Stone remains of old corn mill found dating back to 1135

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Archaeologists are investigating historic stone remains found on the site of a new housing estate.

Evidence of the remains of a corn mill has been found dating back to 1135 at Garnett Wharfe, in Otley, where new houses are being built by David Wilson Homes.

CFA Archaeology, working under Prospect Archaeology, David Wilson Homes and Leeds City Council have been working in partnership to uncover evidence of the corn mill, first recorded as present at the site in 1135.

Archaeologists have been working to establish the exact location and function of the Garnett’s Mill buildings, which existed at the site up to and including the 20th Century, adding to the understanding of post-Medieval Otley and the importance of industry to the development of the town.

Stacey Foster, sales manager of Garnett Wharfe, said: “We have uncovered former culverts that transferred water through the site from the weir to the wheel pits, then back out to the River Wharfe, which they knew existed from historic maps.

“As well as this, flecks of gold and pins from cloth that may have been used to manufacture high quality paper at the mill centuries ago have also been discovered. The team will continue to excavate the site and discussions are currently underway about the best way of preserving what has been found and how we can display it for future generations to come.”

David Wilson Homes specifically commissioned archaeological work to establish whether anything of the 18th Century or earlier structures survived.

Evidence of water wheel pits, the power transfer systems and the water management systems required to run the mill has been discovered through excavations, as well as paper and fulling mills for cleaning wool, and water culverts allowing water to flow under roads and pathways, which date as far back as the 17th Century.