Hastings (Priory) Watermill

From Historical Hastings

A watermill powered by the Priory Stream was known to have been situated either at the junction of Waterworks Road and Queen's Road, or at the top end[1] of the former road adjacent to the railway, giving its name to the road.[2]. There are deeds relating to the mill covering the period 1648-1778 held at ESCC Archives, so the mill was obviously in operation/existence during that period[3]. Records held by the Quakers indicate that Daniel Akehurst was in possession of the mill in 1673[4].

The map produced by Samuel Cant for John Collier in 1746 shows what appears to be a ​building​ bearing the legend 'Watermill House' in approximately the correct location.

Excerpt from Cant map showing Priory Houses and Watermill

At a lecture given by Henry Cousins at Mount Pleasant Congregational Church Hall, he refers to a watermill being located where the Queen's Road Gas Works used to be located (now a supermarket)[5][6].

Watercolour of Watermill House c1810. Source: Unseen Hastings and St Leonards by Frederick Crouch

Reference to a mill in the area, although possibly not this one, and its environs appear in a number of documents held at ESCC Archives (The Keep):- Few records exist of the watermill itself, although there is in the Collier and Milward archives reference to the area of this road being known as the 'Watermill Brook' with accounts dating to 1738[7], a conveyance dated to 30 Aug. 1769 of a mill (possibly not this one) which was originally a powder mill to "Edward Milward from Elias Sinnock of Ore, blacksmith, and his wife Elizabeth, late Elizabeth Thatcher, one of the devisees of John Bossom of Hastings, cordwainer"[8].

This conveyance is one of a number appearing during the 18th Century. A number of leases also appear, one dated to 29 Sept 1813, described thus:-Edward Milward of Hastings, esq to Mark Godden of Ore, gardener - piece of land known as Watermill Brook (3a 1r 0p) Hastings St Andrew and Hastings St Mary in the Castle (NW: lands belonging to Mrs Sayer; NE: lane leading from the seaside to Ore; W and SE: other lands belonging to EM) Witness: John Tompsett"[9]

References & Notes

  1. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep DH/B/172
  2. Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present (Henry Cousins - 1911) pg.202 ISBN: 9789332862449 ESCC Library Google Books " Amazon
  3. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep GB179_MIL_3_16
  4. Facebook: Historical Hastings - Paula Radice (retrieved 24/10/2023)
  5. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Times 19 March 1898 Pg. 0005
  6. Hastings Old and New - Henry Cousins
  7. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep GB179_MIL_3_16_12
  8. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep GB179_MIL_3_16_17
  9. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep GB179_HMU_3_1_583