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Stevington Windmill
Stevington, Bedfordshire
Stevington Windmill
associated engineer
Not known
date  1770
era  Georgian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  SP990528
ICE reference number  HEW 2048
photo  J. Brian Powell
Possibly the finest turret post mill and single storey roundhouse to survive World War II. It was built in 1770 as an open trestle mill for Richard Pool, a baker.
The construction of the roundhouse around the mill's open trestle marks the change to a turret-type mill. It's possible that A.M. Sims was the millwright, since "AM SIMS" and "1770" are inscribed on the crosstrees, along with "1783", "H" and "1792".
Notable features of the structure are the red mansard (steep at the bottom, shallower at the top) roof and the unusually prominent flared petticoat at the front and sides of the buck (body), which is clad in tarred weatherboard. The roundhouse is 7m in diameter and made of local limestone with a tiled roof.
The mill has a steep rear ladder and a long tailpole with a talthur (small beam for hooking the tailpole to the ladder). The tailpole is fitted with yokes against which the miller pushed to turn the buck to let the sails catch the wind.
The mill's tentering gear and governors for its single pair of overdrift stones are on the lower floor. The 1.4m stones are on the upper floor at the front and are directly driven from the brake-wheel via a stone nut — a very old fashioned arrangement that dates back to the first windmills in England.
The mill was very dilapidated when restoration began in 1921, commemorated by an inscription "Rebuilt 1921 P. Keech". The stones were replaced by Messrs Course of Bedford using a single pair from Milton Ernest, and the tentering gear was replaced too.
Stevington Mill worked commercially until around 1936-8. It may have been the last working mill with four common clockwise sails. These were some 18m across, later reduced to 16.5m.
The mill was bought by Bedfordshire County Council in 1951. One beam was found to be in need of attention and repaired by Messrs Clayton & Son of Harrold. The sails were replaced by E. Hole & Son of Burgess Hill in 1958, and further repairs to these were carried out in 1972.
Research: PD
bibliography
"Windmills in Bedfordshire" by A.C. Smith
Stevenage Museum Publications, 1975
"The Windmills of Bedfordshire: Past and Present" by J.S. Elliott
Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Publications, Vol 14, 1931
reference sources   WGE
Location

Stevington Windmill