Thames Tributary Darent - Hawley
The two branches of the Darent and St John’s Stream continue north easterly and then join roughly under the M25 bridge.
Post to the north Hawley
Post to the east Darenth
Post to the south Sutton at Hone
Post to the west Burnthouse
The trees along Darenth Road provide a real contribution
Rose and Gordon Cottages.
Old Mill Farm.
Chequers public house with garden at the rear. - gaze across meadows to cows standing ankle-deep in the river, ignoring, of course, the nearby motorway
Darenth waterworks. Kent Waterworks Co. one bay of boiler house remains. Now part of motorway works complex.
King George’s field. Football ground
Hawley Mill. This is a Domesday milk site when the mills were held by the manor of Bignoures and later belonged to the Knights of St. John; let at a peppercorn rent to the Prioress of Dartford Nunnery. A wheat mill and a malt mill were released to one George Tasser in 1534. William Vaughan got them from the Crown in 1546 to which they reverted in 1580. The mills were granted to John Spilman by the Crown in 1581. In 1588, Spilman converted it into a paper mill, and obtained a monopoly for this. He employed 600, mainly Germans. They remained in his Spilman family until 1679, then a Mr. Blackman and in 1739. Pike and Edsall converted it into a gunpowder mill. There were explosions here in 1745, 1790, 1795, 1796, 1799 and 1833 which killed at least forty people. In 1778 and the mills were bought by Pigou and Andrews. By 1840, William Wiggins was the owner and they were again making paper and later like the Darenth mill further up river was used by Saunders to make high quality banknotes. At one time it was occupied by Bevingtons leather merchants.
The second mil here was for malt and Spilman, leased it to Godfrey Box of Liège who built an iron rolling and slitting mill for the first nails makers in England. By 1758 had it two waterwheels, working two rollers and a guillotine. A company of "white paper makers" was established here in 1694 and during the eighteenth century the mill was owned by a Mr. Quelch
Hawley Garden Centre
Darenth Paper Mill on the eastern arm of the river. This made very high quality bank note paper. In 1910, it was in the occupation of Messrs T H Saunders & Co Ltd, who were also at Hawley Mills. There was a cast iron breast shot waterwheel with wooden floats. It worked g until 1931 when it was taken over by Messrs Portals Ltd and then until 1981, countries all over the world had their national flags made here. Thousands were produced printed by hand from hand-made screens, bunting and cloth washed directly in the Darent and hung to dry in the heated, high-roofed building behind. The work transferred to Liverpool in the 1980s but from 1940 the company had been world leaders in the manufacture of college scarves. The Mill House remains and is grade II listed but housing covers the site of the factory.
Old Mill. A corn mill which was sited at Old Mill Farm and technically in Sutton at Hone, although the boundary goes through the centre of the building, but it is thus sometimes called Sutton Mill. . It had been built by Thomas Edmeads in the early 1800s whose tenants millers were Stephen and George Cannon. Cannon’s sons William, George and Stephen learnt the milling trade here. The mill remained in the Cannon family until 1872, and the mill house until 1888. Latterly the mill had a steam engine and a tall chimney. It was bombed in the First World War and it was demolished in September 1928. It had a cast iron low breast shot waterwheel driving three pairs of millstones