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It is probable that this wheel was in existence in 1581. It was then known as the ‘Wheel at Sharrow Head’ and was owned by the Duke of Norfolk. The tenant was Thomas Greenwood.
John Hale was the tenant in 1719. There was a succession of tenants, including John Hall (from 1731).
Thomas Wilson, a shearsmith, rented the wheel from 1737. Thomas was followed by his son Joseph who was involved in saw-making although he was also developing the trade of snuff-making at Sharrow.
The mill was badly damaged by fire in 1763 and much of the tobacco stock was destroyed.
The mill was rebuilt and the snuff business expanded. The cutlers wheel is no longer mentioned from that date.
The Wilsons bought the freehold of the mill site, from the Norfolk estates, in 1798 at about the time when steam power was introduced.
By 1819, the site had expanded to include a drying house, a warehouse and packing rooms.
The Wilson family have continued to operate the mill at Sharrow as a Snuff Mill. The business is now known as Wilsons and Co. (Sharrow) Ltd.
What is visible now?
The mill – known now as Wilson’s Snuff Mill – still occupies the site.
The buildings, dam and grounds have been well maintained and the water wheel has been restored. It is still capable of driving the old mortar and pestles although they are no longer used for commercial production.
There is an excellent view of the mill pond and the buildings from Frog Walk (from Sharrow Vale Road). The tail goit from the wheel, runs initially under the Porter Brook and emerges to run alongside the brook which it joins just before the weir which originally fed the dam for Stalker Wheel.
More photos taken in and around Sharrow Snuff Mill can be seen in the
Sharrow Mill Photo Gallery
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