Sleningford Watermill 2018

Sleningford Watermill Caravan & Camping Park – History of The Watermill

At Sleningford Watermill there is a stone above the original front door of the Mill House on which the following verse, dated 1773, is inscribed:

O you that bathe in Lordly blysse
Or toil in fortunes giddy sphere
Do not too rashly deem amyss
Of him who bides contented here

However records show that a mill was on this site much earlier. A mill at Sleningford is mentioned in Abbey records in 1328, the name is thought to be derived from the old English word – Slea, meaning a grassy slope near a ford over a river. The Sleningford Estate was held at various periods by different families, but it is thought that the Dalton family built the current Mill House with the charming inscription.

At the time, the main mill block probably housed a wooden water wheel, with the present 15ft diameter by 5 ft wide cast iron water wheel probably being installed in the 1800s. This cast iron wheel was in regular use until about 1950. The “stakes” or the weir, an irregular barrier of rocks and stones built up and repaired many times over the centuries diverts the main glow towards the “clews” or sluice gates which could be raised to admit water to the mill stream thereby powering the water wheel, which in turn powered the grinding stones which ground wheat, corn and barley for local farmers. With the introduction of electrical power on the farms, demand for grinding diminished.

Sleningford Watermill opened as a caravan and camping park in 1973, exactly 200 years after the verse was inscribed over the Mill House door. We try very hard to preserve the sentiment of the verse and hope that all our visitors bide contented here, enjoying the tranquillity of its timeless beauty.