One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A mill belonging to a feudal lord at which tenants are obliged to grind their grain, paying a proportion as tax. Compare customary mill. Now historical and rare.
2A mill which grinds grain for private or individual customers; opposed to merchant mill. Now historical.
3Mining. An independent mill which processes ore purchased from other mines.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in John Norden (c1547–1625), cartographer. From custom + mill.
custom mill/ˈkʌstəm ˌmɪl/
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