Flitton Church and Mausoleum
Flitton Church was built of the local ironstone in the mid 15th century, has an imposing tower of three stages (housing a peal of six bells, which are regularly rung on Wednesday evenings), and the whole building is embattled. It is the main church of the Flitt Hundred.
The Mausoleum adjoining Flitton church was built in the 17th century and houses the funerary monuments of the De Grey family; a "cornucopia of sculpture" according to English Heritage. The earliest memorial commemorates Sir Henry Grey who died in 1545. It is one of the most important in the country, both because of the quality of the monuments and because they illustrate the fashion and taste of each generation of a rich family, from Baroque through classical to gothic motifs.
Flitton Moor is a Central Bedfordshire Council Nature Reserve. It is a complex of ditches, ponds, grassland with wildflowers, and tree belts, including a small osier bed. The wetland habitats support a range of wildlife, including frogs and toads and sticklebacks in the ditches. It is one of the most important dragon & damselfly sites in the county.
Flitton Moor ponds. Flitton Moor is a County Wildlife Site, acquired by Beds County Council in 1986 when it had become agricultural land. It was owned for 25 years before this by Silsoe College who used it for experimental research into crop growing on peaty land and did some innovative drainage. See display in the Flitton barn for more info.
A thousand years of flour milling ended in 1987 when the mill closed its doors. The last of the millers of Flitwick had passed away and the mill fell into neglect. This allowed the ravages of nature to take hold and the building is now in dire need of some tender loving care. Planning permission to make it into a house was eventually obtained in 2009 and Don Palmer & Sarah Parker took ownership in 2012.
They bought the derelict mill with planning permission to turn it into a dwelling. Their challenge as new owners was to do that in a sensitive and creative way, preserving, as much as possible, the overall feel and character of a grist mill.
Flitwick mill is a great story and they have done their utmost to discover the evolution of the building and the history of the people who ran it. Don & Sarah have fallen in love with the building and this is their story of the journey to put it into good order for the next thousand years.
The Domesday book of 1086 mentions a mill on the site of the present Flitwick Mill. Records in maps, archives and the Honour of Ampthill have allowed us to trace many of the owners, all the way back to the monks of the Priory of Dunstable.
The building too has evolved and been extended. In its past, it has consumed another building, been widened and raised, had the mill race and wheel moved south and had been repaired with a hotchpotch of windows and bits of timber. The history is told in the details of timbers and joints internally, the soil beneath and the myriad of different bricks and the various mortars and bonds.
For more information visit www.flitwickmill.co.uk.
Further images of the Mill's extensive renovation can be found on the Two Moors Heritage Trail Gallery.
The Site of Greenfield Mill
The site of the Mill is where the houses built in the 1970’s at the bottom of Mill Lane. This is on your right as you pass from Maggots Moor to the bridleway on the Heritage Trail. It was originally built in the 13th century, but he photo is of the Victorian mill. In its early years it was owned by Dunstable priory, so would have had link to the monks at Ruxox. There are records of disputes between the owners of the two mills as there was often not enough water in the river for both. The mill was demolished around 1965 and the Mill House shortly after.
Pussy pond is named after the pussy willows which grow around it. There is a story that sprays of pussy willow were cut from here and spread along the aisle of Flitwick Church on Good Friday. The image here is of an information board which once was beside the pond. The design was based on drawings by children from a local school.