A traditional flour mill in Oxfordshire is to close due to rising bills

Emily and Paul Munsey outside the Wessex Mill in Wantage. Photo by Ed Nix.

A TRADITIONAL flour mill in operation since the 1800s will close with the possible loss of 32 jobs.

The historic Wessex factory in Mill Street, Wantage, announced it would cease production at the end of the year due to rising electricity prices, which it said made ‘continuation unsustainable’ on-site machining.

The Wessex Mill brand has been acquired by Doves Farm Food in Hungerford, which will grind grain as Wessex Mill at its West Berkshire site.

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Paul Munsey, managing director of Clarks, owner of Wessex Mill, said: “It was a difficult decision to close the mill, but we are very pleased to have been able to transfer the brand to another family-run flour mill, which will continue the tradition of local grain milling in the North Wessex Downs”.

The company has now entered into a consultation period with 32 employees.

In a statement, the factory said: “The company thanks our excellent staff for their hard work over several difficult years, particularly during the Covid pandemic.

“We could not have continued to machine for so long without their industry and their skills.

“We thank all the bakers who have used our flour over the past hundred years for their enthusiasm for our flour and their support.

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Wessex Mill’s future flour supply is in excellent hands with Doves Farm Foods. »

The Munsey family have worked in Oxfordshire for over 100 years. The mill is currently run by fifth generation miller, Emily, with the support of her father Paul.

Clare Marriage, CEO of Doves Farm Foods, said: “Wessex Mill has an excellent reputation for grinding the finest quality award-winning flour from locally sourced grain and serving discerning customers across the UK.

“We are thrilled to take on the brand to continue this tradition and bring it to even more bakers across the country.”

Wessex Mill uses a traditional roller milling process, as opposed to the modern energy-intensive method of delimbing (removing the outer layers of cereal grains) before grinding it into flour.

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It grinds its flour slowly, which means the flour does not heat up as much as other flour mills, which prevents the proteins from being damaged.

The flour is ground from local wheat collected by the family from nearby farms. It ensures that only the best wheat is selected with high quality gluten by testing samples.

Being a small mill means that each farm’s wheat can be stored separately without mixing, allowing millers to select which wheats to blend and produce consistent quality flour.

Learn more about this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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