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Preston Mill
Preston, East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1660 onwards
era  Stuart  |  category  Watermill  |  reference  NT595779
Preston Mill is a watermill once used for milling oats and now preserved by the Scottish National Trust. It is one of the oldest in Scotland with its machinery still in working order. The complex comprises the mill, the drying kiln and the miller's house.
The mill is a rectangular two storey whinstone masonry building with a red pantile roof. It has a walkway from the upper floor into the top of the kiln. The circular buttressed kiln has a conical pantile roof and rotating cowl ventilator driven by a wind vane. The walls are masonry with a brick lining. A coke-fired oven would have dried the oats before milling.
A mill lade brings water from the River Tyne to the mill pond, which supplies the water wheel via a channel. The waterwheel is an undershot iron wheel some 4m in diameter and 9.8m wide with wooden paddles. It rotates on a square shaft that drives a series of gears, arranged so that metal gears only contact with wooden gears, and vice versa.
There were two sets of millstones one for separating the husks from the shelled oats (groats) and another for grinding the oats to oatmeal or oat flour.
Grain has been milled on this site since around AD 1200 and there has been a mill here from the late 1500s onwards. The present buildings date from about 1660. Renovation work was carried out in 1749 and in 1760, the latter providing a new cast iron water wheel probably manufactured at the Carron Iron Works. Most of the remaining mill machinery, including the small Archimedes screw, is probably from the 1909 refurbishment.
Flooding has been a recurrent problem at Preston Mill, and in 1948 the river was higher than the mill's upper storey. After the flood, the mill was restored to working order through the efforts of Joseph Rank of Rank Hovis McDougall Ltd.
The National Trust for Scotland has owned the mill since 1950, and it ceased commercial operation in 1959. It is open to the public and is a popular destination for both artists and visitors to the milling exhibition.
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH SLB

Preston Mill