Visitors to Hoxne see traditional steam powered threshing technique in action

PUBLISHED: 15:22 31 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:22 31 October 2015

Graham Borrill and colleagues at Corner Farm in Hoxne as a steam engine powers the farm's threshing machine

Graham Borrill and colleagues at Corner Farm in Hoxne as a steam engine powers the farm's threshing machine


It’s an old-fashioned threshing technique which has never been bettered - and also happens to look and sound fantastic.

Hoxne steam engine threshing dayHoxne steam engine threshing day

Steam-powered threshing is still seen by thatchers as the best way to create the perfect straw for their craft.

On Saturday, visitors to Corner Farm in Hoxne got a look at this historic technique in action, as thatcher and farmer Graham Burrill turned his latest harvest into prime roofing material.

The public event saw a 1920 Ruston Hornsby powering a 1948 Ransomes threshing machine, with nine men working hard to keep up.

With the pistons of the engine pumping hypnotically, wheat was placed into the top of the threshing machine into a drum, with chaff spat out the bottom and the straw churned out the back.

Mr Burrill said it is a method which has stood the test of time.

“This technique has been used for 150 years and has never been beaten. They’ve tried all sorts of other ways of doing it, but the straw is never any good for thatching.

“We usually use a tractor to power the machine, but the steam engine makes it more of an occasion,” he said.

The processed straw will be used by Mr Burrill over the next year.

The engine was provided by Jonathan Wheeler, who drove it over from South Lopham earlier in the day.

He said the engine, which belongs to the Wheeler family, was tailor-made for the process.

“This is exactly what it was made for. 95 years ago when it was built, this is what it would have been doing. and it’s still doing it just as well,” he said.

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