SX 06 NW
4/153 Mill about 20 metres south west of
- West Ruthern Farmhouse
Watermill, driving millstones for grain and a set of stamps for bone crushing. Mid
C19. The mill house is in slatestone rubble and cob, slate roof with ridge tiles and
Plan: The arrangement of the waterwheel and machinery is very unusual. The leat runs
from the west, with wooden launder driving an overshot wheel in an open wheel pit.
There is a narrow road between the waterwheel and the mill house. The gearing is
taken under the road, to the mill house, which has one floor at road level, and a
second floor at a lower level. The tailrace runs below the level of the gearing and
comes out in a channel at the lower ground floor level on the outer side of the mill
house. There is an open-fronted shed attached to the rear of the mill house, also
with 2 floors, with a subsidiary gearing which drives a set of 3 wooden stamps for
bone crushing. The millstones are on the upper ground floor level of the mill house,
with a chute below, and a second subsidiary set of gearing to drive a wheel which
would have had a belt drive. This probably drove machinery on the lower ground floor
level by the stamps.
Exterior: The waterwheel is in wood, with cast iron shrouds and wooden floats, made
by Harris of Wadebridge. Across the road, in the open-fronted shed at upper ground
floor level there is a pair of wheels set vertically (the equivalent of a great spur
wheel in the unusual arrangement) with a mainshaft which drives the set of millstones
at the same level inside the mill house. The millstones are in granite, in a wooden
housing, with a wooden hopper set on a wooden frame. The frame has an inner frame
with serrated edge, possibly a form of miller's damsel. On the floor below the
millstones is a sack-filling chute.
From the open-fronted shed at upper level, there is subsidiary gearing to the lower
level. This drives a wooden roller which operates the rising and falling of the
stamps. The stamps are wooden posts, with cast iron banding and stone bases. This
is said to be the only set of wooden stamps surviving intact in Cornwall.
In the mill house, on the lower ground floor level, there is a further set of
gearing, with one wheel set horizontally and one vertically, to increase the speed to
drive a cast iron wheel with wide flat rim, which would have operated a belt drive.
The function of this set of machinery is not clear, but there is a hole through the
wall to the lower level of the shed, and it may have powered some further machinery
there, possibly for cider-making. The gearing wheels are set on a granite plinth.
The mill house is in cob and rubble, and has a stable door on the road side; on the
outer side there is a door at the lower ground floor level and an upper level loading
door with repair work in brick. There is a single storey lean-to in cob to right,
with door. The open-fronted shed which houses the stamps is open-fronted on the road
side at the upper level, and has a door at the lower level on the outer side.
This set of machinery is in unusually good condition, brought back into full working
order circa 1960; since then the water supply has dried up. The combination of uses,
for grinding grain and crushing, and the arrangement of machinery, most of which
drives horizontally on one level, is unusual. This avoids the necessity of the usual
3-storey building for a mill, and takes advantage of the drop in ground level between
the waterwheel and the lower ground level of the mill house.
Listing NGR: SX0117666823