The discovery of a mill at Hockenhull has been a long, frustrating search. Now, I am very close to finally realising what has been central to my research. The belief came in 2017 when I was immersed in gathering all the watermills recorded in the Cheshire Tithes available online through the Chester Record Office. The tithe maps were paired with O.S. maps of c 1875 and c 1910 as well aerial photographs of 1970 and a modern map. After months of work the final tally came to 178. All had to be crossed checked with many other sources.
Then followed windmills. A more challenging task. Some 93 were recorded using the same pattern as with watermills. There were 75 on the Wirral alone so my meagre number must hardly reflect the true number. Being subject to storm damage and fires, windmills are easily lost without trace. Only in field-names and
Clearly, these are a fraction of the total. It was suggested there may have been closer to a 1000. Indeed, the publication of Rowan Patel’s Windmills and Watermills of Wirral highlighted what a serious researcher can find; it put mine to shame. Still, I discovered a windmill site in Bruen Stapleford and doubtless, more would have existed in the area.
The search for Hockenhull Mill grew out of this general mills. research.The tithe map for the parish showed the field-name Millfield, plot 32.
Invariably, the name Millfield passed through generations if if other names changed. The mill was a constant as it provided a staple food and become, at the time of the Normans, the only source for people to get their grain milled; at the lord’s ‘soke’.
The earliest mention of the manor of Hockenhull appears during the reign of Henry II (1216-1277) when St.Werburgh’s Abbey granted to William de Hockenhull for 4s.
The first reference to the mill in (Beazely, Notes on Shotwick Part 2, Vol.66, 1914)