If traditional local milling had not died out in the late 19th century, Sacrewell’s watermill would have been upgraded and rebuilt – and a precious piece of agricultural history would have been lost. But mass imports of cheap grain, which was milled in the ports where it landed, put an end to milling within a few miles of where the crops had been grown and our mill survived.
The award of £1.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2013 demonstrated the importance and significance of the mill complex as part of England’s architectural, social and cultural heritage. The project had two elements: the restoration of the building and mill machinery and the installation of learning resources.
The original fabric was retained wherever possible, with sympathetic repairs carried out by skilled craftsmen. Sacrewell worked with Tinwell based firm Messenger to conserve the 18th century grade II* building, from the waterproofed walls at the back to the Collyweston slate roof. Traditional Millwrights Ltd were also employed to remove and replace the old waterwheel.
The project has ensured that future generations can fully appreciate the history of the mill and learn from this rich educational asset.
Restoration and conservation work began in July 2014 and was completed in May 2015. The first of the learning and interpretation materials were in place for the opening of the mill in July 2015 and will continue to develop as Sacrewell Mill begins a new era. As the old mill says himself, we're quite looking forward to the next 2,000 years.