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The Low Bentham Mill

Website design, maps and photos by Ged Dodd - Director of The PeaceHavens Project.

   The Bentham Mills in North Yorkshire J., T. & W. Hornby established themselves in Bentham Village about 1795, and operated from Low Mills with flax from St. George's Quay at Lancaster, which was originally built in 1750 for the import of sugar, cotton, rum and mahogany and the export of furniture, general merchandise and slaves to the colonies in North America and West Indies. In the early 19th century they imported bales of Russian Flax Stems in huge quantities into a warehouse on St. George's Quay in Lancaster from which they then were transported by four horse drawn wagons to the Bentham Mills. Every bale of flax and hemp stems was fastened together with a lead seal by a quality inspector in Russia before shipping by sailing ship to the UK.    After processing the discarded stems of the flax and hemp with seals still attached were prized as fertilizer by local farmers and were spread onto the land mixed with night soil manure where they remain to be found even until today. ... However only one seal has been found in Low Bentham.   The mill is now under a new housing estate .. and the seal site remains yet to be found .. by the same token over 1400 have been found at High Bentham Mills ..




Lower Bentham Bridge looking upstream with the mill chimney beyond.


Lower Bentham looking towards High Bentham


Lower Bentham Mill from the East


The Lower Weir that transfers Wenning River water into the Mill Race (on the left).



Bentham Grammar School and Low Mill

Probably the most significant figure during the Moonsacre period was George Percy Gill (1920-1937) who with his German wife Mathilde introduced a new spirit into the school. Mathilde played a major part in catering at the school and she was also a fine swimmer who taught many people in Bentham to swim. It is said she conducted her swimming lessons in the River Wenning at 6.00 a.m. The lessons were held variously at Camp Hole, near the Wenning Oak, at Winder Wheel and in the ‘cut’, the millrace that fed the turbines at Ford Ayton Silk Mill.




The Ford Ayrton picture in Low Bentham shows similar angled roof-lights to the Wenning Silks factory in High Bentham. The factory and was bought by the Ford Family for their thriving ‘Real Silk’ business in 1877. It closed about 1970. Note the allotments, the mill race and the rose garden with a footbridge linking the mill and the village.


Lower Bentham Church and Roman Road