Great Gransden Windmill
Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire
photo Peter Cross-Rudkin
Great Gransden Windmill is an ‘open trestle’ post mill set on low piers. It dates from some time prior to 1694. Its date has been reported as 1612 by one author but this possibly refers to a predecessor on the same site.
The mill is a 'head and tail' mill with good machinery, including two pairs of stones directly overdriven using stone nuts with 11 and 18 cogs, and with unusual tail lag governors in wrought iron with lead weights and three arms on curved horns. The brake-wheel used to have two rows of staggered applewood cogs but one row has been removed. There is an iron tail-wheel. A bolter (a type of flour dressing machine) is located on the first floor. The black tarred horizontally weatherboarded buck (body) has an ogee roof and a rear extension, a tailpole and rear ladder.
It was last worked in around 1890, when it had two common and two spring sails, which it retained until at least 1914, though it was last wind worked in 1911. The mill was derelict by 1925, and was later bought by Wallis Mills, who waterproofed the body. It was owned by Queen Marie and her son, King Peter of Yugoslavia, who lived in the mill house during World War II. The mill was given to the County Council in 1950.
By the 1970s, the sails had long gone but the stocks remained. The buck was twisted and had to be supported with scaffolding. Restoration took place 1982-4. Two common and two patent clockwise sails were installed.
The mill is in private ownership.
"Windmills in Cambridgeshire" by A.C. Smith
Stevenage Museum Publications, 1975