Walk Mill is now a new building, however there has been a water mill on this site for centuries: Walk Mill has been built on the site of the original mill, which dates back to 1200.
It is possible that the River Gowy was navigable at one time. A moated area near to the Mill is listed as a scheduled monument. This was the site of a 12th century wooden fort.
Walk Mill was originally a fuller’s mill not a corn mill and it derives its name from the Roman process of cleaning cloth (fulling), which was done by “walkers.” You can read more information on this in this fasinating article. (PDF)
In the 1990’s some silver Viking coins were found close to the Mill, this find trebled the number of similar coins found in Britain – and the majority of coins similar to these were found in Ireland. The coins found near Walk Mill are now in a Chester museum.
The Doomsday Book records a mill at Stapleford, with a value of 16 shillings (80 pence). The Baker Wilbraham collection has several references to Walk Mill. In 1219 a mill at Stapleford was leased to Madoc, son of Wicker Seis by William son of Henry de Stapleford, with an annual rent of one pair of gloves. These would probably have been leather gloves.
April 21st 1692 was the date of a pre-nuptial settlement between John Bruen of Stapleford and Honor Winnington, daughter of Sir Francis Winnington, which included Walk Mill in Foulk Stapleford with lands and tenements.
In 1802 Walk Mill was leased by Randle Wilbraham to John Dutton, farmer and Thomas Howell, miller for a rent of 15 guineas. Land included in the tenancy was 1 acre, 2 roods, 11 poles of arable land – on condition that within three years they erected a new water corn mill.
Walk Mill was demolished in the 1960’s: it had been occupied until 1959.
So What Remains?
The tiles in the current mill (in the Miller’s Kitchen and mill area) are the ones which formed the floor of the original mill.
When these were lifted, prior to the start of building the new mill, some hand-made bricks were found underneath. These bricks can now be seen surrounding the fireplace.
A date stone, engraved “RW 1668” was also found. This now sits above the fireplace in the Millers Kitchen.
The sack hoist outside the building and the damsel are also from the original mill.