The enclosure of land previously open was closely connected with the increase of Sheep-raising. The older form of Agriculture, Grain-raising, laboured under many difficulties. The price of Labour was high, there had been no improvement in the old crude methods of Culture, nor, in the Open-fields and under the Customary Rules, was there opportunity to introduce any. On the other hand, the inducements to Sheep-raising were numerous. There was a steady demand at good prices for Wool, both for Export, as of Old, and for the Manufactures within England, which were now increasing. Sheep-raising required fewer hands and therefore high wages were less of an obstacle, and it gave an opportunity for the Investment of Capital and for comparative freedom from the restrictions of Local Custom. Therefore, instead of raising Sheep simply as a part of ordinary Farming, Lords of Manors, Freeholders, Farming Tenants, and even Customary Tenants began here and there to raise Sheep for Wool as their Principal or Sole production. Instances are mentioned of 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and even 24,000 Sheep in the possession of a single Person. This custom spread more and more widely, and so attracted the attention of Observers as to be frequently mentioned in the Laws & Literature of the time.
Cuxham is a small compact Village with brick & colour-washed Timber-framed Cottages spread out along one side of the Street and with a Stream, the Marl Brook, running along the other. Most of the Village lies within a Conservation Area.
Cuxham’s 2 surviving former Mills occupy the sites of Medieval predecessors, but their fabric dates primarily from the 18th & 19thCs. Cutt Mill, in the North of the Parish, is a 3-Storey 18th & early 19thC Mill with attached domestic accommodation and white-painted, weather-boarded ancillary buildings. The Mill machinery was in remarkably complete condition until the early 1980s when the interior was remodelled. Cuxham Mill, at the village’s Eastern end, is a substantially mid 18thC 2-Storey brick building, though the chalk-rubble rear block may be earlier. An Iron overshot wheel is preserved inside.
The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded 3 Watermills at Cuxham. The present Cuxham Mill was built in about the middle of the 18thC on the Site of one of those recorded in the Domesday Book. It was held by the Benedictine Wallingford Priory before Merton College, Oxford acquired the Manor of Cuxham in about 1268–71.
This Corn Watermill and Millhouse were built in the mid 1700s.
Mill & Millhouse. Mid 18thC, possible earlier origins. Flemish bond brick with flared headers; Gabled old tile Roof; brick ridge Stack. 4-unit plan. 2 -Storeys;
4-window Range of scattered fenestration. Segmental Arches over a 2-panelled Stable door and 20thC doors in outer Bays. Segmental Arch over 2-light casement to right; flat brick Arches and Timber Lintels over 2-light casements including 2 leaded casements to left. Left Gable Wall has plank Loft door to Granary. A 2-Storey rear block of coursed chalk rubble with brick dressings, Gabled old tile roof and brick lateral stack.
Interior: Iron Overshot Wheel to the left of the central entry. Round-arched Fireplace in rear right room. Winder stairs at the junction with the rear Wing. Old purlins in roof. The rear block may be an earlier Mill building. The Mill on this Site was one of 3 Cuxham Mills mentioned in 1086.
The Mill, Cuxham, OX49 5NF
A Grade II listed 18thC Mill House of exceptional interest as a Village setting. Entrance Hall with Waterwheel. The Mill House at Cuxham was built in the mid 18thC period. Acquired by Merton College in the late 13thC the Mill eventually passed into private Ownership. Around 1950 it was bought as a ‘weekend retreat’ by William Donaldson Clark a distinguished Writer, Diplomat and former Press Secretary to Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden. Under this Ownership, an extensive programme of refurbishment was embarked upon in which the working elements of the Mill, including the Granary & Water-wheel, were incorporated into Accommodation. Further works were undertaken to the House under the instruction of David Harvey, William Clark’s lifelong friend and companion and it is this arrangement of rooms that exist today. The gardens that extend to about an acre and are bordered by the Marl Brook that once fed the Mill Race & Waterwheel. The shallow Brook runs along the Southern side of the garden and flows across the Front of the House through an extended Culvert. On the south side of the house is a sheltered terrace.
Cuxham Mill House
The options to help improve Fish Migration over the old Milling Structure at Cuxham are numerous. This proposal will concentrate on a low-cost solution that involves 3 main Elements:
1. To Slow water velocities and create increased swimming depth at the downstream tail of the Weir to enable fish to be able to swim onto the Weir slope. This can be achieved by installing a pre-Barrage to slightly Raise the downstream river bed levels.
2. To reduce water velocities on the Slope itself and provide resting zones.
3. Concentrate flow into a solid plume of water at the head of the weir to enable fish to swim through a gap at the head of the Weir impoundment.
Middle Mill on the Marl Brook, a brick Range of buildings, now converted to Domestic use. Some Machinery remains. 12ft by 6ft Breastshot Wheel. Feeder and Pond lost. Known as Cuxham or Middle Mill. This Mill had a steel Breastshot Waterwheel.
Inset: Sketch by Stanley Freese 1931
At the East end of the Village is Cuxham Mill. Most of the present building dates from the mid-18thC.
In the Middle Ages, Cutt Mill on the Chalgrove Brook to the North of the Village was the Manorial Corn Mill; this Mill had an Overshot Waterwheel. The present Mill on the site was built in the middle of the 18thC.
Cutt Mill House – is Grade II Listed and believed to have been built in the mid-18th Century, built of grey & red brick under a Gabled Tiled Roof. The house is hidden from the Village down a Track, facing East into its own Land. The house comprises a formal drawing room, sitting room, study, kitchen, breakfast room, utility room and conservatory, with the 1st-Floor, 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a master bedroom suite with doors and steps down into the Garden. Within the Courtyard lies a range of buildings including a Converted Barn providing further accommodation over 2-Floors comprising; kitchen, sitting room, study, two bedrooms, bathroom and two cloakrooms. Within the Courtyard, there are also 2 further Barns providing garaging, machinery stores & laundry. Surrounded by a belt of trees with remnants of the old Millrace running through the Garden. To the rear, a formal lawn leads to a hedged boundary with views over open countryside. To the South lies an area of Woodland which leads back towards the Lane & Courtyard.
Cutt Mill House
Most of the present building dates from the mid-18th century, but the Mill was one of 3 Cuxham Mills mentioned in 1086, and was given to the Prior of Wallingford before Merton College, Oxford, acquired the Manor in 1268-71. From the late 13thC Cuxham Manor habitually sold its Grain through Henley despite being geographically closer to upstream Wallingford. In the 1470s the Upstream journey from London to Henley took 4–5 days in good conditions, and the Downstream journey presumably rather less.