The Kiln at Eskdale Mill

Most people visiting the Mill pass straight through the Drying Room Without even pausing to inspect the kiln, but on closer scrutiny it is quite an Impressive construction.

A few years ago, Hubert Dawson, an old lad from .Dereham in. Norfolk, wrote to me regarding the kiln hIes, havmg worked on them in the 1950s. This prompted me to clamber down into the chamber to record, measure and photograph.

The kiln is an upturned pyramid, with a firebox 12 in. x 18 in. x 30 in. deep, situated in the lower floor, .expanding to a.12 ft: square drying area upstaIrs. InsIde the kiln, eIght stone buttresses jut out from the sloping sides to support four awsome 12 ft. stone lintels, where 30 in. slate ‘T’ pieces sit. 144 cast iron tiles, 12 in. square, rest on these.

The oats would be spread out on these tiles to dry above a peat fire, fuelled by peat cut and dned on Eskdale fell. An oak roller was fitted to the side to assist the Miller when hauling the sacks onto the kiln floor.

Most kiln tiles are made of fired clay, perforated to allow the heat through. Cast iron ones are fairly rare. Some of the old clay tiles which were used before are still about, and I have acquired a selection of clay hIes from other mills as well.

Carved into a granite stone on the left hand side of the firebox is the date 1819, with the name of M. Tyson – probably an ancester of John and Tom who recently repaired the bakehouse roof!
Also the initials D.T. – possibly the Miller, Daniel Tyson.