Lacey Green Windmill
Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire
circa 1650 (Chesham)
ICE reference number
photo J. Brian Powell
Now restored, this is the oldest surviving smock mill in the country. It was originally built at Chesham around 1650, when it was luffed by wheel and chain. It was moved to Lacey Green in 1821 by order of the Duke of Buckingham.
The building consists of a three storey octagonal smock, or fixed timber tower. The cap on which the sails are mounted is in this case iron-sheeted and boat-shaped. After its move to Lacey Green, an eight-blade fantail was fitted, which meant the wheel and chain were not needed. However, the fantail collapsed on Boxing Day 1927, so the mill was once again luffed (turned towards the wind) by wheel and chain.
Most of the massive machinery has survived, including rather rare examples of timber gearing of compass arm construction, and two pairs of 1.2m overdrift stones on the first floor. The wooden large compass arm brake-wheel is 2.95m in diameter and has six arms. The 1.8m Great Spur Wheel with six compass arms and 78 teeth, and the 1.4m wallower are also in wood — with oak spokes, elm ribs, and beech cogs and teeth — as are the 635mm diameter windshaft and the 356mm octagonal main shaft. Wooden stone nuts drive the two pairs of stones.
The known millers were John Steel (1847), Charles Woods (1854), John Cheshire (1863-87), Mrs Ann Cheshire (1891), George Cheshire (1895-1907) and the last miller was G.A .Cheshire (1911-5), whose family also ran the mill at nearby Loosley Green.
Work ceased in 1915 and the mill was then used as a weekend cottage. Dilapidated by the 1930s, attempts at preservation failed in 1935-6. The mill was given to the National Trust in 1937. It was used as a look-out point by the Home Guard during World War II, then as a farm store. Complete restoration was carried out by Christopher Wallis and the Chiltern Society in 1971-3, by which time it was decayed and 600mm out of plumb.
The mill used to have two common and two spring or patent anticlockwise sails but the common sails fell off in about 1933 and it now has four white-pa????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Lacey Green Windmill
Photos taken in this area
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