Kersey Mill - Newsletter May 2013
This month we are focusing on the people who lived, worked and tragically died at the mill. On a recent interview with Beryl of Polstead Heath we learnt that times were not always easy for the miller and his family. Often a poor harvest would result in little or no milling to do so the reliance on farming of a small holding was a necessity. Beryl’s great – great grandfather John Brame Bradbrook was working in the mill in 1862 and married Anne Hoy on the 1st February in 1866.
He milled until he retired and continued to farm at Nook Farm until his death in 1906 at the grand age at the time of 73. Nook Farm stayed with the family as tenants until Mr Mason wanted the farm back for his son in October 1929. Beryl’s grandfather, also John, moved to work at Aldham Mill and they lived in Stone Street, Hadleigh.
There was also a tragic death at the mill that was reported thus in the Hadleigh Herald c 1845.
SHOCKING ACCIDENT.-A melancholy and distressing accident occurred at Kersey Water Mill, near Hadleigh, on Wednesday morning last, which terminated fatally.
A youth named Leech, 14 years of age, had only the previous Monday entered the service of Mr Mason, of the above mill as an apprentice, having previously been a considerable time in a wind mill. The poor boy was left alone in the mill, and is supposed to have been looking down at the great wheel in the pit, and overbalanced himself, and then fell between the cogs of the wheels. In consequence of the machinery having stopped, Mr Mason looked about to ascertain the cause, and found the poor boy between the wheels, with his heels uppermost. When taken out, the thumb of one hand was discovered to have been torn off, and the knuckles at the wrist laid bare: what state the body was in we could not ascertain, as an inquest had not been held when this report was written: death, however, was, doubtless, instantaneous.
The tragic accident shows how dangerous the machinery was and still is.
Great news from the Mill itself; Last Friday Paul Willis, of Armour Engineering a creative and skilled engineer visited the site and managed to release and disengage the Pinion that links the Line shaft to the main running power system the Pit Wheel. This is all very exciting as the next day with the help of Paul Cuthbert and George the wheel was turned to show the buckets hidden under the water are in good condition. This is the first time the wheel has been turned for a considerable number of years, possibly the first time it has moved since 1929.
George peers out from the narrow gap he had to work in to remove feet of debris from under the Pit wheel and some interesting finds. The other photographs show the intact cast iron wheel with wooden spokes and the remains of the wooden teeth.