I visited Sturminster Newton Town Mill and was fascinated to find that the mill dated from the eleventh century. The current building has two wings one dating from c. 1650 and the later part, jutting out into the River Stour was built in the late eighteenth century, and was originally a fulling mill used for the finishing of locally woven material known as 'Swanskin', a coarse, white woollen cloth or flannel produced for soldiers, sailors and Newfoundland fisherman. Ah a Canadian connection. The mill was thatched until 1862 and now is roofed with stone tiles.
But to get to my topic. The south facing wall of the mill has some very nice graffiti, initials and dates from the late eighteenth and nineteens century. These initials are deeply carved in the south wall of the building on the bank. The first is S.N from 1874. He was in fact Samuel Newman, the miller at this time. The second is C.B from 1812.C.B also made an appearance in 1809 and he was Chas Baverstock, also a miller. A way to make sure you are remembered for a considerable period of time, even if it was for not having much work to do.
Not all graffiti is of the idle kind. If you can see on this next picture, there are deep grooves in this stone, which is situated in the doorway into the mill. These grooves represent the height of winter flooding. The highest was recorded in 1756, and the next highest in 1979. I was glad to see the tradition continued.l
I wonder if you can tell why no one wrote there name on this nearby bridge made of the same stone during a very similar time period.
It might have something to do with this little sign which I found on many of the bridges in this county. Good old George IV.