The original Old Mill House is at least 600 years old. It has been extended many times over the centuries and has been a business premises since the 1950s when it was a fishing and country club.
The property was bought by the Ward brothers in the mid-1970s and was used as the writing and rehearsal facility of neighbouring Rockfield Studios. Many famous bands and musicians who recorded under the Rockfield Studios name wrote/rehearsed or visited The Old Mill during the period it was owned by Rockfield Studios.
In the 1980s, Charles and Kingsley Ward’s business partnership separated with Kingsley remaining at Rockfield Studios and Charles turning the Old Mill into a separate business under the name of Monnow Valley Studio.
Charles ran Monnow Valley for 17 years. It was then bought by John Roberts, for his musician son, from the band People In Planes. The band’s manager, Jo Riou, helped to run Monnow Valley for 4 years until she bought the studio from John Roberts in 2006.
Jo ran Monnow Valley for the next 12 years, which included partnering with producer Andrew Shepps in 2016. All of Andrew’s vintage equipment, including the Neve 8068 MKII once used by John Lennon in Sound City, was shipped from L.A. and installed in Monnow Valley’s control room.
Jo took a back seat for 3 years to concentrate on her other business interests, handing the management of the studio to two of her employees in 2017, but they left in May 2020 and Jo was again back at the helm.
The business model has changed slightly from 2021 in that the studio is now available for recording and rehearsals on a dry hire basis. When not being used by famous musicians, the building is available for members of the public to hire, allowing them to stay in the same rooms as studio clients such as Ozzy Osbourne, Sir Tom Jones, Oasis, Led Zeppelin, Simple Minds…