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Castle Mill
Quernmore, Lancashire
Castle Mill
associated engineer
Richard Whittington
date  1818
era  Georgian  |  category  Watermill  |  reference  SD520609
ICE reference number  HEW 1289
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The watermill at Quernmore, near Lancaster, is notable for its 11m diameter cast iron waterwheel. However, although the mill's masonry fabric is in fairly good condition, the wheel hasn't turned in more than 50 years and the mill is now derelict.
The three storey corn mill is some 450m from the River Condor, the source of water for the wheel. Yates’ 1786 map of Lancashire shows a mill on this site, though the present one dates from 1818.
River water fed the mill pond, situated to the east. It then flowed along a wooden aqueduct supported on stone pillars to the rim geared overshot waterwheel. The cast iron wheel is housed in an unusual masonry structure, shaped like the wheel itself, which may be a modification as evidence of a change in the masonry hints at a former breast shot wheel.
The rim gearing drove a 1.45m diameter cog wheel. The main horizontal wheel on the ground floor drove four sets of millstones. A vertical cast iron shaft passed up through all three floors, driving conveyor belts and other machinery. The mill rooms take up about 13.7m x 8m in area. On the other side from the wheel, an adjacent barn houses a metal-floored corn drying kiln at first floor level.
The mill was last used in about 1951, to generate electricity. When a wheel bearing broke, it wasn't repaired even though a replacement was available. The wheel has not turned since and its wooden buckets have rotted. The mill machinery is intact, however.
Castle Mill is set among farm buildings on private land. It is not open to the public for safety reasons.
Research: PHEW
bibliography
"The Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire" by Owen Ashmore
David & Charles, Newton Abbot
reference sources   ICE / INCH
Location

Castle Mill