Medieval mill dig for Rufford Abbey

Nottinghamshire community archaeologists are investigating the possibility of the remains of another medieval mill at Rufford Abbey – built by the monks there in the past to serve their estate.

The county council archaeologists have returned to Rufford this July to continue investigations into the history of the site and they are exploring the area around an apparently ornamental ruin at the end of the Orangery garden.

This romantic ruin was designed as a water cascade, carrying water from the Orangery canal down into the Japanese garden.

But Nottinghamshire County Council archaeologists suspect that this feature might conceal something much older and it is thought this garden feature might have been built around the remains of a mediaeval mill, built by the monks of Rufford to serve their estate.

Councillor John Knight said: “Rufford Abbey has a fascinating history and we have been very pleased to welcome back our archaeologists to the country park to further explore its past.

“The purpose of these small-scale excavations is to assess the condition of the buried remains so that we can get an understanding of how much more we might still be able to learn from the archaeology here. A thousand years of history and stories lie beneath the country park; from Monastic worship and industry, to one of the most intriguing grand houses in the county.

“The current excavation is being carried out by a mixture of students and local volunteers over the course of a fortnight and the dig site is open to view.”

The remains of two other medieval mills have already been discovered in the area of the country park, and it is thought that there may well be others. Some of the initial interpretations from the work will be presented at a free guided walk given by the team on August 12.