Thomas Hill & Raindale Mill

The relocated Raindale Mill, York Castle Museum. Nine white geese making their way from the river in front of the restored water mill at the back of York Castle Museum. Photo taken from the Travelodge/Wetherspoons on the opposite bank.

In 1966 Raindale Mill was relocated from Raindale, near Pickering, to York and reconstructed stone by stone at the Castle Museum. The mill was gifted to the museum’s founder in 1935 by the last owner of the now derelict building.

As a child we visited the museum countless times and I’m sure I walked past the mill, entirely unappreciative of this building. However the mill was refurbished to working order and re-opened in 2011 for a new generation of visitors.

Built in the early 1800’s at the foot of Raindale Valley, North York Moors, this Victorian corn mill served the local villages including Newton-on-Rawcliffe, north of Pickering. This was a small mill, with a 14′ overshot waterwheel and a single pair of stones grinding locally grown wheat, barley, and oats, to produce flour and meal to be used to feed livestock. Purely by coincidence, one of the millers was an ancestor.

Our 4th Great Grandfather on the Thompson line of our family, Thomas HILL (1781-1845), was listed in White’s Directory of 1840 as the Miller, Raindale Mill. Furthermore Thomas and his wife Hannah PINDAR (1781-?) raised their children in the Mill and our 3rd Great Grandmother, Sarah HILL (1805-1893), was born at Raindale Mill.

Sarah married a local farmer, John BAKER (1810-1899), and they farmed 80 acres from Raindale Head House, just a little further upstream from the mill.

The last generation of our family to be born in Raindale was our 2nd Great Grandfather, James BAKER (1843-1914). Unfortunately he would never get to know his grandfather as Thomas passed away when James was only two years old.

James left Raindale when he married Hannah NICHOLS (1855-1925) and they started a family in Newton on Rawcliffe before moving south to Stockton on the Forest to farm 124 acres.

Raindale Mill fell out of use in 1915 when Raindale Beck changed course and the leet leading to the water wheel dried up. The mill slowly decayed until it’s donation to the museum.

It is wonderful to know that over 150 years after the family left Raindale, we can still visit the Corn Mill, now on the banks of the River Foss, in the center of York.

Family Tree

  • Thomas HILL (1781-1845) & Hannah PINDAR (1781-?)



Family archivist, genealogical researcher, writer, and always open to receive questions, comments, and feedback via


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