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Cheddleton Flint Mill Industrial Heritage Trust

About the mill

Cheddleton Flint Mill consists of a complex of buildings including two separate water mills, a miller's cottage, two flint kilns, a drying kiln and outbuildings. The Caldon Canal, which would have supplied the mill by narrow boat, passes by. The whole complex is considered of great historical importance and has been given Grade II* listed building status by English Heritage.

The earliest reference to milling at Cheddleton dates back to 1253. It is possible that the foundations of the South Mill date back to this period. Another document, dating to 1694, refers to corn milling at the site. In the late 18th century the complex was converted to grind flint. The North Mill was built specifically for that purpose and the South Mill was converted to grind flint instead of corn. About the same time, the Caldon Canal was built making transport of heavy goods to and from the mill easier. The ground, calcined flint produced by the mill was becoming a very important ingredient in earthenwares being produced in the nearby Potteries. Josiah Wedgwood had successfully marketed a new product called "creamware" which was becoming very popular. Calcined flint is white and thermally stable, making it an excellent ingredient in the new light-coloured wares that had become fashionable.

By visiting the mill one is able to gain an understanding of the whole process from the arrival by narrow-boat, through the calcining, grinding, settling and drying processes. The museum building provides the historical and technical background. 

The above history of the mill is very simplified. One can spend hours trying to figure out all the stages in the mill's development over its circa 800 years lifetime.

 

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