£1.7 million restoration of 300 year old Sacrewell watermill reaches crucial stage

Millwright, Neil Medcalf, removes the 300-year-old buckets from Sacrewell mill waterwheel.

Millwright, Neil Medcalf, removes the 300-year-old buckets from Sacrewell mill waterwheel. - Credit: Archant

Work has begun on reassembling and refurbishing a 300 year-old watermill as part of a £1.7 million restoration project due to be completed this summer.

The William Scott Abbott Trust has reached a crucial stage in the restoration of its 18th century Grade II* listed watermill at Sacrewell with the arrival of two skilled millwrights to refurbish and reassemble the mill’s wooden, metal and stone segments to full working condition.

The millwrights – Neil Medcalf and Steve Boulton – are from Traditional Millwrights, based at Farlesthorpe in Lincolnshire and will be working on site for two months.

Stamford based firm Messenger Construction is responsible for the restoration project, which began last year and has been funded by a £1.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) alongside Trust money.

The millwrights’ first job is to replace all of the rotten wood, with carefully selected larch for all of the wheel’s sole boards and buckets. The millwrights will also be stripping and refurbishing the metal on the wheel, restoring the gear cupboard and the large millstones.

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Mill project officer Jane Harrison said: “Millwrights are much prized traditional tradesmen and we are lucky to have the UK’s foremost mill experts based so close to Sacrewell. Every day we see progress in restoring the mechanical workings of the mill come together again.”

Paul Gibbons, managing director of Messenger Construction, said: “Neil and Steve have a wealth of experience repairing, restoring and maintaining historic wind and water mills.

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“They love what they do and their enthusiasm is infectious. Having a fully functioning mill once again is a sure sign that this significant restoration project is on the homeward stretch.”

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