A WELL-ATTENDED meeting of Henley Probus Club at Badgemore Park Golf Club enjoyed an excellent illustrated talk by miller Corrie Starling, entitled The Old Mill at Mapledurham. For the past 500 years, the old mill has been run by descendants of the Blount family.
In the Fifties the estate was in a dreadful condition and the family undertook a huge amount of work. In the past 40 to 50 years the mill has been operated by a private family trust. The estate extends to 2,500 acres with 55 houses, listed to at least Grade II.
Income has been generated by Mapledurham House by many different types of activities such as the Aston Martin Rally, Agatha Christie plays and filming of The Eagle Has Landed and episodes of Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders. The original house and land was valued at 20 shillings in the Domesday Book.
In recent years Corrie and his wife have taken over responsibility from the estate of managing the famous timber-framed Watermill, which still produces excellent flour.
In days gone by the mill supplied London with large quantities of flour.
Income from the estate has been directed at a programme of restoring the mill, which has involved stripping and replacing where necessary.
Corrie has successfully overseen the repair and replacement of the mill paddles, mill stone dressing and more — he has been very hands-on. An exciting project just completed has been the installation of a new German turbine by the mill. This is the largest single unit in the UK. The electricity is sold to the National Grid, providing future income.
Last but not least, Corrie’s enthusiasm for the mill was very apparent and strongly supported by his wife.
There was a strong vote of thanks by members for this excellent talk and many intend to visit the mill later this year after the floods have receded.
Henley Men’s Probus meets on the second Tuesday of the month at Badgemore Golf Club at 10.30am. The next meeting will be on March 11 when Philip Nugus will give a talk entitled Churchill’s Bodyguard.
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