Cogglesford Mill

Cogglesford Mill
Cogglesford Mill, 2002
Weir in place of the upper doors of the lock.  This weir has a levelling mechanism attached, rather like a tilting weir. We see the dark frames of the weir, wet on a winter's day, with the water cascading over toward us in a smooth cataract, no turbulence or distrubance.  The surface of the mill pond beyond is placid.  The air is misty and the surrounding trees are white with hoar-frost, which also rimes the edges of the frame of the weir, melted only where the water has splashed.
Wier at Cogglesford Mill

Cogglesford Mill[1] (sometimes referred to as Coggesford[2]) is a Grade II listed working watermill in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. It is possibly the last working Sheriff's Mill in England.[3] The mill sits to the north of Sleaford on banks of River Slea. There is archaeological evidence of a Saxon mill on the site and records in the Domesday book of later mills; the present redbrick structure dates to the late 18th century, with alterations from the 19th Century.[1]

The ford from which the mill takes its name is where the Roman road now called Mareham Lane crossed the Slea. The original crossing, no longer extant, is a few hundred yards downstream of the mill, close to the current footbridge.

There were many other mills along the river at various times. During the construction of the Sleaford Navigation, in the 1790s, locks were provided at each of the mills to maintain the necessary head. After the navigation closed and as the locks fell into repair they were replaced by weirs, and the weir at Cogglesford is particularly elaborate, having to maintin the head of this still working mill.

Cogglesford mill (including the mill race and bridge) was assigned a listed status on 20 July 1973.[1] The mill is open to the public 7 days a week during the summer and Organic stoneground flour is milled there and sold in shop.


View of millpond upstream of wier, looking toward the Mill building. The Mill building is largely obscured by a very pale yellow-green weeping willow on the right. A small clump of bulrushes and two spindly conifers on the left frame the mill cottage where the restaurant is. The water is placid, and as flat as the proverbial mill-pond. The trees and the building are reflected perfectly in the water, as is the grey and featureless sky.
The Mill pond  
A view of the mill building from the footpath on the north bank.  The pool and the bridge across the race are visible to the right, but the red brick face of the building dominates. In the extreme foreground on the left is a bare-branched tree, its trunk lightly flecked with lichen. In the middle distance on the left is a holly, dark green and dense.
General view of the mill from upstream, with the small millpool formed by the river above the sluice.  
Close view of the south side of the building.  A small eliptical brick arch leads the water into the enclosed millrace, and there is an overflow weir to the right of the building. Trees are visible on the riverbank beyond.  The water is constrained in a red brick channel with a bulnose (curved) corner.  Two scoll shaped iron 'plates' are on the upper wall, terminals for tie-rods that pass through the building. This is a winter view, and the state of the trees makes this stark. There is a small and unturbulent flow of water through the overflow wier, because the level is accurately controlled by the main weir in the old lock chamber. A precarious plank bridge, with no handrails, crosses the overflow race to reach the lockside on the right.
View of the entrance to the enclosed race, with the overflow weir alongside.  
View downstream of the lock chamber build for the Sleaford Navigation, to maintain the head at the mill.  The chamber is largely brick built with stonde details for load-bearing parts, and the brick is coloured with moss and lichen.  A little desultory grass covers the top sides.  There are no lower gates, the lock having been converted into a wier many years ago.  A cheap iron railing fence, painted black recently, delineates the property associated with the mill and restaurant to the left. This is a winter view and many bare trees line the banks downstream. The trunks of the nearest can be clearly seen to be covered in ivy.  The water looks clear and placid.
Remains of the lock constructed for the Navigation of the river.  
A general view of the mill building from the bridge, taken with a wide angle lens, resulting in some false verticls.  The shot is tricky, but it is probably the only way to capture the whole building without obscuring trees.  it is November, and the low autumn sun makes the red brick appear to have an orange glow. We see a two-story building in 18th century red brick, with a pitched roof clad in pantiles of nearly the same colour.  A narrow chimney breast breaks the flatness of the wall in the centre, and the chimmney continues above the eaves and is capped with an unusually tall plain earthenware pot, in a pale yellow colour characteristic of the area. To the right of the chimney, in the wall above the millrace, the wall is pierced only by a  small white painted door on the ground floor and a double window on the first. On the left of the chimney, however, there are several white-painted openings: a door and two windows on the ground floor, and a tall door on the second, for the grain hoist access. Four black painted iron scrolls terminate four threaded tie-bars through the building at what would appear to be head height on the second floor.  To the left (north) of the mill is a second building, the mill cottages, and these can be made out on the extreme edge of the picture.  They feature stone quoins in their red brick wall, and the cornder of the mill next to them has stone quoins on the ground floor too.
The mill in November 2010  
Interior view of the machinery on the first floor.  The "Great Spur Wheel" is an iron gear-wheel arranged horizontally on a vertical spindle, which spindle passes through the floor and is driven from below by the mill. on either side are millstones, set in a wooden drum-shaped housing.  They are driven by vertical iron shafts which, at the top, have a small gear mating with the great spur wheel.  The drive is thereby geared up to a much higher speed than the main vertical shaft from the wheel The floor is bare planks, the walls and apparatus are a golden coloured pale wood, and there is ancient whitewash on the walls.  The metal parts of the mechanism are painted a gloss black.
A view of the great spur wheel and stones.  
on the floor below the stones is the drive from the wheel.  We see the same vetical shaft that goes up through the floor, topped here with a black iron bevel gear.  Another bevel gear on the right, currently disengaged, is driven by the waterwheel. The room is cramped and whitewashed.
The Pit wheel and wallower  
A detailed view of another mechanism, the sack hoist. This is in the grain loft above the first floor, and is designed to be driven by the vertical shaft as needed.  On the right of the picture is the top of the vertical shaft that has passed through the height of the whole building, capped with a small iron bevel gear.  This is mated with another bevel gear on a short horizontal iron shaft that thransfers the drive to a wooden wheel suspended below a joist.  A canvas strap around this wheel can be tightened or slackened and forms a clutch, to transfer the drive to another wooden wheel above the joist as reqired.  The higher wooden wheel drives a wooden drum around which a chain is wound.  Sacks can be lifted through the floors on this chain when the canvas clutch is engaged, or lowered controlably by allowing it to slip a little.  The space is low, and angled under the pitch of the roof. A modern white-painted lining has been fitted under the roof, but the joists and rafters in bare pale wood can still be seen.
The Sack hoist  


External links

Coordinates: 53°00′00″N 0°24′18″W / 52.99996°N 0.40495°W / 52.99996; -0.40495 (Cogglesford Mill)

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