– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –
Continuing our theme of Dorset Mills, we are once again on the River Stour but this time further north at Sturminster Newton at a beautiful mill. And one of the few that continue to be worked albeit not on a commercial scale.
Sturminster Newton Mill
There has been a mill on this site since 1016 or possibly even earlier, and it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The current mill dates from the 17th and 18th centuries and as you can see, it is L shaped. In fact it was originally two separate mills, the left half in the picture above being a flour mill and the right half a fulling mill. These were driven by a pair of undershot water wheels which stood side by side. In the 18th century, the fulling mill was demolished and rebuilt on the original foundations as an extension to the flour mill. Then in the early 20th century, the two water wheels were replaced by a single water turbine.
The unusual thing with this mill is that it was worked commercially until the late 20th century when modern health and safety requirement forced it to cease its commercial activities. However, even today it is still a working mill and milling days are held regularly although more as a tourist attraction.
The mill takes its name from the nearby town of Sturminster Newton. It comes from Stur a derivative of Stour, minster meaning church and Newton meaning new estate or town. So the name literally means mill by a new town with a church on the Stour.
This is another delightful place to visit, surrounded by lovely countryside with the gently flowing river and bird song aplenty. But step inside the mill when it is working and you are immediately captivated by the noise, the constant rumble and throbbing of the machinery as cogs, belts and wheels go about their milling business.
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