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Fountains Abbey: 14. Mill

(54°6′35″N, 1°34′56″W)
Fountains Abbey: 14. Mill
SE 274 683
  • Rita Wood
25 May 2015, 21 Jun 2015

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The mill has (in 2015) been re-opened for public access after restoration. It has twelfth-century fabric, thought to be from the 1130s or 40s, but it is perhaps best described as 'an early thirteenth-century building which incorporates earler masonry. The earliest building is represented by its E and S walls, each with a surviving window, dated from the late 1130s or early 1140s, and thus it belongs to the first stone monastery.' (Coppack 1993, 90-5). Astonishingly, the mill not only continued in use beyond the Dissolution but was stil operational until 1937 (Coppack 1993, 90-5, fig. 71; Coppack 2009, 123-124).

Due to changes in soil level and later works around the mill and its pond, the oldest parts are much concealed. The building was used latterly by stonemasons working on restorations, and a waterleaf capital is in a display of stone-working in the smaller building attached to the N end of the mill (for this capital, see report 01 Church, Loose Sculpture). Carved stone present outside the mill entrance is essentially an unsorted collection of restorers' work and may include medieval stonework used as models. No sculpture.


The mill is thought to have originated in the twelfth century, but when the millpond was enlarged in the next century, the lower parts of it were submerged.


Coppack, G. Fountains Abbey: the Cistercians in Northern England (Stroud, 2009).

G. Coppack, The English Heritage Book of Fountains Abbey (London, 1993).