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Chesapeake Mill – a not so hidden gem in Wickham

Just a quickie (of sorts) to mention this place as it was one of the local highlights near where we stayed.

Before leaving for our day-trip-to-Southampton-that-wasn’t, we met at the Chesapeake Mill in Wickham. A striking brick building, this former watermill, which produced flour, is today a homewares shop and cafe.

Still retaining much of its original character, the big old mill is hard to miss

It has so much stuff in it, new and antiques, though we didn’t have nearly enough time to poke around properly. Probably just as well; I was quickly running out of nooks and crannies in my bag in which to stuff things.

While the mill was plenty interesting already, another reason for visiting lies in our family history, the main theme of our trip.

The mill was built in 1820 using timber from the US frigate Chesapeake. During the War of 1812, the Chesapeake was captured by the Royal Navy, specifically the HMS Shannon on which one of my 4x great grandfathers served – and who was also part of the boarding party onto the Chesapeake.

Unfortunately I didn’t realise at the time, otherwise I would’ve taken photos!, but apparently blood stains and embedded bullets can still be seen in the timber inside the building.

The ship beams are a very cool feature but are probably easy to miss in amongst all the other stuff

Another great feature of the mill are the tea rooms, especially if you need a rest from too much (is there such a thing?) shopping.

Mmmmmm complimentary choccy treats

I wish we’d had more time to spend there but as was usually the case, there was other stuff to go see.

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