Archie, 12, bids for world record millstone run at Stotfold Watermill

Archie Chenery, 12, with Ray Kilby of the milling team at Stotfold Watermill, bidding for world record of operating two millstones.
Archie Chenery, 12, with Ray Kilby of the milling team at Stotfold Watermill, bidding for world record of operating two millstones.

A 12-year-old boy is hoping to break the world record in millstone turning.

Archie Chenery could become the youngest person in the world to operate two millstones simultaneously, at Stotfold Watermill.

The schoolboy won a Golden Ticket which gained him the rare chance to work behind-the-scenes with Stotfold’s milling staff and operate the nationally-important mill machinery.

Archie and his family visited the watermill so he could enjoy his milling day.

Ray Kilby, one of the leaders of Stotfold Watermill’s milling team, said: “He’s a clever lad and I think he’d be a great potential miller.”

Under close supervision from the milling team, Archie learned how to turn on the valve which allows river water over the wheel, which then operates the millstones. He was also taught about the intricate craft of milling flour, including the adjustment of the stones and the correct speed at which the grain is fed onto the millstones to produce quality stone-ground flour.

Archie said: “It was amazing, especially being the youngest ever to run two stones. I really enjoyed turning the water on and making all the cogs and gears work. It was a great day - really good fun.”

Stotfold Watermill runs two pairs of millstones, one from French Burr, the only one which could be restored after the great fire of 1992, which destroyed the building.

The mill has two nationally-important pieces of milling equipment which helped with funding applications to English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund the restoration.

The historic eqquipment includes the widest overshot waterwheel in a cornmill in the UK and a rare Whitmore and Binyon hursting frame - which were iron and survived the fire.

Due mainly to the efforts of local volunteers, this rural gem was restored to a working watermill, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2006.

The mill is a charity, run entirely by volunteers and open to the public on Sundays and for group and school visits at other times. There is a friendly and welcoming tea room, serving delicious food and specialising in cream teas and a gift shop selling unique items by local craftspeople, as well as the mill’s stone-ground flour - which is great for bread making - and rolled oats.

There are regular exhibitions and trained guides are on hand to ensure people enjoy their visit to the full.

Full details can be found on the Mill website: