Reach back 700 years in time…

The Town Mill is thought to be one of 5,000 pre-Domesday mills, and has a long history of serving Lyme Regis by milling wheat for bread, and malt for beer. The present site dates back to at least 1340, when Edward III granted a licence to The Town Mill. During the English Civil War in 1644 the mill was severely damaged. It was rebuilt within four years, and most of the buildings you see today date from this time.
From the 1850s onwards, the Town Mill struggled. Cheap imported grain and improved roller-milling technology put its finances under pressure, and it eventually closed in 1926.

The site began new life in 1929 as a borough council-owned depot and store, and sadly, in 1936 the Victorian iron waterwheel was removed. Over the years, the buildings were left to become derelict, and eventually, ownership was transferred to West Dorset District Council, who announced plans to demolish the site. It was to be many years before The Town Mill was saved from dereliction by a group of concerned and dedicated volunteers.

Historical Timeline of The Town Mill

  • 1340 First evidence of The Town Mill
  • 1500s Waterpower the most important source of motive power in UK
  • 1600s Siege of Lyme 1644, mill damaged. Mill rebuilt, new water wheel
  • 1728 Mill modifed: one set of stones to grind malt, one to grind flour
  • 1797 New internal wheel, more power
  • 1800s Industrial revolution. Population doubled. Over 20,000 watermills in UK
  • 1846 Corn laws repealed, grain imported. Huge pressure from imports and steam driven mills
  • 1888 New machinery and iron wheel
  • 1896 Small roller mill installed in attempt to compete
  • 1926 The Town Mill closed