Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 26, 2019
Webpage updated: August 26, 2019




Lipson Mill is shown on the Civil War siege map of 1643.   It was at Lipson Vale and had a mill pond on the hillside running up the Trefusis Valley to Compton village and hence was sometimes known as Compton Mill.

It certainly existed in 1733 when the property of two dwelling houses, one malt house 'lately erected', a millhouse with two grist mills 'lately rebuilt', a herb garden, mill leats, mill ponds and six acres of land, passed from Mr Thomas Ffownes to Mr Samuel Blachford, a Plymouth silversmith, for the sum of 340.

During 1759 a Mr J Jope surveyed the estates belonging to John Culme, Esquire, of Lower Tothill, (Accession 552 at the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office) and this included the Duke of Bolton's Marsh (SEE Laira Mill) and Lipson Mill.

Following the apparent death of Mr William Blatchford in or about 1767, the lease was once again on the market but with the addition of a stables, an orchard and a barn.  Between then and 1774 the Mill was occupied by Mr William Warn.

But the Mill must have been in a sorry state, possibly even disused, because a Mr Richard Churchill agreed to build a new water grist mill 'where the old grist mills formerly stood'.  This work included installing a double-ring water wheel, 18 feet in diameter, cog wheels 9 feet in diameter, spur wheels 8 feet in diameter, swim wheels 4 feet in diameter, a main shaft, an upright shaft, a boulting mill, sack and boulting tackle, a mill bed, framing pillow blocks and bridge carriages, new stones, a cistern for the pond head, a mill hoop, horse bin and stopper.   As there was no mention of any masonry work, it is assumed that the shell of the building was still standing.

It is on record at the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office (Accession 552/89) that the work was carried out between 1767 and 1775 by William Bluett, Richard Churchill, Thomas Clack, John Crabb, James Leigh, Orlando Pearse, John Squier, Archebus Stuttaford, Phillip Toope and Thomas Veal.

By the time of the parish of Charles tithe map of 1844, Lipson Mill was owned by the Reverend Sir John Seymour and occupied by Mr William Ryder. When William died the Mill remained with his widow, Mary.  The 1851 census shows Mr John Ryder, miller, residing there with his wife, Elizabeth, a 20-years-old servant by the name of George Baker, and three lodgers. John was 33-years-old and came from Ermington, and a few miles away, at Number 2 Exeter Street, Plymouth, lived 34-years-old Samuel Ryder, also a miller from Ermington. Could it be that they worked Lipson Mill jointly.

The Ryder family continued to work the Mill until Mary died in 1875.  It seems that the Mill had been used as security for a loan of 300 which they were not able to repay.  Consequently Lipson Mill was sold to pay the debt and the lease surrendered back to the Culme-Seymour family.  It evidently continued in operation, however, with a Mr John T Jeffrey as the miller in 1879.

Lipson Mill is shown on Ordnance Survey maps of the 1920s and it is known that it was still being insured in 1913.  A Mr H Skinner was occupying the Mill in 1932.

A lithograph of Compton mill by Mr S Prout is in the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.  It is dated 1815.