25 years now. The gardens and ancient buildings have such a dream-like quality that it is hard to imagine they haven’t existed like this for ever. However, holding functions here is just one of the many alterations that have taken place since the Hopwood family moved into the Duchy owned farm over 40 years ago. It was they who changed the 280 acres from beef, dairy and arable to predominately a dairy farming whilst also employing a full-time miller to produce stone-ground flour for local shops and bakeries. Over many years, the Watermill, farm shop, wagon rides and educational tours, attracted thousands of visitors to Priston Mill.
“There has been a watermill at Priston since 931and the current Mill was built on those foundations around 1720 when the Tythe Barn was also added to the site. This sensitive restoration in its magnificent setting offers a style and elegance unparalleled in the West Country.”
The Watermill is of great interest because of its long history and the fact that much of the machinery coninues in good working order. There had been a Watermill at Priston since at least 931, when King Athelstan of the West Saxons granted the lands and mill to the monastic estate run by monks from Bath Abbey. The current Watermill was built on those same Saxon foundations and is recorded in a 1720 bill of sale as “...a newly rebuilt grist Mill, with 3 sets of millstones and a tucking stock.” In 1805, the wooden waterwheel and gears were replaced with even larger iron machinery. These are on view and still turn today.
The current Tythe Barn is believed to have been built about early 1700. It has had many diverse uses in it’s time, from the storage of grain, straw, machinery and cattle to being a children’s play area and a changing room for the local cricket team!
In 1991 the first weddings and meetings were held in the Tythe Barn which proved to be so successful that within 10 years the Watermill was also transformed into a venue for smaller groups. In 2002 the Friesian dairy herd was sold in order to concentrate on arable farming. In addition good use has been made of the old buildings. They are now home to a number of local businesses as workshops, offices and storage barns.
The emphasis now is on maintaining the historic buildings and gardens and at the same time regularly refurbishing them for comfort for people to enjoy in the future.
4th April 2016
Main Farmhouse, Priston Mill, Priston, Bath BA2 9EQ
+44 (0) 1225 423894