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History

The history of the Windmill at Windmill Hill

Recent News:
Sarah Beeny, and her ancestor’s one-time ownership of the Windmill Hill Windmill can be seen on this blog http://roystockdillgenealogy.com/sarah-beeny/

Following the demolition of a windmill on this site, what is known today as Windmill Hill Windmill was erected c1814. The ancient village of Windmill Hill includes some of the highest ground for miles around and is ideal for a windmill location overlooking Pevensey Levels and the English Channel to the south, the general direction of the prevailing wind.  The Post Mill was built to a traditional Sussex design with the trestle enclosed by a brick Roundhouse and complete with Tail-pole winding and powered by four Patent Sweeps. In the mid-1850’s, to overcome some local wind flow restrictions the trestle was raised on brick piers, with the Roundhouse height increased to suit, and in so doing it has now become one of the highest and physically largest Post Mills in the country.

Old photo 1WMH3.1

The Windmill at Windmill hill around 1890

The windmill machinery included one pair of French Burr stones and one pair of Derbyshire Peak stones and was worked in this form as a corn mill. In 1876 a mechanical refinement in the form of the patent Hammond Sweep Governor was installed to provide a constant speed windmill.

 

However by 1894 part of the wooden structure in the buck was found to be rotten so to avoid expensive repairs the owner had the sweeps removed and in order to continue milling the Peak Stones were moved out of the buck to the trestle floor below to be powered by a newly installed coal-fired steam engine.

Nevertheless by the start of WW1 the mill had ceased working and, although in future years it changed hands a number of times, little work was done on the maintenance of the mill and it gradually slipped into a state of severe disrepair so much so that by 1993 it was considered necessary to install steel supports to prevent the entire buck falling over.


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Full view of the mill as it was in 1970

At about this time the windmill and surrounding property changed hands and by 1996 the new owner had the foresight to put in place the formation of a Charitable Trust to take over ownership of the windmill. This arrangement made it possible to attract suitable funding to initiate the work required to restore this Grade II* listed building and 2003 saw the start of the restoration of the structure of the windmill. This work was completed within three years.