Milling for a millennium
A mill was recorded here in Little Crakehall in the Domesday Survey of 1086AD. The current mill dates mainly from the 17th century and is an excellent example of a country corn mill. It was once owned by the famed Neville family of Middleham Castle but became Crown Property in the 15th century and was sold by James I in 1624.
Milling ceased around 1930 and it lay derelict until restoration of the building and machinery was begun by a previous owner in 1977 and it is he who should be credited with saving the mill from being demolished when the Mill and the Mill House were Listed – Grade II.. By 1980, the labour of love was complete and it began to grind corn again.
The mill closed once more in 2002, its machinery in need of costly repairs.
Following further extensive skilled repairs in 2010, the mill is once again harnessing the beck’s natural energy to grind wheat, grown just a few miles away when supplies are available, and produce Crakehall Watermill 100% Stoneground Wholemeal Flour ‘Crakehall’s Finest’ that is perfect for bread making.
The repair work was filmed by award-winning production company Keo Films, responsible for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage series, and were shown in a major BBC TV series The Big Bread Experiment. Crakehall Watermill became a star of the series when first shown on BBC2 in December 2011. The programmes followed the establishment of Bedale Community Bakery – ‘Bread … Actually’ – in Bedale, which became the newly-reopened Crakehall Watermill’s first customer. The series was broadcast again in January / February 2014.
Matt Baker and the Countryfile team also visited for a July 2011 broadcast.
Visits to this working mill are possible, but it is not open on a regular weekly basis. We are happy to show interested guests and pre-booked groups around the mill, where time permits. Alternatively do join us on one of our watermill Open Days, generally the 1st Sunday of the month between April and October but please see the Crakehall Watermill and Bed & Breakfast site for details.
For more information about the mill, the flour it produces and where to buy it, take a look at the Crakehall Watermill Flour page.