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Thursday, 29 September 2011
Egypt in the Cotswolds - or where I was last week.
No poem for today - methinks I hear long sighs of deep relief! - but never one to make idle threats, I thought it time I kept mine to blog on where I was last week.
We (Doreen and I) went away for five days with two friends (Bill and Judith) to Nailsworth. We stayed at the Egypt Mill Hotel, which I thought at the time a strange name and had visions of this quintessential English mill on the River Frome exporting textiles - or something - to Egypt! You will not be surprised to learn that it was nothing like that.
In 1675 a Richard Webb bought the site on which there had been a corn mill for a century or more, but which at that time consisted of two fulling mills, a gig mill, dye house, rack close and forty acres of land. The original mill survives as part of the present main building. Some of the meadows have been converted into fish ponds.
We stayed in The Mill House, just a few yards from the mill which now houses the restaurant and bar, kitchens, reception, lounge, some bedrooms and facilities for conferences and weddings etc. Mill House is said to be a classic example of the Cotswold eight gable house, being square in plan and having two gables at each end.
Mr Webb, it seems was something of a tyrant and the mill soon became known locally as The House of Bondage, he being cast in the role of Pharaoh as a result of his treatment of his "slaves". This is the explanation of it becoming known as Egypt Mill.
In 1814, two clothiers Stephen and Edward Blackwell, took a lease on the property, and for a while the mill produced textiles. Alas, it did not last. They went bankrupt in 1832 and for a while the mill became an adjunct to a nearby mill, The Dunkirk Mill, Egypt Mill's meadows being flooded to provide Dunkirk with more mill ponds.
In 1890 the mill was sold with two waterwheels generating twenty horsepower and it again became a corn mill.
The main wheel and associated machinery are visible, mainly behind glass, in the bar, though some of the machinery extends into the bar - which I show in my photograph. The smaller wheel is in the restaurant.
My second image shows the former mill pond, now a water garden