East of England Highlights
On this page:
- Recent listing - Drinkstone Mill, Suffolk
- Rescue of Kersey Mill
- Vital repairs to save West Acre Priory ruins for future generations
- New grant will fund further repairs to Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome
- Training opportunities coming up in the East of England
Recent listing - Drinkstone Mill, Suffolk
At first sight, it's difficult to fathom why Drinkstone Smock Mill is so important – a windmill shorn of its sails and fantail, and now clad in black plastic sheeting. But this rather forlorn exterior conceals a sequence of milling technologies which is probably unique in England.
Drinkstone Mill was successively a horse-powered mill, then a windmill, and then, in its final phase of operation, an engine-powered mill. There's surviving structural fabric of each of these phases, together with evidence of how the mill functioned in its wind-powered and engine-driven phases of operation. This layered physical evidence of how mill buildings and milling technologies changed over time is unequalled elsewhere in England as far as we know.
The Smock Mill forms part of a milling site of outstanding historic interest. The Grade I listed post windmill is located at one end of the site. There's the smock mill, now listed at Grade II*. Then the mill cottage listed at Grade II lies at the other end. All three listed structures are now set within a conservation area which recognises the outstanding sequence of milling history on the site.
Other fascinating places listed in 2016
From Britain’s oldest water chute ride to Crimean War gunboat sheds and a recently exposed shipwreck, read our national guide to 21 unusual or surprising places that have been listed this year.
Rescue of Kersey Mill
Kersey Mill, a Grade II* watermill in Suffolk, was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2014 because of major structural failures. Historic England provided a grant of £80,000 towards the repairs. These are now complete and the Mill was removed from the Register this year.
Bringing the mill back to working order
The current owners bought the site in 2012 and have brought back into use the Millers House and other buildings which have been converted into shop or office units. They, along with a small band of dedicated volunteers, have been working on getting the mill itself back into working use by first repairing the fine iron water wheel and wheel pit.
Their work hit a major obstacle when a survey found that three structurally important posts and beams, and substantial areas of flooring, were rotten and at risk of collapse with a leaky gutter and roof contributing to the decay. With the work complete, the volunteers can once more focus on getting the machinery working again.
Progress and goals
The milling machine is virtually complete and is capable of repair and restoration. A 'Santa's Grotto' children's experience in the ground floor of the mill has become an annual event to generate money for on-going repairs and the mill is open to the public on selected open days. The ultimate goal is to continue to open it for educational and recreational purposes and to be able to work the mill occasionally.
Built by John Whitmore & Son in 1810, over its working life the mill has used three sources of power: water, steam and gas. It was extended in 1868, adding a steam engine, large bolters (or sieve) and an elevator. This sophisticated equipment for the time minimised the need for manual handling and produced fine white flour.
Vital repairs to save West Acre Priory ruins for future generations
Historic England has provided a grant for repairs to the gatehouse and ruins of West Acre Priory in Norfolk. Once complete, the repairs will stabilise the condition of the ruins so that we can remove the priory from our Heritage at Risk register.
The Priory was one of the largest in Norfolk and one of five religious houses sited along the Nar Valley. Now part of West Acre Estates, it once belonged to the order of St Augustine.
What the priory ruins can tell us
The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they were known as `black canons' because of their dark robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. The Augustinians contributed to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries with significant surviving archaeological remains are protected.
The well-preserved monastic precinct at West Acre Priory illustrates the general layout of the monastery as a whole. Amongst these ruins lies more archaeological information about the life and economy of this Augustinian community.
The priory ruins are of high significance and have been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register for a number of years. We’ve been working with the Estate and with the County Council to enable these repairs.
New grant will fund further repairs to Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome
Historic England has just approved a grant for a further stage of repairs to the most complete surviving example of a First World War Aerodrome in Europe. The site would be of international significance at any time, but 2017 marks 100 years since the Aerodrome became operational.
Many of the buildings are little changed since then. Slight and impermanent in their construction, some of the buildings have been taken down or fallen down and all are now on the Heritage at Risk Register. A new Trust with funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Historic England and others aims to tell the story of Stow Maries and the part that its airmen and women played in the First World War. A major collection of artefacts and flying historic aircraft is already established here and continues to grow.
Training opportunities coming up in the East of England
The Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) Training courses are free to attend for Local Authority, regional and national organisation's staff.
Listed below are the latest training opportunities in the East of England:
- Conservation Area Management
Learn about the important role of a conservation area survey, and how it can be used to underpin management priorities at a local level.
Thursday 9 February 2017
- Introduction to Archaeology for Planners
An introduction to archaeology and an understanding of its role in the planning process. This course is aimed at planners and will enable you to collaborate more effectively with heritage professionals.
Thursday 30 March 2017
For more information on any of the above course contact the training delivery team on HELMbookings@HistoricEngland.org.uk
Find out more about HELM opportunities across the country.
Follow us on Twitter @HE_EoE to keep up to date with all the latest training opportunities, news and pictures from the region.
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