We venture to think that the miller who in 1339 paid rent of “a quart of good ale and a bushel of flour” would approve of the Mill today, along with the farmers and villagers who used to wait on the site for their corn to be ground, when the mill was a centre of social life.
Whilst restoring the Mill, several stories of its past emerged. One told the tale of why the high street of nearby Malmesbury was partly paved with Shipton millstones. Apparently, the local abbot who controlled the millstream fishing rights quarrelled with the miller and, as a result, commandeered his stock of millstones. Today, such a collection would be rather an expensive catch.
One of the more curious miller’s stories recounts how the flour in Napoleonic times became, in a manner of speaking, French bread… The miller needed help in building a dam to divert the stream closer to the mill. He persuaded the authorities to lend him a platoon of French prisoners of war to carry out the job. The present course of the river today is a testament to their efforts.