The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
MARSH MILL / WOODFORD MILL
It is not clear whether the Marsh Mill got its name from their proximity to the Coypool and May's Marshes or from the time after 1795 when Thomas Marsh of Bridport and Henry Marsh of Plympton Saint Mary, were the millers there. The Mills were in the parish of Plympton Saint Mary while the marshes were on the Plymouth side of the river Plym.
A map extract showing Marsh Mill
in relation to the railway, Crabtree
However, they were at first named the Woodford Mills, as they belonged to the manor of Woodford. The earliest known reference is in 1582 when a Jerome Mayhowe was granted the right to take stones, turf and timber from Boringdon woods in order to keep the leat and Woodford Mill in good repair. It had two water-wheels and three pairs of stones so it often operated as two mills. For example, in 1622 it seems to have been both a tucking mill and a grist mill.
Its rental value went up over time, from £29 per annum in 1744 paid by Alexander Warn, through £110 paid by Thomas Collard in 1778 to £250 paid by the Thomas and Henry Marsh after 1795. In 1840 it was shared between miller Richard Shilson of Plympton, who had two-thirds of the mill and the mill-leat, and William Alsopp, an earthenware manufacturer from Plymouth, who had the western wheel and one-third of the mill and leat. Shilson had the better deal, in as much that he could use the water from 6am until 10pm but Alsopp had to use it during the night.
On February 27th 1829 a new seven-year lease was advertised. In addition to the flour and grist mills there was 18 acres of 'exceeding rich pasture land'. Furthermore, 'The situation and capacity of those Mills, so immediately contiguous to Plymouth, the certainty of a never failing supply of water, the improvements lately effected by the new Canal from Cann Quarry, are too well known to require any description'. The owner's name is not stated but applications had to be forwarded to a Mr Yolland, of Merafield, Plympton, so he may have been the owner. 
Although Messrs Frean and Daw of Drake's Mill in the centre of Plymouth were listed as occupying Marsh Mills in 1849-50, they were not the millers listed in the 1851 census as living there. The more senior was Thomas Gullett, aged 50, from Shaugh, who rather oddly seems to have declared himself to be a miller's servant. With him and his Irish wife, Mary, were sons George, Thomas and William, the first two also being millers. They had a 32-years-old lodger by the name of James Renshols, also a miller.
Also listed at Marsh Mill were Richard Lewis, aged 33, his wife Eliza, their four young children and a 10-years-old visitor by the name of Elizabeth Hodgers.
At Marsh House, on the Plymouth side of the river Plym, lived George Daw, another miller. He was only in his mid-40s so was unlikely to be retired. Besides his poor wife, Jemima, had given birth to a child almost every year for some 14 years! Amongst the children was 8-years-old Richard H Daw and he is probably the Richard Harvey Daw who was miller at Marsh Mills in 1890 and 1897.
The Mill appears to have been purchased by Messrs Boswarva & Harris Ltd in 1920 and was still being worked in 1927 but they then went into receivership. Marsh Mill was up for sale in 1929 and comprised the following:
All this came with the benefit of Valuable Water Rights held in perpetuity for the Mill, which were 'a very valuable and economical motive power'.
Although the sale reached £2,000, this was lower than
the reserve price and the Marsh Mill was withdrawn from sale.
Sources (incomplete):  Advert, Royal Devonport Telegraph & Plymouth
Chronicle, Devonport, March 7th 1829. I am indebted to Mr
Chris Rendle for drawing my attention to this item.
 Advert, Royal Devonport Telegraph & Plymouth Chronicle, Devonport, March 7th 1829. I am indebted to Mr Chris Rendle for drawing my attention to this item.
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
Any problems viewing this webpage should be notified to the webmaster at plymouthdata dot info