STREAM MILL BRIDGE AT CHIDDINGLY
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William Chives' writings about the Mill at Stream, written between about 1900 - 1940.
I visit the old Water Mill at the Stream
It seems as but a few months ago when I went as a boy of ten or thereabouts, to view for the first time the old water wheel working, the thing that puzzled me most, how the rush of water could keep that mighty wheel turning. And what a mighty tumbling and splashing there was, as the water went hurtling headlong down into the darkness below, to pass on under the mill and there to be rushed ever forward by the oncoming flood behind, never ceasing day or night sometimes for nearly a week, which meant that the miller had little rest.
Mr Edward Dadswell was miller thirty years ago (or 40?). If ever there was a hard working man it was he, for many a time, in fact more often than not, he would be driving the steam engine as well as the water wheel all the night through. Often I have looked in to see him, when I was passing each morning, when fetching folks' daily papers at Chiddingly, which is to be made mention of in a further chapter. But alas, all that space of water lies idle now. That giant wheel like its owner will soon be forgotten. That, and that alone, is the real cause which prompts me to write this number of old memories (which still hold a fond place in my mind), just for others to read after I am gone.
The Old Stream Water Wheel, Chiddingly, working in year 1900
O water wheel, though mighty thing,
Dost keep thine even whirling;
While through allotted space above,
The flood is ever swirling.
Whilst standing gazing there at thee,
With heart and soul enraptured;
My mind e'en to all else seems lost,
Thou hast my being captured.
From early dawn, till late at night,
Thou seem'st for ever turning;
Within that darkened eerie space,
Men may from thee be learning.
See there it goes a-rushing on,
In wild confusion tumbling;
And as it beats thy paddles o'er,
Doth make a mighty rumbling.
With increasing speed it rushes on,
Below on rocky bed is flung;
O'er rock and shingle ravine churned,
To where of old a net was hung.
Early Woodland Scenaries
Should you ever have had the joy of looking for beauty spots dear reader, you will realize how happy such scenes would make a boy in quest of early flowers. Now, do you know where the first primroses can be found in Chiddingly? No - well take a stroll down to the old water mill; after passing that very interesting spot, we wend our way up round the mill lane, towards Stonehill. Half way up the lane we turn off to the left side and within a very few moments you will behold (tucked under the stubs with last summer's growth of chestnut, ash or beech, surrounded by a bank of autumn leaves, which act as a shield against the cold winds and snow) your first sight of primroses, smiling in the winter sunshine, for it is only a week or two since Christmas.
Bluebells and Wood Anemonies
We shall need to take another stroll northwards this time. Come, we pass the Old Mill, the Stream Farm, fifty yards down the road, over the little bridge we take a short cut, up over the banky field to the road which we take past The Holdens round to Greywood Lane, "There in that pit?". No, that is where the stones were dug for the Parish Church centuries ago. "Yes", on up the hill, when we pass Scotland Barn. Why Scotland I fail to know. Ah, here it is called Scotland Dell, sometimes called Bluebell Dell, for look at that lovely blue carpet there, and the first in the parish. Anemonies too, galore.
The Stream Mill Floodgates
The floodgates down at Old Stream Mill,
Has oft filled folked with wonder,
When flood is high, the locks are raised,
The very walls of arch is graized,
By flood when rushing under.
I've oft seen folks, who'd walked for miles,
And seemed quite glad to do it,
They've said they come from Eastbourne town
Had heard 'twas spot of great renown
When they have come to view it.
They have said as how' twas worth the while
A sight they ne'er would miss,
And there below on grass would cast
Then partake of a good repast
Enjoying natures bliss.
Then oft would ask the year 'twas built
But this I ne'er could tell
I mind it once was told to me
'Twas rebuilt 1853
By one I know quite well. "Old Stream Shepherd"
They then would wend up yonder track, to distant Railway Station,
But would oft times stop, on Stonehill top, to view the landscape o'er
Would then proceed, imbued indeed, with inward admiration.
William Chives 1941