Brindley's Mill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 97742 56958


Water mill known as Brindley Mill, 60m NNW of St John the Evangelist Mission Church.

Reasons for Designation

A watermill uses the gravitational force of water to turn a paddled wheel, the energy thus generated in the axle of the wheel enabling the operation of varying kinds of machinery. The waterwheel can be set directly into a stream, with a simple `shut' to control water flow, or may be spring fed or use tidal waters. More usually, however, an artificial channel, or leat, is diverted from the main watercourse and its flow to the wheel regulated by sluices. Depending on the height at which water is supplied, the wheel is described as overshot, breastshot, or undershot. The spent water returns to the main stream via a tailrace which may be straightened to increase efficiency. Where the natural flow of water is inadequate, a millpond may be constructed to increase the body of water (and thus the flow) behind the wheel. Simple vertical waterwheels used for irrigation had been in use in the Roman period, although the earliest mill so far identified was dated from its timbers to the late 7th century AD. Early medieval mills could have wheels set horizontally or vertically. By the time of the Domesday Book an estimated 6000 mills were in existence, and the number increased steadily over the next three centuries. During the medieval period, mills, usually used for corn grinding, were a sign of status, and an important source of income to the lord of the manor who usually leased the mill and its land to the miller. With technological improvements, an increasing range of equipment including fulling stocks, tilt hammers, bellows, and textile machinery could be powered by watermills, and they became increasingly important to urban and rural life and industry. With the advent of steam power and the introduction of iron gears in the 18th century, water power eventually became obsolete for major industry, although many smaller rural mills continued in use. As a common feature of the rural and urban landscape, watermills played an important role in the development of technology and economy. Many of those retaining significant original features or of particularly early date will merit protection.

The water mill known as Brindley Mill 60m NNW of St John the Evangelist Mission Church survives well retaining a number of original features and is a demonstration of Brindley’s work as an architect, millwright and water engineer. The monument will include archaeological evidence which will provide information relating to the history and development of the site.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 July 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the building remains of a corn mill built in 1752, situated to the south of the River Churnet in the town of Leek. The building is two-storey, almost square in plan, measuring externally 8.6m north to south by 8.3m east to west. The front of the building faces the east and is built of brick including a wide segmental archway to the ground floor, two round arched windows on each floor to the right and a circular window above the arch. The north gable end is constructed of roughly coursed and square sandstone blocks with a central round-arched window to the upper storey flanked by square windows. A horizontal breastshot waterwheel and the remains of a lean-to timber wheel house are located at the north side of the building. Here a water management system including the weir, mill pond, leats and sluice gates direct water from the river to the waterwheel and away from it via the tailrace.

Internally the mill retains much of its original machinery which was restored to working order in the late 20th century. The wheel works two sets of stones (originally three) via an internal pit wheel, with original octagonal wooden vats and original timber main shaft. Heavy tie beams on each floor support the stones and machinery with a curved tie beam king-post truss to the roof.

The mill was designed and built by James Brindley, a pioneering water engineer and continued in use until 1940. More than one third of the mill was demolished south of the present building in 1948 when Macclesfield road was straightened and a late 20th century brick gable wall was rebuilt on the line of an internal partition wall. The building is also Grade II listed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ST 177
Legacy System:


Pastscape: 77916, HER: DST5813 & NMR: SJ95NE17


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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