Powys Digital History Project

Watermills 5
Knobley mills


A lost settlement
About five miles to the South East of the town of Presteigne there once stood a small settlement known by the English name of Knobley on the banks of a brook of the same name just North of Womaston. This settlement would seem to have been a thriving - if small - community with at least two watermills. Today nothing is visible but a few indistinct grassy platforms where the buildings stood and muddy hollows where there were once lanes wide enough to take cart loads of grain.


The origins of this little settlement are abscure but the records of Kentchurch Court (now in the Hereford Record Office) include a grant of 1640 from a John Jorden to Thomas Bull of a house and watermill at Nobley including the parcels of land "the Ryes, Crab Tree Castle and the strive acre". In 1649 these properties were passed on to Ezechiell Weaston of Walton. In 1693 the properties (including two watermills) were transferred to Henry Bolter of Burford [Burfa?] by Lloyd Weston, perhaps the son of above Ezechiell.
around 1840
(based on the
Tithe Map)
Section of tithe map

Heyday and decline
In the 1830s and 1840s a survey of the parishes of England and Wales was carried out on the instruction of Tithe Commissioners. The survey included the area around Knobley in 1841 and recorded the field names (entered on the above map), and the ownership and tenancy of properties. At that time Knobley formed part of the Boultibrooke estate and belonged to Sir Harford Jones Brydges. The miller was one Robert Lawrence.

By 1910 Knobley consisted of just two cottages belonging to a Thomas Duggan of Whitchurch in North Shropshire, with no watermill still working.

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