Steam Mill Lane

7th March 2024

The origin of the name Steam Mill Lane, in St Martin's, by Gillian Lenfestey, 2024.

This lane is named after a steam-driven mill that used to be sited adjacent to the lane in the early 20th century. These mills used an engine operated by steam rather than wind or water to grind grain, or other items. Mills of this kind had been used in Guernsey since 1835. They were required to be installed in an area away from domestic buildings, in case of explosion. Access to water was also necessary.

In 1892 Albert Best, who gave his address as Lihou, bought a house, lean-to greenhouse, buildings and garden at the top of the Ruettes Brayes. The property fronted the road.¹

In 1902 he bought a field which fronted the lane directly below Ozanne's Mill.² He set up a mill and produced iodine. It is possible that he had also produced iodine on Lihou, but without a mill.

The field was away from domestic buildings, sheltered by the steep-sided valley, beside the stream which runs down the valley and ideal for a mill of that kind. Proximity to the stream meant he could create an écluse, a mill pond, to provide water for the steam mill.

In 1933 he sold the property to Stephen Duquemin, who bought a moulin à vapeur, or steam mill, other buildings, an écluse, and land.³

On 10 Octrober 1933, Advocates Randall and de Sausmarez wrote to the Cadastre Clerk at the States of Guernsey re the change in ownership of various properties, amongst which was: '11 July 1933, Duquemin purchased from Albert Best the disused mill, outbuildings and land in St Martin, price £50 and 10 Quarters at £14 tos. per Quarter (£190 in all).'

In a 20th-century book entitled Twenty Walks in Guernsey, ther eis a map of a walk through the Ruettes Brayes and Hubits, whihc clearly sow a ruined mill near the windmill.

Initially known merely as 'the lane that led from the Hubits to the Frieteaux', the lane presumably acquired the name Steam Mill Lane - in the singular, not plural - after Mr Best built his steam mill.


Grateful thanks for help from the Priaulx Library and the Greffe, Guernsey.


See in general, Bennet, Amanda, Secret Guernsey, Amberley Publishing, 2015

¹ Conveyance, dated 17 October 1892, p. 571

² Comment in a talk given as part of 'Guernsey Mills, a Symposium', in Trans.Soc.Guern., 1961.

³ Conveyance, dated 6 July 1933, p. 375.