Author: Rob Cumming
I have for a while been researching the windmills of Westerham in Kent, as part of a much larger study of sites in NW Kent. This is due in part to Coles-Finch making lots of errors over this way. However while doing this, I do appreciate what a massive task he faced. I’m struggling too, and wondered if any of your readers could have any input into this.In Westerham, I have three sites:
i) at Farley Common, about a mile W of the church. Appears on maps up to 1825, and fails to make the tithe map, so presumably gone by about 1840. No further information.
ii) at the end of French Street, Hosey Hill. This is marked on maps as late as the 1870’s. Coles Finch writes that it stood in a clearing, which is still recognisable, but not accessible as it is laid with live cables (a sign warns). No further information.
iii) The enigma of all NW Kent mill sites. Newlands Mill at Crockham Hill. Not marked on any maps, but an insurance policy dated 1792 values it at £1000. A sale notice of 1795, which I apologise for putting up here in full, is as follows:
Kentish Gazette 26/5/1795:-
“to be sold by auction, a freehold newly erected corn mill called Newland Mill, situated upon the declivity of Cockam Hill. The mill contains three pairs of stones, two of them French, the other peak and there is room for a fourth pair. The French are supposed capable of grinding and dressing more than four hundred loads a year. All the stones have regulators by which means one man is enabled to conduct the whole business of grinding and dressing at the same time.
And oil cake being in great demand in that neighbourhood, where none is to be had nearer than from London; a further advantage is offered, as it might at an easy expense be converted into an exceedingly good oil and flour mill conjointly.
To be viewed by applying to G.W. Lewis, Westerham, or on the premises where printed particulars may be had. Also of Mr Barrett, millwright, Sevenoaks.”
A plan in the Kent Archives Office dated 1806-1809, marks this as ‘Horizontal Mill’, believe it or not, which may explain it failing to be shown on maps. I’m aware of Captain Hooper’s mills, but is this an ultra-rare instance, if true?
Does anyone know any more?, or indeed anything I haven’t uncovered on windmills in this corner of Kent?