The Maltings, Station Hill - Part II
We know from records published in 1868 (Morris' Directory) Malt was extensively manufactured in the village, the duty paid being over twenty thousand pounds per annum.
There are known to have been six malt
houses in the parish, the three oldest of them in the High Street which
were producing malt up until 1939. There was the malt house in Church
Square where it joins Nayland Road, now replaced by the disused textile
factory (demolished now residential housing).
The profits from this thriving business, enabled James Dalton to build his imposing house (Bures House) next door to his Church Square maltings, and set up John Garrad in a very fine way of business. By the time he died in 1874, he held considerable amount of land and property.
Malting Process at
Three men were employed here as Maltsters.
The incoming grain arrives by lorry or wagons in large two hundredweight sacks from the local farms. It was manhandled into the Maltings, where it was taken out of the sacks and passed though screens to remove dust, small stones and loose husks. Once the grain s cleaned it is then transferred to a large water cistern. this held 2,500 gallons of water and could treat 4 tons of barley
is called "Steeping" where the grain is soaked for three days to allow
shoots to appear.
The water in the cistern
was ideally about 54°F (12.5°C). Lower than this and growth would
be retarded, and higher more water would be taken up. The steeping period
lasted between 60 and 72 hours.
The steeped grain is then transferred to the malt floor, during which time the grain sprouts puts out a root.
The depth of the grain on the floor
would vary from four to eight inches depending, upon the weather conditions.
The temperature on the floor ranged from 56°F (13°C) to 65°F
(15°C) or even 70°F (22°C), with the higher temperature being
reached at the end of growing. As growing progressed the rootlets began
to grow and it was necessary to turn the growing grain to prevent it from
matting together and to ensure the growth was even. Originally this was
done by hand using a broad flat bladed shovel. Later, ploughs, which were!
three pronged, flat bladed 'forks', were used, and more recently, in the
20th century, mechanical shovels were introduced.
on night and day for eleven months of the year. We didn't malt in August; we closed
down for cleaning whilst we were waiting for the new harvest of barley. The schoolchildren
were let in to help; the floor of the kiln was made of perforated tiles that let
the hot air come up from the fire below, and the children were paid a farthing
each to prick out the malt grains from the holes in the tiles"
To stop the sprouting process, the grain required substantial heat.
After five days on the drying floors the barley was taken to the kiln; access was provided by a door at second floor level and the barley was lifted from the lower floors by bucket elevators.
When the green malt, as partially germinated barley is called, had reached the required extent of growth, it was ready to go to the kiln, this would stop the growing process.
In the kiln the green
malt was laid on the floor which was often of perforated ceramic tiles, a foot
square. By the end of the 19th century the drying floor was often of wedge wire,
although earlier drying floors of woven wire were used. The depth of the green
malt on the kiln floor was usually about 8-12in. (20-30 cm). It was turned during
kilning, by hand in the early days, or later on by mechanical turners. The malt
was on the kiln for three or four days.
It was a very anxious business. It was not until the sprouted grains had been heated, dried in the kiln and the malt safely stored, could the workmen relax.
The dried product is malt, of an aromatic smell and of a sweet taste. The shoots
and the roots named Culms can be used for the extraction of their vitamin B; in
pre vitamin days, they were a great favourite with the victorian gardener for
the dressing of a fine lawn, a favourite food of the earthworm.
Photographs are not necessarily taken at Bures.
The soluble malt sugar, is dissolved out in hot water. When this "sweet wort" has been run off and cooled, suitable yeast is added which proceeds to convert the malt sugar into alcohol and carbonic acid gas.
When the yeast has been removed at a suitable stage, the resulting liquid is Ale, the favourite drink of our eighteenth century ancestors, who preferred to drink it sweet and strong. The addition of hops to this brew, produces beer. The more malt sugar there is in the sweet wort the sweeter the ale; fermentation by yeast taken to its limit removes all the sugar.
Malt can be produced from any cereal grain whose starch can be converted into sugar as the young plant germinates, and barley is by far the most suitable grain for the making of beer. Malt can be used for the making of drinks other than beer; the details vary, but the basic principle has been described.
The grains of malting quality barley must contain a generous quantity of starch for conversion into malt sugar, yet must not contain too much nitrogen (which produces a cloudy beer which cannot be cleared)
In 1757 Edward Lisle wrote about the malt house on his farm where "he steeped as much barley as the floor would carry, which was four quarters at a wetting". In Edward Lisle's day, that operation meant a considerable amount of physical exertion in carrying sacks of barley to the malting floor, steeping it in water, and later spreading the soaked grain out on the floor. As it sprouted the grain had to be turned and aerated, the temperature regulated by controlling the draughts of air coming in the slatted windows and keeping a close watch at all times.
1851 Maltings of Bures was the last to operate in the village. It was closed down
on July 10th 1981.
was transferred to Sudbury. located on the existing Waitrose Supermarket site.
This was an enormous size, stretching from the (now) Waitrose site along to the
In the nineteenth century, Bures was a very busy, thriving industrial village, farming being by far and away the commonest occupation of its inhabitants. Ancillary to its farming interests came the blacksmiths and wheelwrights and many others including tanning and malting.
entry for John Garrad in the 1851 Census reads: 28 men employed in malting, 23
men employed in farming, 8 men employed in brickmaking, & 9 men employed in
tanning. Some of John Garrad's men must have lived outside Bures, being recorded
elsewhere in the census; he was not the only employer of men working in Bures
in the malting industry, and the tannery after 1851 was leased out to other employers.
of historical paper by Dr K Brown (Dec)
Press Cutting taken from Bury &
There was an inquest at the Queens
Head Hotel at Bures on the body of William Eary aged 63 years, a groom
employed by Mr James Dalton a merchant and malster of Bures St Mary. On
Saturday evening deceased was feeding a mare belonging to his master when
it kicked him in the body. The animal was vicious and the deceased, was
the man best able to manage it.