Buckland Mill

Dover, Kent, UK

Bushy Ruff Paper Mill

c1790 - c1850

NB there are alternative spellings for this area, using Bushy or Bushey & Ruff or Rough in any combination, so you will see variations within this piece.  For context the mill was in the area shown below in red

Plan of Bushey Ruff Paper Mill in 1825

bushey.jpg (38952 bytes)

This mill was located on the Dour about one mile upstream from the River Mill.  There appears to be no record of the date on which it came into operation and very little is known about it.  The mill is shown on Greenwood’s Map of Kent published in 1821, and an entry in "Bonythons Dover Guide" published in 1823 reads, "on another branch of the river to the left is a paper mill belonging to William Knocker".  CP Davies points out that, in writing of River in 1799, Hasted mentions three paper mills and in a footnote says, "One of these mills, built lately, is situated near Kearsney or Castney Court, but in the Alkham parish".  He suggests that this mill may be assumed to have been Bushey Ruff and that, as it was not included in the 1792 directory, it may have been erected between 1792 and 1799.

Another source to determine the date of this mill can be found in the Dover Telegraph dated  24 May 1856, by calculation this puts the mill as being built in 1790.  The article is about the freehold of the road between Bushey Rough Paper Mill and Kearsney Abbey, it shows reference to the mill and the relevant part extracted as follows.......

Thomas Friend carpenter was called who deposed - I was born in 1786, I recollect Bushey Rough Mill being erected: it was built by my brother, and I had then just began work.  I mean the white mill.  The canal running from the overshot wheel to the lower part of Kearsney gadens was being dug at the time the mill was built.  The road was turned, and Coxhill Bridge built at the same time.  I recollect a stable or building of some sort standing where the present road is, and near the bridge.  I think I was about twelve years of age.  Prior to the canal being cut, the road used to run at the back of the cottages now standing in Bushey Rough, and close to the old running river, towards which, and a little further than the canal, the old farm used to come.  There was no road through the farm yard.  I have no recollection Mr Wakefield too Coxhill Farm.

By the court - I cannot say exactly how old I was when I began to work.

George Stevens - I am in my 78th year.  I was bound apprentice at Bushey Rough when I was about 13, and was out of my time when I was 17.  I remember the brown mill being erected, it was built about a year before I went there.  The road ran at the back of the eight cottages now there.  I should think that the white mill was built about about a dozen years afterwards - about 68 years ago.  I cannot recollect when the canal was cut, but I helped to build the bridge.  The white mill was built after I was out of my time.  I was wrong when I said 68 years ago: I can swear it was built within sixty years.

The mill was surveyed in 1815 for the Kent Insurance Company.  The surveyor called it a "miserable place" and described it as a wooden building with a paper top.  The mill had a "furnace", the flue gasses from which appeared to be allowed to pass over the paper hung on sticks for drying purposes.  The surveyor thought this dangerous, and the mill ought not to be insured.  A second survey was carried out in 1821 at which time the mill had three vats making both brown and white papers.  The surveyor passed the mill for insurance.

William Knocker probably built the mill and is recorded as the occupier on the Tythe map of 1825.

An 1823-24 directory mentions Cooper, Packham and Company, papermakers, Bushey Rough, as occupiers.

By 1826-27 a Mr Dickinson (Reference to Dickinson in greater detail is given under Buckland and Charlton with both of which he had connections during his period in the Dover area) had taken over the mill and continued until his bankruptcy in 1837, but the name of William Knocker occurs again as the occupier in the Tythe schedule of 1838 and the owner of the property as the Earl of Mexbrough, an Irish Peer created in 1766.

William Knocker died in 1847 and was succeeded by George Wigzell Knocker.  The last directory reference to the mill was in 1858 but it is believed to have ceased production in about 1850 an advert in the Dover Telegraph of 1856 shows the sale of the equipment.  For other newspaper articles follow this link.... Bushy Ruff in the Press

William Knocker was not, as far as can be ascertained, a papermaker.  He is believed to have been a solicitor.  He was Mayor of Dover four times between 1797 and 1832. During his first Mayoralty in 1798 the men of Dover were formed into eight Volunteer Companies and William Knocker, the Mayor, was Captain of one of them.

It is of interest to note the mention of "Castney Court" above Kearsney Court was the residence of E.P. Barlow at one time.  It was the property of Wiggins Teape and was purchased for the use of the Company’s Chairman.