A mill has stood on the site of Mill Court Business Centre since at least the 14th century.

Pan Mill

A mill was mentioned at Pan as early as 1339.  In 1559, although a mill is not mentioned here (or anywhere else in the survey), it was probably included in the lands, parcel of the manor which were let off separately to John Fleming for £3 6s. 8d. per annum.  Pan Mill was in the hands of Richard Hancock of Newport, miller, for in the accounts of his widow and administrator, Dorothy Hancock, by then married to Hamon Greene (Hants. RO 1603 Ad.25), is listed the half yearly rent of the Town Mill , (i.e. Ford Mill), and "to Mr. Colenett for his rent of the other mill 40s.".  Pan Mill seems to have passed, like Form Mill, to Robert Mathews, to whom Mrs. Dorothy Greene apprenticed her eldest son, John Hancock (ibid).

Two water mills are mentioned in the conveyance of the manor of Pan from Edward Colenett to Thomas Kemp in 1613, and again when it was sold to Percival Gilbert in 1653 (FF Hants. Trin. 1653).  In a dispute about Gatcombe Mill in 1627, witnesses said that the river Medina, after it left Gatcombe Mill, went through four grist mills, Fuckets (or Hovingford), Mr. Kingswell's (Upper Shide mill), Pan Mill, another Mill in Newport (Ford Mill), and thence into the sea.  The ship money returns of 1637 list Alexander Macket for a meadow by Pan Mill 1s. 3d. (Plot 54), Pann Mill and a meadow 1s. 0d. (Plot 55) and Mr. Redman's land held by Sharpe, the miller, 1s. 6d. (Plot 56).  A mead, (Plot 840), belonging to Pan Mill was mentioned in 1679 (Newport Corporation Charters C1/85).  When, however, Samuel Rolleston of Southampton and Elizabeth, his wife, leased Pan Mill to John Young of Pan, miller, even though this was in consideration of John Young's having surrendered his former lease of the property, dated 22 March 1780 for three lives, the lease nevertheless stressed that Young had built the mill himself "all that piece or parcel of land lying on the west side and late part of a close of land belonging to Pan Farm called Hursells, containing 1 acre 32 perches, bounded on east by said Harvells Close, on the west by the stream or river, on the north by the highway from Newport to Pan farm and on south by a piece of land, part of Pan farm.  Also the slip of land lying on the west side of the stream or river as it is now fenced out (90 feet north to south and in breadth at north end 4 feet and in middle 15 feet and on south 6 feet, bounded on west, north and south by the dwelling house and willow bed late of William Serle, but now of said John Young (called Cosham House), and all that water corn mill, lately erected by the said John Young, as part of the premises here described, on the lives of said John Young, aged 34, William, son of William Way of Newport, grocer, aged 23, and John Ward of Newport, tanner, aged 23".  In 1802 John Young of Cosham House, Newport, merchant, assigned his lease of Pan Mill to Thomas Weeks Allee of Newport, gent., who in 1805, assigned it to Edward Way of Priory Mill, Carisbrooke, mealman.

In 1823 Samuel Rolleston of Pan, Isle of Wight, Esq., renewed the lease to Edward Way of Newport, mealman, on the additional life of his son, Edward Way, aged 28, John Young having died, and in 1834 he renewed it on the extra life of Alfred Cotton Way, aged 4, son of the said Edward Way, junior.  In 1848 he renewed the lease to Edward Way, junior, then of Newport, miller, aged 53, Alfred Cotton Way, his son and Harold, son of John Brown of Stroud Green, Chale, yeoman, aged 7.  In 1869 the trustees of Samuel Rolleston, Esq., deceased, conveyed the mill to Richard Temple Way of Newport, merchant, another son of Edward Way, junior.  In 1888 Richard Temple Way of St. Helens, merchant, joined with his brothers, Edward Way of 8 Montpellier Terrace, Ilfracombe, Devon, gent., and Robert Way of Newport, gent., acting as executors of the will of their late father, Edward Way, dated 9 January 1866, the leasee of the property,  in selling the mill to William Ash and James Thomas, both of Newport, merchants.  In 1896 the executors of the said William Ash conveyed their interest in the mill to James Thomas, who leased the mill in 1898 to James Thomas and Company and conveyed it to the company in 1908.  The company sold it to Thomas Gater Bradfield & Co., Ltd., in 1921, but bought it back again soon afterwards.  James Thomas's grandsons sold it to the Isle of Wight County Council 1990.

This text is quoted with the permission of the Isle of Wight Record Office (Isle of Wight Council) whose copyright it remains

The present brick-built mill is largely the result of modernisation and expansion begun by John Thomas in the 1880’s, when he greatly enlarged the mill and added what is known as the Jubilee Wing. It is probable that at this time the undershot wheel was removed from the wheel space, and a turbine inserted in its place.

The Jubilee Wing contained a plant installed by Simon of Manchester, and this is where flour was ground between rollers. These were driven by the turbine and a series of shafts and belts. A great deal of the plant from the original building has been removed, but a few of the original pieces of equipment still remain.

Evidence of the scale of trading on the Island is today seen by the existing painted signage for Leigh Thomas & Co Ltd. At various times between the 1880’s and the mid 20th Century, they operated Home Mill and Westminster Milll in Newport, and at one time operated Pan Mill as well as two other mills. On the mainland they owned Longstock Mill at Stockbridge, West End Mills at Southampton, and a mill at Emsworth.

The Mill continued to be an active commercial concern throughout the 20th Century, and was substantially modernised and improved during the 1980's to accommodate the modern business premises found here today. The Victorian mill workings were completely rebuilt during the restoration and comprise a traditional wooden wheel powered from the stream diverted from the nearby River Medina.

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