Wind and water mills were once important features of a community and the miller an important member of society. Arnold, like all villages and small towns had many mills large and small throughout its history. Some were owned and operated by the Lords of the Manor but large farmers had their own as well as ones operated on behalf of the community. There were no water mills in Arnold as there was no fast moving water but there were windmills.
The first record that names the local Arnold miller is from 1642 and is part of the protestation records where Miller, George Stubbings and his family refused to sign the required declaration stating that they would adhere to the rules of the Church of England. As a result he would expect not to hold any official office and would be fined with the loss of most of his business, since people would not want to be associated with him from fear of reprisals. However, George Stubbings, by nature of his business as the miller controlled the local people’s livelihoods and they were heavily dependent on him and the service he provided. He therefore does not appear to have suffered in any way.
The first representation of the mills in Arnold comes in 1853 with the map of Arnold from this year showing three mills in the Arnold area. Two of these appear to be Post Mills and one, a full sized mill, situated at Redhill.
The Arnold Mill was at the end of what is now called Mill Lane Arnold near to where the new Arnold Mill School has been built.
Wong Mill or Field Mill (a Wong is a field) was situated at the top of Willbert Road where it joins Lawdon Road. Redhill Mill was situated in what is the present Redhill Cemetery, in the vicinity of The Mount.
Two years after this map was published in 1855, Job Williamson was the miller at Arnold Mill and John Jeffery and William Simpson at Redhill. There is no mention of Wong Mill so it is assumed that this had now closed.
By 1860 Arnold had four millers; John Fox, William Gamble and John Palethorpe had joined Job Williamson. This year milling appears to be at its busiest but the decline soon set in with the departure in 1862 of John Fox.
Within the next two year the millers changed again as John Palethorpe was joined by his son John jnr and Job's son William had taken his father’s place. Business must have declined further however, as this mill appears to have closed by 1876.
The Redhill Mill which was larger and in 1858 was run by John Jeffery and William Simpson but by 1860 William had died and his wife had taken over the business. She had to give it up by 1862 however, leaving John Jeffery to run the mill on his own until it in turn was taken over by his son Samuel in 1864. Samuel continued in the business for many years but by 1904 this, the last mill in the area, had stopped it sails turning and was eventual demolished.
All articles © Bob Massey