Blue Flower

Today there were 5 regular volunteers plus 5 people from Tesco’s Swaffham store who were with us as part of their community support initiative. After being shown around the site and given health and safety information they filled sandbags and put them all along the upstream brick wall. This is needed to protect against frost damage, and we plan to cover the rest of the wall at the next working party.

Tesco supplied us with cardboard boxes and resealable bags for storing finds, as well as handwipes and bottled water. They also brought food for us all, and the sausage rolls went down particularly well as we seem to have a reputation for liking food.

After break Tesco staff had the opportunity to choose what they wanted to do, one team cleared weeds from the river and bank, another learned how we record finds and documented today’s finds which the other volunteers had produced from digging in the blacksmith area, including more bolts and plates set in the tar floor.

The remaining team joined the volunteers who were digging in the main floor area and here we found small channels running into the cistern. The channel runs were detected by using drain rods, then water was brought from the river in a bucket and poured into the hole found in the floor recess and this could be seen running through the small channels and eventually into the cistern once the mud had been cleared. Standing inside the cistern we could see the water pouring in. The recess in the brick floor had a foam insert made from Celotex offcuts fitted to protect the bricks and wood from frost, the first use of the Duck Tape which Tesco supplied will be to tape this together, we have several more to make for the other areas too. Towards the end of the day another small channel was found at the upstream end brick floor.

We think we have solved one of the mill’s mysteries. A mark was noticed on the brick floor on the downstream side of the hammer mill which looks like a bearing footprint. We think a steam engine sat in this area which means the sloping trench next to it was probably a recess for a pulley which drove a belt on the side of the hammer mill. Suddenly everything in this area makes sense, the cistern hatch is on that side too so probably provided water for the engine.

Several people walked along the footpath on the opposite river bank during the day including five girls from East London who were staying at Pentney.

From the new upstream riverside wall several items were noticed, a large metal staple set into the brickwork on the corner which could have been used to secure boats, a large iron bar with nails sticking out of the soil on the other side, and several pieces of metal on the river bed which were retrieved. See this weeks finds list for pictures of most of the items we discovered today.

The water wheel was measured up so that CAD drawings can be made of it, and we hope that this could lead to a virtual 3D model of a moving waterwheel being made, as well as plan drawings of the site and eventually a virtual 3D model of the buildings and machinery. While we were clearing up the site ready to leave, the family of four swans were feeding beside the water wheel, and we noticed one of the cygnets is still very grey.  

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