Anglesey Abbey Lode Mill
Lode Mill is currently closed while we carry out some repairs.
Lode Mill Restoration Works
For the past few months, we have been unable to run Lode Mill, due to deterioration of some of the machinery that turns the mill. Due to Covid restrictions, the mill remained closed from March 2020 until June 2021. We were lucky enough to have had the support of our team of mill volunteers throughout this time, some of whom were carrying out essential maintenance and conservation tasks on the building and machinery whilst the mill was closed. However, as we were unable to turn the mill properly, despite our best efforts, some of the machinery still deteriorated beyond our control.
The restoration works currently taking place are being carried out by Dorothea Restorations, a millwright contractor that have worked with Lode Mill for many years. These works will be quite extensive and include:
- repairing and fitting the upright shaft top gudgeon that helps to keep the upright shaft vertical and turning
- reseating the pit wheel on the horizontal shaft so that the mill can turn and produce flour
- redressing the mill stones that grind the flour
- fitting a new sack hoist drive chain which will enable us to lift bags of grain to the top floor of the mill
These restorative works provide a fantastic opportunity for us to learn and understand more about the inner workings of the mill and how we can best look after this machinery to ensure that the mill continues to run smoothly and safely for years to come. We look forward to providing further updates once the mill is up and running again.
A watermill probably stood on the site of Lode Mill at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The Mill which stands today is likely to have been built in the eighteenth century.
In 1793 the mill was described in a sale notice as 'Anglesea Watermill with dwelling house, yard, garden, barn, stables and outhouse and 3 acres of pasture adjoining'. Old photographs show the house next to the mill. The house was taken down in the renovation of the 1930s.
In about 1900 the mill was converted from corn grinding to cement grinding. The cement was generally made by firing a mixture of clay and lime or natural chalk at about 400°C and grinding the resulting clinker into a powder.
An engine may have been installed at this time, as inside the mill today there are some shafts, gears and a chain drive that are unusual in a watermill.
The mill was owned by the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company. Bottisham Lode is the stretch of water below the mill, one of a number of lodes that were used as a transport link to the River Cam. The water above the mill is called Quy Water.
Unfortunately, the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company was a victim of competition and the business had closed down by about 1920, leaving the mill to become derelict.
In 1926 Anglesey Abbey was bought by Huttleston Broughton, later Lord Fairhaven. In 1934 he acquired the mill and restored it to its original corn milling condition. This was completed in 1935-36, after removal of the mining and cement making equipment.
In 1978 the Cambridgeshire Wind and Watermill Society restored the mill to working order and in 1982 it was once again milling corn.