Stainsby Watermill

Stainsby Mill stands on the Hardwick Hall estate in Derbyshire and is fully restored and in working order. It has a kiln, drying floor, three pairs of millstones and is driven by a cast iron waterwheel. The 17 feet diameter wheel is high breast shot, meaning that the water is delivered to it slightly above half way up so that the weight of water in the buckets drives it through gravity. The wheel in turn drives a wheel attached to the main shaft. Unusually the gearing is on the inner circumference of the wheel.

The mill leat is supplied by water from Stainsby dam as well as from Millers Pond in Hardwick Park and Stainsby Pond, which was built in 1762 specifically to boost supply to the mill.

The leat is supplied from a head on the opposite side of the road, controlled by means of the valve shown on the left. Flow through the leat – and hence the wheel speed – is controlled by means of a curtain valve across the wheel itself and worked from a handle inside the mill.

There has been a flour mill on or close to the site since the 13th century and from 1593 it was owned by Bess of Hardwick, the celebrated lady of the manor. It fell into disuse in the 1840s but was restored to working condition in 1849/50 when the present wheel, made by Kirkland of Mansfield, was fitted.

There were three pairs of stones, one of which is shown on the right. The bell on the front of the hopper was fixed to a strap thatwas released as most of the grain was milled. So the bell rang to tell the miller when the grain needed topping up. He was on the floor above and could fill the hopper through the cloth sleeve visible above the hopper.

The mill is currently owned by the National Trust.

Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead House at Mere in Wiltshire is a National Trust property set in 40 acres (16 ha) of magnificent gardens. The site was bought by London banker Henry Hoare in 1718, who knocked down the existing Stourton House and began building his own. In 1741 his son, Henry, went to live with his father on the estate and spent the next forty years landscaping his surroundings. Much of the garden is classically influenced and it includes a number of temples and shrines as well as a grotto and the Pantheon. (See photo)
Summer 2005: Underwater archaeologists carried out a study of the lake in front of the Temple of Flora in a bid to find physical evidence of a water cascade that is shown in a 1753 painting of the estate.  It appears that such a cascade did once exist but it was swamped when the valley was flooded to create the lake.  The survey also found evidence for medieval fishponds. One unusual find was a stoneware ink bottle that was dredged from the lake bed during the study.
National Trust Magazine Autumn 2005.