Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 07, 2023
Webpage updated: February 14, 2023




Blaxton Mill was a water-powered corn mill in the Ancient Parish of Tamerton Foliot.

Blaxton Mill, Tamerton Foliot.

A map extract showing Blaxton Mill and Blaxton Quay
on the River Tavy at Tamerton Foliot.

On March 28th 1822 Sir Manaseh Masseh Lopes, of Maristow House, signed  a lease giving Mr Thomas Menhinnet, miller, the right to operate the new tide mill at Blaxton Quay for fifty years, initially at a rent of 10 per annum but rising to 25.

But as the Western Times said in their issue of Saturday February 4th 1837: 'These mills appear to have been doomed from their first erection'.  The reason for the statement was that the mill was 'washed away' soon after its opening, presumably by an exceptionally high tide; then in 1833 it was 'blown down', presumably by an exceptionally strong storm; and now, on January 20th 1837, after being rebuilt, it destroyed by fire, caused by a spark from the friction of the milling machinery.  The fire also destroyed about 200 worth of corn.  The newspaper reported that Blaxton Mil was owned by Mr W Hodge and occupied by a Mr Blatchford.  Presumably all three mill buildings had been constructed entirely of wood, similar to the nearby Budshead Mill.

According to the parish tithe map of 1839, it was owned by Sir Ralph Lopes and occupied by Mr James Couch.  The mill pond, otherwise Blaxton Creek, covered 9 acres.

The census data from 1841 confirms that 60-years-old Mr James Couch was the miller at Blaxton Mill.  In addition to his wife, Mrs Ann Couch, the family consisted of two daughters and two sons, the eldest of which was 20-years-old James Couch junior.

At the time of the census in 1851, the flour miller was Plympton-born, Mr George Taylor, aged 53.  He was assisted by his 24-years-old son, also called George.  George senior and his wife, Ann, had another three children, all girls, Ann, Eliza Jane and Elizabeth.  As only the youngest, 10-years-old Elizabeth, was shown as a scholar, the older daughters probably helped out with the domestic chores.

Blaxton Grist Mill was advertised by Mr T Hainselin, of Devonport, for sale by auction at the Royal Hotel, Fore Stfreet, on Tuesday September 1st 1863.  It was stated that the property included a dwelling house comprising four rooms on the ground floor and four rooms above.  The Mill was let on a 50-years lease with 9 years unexpired at an annual rent of 10 for the first 45 years and 25 thereafter.  Unfortunately there was no report of the result of the auction.

On Tuesday October 6th 1863 it was advertised by Messrs Little, Woollcombe and Venning, also of Devonport.  It then comprised a dwelling house, stables, a pigs house and a garden.  The mill had a very superior Pearling machine.  Given that the Mill was not listed in an 1866 Devonshire Directory, a 1878 Directory, a 1889 Directory, or any buildings shown on the 1892 Ordnance Survey, it is assumed the Mill, was not let and may have been demolished.

However, the 1901 census records a widow by the name of Mrs Eliza Spear as living at Blaxton Mill.  Originally from Walkhampton, Devon, she was a laundress.  Living with her were her mother-in-law, 73-years-old widow, Mrs Mary Spear, her son John Spear, gardener, and two daughters.