Nether Alderley Mill
Now under the ownership of the National Trust, Nether Alderley Mill has played a central role in the Nether Alderley community since the 14th century. The mill provided the crucial flour-grinding service that kept the whole of Nether Alderley fed, from the lord of the manor (the Stanley family from the 16th century) to the local agricultural community. The mill was worked by a long line of country millers over several centuries at a time when the miller was a man of substance: his status in the village community would be equivalent to that of a prosperous farmer.
The earliest mention of the mill dates back to 1391, although little is known of this early building and no trace of the machinery survives. The lower part of the present mill dates to the 16th century, about the time it became the manorial mill of the Stanley family, and was built using local red sandstone. The upper section of the mill was added in the mid-eighteenth century, and its sweeping slate roof, visible from the road, weighs almost 200 tons and is supported by an oak frame inside.
Aside from its historical status as a centre for the community, Nether Alderley Mill is also a unique example of a triple overshot waterwheel system (of which two wheels still remain in working condition). The present mill machinery dates from the 19th century, as the original Elizabethan milling equipment would have been made from fruit wood and has long since deteriorated.
With the Repeal of the Corn Laws and later with the introduction of steam power and cheap transport, the trade in milling flour sadly declined. Shortly after 1939 the machinery had become so derelict that it could no longer be worked and the mill remained derelict and unusable until, after the Second World War, the owner, Mr J.A. Shelmerdine, presented the mill to the National Trust. Since taking over ownership, the Trust has restored the mill to its current state.
The mill is currently in urgent need of further restoration work and is therefore closed to the public until this work can be completed.
For further information on Nether Alderley Mill, please visit the National Trust website at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-netheralderleymill.
With many thanks to the National Trust, for contribution of this article.