East Linton, Preston Mill
- HER number: MEL820
- Site Name: East Linton, Preston Mill
- Grid Reference: 359479 677881
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Watermill (18th Century, Post Medieval)
- Corn Drying Kiln (18th Century, Post Medieval)
- Summary: 18th century watermill and kiln, possibly incorporating earlier structure
- Description: NT57NE 20.00 59480 77882
NT57NE 20.01 NT 59374 77819 to NT 59656 77898 Mill-lade and tail-race
NT57NE 20.02 NT 59360 77794 Weir
For adjacent Preston Mill Cottage, see also NT57NE 49.
(NT 5948 7787) Preston Mill (NR) (NTS)
OS 6" map (1968)
(1) Preston Mill is a plain rectangular building of mortared masonry with a pantiled roof. The mill has been driven by an undershot wheel. The present wheel is of iron with wooden paddles and measures 3.4m in diameter. To the N of the mill and joined to it by an overhead wooden foot bridge is the kiln. It is a circular building with a conical pantiled roof and has an outside stone stairway leading to the upper storey. The kiln is supported by buttresses and several small buildings are attached to its perimeter. To the E of the kiln is a rectangular L-shaped outbuilding with a pantiled roof.
A plaque on the W wall of the mill states that the mill was presented to the National Trust for Scotland in January 1950 by the trustees of the late John R Gray. The property is in fair condition.
Visited by OS (WDJ) 20 October 1962.
(2) (Location cited as NT 595 779). Preston Mill, 17th century. A one-storey and attic rubble range with a circular kiln. There is a detached single-storey office and granary block. All the buildings have pantiled roofs. There is a 6-spoke, wood and iron low-breast wheel driving two pairs of stones. Restored and opened to the public by the National Trust for Scotland.
J R Hume 1976.
(3)-(4) Grain has been milled on this site since the 12th century. A substantial part of the existing fabric dates from the 17th century; it was extensively renovated in 1760. The mill is still functional, and open to the public.
R Prentice 1976; J R Hume 1976; C McWilliam 1978.
Preston Mill is situated on the N bank of the River Tyne to the NE of the village of East Linton (NT57NE 78). It is a major property of the National Trust for Scotland, and is well publicised as such. Houston Mill (NS57NE 193.00) is on the S bank, almost opposite.
Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 2 March 2006.
(5) Historic Scotland Listed Building Description: 18th century watermill and kiln, possibly incorporating
earlier structure, with later additions.
Single storey outbuilding enclosing yard. Random
whinstone rubble, rough dressings, some renewed in
Single storey mill building, walls raised to accommodate
milling floor and loft.
W ELEVATION: entrance to left, timber surround to door.
Small window to outer right. Door to loft above in tiled
and slated swept dormer. Additional modern slated dormer
Undershot wheel to S gable, right of centre with small
opening above. Sandstone facing behind wheel.
Access to kiln via wooden bridge from loft doorway in
INTERIOR: functional elevators and hoppers, shelling
stone and grinding stone. Machinery dating from 1930s.
Red pantiles to roof.
Circular brick-lined kiln adjoining to NW. Access to
kiln floor at ground via stone porch to N Stone
forestair to drying floor, doorway breaking eaves in
swept dormer. Drying platform of perforated iron tiles.
Similar doorway to left adjoining wooden bridge to mill.
Lean to additions at rear. Red pantiles to conical roof,
2-storey mill cottage and stable to E now accommodating
exhibition and shop.
(6) In January 2013, AOC undertook a detailed measured, written and photographic survey of the main mill and kiln buildings at Preston Mill in East Linton on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland. A mill at East Linton is thought to date back to the Medieval period, although the present stone built mill building dates to a much later date, possibly the 18th century. The survey recorded the mill as a two-storey mill building and kiln, with a visitor centre, the former miller’s cottage, to the east. The upgrading of the machinery throughout the years, and gradual wear and tear on the building has led to phases of rebuild and repair evidenced by the blocked openings and phase lines in the build. The machinery and gearing, also, will have been upgraded throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with timber wheels and cogs replaced with iron fittings and redundant cog-holes and other recesses in the south wall of the mill identifying earlier arrangements.
