A group of barns stood on the site of Flatford Granary in Constable’s time. They were used to store all sorts of things, including grain.
When Flatford Mill was primarily used in cloth making as a Fulling Mill, the granary buildings were used to store wool. However, by the middle of the eighteenth century, millers could make more money milling grain into flour . So, Flatford Mill was converted into a flour mill and the granary buildings were used to store grain and flour.
Until his death in 1816, Flatford Granary formed part of Golding Constable’s (John Constable’s father) milling estate. The Granary then passed to Golding’s younger son Abram who sold them to William Bentall in 1846.
Owners 1846 - Mid 19th Century
- 1846 William Bentall, who modernised the machinery at Flatford water mill and is credited with installing the steam mill at the Granary although the steam mill may have been installed by Richard Barrell, a subsequent owner – see below
- 1864-1878 Richard Barrell, who owned and operated the water mill and the steam mill at the Granary
- 1878-1892 Walter Benneworth, who owned and operated both steam and water mills
- 1896-1901 William Green who owned and operated Flatford water mill while Arthur Benneworth owned and operated the Granary steam mill
- Between 1846 and 1879 a brick extension was added to the back of the Granary to accommodate a coal-fired steam engine, boiler and other machinery including at least four pairs of mill stones. Coal to drive the steam boilers was transported by sea from the north of England to Mistley Wharf. It then travelled from Mistley to Flatford by horse-drawn barges (called lighters). A tall chimney (you can see it in the distance in the first image below) was built to take away the smoke produced by burning of coal to drive the steam engine.
- 1900 – Flatford water mill ceased working
- 1929 – Flatford steam mill at the Granary closed
The Granary 1911-1979
Owners since 1972
- 1972-1977 Sidney Dale who wanted to convert it into a luxury 20-room dwelling, a plan that did not reach fruition
- 1977-1979 Joyce and Alan Baker who restored the internal and external structure, converting it into a private house whilst living there with their young family
- 1979-1985 Ian Wilkinson
- 1985-2018 Derek and Marjorie Tripp who ran a bed and breakfast and opened part of the ground floor as a museum in the 1980s.
- 2018-present National Trust
Links with John Constable
Although John Constable sketched the Granary, he did not include it in any of his famous oil paintings.