At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) Winscombe belonged to Glastonbury Abbey. Maxmills with its long leat, pond and elaborate water-works looks like a Glastonbury Abbey scheme and, therefore, probably 12th century. In 1239, ownership of the Manor of Winscombe passed to the Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral.

In 1319 Max Mill appears, by name, for the first time as Mackesmulle when William de Mackesmulle witnessed a Winscombe deed. In another deed of the same date, Geoffrey de Molendino [Geoffrey of the Mill] had the right to drive his cattle from Makkesmull to Barton.

Detail of the farm and mill at Max - 1792

Elizabeth Counsell and family - early 20th c.

At some time, probably during the late Medieval period, ownership of Maxmills passed out of the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral. The mill and farm at Max formed part of larger estates with the lands being leased out to various tenants. One of those tenants, Robert Langrish, who died in 1636, leased the farm and mill from the Earl of Hertford and Robert and his family lived in his Mansion House called Mackmills.

For over two hundred years, from the late 17th century, the farm and mill at Max was in the hands of the Smith family of Bristol until sold to Elizabeth Counsell in 1921.

The corn mill at Max was powered by an overshot water wheel and was still in use until the early 20th century. Remains of the former mill building and the waterfall (position of the internal water wheel) can still be seen at the entrance to Maxmills Farm.

All the names of the cottages at Maxmills are historic. The former miller's cottage is Maxmills Cottage which overlooks the mill pond; Honeyacre Cottage was a stable which has been named after a nearby field; Barrowmead Cottage was a former cart house which overlooks Barrowmead Wood; and Challey's Cottage, previously a barn, is adjacent to the former Challey's Lane. The stone barns were converted to cottages in 2001.

Maxmills is still a working farm as it has been for at least the last 700 years.

The millpond at Maxmills - early 20th c.


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