The company’s history dates back to the 1860s when Marmaduke Matthews started a small business selling seeds from his barn in Fifield, Oxfordshire. With the death of Marmaduke, his son, Frederick expanded the business selling wheat and barley from the site near Shipton Station. Frederick, with his son, Frederick William Powell, came to realise that it would make economic sense to mill locally grown wheat rather than importing it by rail.
After a very active part in planning the building of the mill, Frederick sadly did not live to see the completion of the mill and it was passed to FWP Matthews. Built in 1911-12, by local builder Alfred Groves, the mill has changed little in appearance since its early days and still presents an imposing presence.
In the early years the company concentrated on milling biscuit flour using the soft wheat grown locally in the Cotswold hills. Customers were mainly Huntley and Palmers in Reading, Peek Frean in Bermondsey and Jacobs in Dublin. Their flour was transported by rail in eight dedicated vans which were marked ‘To be returned to Shipton Station’. The 25 yard journey from the mill to the rail siding was made by horse and cart each pulling 8 sacks (1 ton) of flour.
In the mid sixties the market for biscuit flour decreased and the mill concentrated on milling bread flour for independent bakers. From the late 1990′s the company focused on milling top quality flours from the best quality grain available. By 1992 FWP Matthews Ltd became certified by the Soil Association to mill organic flour. Buying local grain and supporting the community is still of prime importance to the company.
The 60HP gas turbine engines, which originally ran the mill engines, were replaced by electric motors in 1950. In 2005 the mill was re-fitted with equipment to increase production and efficiency. Early capacity was 600 cwt of wheat per hour bettered slightly today by a staggering 6 tonnes per hour.
Today the mill runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week to keep up with demand. New equipment means that modern techniques are combined with traditional values. Our premium flours and our personal service make us the first choice for a wide range of customers including leading household names in the food industry, domestic houshold users as well as craft and artisan bakeries.