A Potted History of Flitwick Mill

Flitwick Mill is a Grade II listed watermill on the south-eastern side of the village of Flitwick. According to the listing at English Heritage (407/17/32) it is a late 18th or early 19th century watermill. It was intially a third of its current size and was extended in the later 19th century and then restored and repaired in the late 20th century.  To the south and south-west of the mill is a clay lined mill race and sluice system.

The watermill originally had two sets of mill stones that were driven from a cast iron overshot wheel. A third set of mill stones were added that were driven originally by a steam engine and later by an electric motor. The grain was stored in bins on the second floor and was fed into the stones via wooden shutes.

Flitwick appears in the Domesday survey 1086 AD and was part of the landholdings belonging to the Augustinial Priory at Dunstable. The Goodman family owned and operated the mill from around the middle of the 18th century until its closure in 1987.

For more information, see the new website at www.flitwickmill.co.uk


15 thoughts on “Home

  1. Wow Can I the 1st bag of flour!

    Seriously though I know it is/will be a lot of work but it should be worth it, what a fabulous building… good luck to you both and if you need to get away from it you can come and have some sanity in Dorset……. Ross

  2. Have you considered getting the water wheel to work again and generating hydro-electric power? After an initial outlay you’d be able to get free electricity and even sell it back to the national grid!

  3. I just wanted to say congratulations on purchasing the Mill. I was very interested in buying it but by the time I was given the details from Jackson-Stops I think you had already put an offer in.

    It will be a wonderful life-long project and a great family home…

    Enjoy 🙂


  4. Congratulations on your mill. We live amongst the machinery of a watermill in North Cornwall so aspects of your project are all too familiar. We’re civilised but unfinished. Best wishes, please get in touch if you’d like a chat.

  5. I remember talking with Mrs Goodman, it would have been in the late seventy’s. She told me that she had applied to English Heritage for a grant to restore the mill.
    English heritage were happy to provide a grant of………wait for it……….2.5%. They also wanted final say on the plans. Needless to say the Goodmans were not in a position to carry out the works
    I believe their son is a Town councillor in Flitwick.

    • Hi Mark,

      From what we’ve seen, it was increasingly difficult for the Goodman family to keep the mill in working order.

      Rumour has it that in the later days, the Goodmans were using the mill to make dog food. Eventually, they discovered that the supplies they bought to make the dog food were costing them more than the price of dog food in the newly built Flitwick Tesco.

      Their troubles with upkeep probably started much earlier.

      In a letter dated 1st November 1982, Richard Goodman writes

      “Dear Sir,

      The Water Wheel here requires re-lining and several buckets replacing.

      After repeated attempts we can find no-one who will take this type of work on, and as this Mill is a building of Special Architectural or Historic interest I shall be glad to XXXX if you know of any Millwrights.

      Yours faithfully,
      R. Goodman”

      Luckily, there are still a few millwrights still around, and a few engineers who know what to do with the machinery so we are still confident that we will find a solution that gets the waterwheel moving again.

  6. I remember visiting as a child. Richard Goodman (1853-1935) is my great grandfather. I now live in Cyprus but would love to make a return visit when there is an open day. Jon Goodman.

    • Hello Jon

      I wonder if you know the names of the children of Richard Goodman? I have always understood that my Uncle was born and grew up at Flitwick Mill. I think he must have been born around 1880 so it does seem likely that he was the son of Richard. I have known this branch of the family all my life.

      It would be interesting to hear from you. Tony Cocks

      • Hi Tony.
        As I understand it, there were six children born to Richard (b.1853) and Mary Kate Tassel (b.1857), four of them sons. I have Charles Richard (b.1880), Richard (b.1884), Ralph (b.1889) who was my grandfather, and W. Neville for whom I have no date and guess was called William. If your uncle was born in 1880 he must be Charles who had a son called John who ran the mill with his wife Delia. I was fortunate to meet Delia and her daughter some years ago, but would love to hear from others. My email: goodman@cytanet.com.cy

  7. Thank you for the information on our Flitwick Mill. We live in Water Lane and remember the Goodman family. Hope the restoration goes well.

  8. Hallo, I am Diane Poole (nee Goodman) and remember visiting the mill as a child in the late 60s/early 70s. I seem to remember falling into the millstream and being given my cousin Roland’s clothes to change into. He was one of 3 children of John and Delia who ran the mill at the time. My grandfather Walter Neville lived at the mill I think as a child and I remember his sister-in-law too, Auntie Vi, Roland’s granny and Charles’s wife. I do have some details of the family tree which I am trying to type up. Tony Cocks told me about this thread.

    • Thank you Diane. That’s very interesting, I had no idea about Walter Neville’s family, that makes you my second cousin as our grandfathers were brothers. I also visited the mill as a child and seem to remember Rowland had a great deal of family history though I don’t have any contact details for him. Please let me know if you manage to get some of your family tree down on paper. Jon.

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