The Mill in its heyday
Nether Alderley Mill has been quite literally at the heart of the Nether Alderley community since the 14th century.
Now looked after by the National Trust, in the past the mill provided the crucial flour-grinding service that kept the whole of Nether Alderley fed, from the lord of the manor (the Stanley family from the 16th century) to the local agricultural community. Because of this, the miller was a man of substance, his status in the village community equivalent to that of a prosperous farmer.
The earliest mention of the mill dates back to 1391, although little is known of this early building and no trace of the machinery survives. The lower half of the present mill dates to the 16th century, about the time it became the manorial mill of the Stanley family, and was built using local red sandstone, with the upper half being added later in the mid-18th century. Its sweeping slate roof, visible from the road, weighs almost 200 tons and inside it is supported by an oak frame.
Aside from its historical status as a centre for the community, Nether Alderley Mill is also a unique example of a triple overshot waterwheel system (of which two wheels still remain in working condition). The present mill machinery dates from the 19th century onwards, as the original milling equipment would have been made from fruit wood and has long since deteriorated.
With the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and later with the introduction of steam power and cheap transport, the trade in milling flour sadly declined. Shortly after 1939, the machinery at Nether Alderley had become so derelict that it could no longer be worked and the mill remained empty and unusable until, after the Second World War, the owner, Mr J.A. Shelmerdine, presented the mill to the National Trust. Since taking over ownership, the Trust has restored the mill to its current state.
For more information about the history of Nether Alderley as a community, why not take a look at the Nether Alderley Parish Council website here and the website for the Nether Alderley church, St. Mary’s, here.