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WELWYN & DISTRICT HISTORY SOCIETY

There’s an Old Mill......

Once a dead end, known as Back Lane and only going to Welwyn’s Corn Mill , Mill Lane is now a valued address with some fine buildings. In past years Mill Lane could have been said to be the heart of the village as it and the adjoining streets of Mimram Road and Mimram Walk were home to many of the ordinary working class of Welwyn.


The 1881 census records over 460 people living in this area, around a fifth of the population. They ranged from the youngest Emily Driscoll just 4 days old on census night to the oldest Thomas Munday, an 84 year old agricultural labourer.


A multitude of occupations were represented in these streets from the agricultural labourers and gardeners to bricklayers and shoemakers, there were butchers and bakers (although a candlestick-maker is yet to be found), grocers, teachers, fishmongers and servants. Publicans and a blacksmith lived alongside the more unusual such as a well-sinker, a watercress grower and the 40 year old Mary Garrard who gave her occupation as ‘Missionary Woman’.


Leading from the High Street to Mill Lane is the road we now know as Mimram Road and the passageway known as Mimram Walk. But this was known as

‘Farmyard’ until well into the 20th century as it ran along the area of the ‘Rector’s Moor’ or farm. The Old Rectory, a fine 15th century building, still stands off Mill Lane and was originally not only the Rectory but also the Manor House, as the Rector was Lord of the Manor. The land around it, now developed, was the Rector’s farm or moor and influenced other names in the vicinity, such as the small group of houses off Mimram Walk known as The Moorings and the

Moorhen pub, which stood in Mimram Road, but is now a private residence having closed in 1918.


The Moorhen was just one of a number of pubs in this part of Welwyn. In Mill Lane, the visitor can still get refreshement in the White Horse as have visitors since the 1740s. But no longer open for trade are the Baron of Beef, The Crow and the Bull.


The Corn Mill is fine building from around 1750; a mill in Welwyn was first recorded in the Domesday in 1086. Flour was ground here until 1912, when the last miller, James Chalkley died. The mill which once straddled the river was removed, but the Mill House still stands and is now a private residence.


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Next - ‘Big Houses’


Mill Lane with the White Horse

Mill Lane with the Baron of Beef in the background

Welwyn Corn Mill ca. 1890