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East Linton, Preston Mill


Site Name East Linton, Preston Mill

Classification Watermill

Alternative Name(s) River Tyne

Canmore ID 56219

Site Number NT57NE 20

NGR NT 59480 77882

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2016.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Prestonkirk
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT57NE 20.00 59480 77882

(NT 5948 7787) Preston Mill (NR) (NTS)

OS 6" map (1968)

NT57NE 20.01 NT 59374 77819 to NT 59656 77898 Mill-lade and tail-race

NT57NE 20.02 NT 59360 77794 Weir

For adjacent Preston Mill Cottage, see also NT57NE 49.

Preston Mill is a plain rectangular building of mortared masonry with a pantiled roof. The mill has been driven by an undershot wheel. The present wheel is of iron with wooden paddles and measures 3.4m in diameter. To the N of the mill and joined to it by an overhead wooden foot bridge is the kiln. It is a circular building with a conical pantiled roof and has an outside stone stairway leading to the upper storey. The kiln is supported by buttresses and several small buildings are attached to its perimeter. To the E of the kiln is a rectangular L-shaped outbuilding with a pantiled roof.

A plaque on the W wall of the mill states that the mill was presented to the National Trust for Scotland in January 1950 by the trustees of the late John R Gray. The property is in fair condition.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 20 October 1962.

(Location cited as NT 595 779). Preston Mill, 17th century. A one-storey and attic rubble range with a circular kiln. There is a detached single-storey office and granary block. All the buildings have pantiled roofs. There is a 6-spoke, wood and iron low-breast wheel driving two pairs of stones. Restored and opened to the public by the National Trust for Scotland.

J R Hume 1976.

Grain has been milled on this site since the 12th century. A substantial part of the existing fabric dates from the 17th century; it was extensively renovated in 1760. The mill is still functional, and open to the public.

R Prentice 1976; J R Hume 1976; C McWilliam 1978.

Preston Mill is situated on the N bank of the River Tyne to the NE of the village of East Linton (NT57NE 78). It is a major property of the National Trust for Scotland, and is well publicised as such. Houston Mill (NS57NE 193.00) is on the S bank, almost opposite.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 2 March 2006.


Modification (1660)

Building shows evidence of renovations with timber work from c.1660.

Modification (1760)

Extensive renovations circa 1760.

Conservation (1950)

Machinery renovated prior to handing over to the National Trust for Scotland

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

The mill is a rectangular masonry building with pantile roof containing millwork driven by an undershot waterwheel. The iron wheel of about 11 ft diameter with wooden paddles can, on request, still operate much of

the, probably, early-20th century machinery, including a small Archimedes screw. Adjoining, over a timber

bridge, is an early circular masonry, buttressed, drying kiln with conical pantile roof and rotating ventilator and

wind vane. Substantial elements of the buildings, including some timberwork, date from 1660, or earlier, with extensive renovation in ca.1760. The mill ceased to operate commercially in 1950 when it was given to the National Trust for whom Joseph Rank restored the machinery to working order. The mill is now a significant visitor attraction. Nearby is Houston Mill where Andrew Meikle, inventor of the corn threshing machine, who probably advised on Preston Mill millwork, was the millwright and with whom the young John Rennie spent an invaluable apprenticeship. In 1772 Meikle invented the ‘spring’ sail for windmills using louvred shutters.

Meikle’s finely executed gravestone of 1811 near the parish church door, not far from George Rennie’s, describes him as a ‘Civil Engineer’.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Border' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.

Standing Building Recording (14 January 2013 - 28 January 2013)

AOC Archaeology Group was commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland to undertake a detailed measured, written and photographic survey of the main mill and kiln buildings at Preston Mill in East Linton in East Lothian. The work included a detailed measured survey, written and photographic record of the mill and kiln building and was undertaken in January 2013.

A mill at East Linton is thought to date back to the Medieval period, although the present stone built mill building dates to a much later date, possibly the 18th century. It is a two-storey mill building and kiln, with a visitor centre, the former miller’s cottage, to the east. The upgrading of the machinery throughout the years, and gradual wear and tear on the building has led to phases of rebuild and repair evidenced by the blocked openings and phase lines in the build. The machinery and gearing, also, will have been upgraded throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with timber wheels and cogs replaced with iron fittings and redundant cog-holes and other recesses in the south wall of the mill identifying earlier arrangements.

AOC Archaeology Group, 2013


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