Old Mills in Pembury

There have been several working mills in Pembury, some of them painted by W.M.J. Turner.



Keyes Mill 1796 W.M.J Turner    (Picture from David Doré)


Pembury Mill c1806-1807 W.M.J Turner    (Picture from David Doré)

Turner in Pembury from David Doré on Vimeo.    (April 2015)



The map below identifies the location of the mills, followed by various descriptions and references.

Footpath Numbers have been added to help locate and orient.      Keyes Mill site on footpath WT226.


Kathryn Franklin 2020 –

Corn mills have always been important in Pembury as even as early as the 13th century the Colpeppers were in dispute over two and millers appear in Pembury records from time to time throughout the centuries. Streams are numerous but the water flow in the past must have been much greater than it is today now that the area is used as a significant catchment area for Southern Water. 

In Turner’s time at the turn of the 19th century there were still two mills in the parish, but unlikely to be the same two as 500 years earlier. He painted one once and the other one twice. All three of his paintings have the title ‘Pembury Mill’ which is confusing as you do not have to be an art expert to realise they are of two different buildings. 

One, in Redwings Lane, still exists but it is now a private house and much altered. At some time the course of the stream has been moved from the front of the building, where the wheel can be seen in the picture, to the back. The pond-bay still exists. This is the more famous picture, with a lady in the door-way, that sometimes appears in books on Turner. It was painted in 1795 is held at Tate Britain. 

The other two pictures were painted in 1805 and 1807 respectively and, allowing for artistic license, they are clearly of the same building and painted from more or less the same position. One is held at the British Museum and the other at the National Gallery. It’s location is now on footpath WT226 in the woods between Stonecourt and Albans. There is some remaining brickwork if you look carefully and, if ground conditions are right, you can even get to where Turner must have positioned himself. This mill was in use until the 1920s when one day the wheel race broke.



   Above:    Keyes Mill site in May 2020  photographed by Jane Grooms.
View facing upstream in a SW direction toward Pembury, and away from the junction of the two streams.


Above:    Keyes Mill site in May 2020  photographed by Jane Grooms.


Above:    Keyes Mill site in May 2020  photographed by Jane Grooms.


Extracts from Mary Standen’s      Pembury in the Past   1984




Tony Nicholls 2020