GONE WITH THE WIND

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CHAPTER XVI.


LOCAL WINDMILLS TO VISIT
 
PITSTONE POST MILL


Website . . . . http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/pitstone-windmill/visitor-information/
Location: near to the junction of the B488 and B489
OS Sheet 165; SP 945 157

Pitstone mill is described in Chapter 6.  Although in mechanical working order, the mill is now a static exhibit managed by the National Trust.  It may be approached and viewed from the outside at any time, but public openings are generally on Sunday and Bank Holiday afternoons during the summer months.


 
BRILL POST MILL


Website . . . . http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/country-parks/green-spaces/brill-windmill/
Location: about ½ mile N.W. of the town centre
OS Sheet 165; SP 652 142

A 17th century post mill, similar in style and vintage to that at Pitstone and possibly by the same millwright.  The windmill stands on open ground at the end of Windmill Street, its elevated situation giving a fine view of the surrounding countryside.  It may be approached and viewed from the outside at any time, but public openings are generally on Sunday afternoons during the summer months.


 
LACEY GREEN SMOCK MILL


Website . . . . http://www.laceygreenwindmill.org.uk/
Location: behind ‘The Whip’ public house;
OS Sheet 165; SP 819 008

Lacey Green smock mill lies about two miles south-east of Princes Risborough.  It is believed to date from 1650, making it Britain’s oldest smock mill.  Judging by old photographs, the mill was in a ruinous and derelict condition in 1970, but has since been restored, quite miraculously, by a dedicated team of windmill preservationists.  The windmill is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, from May to September, and operates on some occasions.


 
QUAINTON TOWER MILL


Website . . . . http://philipwarnerpw.wix.com/quaintonwindmill#!your-visit/ccdv
Location: off Upper Street, N. of town centre;
OS Sheet 165; SP 746 202

Also known as Banner Mill, this 6-storey, brick-built tower mill dates from 1832. It remained in operation as a windmill until 1881 when steam replaced wind power; milling had ceased altogether by 1900. Under the tender care of the Quainton Windmill Society, the derelict mill was restored over a period of 23 years, returning to full operation in 1997. The windmill, which overlooks the picturesque village green, is open on Sunday mornings throughout the year and operates when wind conditions are favourable. The George and Dragon public house (on the Green) serves food, while the nearby Quainton Railway Centre is another place of interest worth a visit. Please confirm opening times before visiting.


 
CHINNOR POST MILL


Website . . . . http://chinnor-windmill.blogspot.co.uk/
Location: in Mill Lane (junction B4009 & B4445)
OS Sheet 165; SP 749 010

Chinnor post mill was built in 1789 and ground wheat into flour until 1923.  By 1967 she was derelict and was pulled down to make way for housing.  Fortunately, much of the structure was saved and the mill is presently being reconstructed on a site near to its original home by a dedicated team of volunteers.

The mill’s construction is unusual, it having three (rather than the usual two) cross-trees, which require six ‘quarter bars’ and brick piers.  Curved struts support a curb ring that stabilizes the bottom of the buck (superstructure).

A visit to Chinnor mill provides a valuable opportunity to see a post mill in the course of construction and to inspect the post, quarter bars and piers, which are often difficult to see clearly when enclosed in a roundhouse.  The mill can be viewed externally at any time.



Since writing the original entry for Chinnor Post Mill, there have been developments. The buck was lifted onto its post in 2011, and the steps and fantail have been rebuilt. The sails are being made professionally and will be fitted in the summer of 2014. Work continues on the mill’s machinery with the aim of producing flour.

You can see a video clip of the buck being lifted into position on YouTube.


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APPENDIX

OTHER LOCAL WINDMILLS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

EDLESBOROUGH TOWER MILL


Location about ¼ mile N.W. of Edlesborough Hill;
OS Sheet 165; SP 982 192.

Edlesborough tower mill, also known as Simmons mill after the family who owned it over many generations, is located on the eastern side of the village on the Ouzel, astride the Bucks/Beds border. A private drive leads to the mill, which is not visible from the highway. The owner believes the mill was built c.1790; the only references to it appear in A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3 (1912) . . . .


“The village is watered by numerous streams, which rise at Well Head and on the Dunstable Downs, and find their way eventually to the Ouzel, which forms the western boundary. On its banks, slightly north of Edlesborough Hill, stands Edlesborough Mill.  Steam is employed here when insufficiency of water prevents that power being utilized.  On the other side of the stream, in Buckinghamshire, is an old windmill, whose sails were blown down seventeen years ago [c.1895].”


. . . . and English Windmills Vol. II. (1932) records that . . . . “it has no sails and is derelict” (fig. 13.1).  The present owner has restored the body of the mill, which now stands in carefully tended grounds, nicely set off against the Ouzel and the landscaped millpond and mill race of its former neighbour, the watermill — a delight to see.  Today, the old windmill is spending its retirement as a holiday flat to let.


 
DOOLITTLE COMBINED WIND AND WATER MILL


Location on Doolittle Lane 1¼ miles S.E. of Eaton Bray church.
OS Sheet 165; SP 990 202.

Doolittle mill is thought to have been built between 1815 and 1825.  It is a rare example of a combined wind and water mill, the water mill being situated in the first two floors with the windmill in the brick tower above.  The windmill ceased operation in 1868 when its sails were blown off and a steam engine was then installed.  It closed in 1921.  Today, the mill is a private dwelling with some commercial premises situated in the grounds.  It can be seen from the public highway.

Local folklore has it that Doolittle mill acquired its name — a corruption of “Do Little” — because it is sited at the head of a stream and hence, in dry weather when water flow was low, the water mill was not capable of doing much work.  It was then that recourse was made to its sails and, later, to the steam engine.


Doolittle mill pre-1868.


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ADDENDA
 


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