GONE WITH THE WIND

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WINDMILLS, AND THOSE AROUND TRING

Gone with the wind


THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

IN MEMORY OF THE

MILLWRIGHTS AND MILLERS

WHO BUILT AND OPERATED THESE

POWERHOUSES OF THE PAST,

AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE SINCE

TOILED TO RESTORE THE FEW THAT REMAIN.


Windmill Hill is the only clue that Waddesdon once had a windmill.

――――♦――――


FOREWORD
 

Fascination with windmills has led to the publication of many books on the subject.  Some concentrate on their design, equipment and machinery; others on their history; and some have laid stress in words and pictures to their supposedly ‘romantic’ side.  While one would not argue that a windmill standing on a distant rural skyline, its slowly-revolving sails glinting in the sunlight must have appeared romantic, any romance in the life of the miller is not borne out by the facts; his was taxing and sometimes dangerous work, as well as being a business prone to the vagaries of the weather and the commodity market.

Windmilling was to suffer a rapid decline from the mid 19th century as more modern production methods took over.  Fortunately, some windmills survived into the preservation era, in a few cases being restored to working condition by dedicated enthusiasts, while others became static exhibits or private dwellings.

This book attempts to touch on all the aspects of the subject, both real and imagined, although that was not the original plan.  The idea first arose from an interest in local history and the simple wish to place on record the windmills in and around the town of Tring in Hertfordshire.  But it soon became apparent that certain peripheral and technical explanations were needed in order to help the uninformed reader understand the subject more fully.  Thus, the original idea grew until eventually it covered most facets of windmilling, including a section on literary allusions to windmills.

Books of this sort always rely heavily on what has been written before by others more versed in the subject.  This is particularly so with windmills, for of those that remain, very few are in working order.  Our thanks therefore go to those writers whose research has paved the way, and especially to Stanley Freese (1902-72), a millwright and author who wrote much about the subject during the 1930’s and beyond, when more old windmills were standing ― although often in derelict condition ― and when their heyday was still within living memory.

The authors stress that neither is a professed expert on windmills, nor on any aspect of grain milling past or present.  Thus, we hope that readers will forgive any errors which, despite careful checking and review, have crept into the text.

Ian Petticrew and Wendy Austin.

Tring, 2010.

――――♦――――

When a windmill is at rest, its stone floor is an ideal
place for a little quiet contemplation.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


We take this opportunity to thank the many individuals who gave their time, reviewed our text, supplied information and lent photographs: especially Michael Bass, Catherine Bushell, Sandra Costello, Tom Derbyshire, Mary and Michelle Evans, Jill Fowler, Liz Griffin, Diane and Stewart Ivory, Terry and Jill Jenkins, Kate and Peter Hoskins, Linda McGhee, Peter Keeley, Paul Messenger, Heather Pratt, Ann Reed, Keith Russell, Pete Mayne, and Alasdair Simpson.

We are also grateful to the staff at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Local Studies who, as always, have been patient and helpful over our enquiries whilst researching this book, and to The Hertfordshire Record Office, Cholesbury & St Leonards Local History Society, and Pitstone Local History Society.


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