Towngate Mill, Newport

From Wightpedia
Towngate Mill, Newport
Towngate Mill - 1907 map

The Towngate watermill Newport, Isle of Wight sat on the Lukely Brook between Home and St Cross mills. It was next to the Towngate Bridge which carries the road northwards out of the town towards Parkhurst.

In 1804 Newport Corporation leased the mill to James Judd for 51 years, in the same year a piece of meadow to the west of the mill ponds was also leased for 51 years.

A new mill was built on the site circa 1836.

The pond between the mill and the roadway formed part of the mill pond for St Cross watermill although it was often referred to as 'Towngate millpond'.

Occupants of the mill included:

  • 1828 Pigots Directory - Atrill Thos. Towngate mill
  • 1844 Pigots Directory -  Duke John, TOWN-GATE MILL
  • 1859 Whites Directory - Duke John & Son, Towngate - Corn miller
  • 1885 the late Alfred Himmens of Town Gate Mill[1]
  • 1898 Kellys Directory - Weeks George & Son, millers (water), Town Gate mill, St James street & at Calbourne mill
  • Death of George Weeks, aged 41, of Town-gate and Calbourne mills.[2]
  • 1911 Kellys Directory - Herrington George & Co., miller (water), Town Gate mill, St. James' street
  • 1927 Kellys Directory - Kent William, corn merchant, Town Gate mill, St. James' street
  • 1935 Kellys Directory - Kent Albert, miller, (also 'Assembly Rooms') Town Gate mill, St. James' street
  • 1951 Kellys Directory - Kent's Furniture Stores (A. Kent, propr.), house furnisher, 132 St. James' street

In 1870 the mill was sold to a Mr. Baker:

“.. the Freehold property known as Town-gate Mill, Newport, with dwelling house attached, was sold (subject to an annuity of £30 during a life which has now reached 77 years) to Mr. Baker, of Churchills, for £1000.”[3]

In 1872 the ground floors of the mill and house were flooded when Home Mill was flooded due to the release of water from Westminster Mill (see Home Mill for details).[4]

1904 saw the mill on the market again:

“Sale of the desirable and well-situated FREEHOLD PREMISES known as TOWN GATE MILL, with valuable water rights, mill gear, cottage and stabling, as now in the occupation of the executors of the late Mr. G. D. Weeks. The mill is worked with two pairs of stones and consists of four floors with hoisting tackle, and the cottage contains an office, 2 sitting-rooms, and 3 bed-rooms. Detached is a capital 2-stall stable and coach-house, with loft over the whole.”[5]

1906 saw the failure of a miller at the mill:


Nathaniel Chapman, of Town-gate Mill, Newport, miller (trading aa Chapman Bros.) was declared bankrupt with a deficiency of £220 2s 3d. In his examination , a letter was produced from Mr. Beckingsale  which stated that “it is a breast shot wheel mill, of about 12 to 15 horse-power, regularly driving two pairs of stones, and a steel mill for crushing oats. The turnover is about 120 sacks per week, and there is a good supply of water; and all in good order.”

Chapman found that on average only 10 to 12 sack could be ground per week; and that with the water there it would have been impossible to grind 120 sacks per week, even if there had been the trade.[6]

After many years being used as Kent's Furniture Stores, the mill was finally demolished in 1998 at the same time as the Sainbury's supermarket was built.

Today (2023) a small terrace of town houses has been built on the site and the Towngate pond has been landscaped.

  1. Isle of Wight County Press - Saturday 25 April 1885
  2. Hampshire Chronicle - Saturday 21 March 1903
  3. Hampshire Advertiser - Wednesday 30 March 1870
  4. Hampshire Independent - 27 January 1872
  5. Isle of Wight County Press - 19 November 1904
  6. Isle of Wight County Press - 5 May 1906