Alan Stoyel – 1939 - 2021
Sadly Alan died on October 23rd. Many will have known Alan for different reasons, but mostly for his knowledge of watermills and milling in general. He was not only a miller, millwright and author, he was always willing to help anyone with questions and above all a gentleman.
Over the many years he had bought and repaired Venn Mill in Oxfordshire, milling there for the local farmers. Alan’s time with the SPAB Mills Section goes back many years and he was Chairman from 1985-88.
He was instrumental and passionate for our National Mills Weekend and with his kindly manner managed to get the owners of many (16) Oxfordshire mills to open their doors for the event each year while living in the area. When Alan moved to Herefordshire there was little interest in the watermills, but he soon changed that! He visited as many mills as he could and with his customary gentle manner persuaded them how important their mills were and to open their doors once a year. Many of the mills were not even known to most of us. He also helped many with hands on repairs and even built a new waterwheel at one of the mills we visited on the tour he organised for us.
Over 30 years ago, Alan also took over the maintenance and running of Mortimers Cross watermill for English Heritage, continuing there until very recently and training up the new miller.
He also presented a Rex Wailes Lecture entitled ‘Perfect Pitch: The Millwrights Goal’ a subject which Alan was an expert on, the dating and pitching of gears in mills.
He wrote the book on Thomas Hennells mill drawings brought about with his connection with Rex Wailes, also the book on Kentish Watermills.
Another milling ‘great’ has been lost and we shall not ever be able to replace his knowledge and commitment.
Chair SPAB Mills Section