This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt image is of a water mill in Wales.

My husband’s great great great grandfather, William Smith Daw (1810 – 1877) was a miller. In 1841 he lived at Upcott Mill, near Sheepwash, Devon.

1841 census of England: Class: HO107; Piece: 244; Book: 10; Civil Parish: Sheepwash; County: Devon; Enumeration District: 3; Folio: 4; Page: 3; Line: 5; GSU roll: 241320 retrieved from

He and his wife Mary had five children aged between 6 months and 9 years.  One was my husband’s great great grandmother Sarah (1837 – 1895).

When I was looking for information about the Sheepwash mill, Gary from Sheepwash told me that the mill site now had only ruined buildings. He referred me to the 1839 tithe apportionments and map, and pointed out that millers tended to move around quite a bit as they rarely owned their own mills.

In 1839 Upcott Mill at Sheepwash was owned by the Reverend William Bickford Coham and George Coham Esquire who seem to have owned considerable amounts of land  in the area. The Tithe apportionment shows a number of fields and an orchard associated with the mill.

1839 tithe apportionment for Sheepwash, Devon page 20 showing Upcott Mill from (click to enlarge image)

1839 Tithe map for Sheepwash, Devon showing the fields associated with Upcott Mill. The tithe map is available through . The highlighting was done by Gary, a resident of Sheepwash.

The location of Upcott Mill north of the village of Sheepwash on Mussel Brook can be seen from the full map and can be compared with Google maps.

In 1851 the Daw family were at Wendron, Cornwall, just over 80 miles south-west of Sheepwash.  In the 1851 census William Daw was described as a miller and farmer of 25 acres.

1851 census of England: Class: HO107; Piece: 1912; Folio: 158; Page: 13; GSU roll: 221066.retrieved from

Confirmation that it is the same family is obtained from the birthplaces. For example, Elizabeth aged 11 in 1851 was born in “Shipwash”, Devon.

The family moved to Cornwall about 1844. Honor, aged 8 in 1851, was born in North Tawton, Devon. Louisa, aged 6 in 1851, was born in Helston, Cornwall.

Trelubis, also written Trelubbas, was a hamlet midway between Helston and Wendron near Trannack,. It is not marked on Googlemaps.

Trelubis near Wendron and Helston from Ordnance Survey First Series, Sheet 31 retrieved from Vision of Britain Historical Maps

The 1876 Ordnance Survey map gives more detail, though I am not sure where the mill at Trelubis was. Perhaps it was the mill immediately above the label ‘Lower Town‘.

Trelubbas near Trannack from Ordnance Survey Cornwall LXXVI.NW – OS Six-Inch Map first published 1876. Retrieved from National Library of Scotland  Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

In November 1851 there was an accident at the mill, serious but not fatal:

SERIOUS ACCIDENT ­ On Thursday the 13th instant, as a little girl named BISHOP was amusing herself by putting straws into a thrashing machine, situate at the back of Mr. DAWE’s Flour Mills, at Lower Town, near Helston, her arm got entangled in the machine, and was torn off just below the elbow. Medical assistance was promptly obtains, and amputation above the elbow joint being necessary it was performed by Messrs. BORLASE and ROSKRUGE, and the child is doing well. Not many minutes before the accident Mr. Dawe had sent her out of the building, but she had returned unobserved. (I am not sure which newspaper this comes from. This item is in the newspaper collection of Sheila Pryor.)

In 1853 the Daw’s youngest child Sophia was drowned. She was just 14 months old.

Royal Cornwall Gazette – Truro Cornwall 3 June 1853  page 5 retrieved from FindMyPast
Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive ( © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Another newspaper report of 3 June 1853

On Tuesday, a little girl, daughter of Mr. DAWE, miller, of Lowertown, in Wendren, came by her death in a most melancholy manner. The child who was only fourteen months old, was suddenly missed, and there being a river running in front of Mr. Daw’s house by which the mill is worked, search was immediately made, and after an hour and a half, the body was found in a pit at the bottom of the river, having previously passed over the mill wheel, under two bridges, and down the stream a considerable distance. (Newspaper item in the collection of Sheila Pryor.)

I learned from the family history website of  Lorna Henderson, my husband’s 5th cousin,  ( ) that the Daw family were millers in a number of places in Devon and Cornwall. Lorna was trying to work out which family members might be pictured in a photograph that her grandmother had of Lumburn Mill, Tavistock, West Devon.

I still have much research to do on this generation of the family.