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Lode Mill at Anglesey Abbey

Family walking along the canal at Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire in winter
Lode Mill at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire | © National Trust Images/Rachel Tarkenter

Come and take a look around the ground floor of Lode Mill and find out more about the historic watermill, and the journey from grain to plate.

Acquiring Lode Mill

In 1926, Anglesey Abbey was bought by Huttleston Broughton, later Lord Fairhaven. In 1934, he acquired the mill and began restoring it to its original corn-milling condition. The project was completed by 1936, after the removal of the mining and cement-making equipment.

In 1978, the Cambridgeshire Wind and Watermill Society restored the mill to full working order, and by 1982 it was once again milling corn.

Ongoing restoration work

For the past few months, we have been carrying out extensive restoration work. The restoration work was carried out by Dorothea Restorations, a millwright contractor that have worked with Lode Mill for many years. These works included:

  • 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
  • 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.

Interior Lode Mill Anglesey Abbey Cambridgeshire National Trust
The inside of the mill as it looks today | © National Trust Images/Mike Selby

Lode Mill: early history

While the mill that exists today is likely to have been built in the 18th century, it's reckoned that a watermill stood on the site of Lode Mill at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086.

Mill for sale

In 1793, the mill was described in a sale notice as 'Anglesea water mill with dwelling house, yard, garden, barn, stables and outhouse, and three acres of pasture adjoining'. Old photographs show the house next to the mill – this was taken down during the renovation of the 1930s.

Around 1900, the mill was converted to enable cement grinding rather than corn grinding. An engine may have been installed at this time, as inside the mill today there are shafts, gears and a chain drive, all of which are unusual in a watermill.

At that time, the mill was owned by the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company. Unfortunately, the company was a victim of competition, and the business had closed down by 1920, leaving the mill derelict.

The Lode

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.

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