Sunday, 22 July 2012

Stanway Water Mill

Last week I spent the morning at Stanway Flour mill, it is a beautiful old water mill which has been restored to working order and is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays 2.oopm to 5.00 pm. Its run by Mike Lovatt who used to have 'The Clock Shop' in Winchcombe.
( I still repair dials for him ) He has always had a passion for mills and had the opportunity to become the Miller....and a fine job he is doing ,producing bags of flour that are sold directly from the mill and from local shops such as the delicatessen in Winchcombe and  one in Broadway. Mike has also recently published a book called The River Isbourne, a history of the mills along our local river. I believe that along with the Nile in Africa And the Ob in Russia , it is one of the few rivers that runs north.....but it still runs downhill !
One of the main restorers was a  lovely and very clever man called Christopher Loudon Wallis, son of Barnes Wallis and Dave Empringham.. Chris told me that his father was fed up being known for the bouncing bomb because they were all a very peace loving family .

The mill was first used for fulling, then in the 17th century it became a corn mill. In the 19th century it had a new wheel and became the Estate Sawmill. .The wheel was built by Thomas Savory of Tewkesbury  in 1850 , is the 8th largest wheel in England being 24ft in diameter and  3ft wide. (The mill pond is above the wheel house.) I wish I'd taken photos while I watched Chris and Dave rebuilding it, history in the making.. I think it is fantastic that the Earl of Wemyss  invests so much time and energy into the rebuilding . In the short time that I have known him he has rebuilt the gravity fed fountain ( the tallest in Britain ), reinstalled the Brewery ( one of only two log fired breweries in the country ), and got the water wheel back into working order. I believe that his next project is to restore an old cider press.

Years and years ago The Earl of Wemyss offered me the Mill to use as a workshop, fantastic but for me it was a bit like the story of The three bears, the inside was too big but the doors into it were too small...I couldn't get wagons in ! so I settled for an extremely cute workshop around the back of the Mill, alongside Richard Podds workshop..a brilliant stone carver. I'm not often at my workshop because I'm always working on site but I can meet you there if you call me.  Rob Langley is also based next to the mill in a large workshop producing beautiful rustic furniture
Of course I couldn't resist making another little video of the sights and sounds of the Flour Mill for U Tube.  Hope you like it....PS it starts with no sound then you hear the water a few pictures in...then the mill starting.. ,.Stanway Flour Mill.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! is so nice to see these places restored, too easy to let them fall into disrepair, but the cost can be too much sometimes. Wonderful that this Mike Lovatt works so hard restoring so many different places..good for him.



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