Historic mill wheel measuring 14ft discovered at Hadleigh sinkhole
- Credit: Babergh District Council
A bridge and an old mill wheel have been unearthed after a sinkhole was discovered in Hadleigh near the site of the former Toppesfield Mill, which burned down in the 1950s.
The 11ft hole was discovered near a footpath last month in Tinkers Lane, when a contractor from Babergh District Council (BDC) found a deep depression in the ground and another collapse beneath the surface.
The hole was found to be an 11ft-deep void, with the lower 7ft full of water. It was fenced off to the public.
Council teams have since been investigating the site and have come across a number of interesting discoveries, uncovering a large cogs wheel, a bridge and an old mill wheel along the line of the old mill race.
A mill race, also known as a millrun, is the current of water that turns a water wheel, or the channel (sluice) conducting water to or from a water wheel.
A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “We are continuing to investigate and excavate the site at Tinkers Lane and have made a number of interesting discoveries, including a bridge and an old mill wheel, measuring 14ft long and 10ft in diameter, from Toppesfield Mill, which burned down in 1954.
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"A large cogs wheel has also been uncovered.
“We are considering how we can safely display the artefacts to the public and expect to have more information on our plans soon.
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"In the meantime, the safety of the public and protection of the historic site remain of paramount importance."
A closure order is in place in Tinkers Lane between Benton Street and the football ground end of the bridge until July 1.
Fencing has been erected around the site to prevent access.
The council said it hopes to reopen the footpath as soon as possible and is working with the Environment Agency to also get the land back in use.
Residents of the market town have called for some of the finds to be put on display in a heritage centre or museum.
Works are continuing at the sinkhole in Tinkers Lane while the final solution for the site is discussed.