Records show that a mill was on this site as early as c1300. Both fulling and corn grinding were being carried out by 1650. Thomas Playne purchased the mill from a Thomas Pinfold in 1759. The large lake, known as Gatcombe Water was built in 1806 and it's original size was 15 acres.
The lake was formed by constructing a dam, 150 yards long, right across the valley. The dam consisted of a dry stone wall with earth and clay built up along it's length to keep it watertight. During it's construction, the stream was stopped causing many arguments with the mill owners further down stream. Guards had to patrol the dam at night to prevent it being destroyed!
Eventually, the other mill owners were convinced that the large reservoir of water would be of mutual benefit to everyone during the summer months when most of the streams would have much less water in them. During the second world war, the Minchinhampton Home Guard would patrol the dam to prevent saboteurs from destroying it. The lake is now a little less than the original 15 acres due to the far end becoming silted up.
Due to lack of faith in the strength of the dam, the main mill building was built along the valley side rather then accross the valley, just in case the dam failed.
The mill is documented as having five waterwheels in it's early days, and also with having two beam engines, although there is no evidence of these any longer. In later years, more modern power sources were added and these consisted of a water powered electricity generator, a steam generator and two very large diesel engines by following these link at the foot of this page.
The two black and white photographs show the interior of one of the newer loom sheds, that sit on concrete legs over the mill pond. The last use of the mill was to make the coverings for tennis balls, and material for suits. The top photo is taken from the back of the main building,which is one of the older parts of the mill
This Mill complex has now been converted into housing, but as it's an interesting site I have added more information that I have collected over the conversion period in terms of photographs and videos.
Longfords Power Generators