Stainsby Mill is a small National Trust property on the Hardwick Hall Estate. As Tea Towel Blog readers know, I have been to Hardwick Hall many times but never recall seeing Stainsby Mill; I thought it must be a newly acquired property. The problem is that you drive into Hardwick Hall grounds one way, passing Stainsby Mill but exit by a different route which doesn’t take you passed the Mill; it is easy to miss it. Most people are heading for Hardwick Hall, the much bigger property so don’t stop on the way. This time I saw it and was determined to visit it but then realised that it is quite a complicated route to retrace your steps. However, it is definitely worth while going out of your way to visit it.
Stainsby Mill is a delightful, fully working, Victorian flour mill that grinds corn for flour, sourced from Suffolk. (They use Suffolk corn because they can guarantee quality.) Therefore it is possible for visitors to see the mill in action. There has been a mill on this site for hundreds of years, providing flour for local villages and the Hardwick Estate.
When I arrived at Stainsby Mill, I was asked if I wanted a guided tour. This seemed to be a bit extreme since the Mill is very small. Why would I need a guide? The answer is simple; the guides are extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers who know all there is to know about Stainsby Mill. My guide explained all the details of how the mill works, things that I would never have understood on my own.
I was very excited to find that Stainsby Mill had its very own traditional tea towel with a detailed sketch of the Mill, including a cross-section, and a recipe for Spelt Bread. Originally, Spelt Flour was milled there but now that is not the case, it is wholemeal stoneground. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Stainsby Mill and each time I look at the tea towel I remember the delightful mill and the very friendly volunteer who spent a lot of time with me, explaining the whole process of flour production.
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