Historic Kersey Mill sold to Hadleigh family

Kersey Mill, which went into voluntary liquidation last April, has been sold to a Hadleigh family, writes Anne Wise.

The listed buildings, including a mill house, a four-storey water mill mentioned in the Domesday Book, and converted maltings set on the banks of the River Brett near Hadleigh, have been brought by Stephen and Alison de Lara-Bell. It was on the market for £1.8million with estate agents Fenn Wright

Until five years ago, Mr de Lara-Bell was the co-owner of Frost and Partners estate agency in Hadleigh. He and his wife intend to refurbish the eight-bedroom mill to use as their home.

Mr de Lara-Bell was born in Singapore and spent his early years in New Zealand, but moved to Bildeston with his family in 1966. His wife was born in Hadleigh.

They have two sons – one who runs his own building company, which Mr de Lara Bell says will prove invaluable in the months of refurbishment to come.

He said: “Kersey Mill and maltings is a beautiful group of buildings in a wonderful setting, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to purchase it. The whole family were smitten with it the moment we stepped inside.

“The house has some fine period features and magnificent gardens and will become our home after some refurbishment.

“We look forward to developing and expanding the commercial section further, where extensive refurbishment will also be undertaken, beginning with the former maltings.”

The watermill still retains the original mill machinery and waterwheel, although it suffered internal damage around 50 years ago, now requiring extensive restoration and Mr de Lara-Bell said he would welcome any advice from mill specialists, or information on the history of Kersey Mill.

Set in 17 acres of grounds, the mill was previously run as a wedding and hospitality venue.

The company which ran it went into liquidation with debts of more than £600,000. Administrators said that funds raised from the sale of the site would go to settling Kersey Mill Ltd’s outstanding bank debts.

The mill came into private ownership in the 1970s after lying derelict.