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Friston Mill
Friston, Suffolk
Friston Mill
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1811 - 1812
era  Georgian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  TM409600
photo  Paul Dunkerley
At 15.5m to the ridge of its curved gabled roof, Friston Mill is the tallest post mill still standing in Britain. It was only ever exceeded in height by the mills at Honington and Thorndon and bears witness to the massive proportions to which some East Suffolk mills were built.
Friston Mill is a turret post mill. The roundhouse that gives its turret epithet is two storeys high and made of red brick. There are three iron reinforcing hoops around it, one above entry door height and two near the eaves. A second loading door opens at first floor level.
It is also a 'two head and one tail' mill, with three pairs of stones — two in the head and one in the tail underdriven by a tail-wheel, though the mill later had an extra pair of stones and an oat crusher in the Mill House driven by a Garrett portable steam engine. The head stone governors were mounted on the stone spindles, the tail stone governor was driven from the upright shaft via a belt. The mill ground one ton per hour and employed three millers when working, and had a jog-scry (sifting device).
There were originally four anticlockwise sails and a six-blade fan carriage of inspiring proportions at the end of the tailpole on wheels. The poll end remains, though no fantail. The huge tail ladder had 40 steps. The slender white painted buck (the body of the mill above the roundhouse) is clad in horizontal weatherboarding. The rear gable has a Gothic window (a rarity) aligned over the curved porch roof.
The mill was erected around 1811-12, when the land was bought by Joseph Collings. It is reputed to have been moved from the village of California near Woodbridge by John Collins of Melton. It also bears the date "1855" (or "1835"?). Purchased by Joshua Reynolds in 1837. it was then worked by Robert Reynolds, later by John, and then Joshua, who built the Mill House in about 1872. His nephew Caleb Reynolds Wright ran the mill from 1883 until 1924.
The structure was raised in height in 1874. Two of the sails were destroyed in a storm in 1875. Two sails were removed in 1943 and the mill worked on using the remaining two until 1956. Work carried on after that for a further eight years using a diesel engine.
Demolition permission was granted in 1965, as the mill had become unsafe, but the work wasn't carried out. Local fundraising saved the building from removal to a museum and repairs were made in 1971, when it was again sold. Further repairs were made but the stones had been removed by 1979.
Research: PD
bibliography
"Suffolk Windmills" by B. Flint
The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1979
"Southwold and Aldeburgh in Old Photographs" by H. Phelps
Alan Litton, 1997
reference sources   WofEWGE
Location

Friston Mill