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Rolvenden Windmill
Rolvenden, Kent, UK
Rolvenden Windmill
associated engineer
Not known
date  after 1736
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  TQ837316
photo  Harry E.M. Eagles
Rolvenden Windmill is built on a mill mound that probably belonged to a previous mill, as the current building is known to have replaced an earlier mill, some time after 1736. The mill has a rare type of brake, with wood below and iron above the centreline.
A mill is shown here on a map dating from 1596 but not on maps of 1680 or 1736. Curiously, one is shown on a map of 1719. The earliest date marked on the building is 1772. Other inscriptions read "EW & H Allen 1828" and "E Witt".
This is a restored ‘turret’ post mill — that is, it has a roundhouse. There are two pairs of stones carried in 'head' and 'tail' configuration, one with a wooden stone nut and the other in iron. The wooden windshaft has mortises to take a compass arm wheel and may have been reversed at some period.
Rolvendon was last wind worked in about 1882. Two sails were removed in 1885. The timber roundhouse was pulled down for firewood during World War I and the ladder collapsed in 1917.
Some repairs were made in the 1930s but restoration was not begun until 1956, when millwright R. Thompson & Son of Alford carried out some work under the supervision of Rex Wailes.
The internal framework of the mill and its black weatherboarding were renewed. New white painted frames for four common anticlockwise sweeps were installed and a new single storey brick roundhouse added. The ladder was not replaced, though the mill has a tailpole. The very tall slender buck (body) has elegant curved petticoats, and a lightning conductor fitted to its curved gabled roof.
The work was financed by Mr & Mrs H.A. Barham as a memorial to their son who was killed in a car crash at the age of 18. There is a memorial stone laid into the roundhouse. The mill is privately owned.
Research: PD
"England's Vanishing Windmills" by A.E.P. Shillingford, Godfrey Cave Associates Ltd, London, 1979
"The Windmills of Kent" by J. West, Skilton & Shaw, London, 1973, 1979
reference sources   WofEWGE

Rolvenden Windmill