Muncaster Watermill

(See also Muncaster Castle) , Muncaster Owl Centre and Ravenglass Railway Museum

Muncaster Water Mill by Rose and Trev Clough GeographMuncaster Water Mill was a working water-powered mill dating from 1455. Its current machinery belongs to the early 19th century. It once served as the village mill, and in recent times milled organic wheat, producing wholemeal flour.

It is possible that the Romans used this site. The River Mite is tidal, which allowed ships to deliver grain to the mill. The mill was located between two Roman forts, and a Roman kiln was discovered in the river bank. Until 1970 the mill belonged to the Muncaster Castle estate, a property of the Pennington family. It was sold and restored within a few years. The leat, or water supply, is ¾ mile long.Muncaster Mill Pen Trough by David Priestley Geograph

The mill contains a 13 foot in diameter overshot water wheel. It is allowed to use 2 million gallons of water from the river each day, all being returned. The mill is a layshaft mill designed to enable its operation by one person. On the ground floor a large pit wheel, on the same axis as the water wheel, provides power to drive the mill machinery.

Farmers brought carts to the mill yard and backed them onto a platform by the stone floor door. The sacks of grain were dried on the kiln floor by heat its tiles. A fire hole underneath provided an opening to build a fire to heat the tiles. The miller turned the grain several times a day with a shovel. The whole drying process took 3-4 days.Water Wheel at Muncaster Mill by Rose and Trev Clough Geograph The dried grain was then moved to the stone floor through one of the wall openings. The grain was put through a chute to a stone floor, where the outer husks were cracked. Then it went into a wire machine that removed the husks. A winnower separated the husks from the grain. Derbyshire millstone grit stones ground the grain.

Later French Burr stones were used for grinding wheat. Wheat was fed through the hopper on the top to the “shoe” allowing the grain to slowly find its way into the hole in the centre and between the stones. Flour passed through a series of fine and course meshes and produced unbleached white flour, fine brown flour, semolina and natural bran.

Muncaster Mill Internal Gearing  by David Priestley GeographEssential Information
The Mill is now a private home. It can be viewed from the road.
Muncaster Water Mill is located near Muncaster Castle on the A595 north of Ravenglass.
It is near the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Muncaster Mill Station and Car Park.

Photos courtesy of Rose and Trev Clough , David Priestley

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