Not everyone can say "come and have a look at my waterwheel" but in our new life in the Dales we can! In fact Neil is still often to be found admiring it in quieter moments of the day. Like the house, the wheel was in need of some repair work when we moved in. After a couple of months work we are glad to say the wheel is now in full working order once more. All the spokes have been replaced and 95% of the backboards. The wheel has been given a new coat of paint (sadly claret and blue) and is once more turning beautifully. Below is a brief history of Low Mill.
Low Mill was built in the 1780’s and was used to grind corn. The building has undergone many transformations and uses in its past. It is believed that milling ceased around 1907.
As with many flour mills fire was always a problem. There was a major fire in 1830 and a slightly less devastating one in 1848. It is still possible to see charred roof timbers in the ceiling of the Store room.
Following the great fire of 1830 some alterations were made to the building. The East end of the building was added creating more storage and this is where the dining room and kiln room are now sited. This extension enclosed the water wheel and a new kiln was built - the original kiln being in the cellar below what is now the garage floor. The height of the building was raised and the roof was replaced. It is believed a new, larger water wheel was also installed at this time.
After milling ceased the building was used as a dairy from 1920 - 1929 and then as an army cook house and feeding station during World War II. After the end of the war the building was mainly used for storage and animal housing, until in 1973 it was purchased in a semi derelict state by Dr Christopher Cole. He undertook a massive refurbishment of the old building including restoring the wheel and mill machinery. Dr Cole also used the mill as a workshop and dolls house museum. Sadly following his death the mill remained empty for a number of years and once more the condition of the building began to decline.
Then in June 2010 Neil and Jane McNair purchased it and a new chapter in the life of Low Mill began …..