Bilsdale Local History Group has published a new book about Low Mill in Bilsdale. The book describes the complex mechanism of the mill with clear illustrative diagrams and traces its history over the past 800 years in the context of other events in the dale.
The monks of Rievaulx built the first mill in the 12th century. It was part of their plan to drain Bilsdale, which at that time was wild and boggy, and develop granges along the dale to house the lay brothers who farmed the land and raised sheep. They produced high quality wool and attracted merchants from across Europe.
The first miller was named in a list produced during the dissolution of the monestary in 1538, and the book traces many of the families who have operated the mill over the years and puts this in the context of other local events in the dale. The current machinery dates from 1785 and will have been repaired many times
The dale was sold by auction in 1944 and Ted Garbutt's father bought Low Mill farm though the mill had been derelict for many years. Hazel married Ted, her first husband, in 1960 and moved to Low Mill. During the 1970s they renovated the mill and Hazel used it to grind corn and beans to feed to the animals. Unfortunately there was an accident and the huge axle broke. Thirty years later, Raymond Harrison was living at the mill and they decided to renovate it again. This was a major project which took 8 years and was completed in 2010.
Since then many people have enjoyed the experience of watching the machinery turn,hear the gentle hum reverberate around the building and listen to Raymond explain how it works and describe the major changes which have taken place in the dale during his lifetime. Hazel and Raymond were married in St John's church, Bilsdale in 2013, they were both 82 years young.
They still enjoy showing people around the mill and this book clebrates the history of the mill and the hard work of Hazel and Raymond.
If you would like any further details or would like to purchase the book, price £6 please contact us using the contact us page.
Published: 15 August 2020 (Updated: 25 February 2022)