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Page 3

Newsletter 134 Autumn 2021  © Hampshire Mills Group

 

 

Watermills of the Lugg Valley

 

 

Ruth Andrews

Photos by Ruth and Keith Andrews (except as noted)

In 2015 Alan Stoyel compiled a Pilot study of the mills and associated water arrangements within the catchment area of the River Lugg, in Herefordshire.  Following in his footsteps in May 2021 Keith and I were able to photograph several of the mills.

 

We were able to gain access to one of them, Wegnall (or Rodd) Mill near Presteigne. The owners, Glenys Rebane and Paul Murphy, very kindly permitted us to explore inside and around the mill and they subsequently sent us more information about the Rodd family, whose ancestor Hugh Rodd (about 1540-1603) lived in and worked an earlier mill on the site.

The wheel is between the shed on the left and the weatherboarded mill in the centre, with the mill house to the right.

 

 

The external wheel, inscribed RR & W MILES LEOMINSTER FOUNDRY 1870, is 14ft diameter by 5ft 2½in wide, and is all iron but with radial wooden arms, on a 6in iron axle.  It has curved paddles, which have been described as ‘Poncelet-type’.

In Alan Stoyel’s words:  “Wegnall Mill is an 18th century timber-framed corn mill which has been abandoned with all its working parts complete.  Now used for some domestic storage, it has recently been reboarded in order to halt its decay.  The machinery is of late 18th and mid-19th century date, with three pairs of stones, driven by an external low-breast iron waterwheel.  The weir, leat, and tailrace all remain, with a live water supply.“ 

The building is not listed.  It still seems to be stable, weatherproof, and substantially untouched.  Alongside it stands a smaller but similarly constructed storehouse in rather poorer condition.

 

 

 

The attractive enlarged mill house situated at 90 degrees to the mill incorporates a half-timbered cottage which was moved in derelict condition from another site in 1984.

 

The sack hoist shaft and pulley

Picture supplied by Glenys Rebane

 

The great spur wheel and a stone nut

 

 

The crown wheel and millstones

Picture supplied by Glenys Rebane

 

Aymestrey Mill was built in 1861, and is grade 2 listed. 

 Alan Stoyel says: “It was rebuilt after a fire, thought to be in the 1870s.  It is a fine mill, in excellent condition.  All the working parts are complete and have been restored to working state recently.  It has a magnificent weir, a live leat, and tailrace, and is a first-class example of a mill of this period.  The group of buildings still includes its fine range of pigsties.  In extensions of the mill are a water-powered printing press, and a turbine which generated electricity.”

 

Mortimers Cross Mill, at Lucton, also features in Alan Stoyel’s report, which says that it has a particularly fine weir, a stone structure at least 3m high.  Disappointingly, the mill and weir which is highlighted in blue on the OS map as a place to visit is no longer visitable – or indeed visible!

 

Cholstrey Mill, near Leominster, also has a long history and incorporates 17th and 18th century elements.  The 6m diameter interior waterwheel (just visible in the leftmost bay of the brick building) has cast-iron shrouds and a wooden axle.  There are 3 sets of stones and some machinery.  The mill is grade 2 listed. 

The rear wall of the building has a very curious mix of dressed sandstone, brick, and timber framing.  There is a suggestion that it was a domestic building that has been converted to a mill.

A public footpath passes the mill, so Keith was able to poke his camera through a hole in the wall to see some of the gearing, which is situated in the central brick part of the structure, with the low arch of the headrace just visible behind the fence.

 

 

 

 

Waterloo Mill, Kingsland, also grade 2 listed, is certainly the easiest to find and photograph, being on a main road.  It was built as a water-powered corn mill, replacing an earlier one which stood to the south west.  The 4-storey mill is connected to a second lower building by a weather-boarded walkway.

The undershot cast-iron waterwheel has the inscription rr miles leominster 1861, similar to that at Wegnall Mill, but without W Miles.  The wheel is situated in a basic single-storey wheelhouse on the left hand end of the range.  The stones floor has 3 millstones and the upright shaft and crown wheel of the gearing system installed by Richard Miles.

 

 

Although on the River Arrow rather than the River Lugg, the famous ‘black & white’ Arrow Mill at Eardisland, which we hoped to see, is also not visitable or visible, hidden up a gated private drive with unwelcoming notices.

 

Also on the Arrow rather than the Lugg is Arrow Lodge Mill (confusingly now called Arrow Mill) in Kington.  This mid-19th century mill has lost its internal workings except for the sack-hoist and a turbine.  The complex that has grown around it includes a stone maltings, a brick bakery, and a stone house, re-fronted in the 19th century.  There is evidence of two older waterwheels.

 

Information from Alan Stoyel’s study (mentioned above), The Mills of the Lugg Valley in Radnorshire by Gordon Tucker, and the Historic England listings for Aymestrey, Waterloo, and Cholstrey Mills.

 

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