Explore the tranquil and idyllic pond at Fiveways, as it was in 1895. Until the 1920s the area now taken by the King’s Acre carpark, near Morrisons, was an open millpond that fed the Town Mill at the bottom of Brookend Street.
Background to Mills and the Millpond
The scene across the pond towards the mill in our museum exhibit is little changed from now (except, of course, for the pond itself). By 1897 all of the buildings we have today were in place.
Swing your device round to the right, however, and things are quite different. In place of today’s rather unattractive carpark, vegetation and some industrial style retail outlets is a view comprising gardens, some attractive pond side properties (still there behind today’s vegetation) and a railway embankment.
There has been a mill on this site at least since the Doomsday Book in 1086. It was one of many mills around the town and usually known as the Town Mill (sometimes Two Mills and Three Mills – mills were known by the number of millstones they housed).
The Millpond was fed by a number of streams, particularly the Rudhall Brook and Small Brook.
The Mill itself has been rebuilt many times since 1068, the building we see today was substantially altered in 1895 by the owners, Bussell and Pike. Crucially they added steam power (note the chimney in the 1897 photograph). There had always been times when the water in the millpond proved insufficient to drive the mill. Once the millpond was used less it became more stagnant and before long proved something of a health hazard with locals complaining about the smell. It was this that led to it being filled in, in 1927.
The handsome building to the right of the mill was built in the late seventeenth century as the mill owner’s house. It remained that until 1851 when it became The Railway Hotel / Inn / Tavern. That in turn closed in the late 1960s since when it has been a used as a shop, along with the building attached to it.
Millpond and Town Mill timeline
1086 – “Town Mill” mentioned in the Doomsday Book – mill on this site.
1277 – Bishop’s rent roll total rent for Ross = £54, £20 of that, is rent from the mill
Late 17th Century – Millowner’s house built
1627 – Moses Hanks was the miller – 1646, Richard Harris
1851 – Millowner’s house became Railway Hotel (later Railway Tavern and Railway Inn)
1882 – Millbrook Cottages built (along Millpond Street).
1893 – Present mill building built (on the site of previous ones)
1895 – Bussell & Pike installed steam boilers to the mill
1902 – Council takes out 7 year lease on pond (in response to complaints …) they fill in part of the pond and “dedicate the site and maintain same as an ornamental garden [so as] to avoid obnoxious effusions in the Summer” This garden became known as King’s Acre in commemoration of the birthday of Edward VII. The name lives on in the carpark.
1927 – Whole pond filled in after further complaints
1947 – A fire in the Mill house marks the end of its time milling flour. But the South Herefordshire Agricultural Co-Operative Society (SHACS) continued to use it to mill cereals from local farms into animal feed until the mid 1980s
1950 – SHACS displayed chicken huts on the land
1961 – There was a proposal for a bus and coach station be established there (it never happened)
Late 1960s – Railway Inn closed
The artwork for this exhibit has been created by Jaime Etherington
Jaime Etherington is a local artist who specialises in local landscapes in oil.
Jaime spends many hours exploring the footpaths, rivers and hills waiting for the moment when the view combines with the perfect light and atmosphere. He blends his passion for drawing with his love for the outdoors to produce vibrant paintings of Herefordshire and Wales.
Over the last few years he has also been producing work for the Museum Without Walls in Ross-on-Wye.