Milled in the heart of the beautiful North Wessex Downs, Wessex Mill is an artisan flour brand which trace its milling history in Wessex back more than 100 years. Today the brand is owned by Michael & Clare Marriage, who are themselves from a long line of millers and pioneers within the farming and milling industry as early adopters of organic farming practices and the first to re-introduce ancient grains Spelt, Emmer and Einkorn to UK soils.
The Wessex Mill story begins in 1895 when William Henry who was forced to relocate from Cambridge to Oxford following a devastating outbreak of foot and mouth, consequently moved from farming into flour milling. Originally starting as a partnership with Archer Cowley, the mill situated in Osney in Oxford became W.H. Munsey Ltd with William Henry taking complete ownership of the business in 1911. The family venture continued as sons Ellis and Keith joined the workforce but with the outbreak of World War I and milling not being essential work, Henry’s sons both left Oxford to fight in The Great War.
Surviving the war, the brothers returned and settled back into milling, but in 1927 with the country in post-war depression, land owners Christ Church issued an ultimatum meaning the Munseys must purchase the land or vacate the mill. They managed to borrow the money and shortly after buying the mill, William Henry died.
This picture was taken in 1911 at Osney Mill. In the car is Bill Muffin (Flour Salesman), behind his left shoulder is WH Munsey to his left his son Ellis.
Ellis and Keith continued to run the mill through the 1930s and, now too old, avoided having to fight in World War II. The war ended and the business continued, but in 1946 disaster struck with a fire that burned the Osney mill to the ground. With the country short of building supplies after the war, permission to rebuild the mill in Oxford was denied, so the brothers purchased Mr Clark’s biscuit flour mill in Wantage to continue milling.
The mill carried on into its third generation with cousins Dick and Bill (sons of Ellis and Keith, respectively), and with a more stable global economic and political landscape for the remainder of the 20th century, Bill’s son Paul joined the business in 1982. Emily, Paul’s daughter, joined the business in 2017 and together they created the Wessex Mill brand you see today along with its award-winning range of flours.
In 2022 the Wantage site became uneconomical to run and closed, and the brand was taken on by Michael & Clare with the pledge to continue making in the tradition of Wessex Mill in their own mill located just 14 miles south of the Wantage Mill, outside Hungerford.