Examination of documentary and cartographic sources during the archaeological work suggests that there may have been a simple mill at the site from the late 16th century, but there is no evidence to clearly indicate if this was at Preston. Such a mill may have been a simple masonry wall at the waterside with woodframe and a thatched roof. There is as yet no archaeological or architectural evidence to confirm such an earlier structure. Late 17th century mapping shows a mill was established by this time and late 18th century mapping indicates the presence of a water wheel and a linear building. Historic Ordnance Survey mapping depict the mill complex in more detail. The Ordnance Survey 1st Edition shows the mill as three buildings, annotated 'Corn Mill'. The linear mill building is shown to the south – a much squarer shape than it exists today – with the kiln as a rectangular structure with the Hen-House to the north, and the miller’s cottage (now the visitor’s centre) to the east. No detail of the wheel race or tail race is shown. A different layout is shown on the Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition map, the main mill building is now on a different alignment from the kiln and the miller’s cottage to the east has almost doubled in size, extended to the south. Documentary evidence suggests that this may have been to accommodate a chute from the grain drying kiln directly to the mill building, but a photograph from the 1840's (pre-2nd Edition) shows the mill already in the position indicated on the 2nd Edition map, suggesting that the 1st Edition depiction of the mill complex layout may not be correct (or the date of the photograph is later than recorded).
The building survey in combination with the cartographic and documentary evidence suggests that there are several phases to the mill complex: the early origins of the mill as part of the Smeaton Estate, (16th or late 15th century); a single storey mill building and kiln with the kiln set on a different alignment than today (possibly 17th to 18th century); and the present mill complex (possibly late 18th to late 19th century), comprising the mill being rebuilt or raised, the south gable of the mill re-built and the mill wheel located to the west (by the 1840's); a new kiln constructed on a different alignment (possibly by the 1840's, or between the 1850's and the 1890's), and a Hen-House added to the new kiln with a Store to the west (by the 1840's). Much of the kiln appears to be contemporary in build, although some areas have been consolidated, such as the main opening to the north-east side, and the bricking up of an opening to directly to the kiln. The Hen-House, Store, Furnace and even the buttresses appear to abut the main kiln structure, which appears in a much more pinkish sandstone than the rest of the additions, so it could be assumed that the main kiln structure stood for some time in isolation until these additions occurred.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Interventions:
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: Hay and Stell, G D and G P. 1986. Monuments of industry. 30, n. 4.
- Bibliographic reference: Minchinton, W. 1984. A guide to industrial archaeology sites in Britain. 170-1.
- Bibliographic reference: Mackay, J. 1965. 'The Three Lintons,', Scotland's Mag Vol. 61 Part 9 1965, p.13-15. 13.
- Bibliographic reference: Butt, J. 1967. The industrial archaeology of Scotland. 39-40, 254.
- Bibliographic reference: Butt, J. 1967. The industrial archaeology of Scotland, Newton Abbot. 39-40, 254.
- Bibliographic reference: Baldwin, J. 1997. Edinburgh, Lothians and the Borders, 2nd edition. 86-7. No. 24.
- Bibliographic reference: Douglas, G J. 1991. 'Preston Mill: a reassessment', Trans E Lothian Antiq Fld Natur Soc Vol. 21 1991, p.63-74.
- Bibliographic reference: The National Trust for Scotland. 1986. Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot.
- Bibliographic reference: The National Trust for Scotland. 1993. Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot management plan 1994-1999 .
- Bibliographic reference: Sked, P. 1979. Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot.
- Bibliographic reference: Baldwin, J R. 1985. Exploring Scotland's heritage: Lothian and the Borders. 49-50, no. 19.
- (1) Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Site Visit.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: Hume, J R. 1976. The industrial archaeology of Scotland. 122.
- (3) Bibliographic reference: Prentice, R. 1976. The National Trust for Scotland guide. 245-6.
- (4) Bibliographic reference: McWilliam, C E. 1978a. Lothian except Edinburgh. 199.
- (5) Bibliographic reference: Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland Listed Building.
- (6) Unpublished document: Sproat, D & Hudson, G. 2013. Preston Mill, East Linton, East Lothian: Historic Building Recording.