Alderney watermill emerges from the scaffolding
ALDERNEY’S restored 13th-century watermill is standing proudly free of scaffolding.
After two decades of work the building, which is on the Bonterre, near Tourgis, is now watertight with a smart tiled roof and rebuilt walls.
The regular team of Alderney Society volunteers has been galvanised by new member Andy Mileham and colleagues and professional involvement by Wayne Cosheril. Last July a triumphant topping-out ceremony was held.
All it needs now is a floor – visitors, if they are very careful, can inspect the inside of the mill on the existing planks – and Mr Mileham is considering glazing the windows and fitting a door.
Attention will then turn to the old blacksmith’s shop attached to the mill, which has been partially rebuilt after stones were removed in the 1960s.
Records show the existence of the forge and its outline as a lean-to on the side of the mill remained.
Mr Cosheril is recreating it close to how it would originally have been built – rough hewn granite stones in-filled with rubble and ‘beach’ concrete from Platte Saline – the same method used to build the mill.
Mr Mileham suspects the forge was added in the early 18th century as the British started to fortify Alderney against possible French invasion.
‘Much of the ironwork required was cast iron. But animals would have required a blacksmith for shoeing,’ he said.
‘It’s the right style for a forge.’
Work on it will restart in the autumn. Mr Mileham dreams of a water supply sent to the mill, so visitors can see the wheel turning and becoming a firm fixture on Alderney’s tourist trail.
‘We could use the forge as a visitor centre when it is finished, with some of the old gear and wheels on display and a couple of guided tours there every week,’ he said. ‘There’s also the possibility of the mill being used to display countryside tools that are currently at the Alderney Society Museum.’
All work is being done on a voluntary basis and the Alderney Society is seeking volunteers to help with simple repointing on the lower section of the mill. They also need an additional 100 clay tiles for the roof of the forge – red or orange Belgian clay, to match those on the mill roof. If you can help contact Mr Mileham on 07837 430194.