Akeld : Watermills
(including information provided by the NE Mills Group)
Site Name: Akeld
- Grid Reference: NT956297
- First recorded Not Known
- Last recorded 1866
There is documentary reference to a mill at Akeld in the early 13th century, though its precise location is uncertain. The earliest mill which can be firmly located appears on an estate map of 1822 (NRO ZAN Bell 51-1), where two buildings labelled 'corn mill' are shown to the south of the settlement, on the west bank of the burn.
The burn splits divides in two for a short distance at this point suggesting that the more westerly channel, which ran adjacent to the mill, may represent a deliberately constructed leet. The nearby field, immediately south of the bastle, is also called 'Mill Close' whilst the wood along the burn is labelled 'Mill Plantation' on the later 1st edition Ordnance Survey. The two buildings are still shown, though not labelled, on the tithe map (1840), but do not appear on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey and had therefore probably gone out of use and been demolished by the 1860s. Access to the mill from the settlement was probably via path leading southward from the main farm complex to a footbridge across the burn, which does figure on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey.
A second watermill, which was probably associated with the main farm complex, is clearest on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey (1866). The mill building still stands on the west side of the burn beside a small bridge leading to the main farm complex. Associated with it to the south was a millpond with a 'sluice' marked on the same map.
This farm mill presumably superseded the more southerly corn mill, perhaps before 1840 and certainly by c. 1860. The estate map shows a much smaller building at the site of the farm mill, located too distant from the burn to have functioned as a watermill. However the tithe map depicts a building there similar in size to that which figures on the Ordnance Survey maps. It may therefore have supplanted the earlier corn mill by this stage, although the latter's buildings are also shown and were presumably still standing. A pond is also shown on the tithe map, but this appears to be smaller than the mill pond which figures on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey onwards, and to be situated somewhat further to the north. Neither site is labelled as a mill.
Picture : Possible Site Of Mill Pond At Akeld Farm
As for the preceding corn mill, its origins may be illuminated by a letter written in 1734 (NRO - ZBU A2 p18; cf. Northumbrian Mills 22, 9-10). This letter from Samuel Kettilby to Robert Paul Esq. complained about the conduct of Mr Wearg, tenant at Coupland Mill. In it he claims he has been "urged…to build a mill at Akyld". While he has "never intend any such things" the possibility is opened up if Mr Wearg did not mend his ways.
Site Name: Yeavering Farm
- Grid Reference: NT936304
- First recorded 1866
- Last recorded 1950s
This farm mill is indicated by a clear race leading to a building on the 1866 Ordnance Survey map and subsequent editions up to the mid 20th century. Nothing is known about what is presumed to be a farm mill. It appears that the farm buildings have been converted recently for accommodation so any remaining signs of the former mill will probably have been lost. The Northumberland sites and monuments record suggest this as the site of 'Yeavering Mill' but this could also have been at Old Yeavering.
Signs of ponds and a possible race are also visible at Old Yeavering (NT904302), but no documentary or map evidence is known to back this up as a possible mill site.