Maythorn Mill & the Nottinghamshire SWARBROOKES

My Swarbrooke Ancestors

                               MAYTHORN MILL

 Maythorn .... A very old name identifiable in Saxon characters of the 10th century as being the "more northerly thorn" or Merethon, is part of Southwell situated alongside the River Greet on the northern edge of the parish, where in the late 18th century a water driven mill was established by Thomas Caunt and Co. producing cotton thread used in the stocking trade.

By the early 19th century ownership of the mill had changed to "Johnson & Co" and production had changed to Silk Thread, whilst the motive power supplied from the river through a mill pond was said to about 16 Horse Power which operated 2200 spindles. The Factory returns of 1838 listed 70 employees at the mill who either lived on site in a row of 3 storey cottages, with their own chapel and general store under the charge of a manager, or in nearby Southwell.

The workforce was mainly composed of women who were required to spin silk on to bobbins and then wind it into hanks before it was washed and pressed and sent to Nottingham for use in the Hosiery and Allied trades.


Fig. 1  Workforce at the Mill about the turn of the century. C.1902

 Silk Winding was not the only industry at Maythorn as OSIER beds provided willow used for basket making, and HOPS, known as North Clay Hops (with a stronger taste and twice as much flavour as Kentish Hops) were also grown until 1866.

Whilst the women and children (some as young as 8 years) worked in the mill, the menfolk apparently farmed the adjoining land, brewed the beer, and kept ducks on the 5 acre millpond. It was to become the home of my Great Grandfather Frederick SWARBROOK(E) and his Descendants for over half a century and it was through Frederick that the SWARBROOK(E) name was to become involved with Nottinghamshire

Fig. 2  Maythorn Mill on an early map c.1830.