AN ANCIENT story led to the building of a Yeadon Mill as its owner tried to recreate machinery described in the Bible.

Wesleyan preacher William Starkey wanted to power Leafield Mill using a perpetual motion device based on the “wheel within a wheel” from the book of Ezekiel.

Starkey’s doomed quest is described in the archives of Aireborough Historical Society.

The society says: “He gave a lecture in Yeadon Wesleyan Chapel in July 1868; his ideas were dismissed by engineers but he persisted.

“He built a four-storey block with no floors but platforms, this was to access an enormous wheel which would have hollow ‘S’ shaped spokes filled with iron balls which supposedly move when the wheel turned and the whole apparatus would continue to move perpetually and provide motive power.

“He died in 1879 having failed to find a manufacturer to make the giant wheel.”

The mill was finished in 1884 and taken over by James Ives. It was demolished a century later. Employees of James Ives & Co can be seen bottom right -either at Leafield Mill or Manor Mills. Photographs are courtesy of AHS.