For centuries there was a functioning mill at Cotes (on the A60) providing for the local community until 1973 when it was closed as the last working flour mill in the county.
There were two mills; the Lower Mill and the Upper Mill that were known as The King’s Mills and served the people of Loughborough. The Lower Mill is still situated on the A60 across the bridge from Cotes itself and is known as Cotes Mill, which today is home to the local kitchen company deVOL which was originally based in Quorn.
The Upper Mill, which no longer stands, was half a mile upstream at the edge of the parish of Burton. Both mills belonged to the Manor of Loughborough until 1810 and may have stood on the same sites of those mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1085.
Under the feudal system, following the Norman Conquest, ‘soke rights’ forced everyone to have their corn milled at the mill owned by their Manorial Lord. People from Loughborough were expected to take their corn to be ground at these mills but by the 16th century other local millers and mill owners were competing for trade – offering cheaper and allegedly, a better service.
In 1610, Katherine, the widow of the Earl of Huntingdon and holder of the Manor, began a lawsuit, stating that the Lords of the Manor had the right to grind corn at Loughborough and she complained that locals were being enticed away by Dishley and Garendon millers. The final bill was filed in 1697 – almost a hundred years after Katherine’s original complaint - and a verdict was later given at Leicester Assizes in favour of local inhabitants. From then on the people of Loughborough could freely decide which mill to use.
Cotes Mill was also a pub and restaurant in later years and hosted some fine folk music events!
Adapted from an article compiled by Megan Cox with Joan Shaw from the Wolds Historical Organisation in the Loughborough Echo - 26th January 2017. Illustration - Paul Gent for Where We Live and What We Know.
More details and images at the excellent Wolds Historical Organisation website.