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Sarre Windmill
off A253, east of Sarre, Kent, UK
Sarre Windmill
associated engineer
John Holman of Canterbury (millwright)
date  1820
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Windmill  |  reference  TR258651
ICE reference number  HEW 2065
photo  donation
A complete smock mill, re-built in 1820 by John Holman of Canterbury. For the floor beams, he used some timbers from the sweeps (sails) of the previous mill on the same site, which had been built by his uncle, John Holman of Sarre.
A smock mill has a fixed timber tower, in this case sitting on a one and a half storey brick base, and a moveable cap with the sweeps attached. Sarre's tower is four and a half stories high. When built it had a Kentish wagon cap, four patent white anitclockwise double shuttered sweeps, a six-blade fantail and an auxiliary gas engine. The lower part of the brick base houses a cellar that connects to the engine house.
The mill has a wooden brake-wheel with iron cogs mounted on a cast iron windshaft, a small wooden wallower with iron cogs, and a timber upright shaft. The cap is centered by five truck wheels. There are two pairs of overdrift stones, one with a metal band inscribed "T. Middleton, Millwright, 5 Stoney Lane, Tooley St. London", both driven from an iron Great Spur Wheel, and a roller mill by Henry Banford & Sons dated 1902.
The first miller was John Holman of Sarre, followed by his son Thomas Holman who died in 1867. His initials are on some of the base bricks, which also bear the date 1820. The mill was raised by some 2.75m in 1854 by Thomas Richard Holman of Canterbury by the insertion of extra brick courses in the base. G. Steddy & Sons ran the mill at the end of the 19th century, then Hogbens. A steam engine was introduced in 1861, replaced by a gas engine in 1907.
The last of the Holman family ran the mill until 1914. Wind working ceased 1920-2, when the four common sweeps that were on the mill at the time were sold to Union Mill, Cranbrook, and the fantail also removed. Milling was carried out using the gas engine until around 1940.
The black tarred tower then stood idle for many years. It was used as an observation tower in World War II. In 1958, the cap was removed and a tin roof added the brake-wheel was cut to accommodate the lower roof level.
Malcolm Hobbs and son Robert restored the mill to working order in 1985-91. New sweeps were fitted, a six-blade fantail added and the site opened to the public. It remains open and visitors can buy flour milled on site.
Research: PD
"England's Vanishing Windmills" by A.E.P. Shillingford, Godfrey Cave Associates Ltd, London, 1979
"The Holmans of Canterbury" by S. Fielding, P. McFarlane, M. Steed, S. Tyler and M. Wood, Oaten Hill & District Society Local History Group, 1992
reference sources   WofEWGE

Sarre Windmill