Mills are an integral part of Essex's history. The Domesday survey of 1080-1086, the first attempt to quantify mills on a national level, documented that Essex had between 200 and 225 mills, many of which have since been demolished.
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In the 16th Century, water became the most important source of mill power but by the latter part of the 19th Century, steam engines began to replace waterwheels, except in rural areas where they were supplemented by a steam or oil engine.
The agricultural depression at the turn of the 20th Century, followed by two World Wars, saw many mills close down or diversify.
To read about and see photos of Beeleigh Steam Mill go to https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/beeleigh-steam-mill
Alderford Water Mill used to mill corn but switched to producing animal feed during WW2. It is one of the best-preserved water mills in Essex, containing most of the original machinery. For more go to https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/alderford-water-mill
The Weatherboard Water Mill at Beeleigh, which housed 2 water wheels driving 10 stones, was destroyed by fire in 1875 but the Steam Mill survived and the building now houses a rare Wentworth beam engine, elephant boiler and circular all-iron steam mill dating from 1845.
Finchingfield Post Mill is the oldest mill in Essex, built around 1756. Finchingfield used to be home to 7 mills, this one is the last mill standing! The mill's four sails could be rotated to catch the wind, driving a pair of millstones. A tail pole was used to turn the mill. For more on the mill go to https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/finchingfield-post-mill
Mountnessing Post Mill, built in 1807, is in full working order and although it stopped operating in 1933, it still occasionally mills flour. Go to https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/mountnessing-post-mill
Stock Tower Mill was a wind powered corn mill. The mill used wind power up until around 1930, then ran for a further six years using an internal combustion engine. For more go to https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/stock-tower-mill