Radford Mill is probably the mill identified in the Domesday Book. In 1784 the mill is owned by Richard Biggs. However, by 1788 there is a conveyance of messuage and water mill called Radford Mill by James Stephens to James Collins. This is the beginning of a long association of the Collins family with Radford Mill and the development of an industrial area.
By 1840, the Tithe Map shows Radford Mill, a Brewery, a Tan-Yard, a Candle Manufactory as well as South Hill House. William Collins had eight children, six boys and two girls. The large house known as ‘Radford Villa’, originally called Mill Mead House, built early 19th Century, constructed as part of a brewery by John Collins (fourth son). As the brewing expanded, space was needed for the malt preparation, so the “Old Malt House”, now a hotel, was built.
George Collins (the fifth son) became a Tanner and built “Tan-Yard”. He became so affluent, he built “South Hill House” in approximately 1832. The youngest son, Jacob, became a Tallow Chandler, making candles for the miners. The area of the Candle Factory was on the right at the bottom of Radford Hill. William Jnr managed the Hop Yard and Mill.
The brewery was eventually taken over by relations of the Collins family – the Rossiters, and Radford Villa was converted into a market garden. The association with the Collins and Rossiter families continued well into the 20th century.
Reproduced from ‘The Timsbury Book’ by kind permission of Timsbury Parish Council.