Coultershaw History


Coultershaw is an important example of 18th century industrialisation in a rural area. It has been the site of several corn mills from before 1086 up to 1973. It was on the routes of the Rother Navigation (1794-1888), the Petworth to Chichester Turnpike (1800-1877) and the Mid Sussex Railway to Petworth (1859-1966).

This mill at Coultershaw was burnt down in 1923. Postcard old mill

It was replaced the following year by a modern steel- framed concrete building Painting of concrete mill

In 1972 the mill ceased operation and was demolished in 1973. Only the sluices, turbine pit and the engine house remain. In one of the sluices, and Archimedes Screw turbine now uses water power to generate electricity.

The Coultershaw Beam Pump was installed alongside the corn mill in 1782 to provide an extra water supply for Petworth House and Town. The Beam Pump now supplies the fountain.

The Rother Navigation was constructed between 1791 and 1794, closing in 1888 after the arrival of the railway. There were eight locks between the River Arun and Midhurst.

In 1800 the Petworth to Chichester Turnpike was diverted to cross the River Rother at Coultershaw. There was a Toll house and gate on the north side of the bridge over the navigation. The turnpike ceased to be a toll road in 1877.

The railway from Pulborough to Petworth was built in 1859 and extended to Midhurst and Petersfield in 1866. The station is located ¼ mile south of Coultershaw. It is now bed and breakfast accommodation and serves excellent cream teas. ‘The Railway Inn’, later renamed  ‘The Race Horse’ now ‘Badgers’ has an excellent reputation and offers fine wines, good food and deluxe accommodation.

Coultershaw is in the Rother Valley, near the centre of the South Downs National Park. Framed by the dramatic chalk escarpment at Duncton, just south of Coultershaw, the Rother Valley has a wide range of landscapes. These range from wet meadows around the river to open chalk grassland, woodland hangers and heathland.  At Coultershaw, the river basin is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.