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Website Design : Simon Potter    NGR : TQ423288

Jane Thacker, who lives in Ottawa, Canada kindly sent us an newspaper article concerning Fletching Watermill.

Her great-grandfather Albert Payne was miller there prior to his death at Mill Cottage in April 1911.

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Sussex Mills Group

Fletching's Old Mill Is Being Demolished

The 18th century watermill at Fletching is being demolished. Its function as a flour mill ended at the turn of the century. Until 1925 it was used for producing grist and cattle feed, and in recent years it had become the haunt of rates and a shelter for the birds.

Mrs. E. J. Martin, who lives at Mill House, told an "Express-Herald" reporter on Monday :

"I know it was a well-known Sussex landmark, but I think people will agree with me that it was by no means picturesque.

Her husband explained that a little house adjoined the mill at one time but he was unable to say how many millers had lived in it. He knew that Mr. Joseph Martin - no relation - took over the mill from Mr. George Sparks in 1873. "Those were the days when the barges plied up and down the River Ouse from Newhaven and tied up at the two wharves near the mill" said Mr. E. J. Martin. "The barges brought manure for the farmers and returned with produce and sacks of flour&qout;.

"A good deal of the flour which was milled here was sold locally. People baked their own bread".

"My father, Mr. W. Martin, helped to unload the last barge which came up here in 1879."

The following names have been associated with the mill : Mr. W. Martin, Mr. Diplock and Mr. Tidey.

Ownership of the mill was transferred from Searle's Estate to Sheffield Park Estate.

At the beginning of the week workmen had completed the demolition of the two wooden storeys and tower, and were busy removing the brick structure which housed the two pairs of stones used for grinding wheat and another pair for grinding oats.

The bricks are in fine condition and some have already been used for building purposes at Fairwarp.

The old mill at Fletching photographed during demolition
The old mill at Fletching photographed during demolition

"We have sent away 8,000 bricks and another 12,000 will follow" a workman told the reporter, "Bricks like these would cost £15 a thousand today"

Some of the hardcore will be used to repair a nearby lock.

The water wheel measures 10ft in diameter and is made of wrought iron. Oxy-acetylene apparatus will have to be used to remove it.

The workman said he was surprised to discover that the cogs fitted to the mill's bevel gearing were made of apple wood. "It is one of the hardest woods obtainable" he said.
Sussex Mills Group

Fletching Mill (NGR TQ423228) was a medium sized corn mill on the River Ouse with a breast shot iron wheel by S. Medhurst and a shaft driving three pairs of stones through a cast iron pit wheel and wooden upright shaft. The building was of brick with a gabled roof and tower with a lucam. It was working until 1939 and was demolished in 1951. The square tower was used to view the Earl of Sheffield's cricket matches in Sheffield Park.

[ Extracted from Sussex Watermills by Frank Gregory and Ron Martin ]     Watermill Tour