4. Milling.
5. Malting.
6. Basket Making.
7. Salmon Fishing.

4. MILLING Click to return to top of page.

Under the old Manorial system every manor had its mill and there were three of them in the village, Iron Mills, near the Parish Church, Horden's Mill at the bottom of Chapel Street and Knowle Mills. They were all worked by water wheels which were fixed in leats drawn from the Caen Stream. The two former were kept busy grinding barley for meal to be used on the farms or for food for the villagers' pigs and poultry. The Knowle Mill was the largest in the district and was owned by the firm of Stanbury and Son. One part was used for milling flour and the other for barley and maize meal. There were over 30 men employed by Stanbury's and every day their wagons, each drawn by two horses, took flour and meal to all parts of North Devon. Much Canadian wheat was ground at Knowle. This was brought by ship to Vellator or by rail to Braunton from Liverpool and Bristol. When up-to-date machinery was introduced into the milling of flour, water power was unnecessary, so the mills were closed at Knowle and new ones were erected at Rolle's Quay in Barnstaple. Horden's Mill was the next to close down, but the Iron Mills did a little grinding up to 1954. The sound of Water Wheels is no longer heard to remind us that the mill is still working.

5. MALTING Click to return to top of page.

Up to the end of the nineteenth century the beer-houses supplied home brewed ale. The malt used for the local drink was made in the village. The last malt house was a building adjoining the church, which before the institution of workhouses was the home and hospital for the poor. I can still picture the maltster sitting by his fire, keeping an even temperature, so necessary in turning the barley into good malt. The smell from the malt house told us when malting was in full swing.

6. BASKET MAKING Click to return to top of page.

In the early 1890's a new industry was introduced into the village - basket making. The firm of Blackwell & Son started in a barn in East Street and two craftsmen began to train apprentices who soon became proficient. Later the present factory was built and since that time the work has been carried on by some 20 basket makers. The present business is probably the largest of its kind in the country and hundreds and thousands of Braunton baskets have been sent to all parts of the world.

(This factory has now been closed.)

7. SALMON FISHING Click to return to top of page.

This trade was of great importance in the l9th century. Quite a number of fishing boats could be seen at Vellator and we often watched the fishermen mending their nets on the greasy banks. The fishing grounds were at Broadsands and many a twenty pounder was landed and sent to the fishmongers at Barnstaple. In close season the river was fished for small fry, but very often the red fish found their way into the nets. On such occasions they were cut up and sold under another name to the villagers who could not afford that delicacy at other times.

There was also a trout fishery at Buckland Mill belonging to Mr. F. G. Richmond, son of the great Victorian artist, Sir William Richmond, R.A. Thousands of trout were reared to stock gentlemen's pools and fishing grounds. The breeding ponds can still be seen in the meadow adjoining the old mill.

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