The History Of Matthews Cotswold Flour
How it all began
If you want to master something, start at the bottom and learn as much as you can about the whole process. This is exactly what Matthews Cotswold Flour have done over the last few hundred years. Back in the 1800s, the Matthews family, headed by Marmaduke Matthews began selling seed and corn from the family’s barn at Fifield. Marmaduke learned about the raw materials, sourced and sold only the best grains, and built up a reputation with their suppliers and customers. At the beginning of the 20th century, with the evolution of the railway, commerce had further reach, and the family decided to build their own flour mill. With a working mill, they could not only sell the grain, but also mill the grain and being located in the heart of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, the railway would link them to some of the largest towns and cities, and the rest as they say, is history.
Using a local builder, the Matthews flour mill was completed in 1912 in the village of Shipton-Under-Wychwood, transforming the family’s business overnight. Initially producing flour for biscuit makers such as Jacobs (as in the crackers) and Peek Freans (as in the Family Circle selection box). In the 1950s the milling production was upgraded to use electricity and ten years later, the Matthews family began milling bread flour. Over 100 years after its construction, it is still milling flour today and FWP Matthews Limited’s mill is one of the last remaining family-owned specialist flour mills in Great Britain.
Supporting the local economy
Since the Matthews family have been farming, trading and milling in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, for over 200 years, it comes as no surprise that they are heavily involved in the local community and supporting local businesses. With initiatives such as reducing food miles from the farm to the Cotswold Flour mill, collaborating with the farmers who grow the grain and ensuring a fair price, which supports the local economy. Sustainability of growing heritage grain varieties is also something close to the Matthews business, ensuring that products for their consumers are from ethical sources, and sustainably farmed.
Supplying flour for generations to come
The company continues to be a family business in the truest form, with the fifth and sixth generation of Matthews’ now at the helm and taking the business from strength to strength. Matthews Cotswold Flour now offer a milling apprenticeship scheme, so that the skills, knowledge and the tradition of flour milling continues for future generations.
Matthews Cotswold Flour produces flour for home bakers and professionals alike and prides itself in its production of traditional stoneground flour, and has over half a dozen organic flours, using 100% organic wheat. Their range of organic flours is impressive, everything from premium white organic flour, to their infamous Cotswold Crunch - and if you haven’t checked out Cotswold Crunch yet, click here and discover the delicious malt flavour and give your bread some texture.
Award Winning Millers
We here at Ratton Pantry could sing the praises of Matthews Cotswold Flour all day, but don’t just take our word for it. In 2018, they won Food & Drink Award for Best Artisan Flour Mill UK and then in 2020, they won another eight awards at the Great Taste Awards 2020! with their artisan flour range.
It’s not all about bread
With baking at home becoming more and more popular, the range of flours available covers every taste and need from the usual traditional flours such as self-raising, to more artisan flours such as the Eight Grain Strong Flour, Italian Tipo 00 and French T55. With the demand for artisan flours from home bakers, Ratton Pantry stocks over 20 different varieties of Matthews Cotswold Flour which are available in 1.5kg bags which are much better suited for most kitchen cupboards, though we do also sell the 16kg sacks for those with larger needs.
If bread making isn’t for you, or you just want to try something different then Matthews Cotswold have a couple of flours that might take your fancy. Firstly there is the Maizebite Pastry flour, which gives a golden glow to all your sweet or savoury pastry wants and desires, from mince pies to quiches. Secondly, there is the French Strong Patisserie Flour made from imported French grain. This is for the home bakers wanting to try out their flair for all things French and decadent - from profiteroles, to croissants or brioche, just use this flour to add a dash of authenticity to your baking.
Check out our website for all the different flours available from Matthews Cotswold Flour, and rediscover the joy of baking, share your creations online and don’t forget to tag us @rattonpantry.