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

The Manor of Pann was an ancient manor mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as being held by the King’s Thegn: … “Herbrand holds Pan of the king. Godric held it of King Edward. It then, as now paid geld for 1 hide. There is land for 4 ploughs. In demesne is 1 plough: and 4 villans with 2 ploughs. There are 2 acres of meadow, woodland without pannage. It was worth £4; now £3.” ….

Registration of Birth

Although no mention of a mill at Pan at this time there were known to be some 40 mills listed on the Isle of Wight. A few miles from Pan at Shide, in the neighbouring parish of Carisbrooke, there were 4 mills listed of various worth, these were held by the King.

The history of Pan mill is inextricably linked to the rise of the town of Newport, although not in the same parish. The river Medina where it passes the Pan lands is the boundary of the parishes of Whippingham on the east bank and Carisbrooke Parish on the west bank. Newport for many years was the port, being at the head of the Medina river, for distributing goods and soldiers to Carisbrooke Castle. All island life revolved around the castle at this time. It was not until the 12th, century that the growing town was given a Charter of Privileges by Richard de Redvers the third, Earl of Devon and Lord of the Isle of Wight. As the population of Newport increased more mills were being built both on the banks of the Medina and Lukely brook. By the 14th century there was not only recorded a mill at Pan, but it was recorded that it needed repair which would indicate it had been there for some time. Newport had suffered greatly from the attack of the French in 1377, perhaps Pan Mill had also suffered. Some four years later many of the town’s buildings were still uninhabitable.

There have been two families instrumental in the history of Pan Mill, they were the Young Family who held the tenancy for at least three if not four generations and the Thomas Family who owned the mill through most of the twentieth century finally selling the property to the Isle of Wight Council in 1990.

When in 1406 the College of St Mary at Winchester, owners of St Cross Priory decided to reconstruct St Cross Mill they contracted with a John Tyrel, mason, for a new floodgate constructed of freestone. This stone was to be transported by John Younge of Ryde in his boat. He was to receive 12d for each boatload he conveyed. In 1423 John Younge, the boatman from Ryde was granted a seven-year lease of the priory and the mill. This is the first recording of a member of the Younge Family involved with Milling on the Isle of Wight.

From a pedigree of the Young Family compiled in 1900, Richard Young son of Richard Young (1663-1726) was born at Pan Mill in 1680. The next Richard Young of Pan Mill was born 1708 and died 1783. John Young seems to have been the most successful of all the Young Millers. He was born 1753 and died 1823, he married Miriam Goodall, daughter of John and Ann Goodall of Lea Farm at Shalfleet, Ise of Wight. They had seven children who all were born at Pan Mill, as their registration of birth states.


John Young eventually moved his large family to Cosham House, this large house stood on the corner of South Street (previously called Cosham Street) where now Morrisons the supermarket is sited. Obviously, this was a boom time for the corn business as John Young also leased Shide Mill. In about 1780 on a further lease for Pan Mill it is stressed that John Young had built the mill himself. Presumably, this referred to an extension of the existing mill that had been in existence for many years. The land in question stretches from Cosham House down to Pan Mill, listed as a water corn mill. In 1802 John Young of Cosham House, Newport, Merchant assigned his lease of Pan Mill to Thomas Weeks Allee of Newport, Gentleman. John Young was probably wealthy enough by now to retire from the milling business, he was about 56 years of age. He lived on at Cosham House until his death on 10th May 1823. In his will dated 6th January 1823 he lists himself as a Gentleman. A testament to the wealth and influence he accrued as a miller. It is interesting to note that none of his sons became millers. His son Joseph left the island for a life in the Kentish town of Chatham where he became a successful Grocer no doubt benefitting from the bustling Naval Yard of Chatham.

Two of John’s daughters according to the census of 1841, 1851,1861 and 1871 lived at 64 High Street, Newport, keeping one general servant and being listed as Landed Proprietors. In her will Miriam Young left her estate to her nephew John Young an Architect in the City of London. It would seem that the children of John Young all born at Pan Mill made extraordinarily successful lives for themselves.

In April 1865…” An accident occurred at Pan Mill recently when a man named Long who lives at Portland Terrace, Newport, got his arm caught in the machinery and it was so badly crushed that it had to be amputated in order to save his life”….. (from This was our Island compiled by Brian Greening.)

During the remainder of the 19th Century great progress was made with the setting up of a railway system on the island. This enabled farmers to transport their produce more quickly to markets on the mainland. Pan Lane station opened on 11th August 1875 as the northern terminus of Newport Junction Railway. It was ordered to close as it had opened without Board of Trade approval. Approval was eventually given, and the line reopened on 6th October 1875. This station only lasted for four years until the line was extended northwards to join the Ryde and Newport Railway at Newport Station. It was closed on 1st June 1879. But a private siding that served Pan Mill carried on in use until 1930’s.

James Thomas was born in Chelsea in 1842 and settled on the island in 1877, where he took up a position in a Cowes Grocers. He seems to have been involved with several partnerships involved with Pan Mill. Firstly, with Ash and Thomas, then Thomas, Gater, Bradfield and Co Ltd., (millers and grain Merchants). After his death in 1922 his son Leigh Thomas took over the running of the business. He sold the business in 1934 to Joseph Rank Ltd. One year later Leigh Thomas repurchased the grain merchants’ side and formed Leigh Thomas and Co Ltd. Situated at Pan Mill.
James Thomas was considered to be a kindly, gentle man who did much for local education and the welfare of children as well as being a supporter of Dr. Barnado’s Homes. He was also a regular member of the Congregational Church in Newport. He served on the County Council from 1894.

He married Ellen Jane Woodcock in 1870, they had 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters. Unfortunately, their youngest son, Howard was killed in Flanders during the First World War. Their eldest son Leigh according to the 1901 census was living in Glamorgan, Wales and working as a Clerk in the grain trade. Leigh obviously met his wife in Wales as he married Nellie Marion Pollard in 1907 in Cardiff, Glamorgan. He had returned to the Isle of Wight by 1908 and was working with his Father and brother operating Pan Mill (see article).