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Developments at Cann Mills

Author: Mark Berry

Michael Stoate, a fifth-generation miller milling at a 1000 year old mill site, recently had a difficult decision to make, concerning the quirky windmill his father had constructed in 1970 on the flat roof of the family watermill at Cann, Dorset.The reduced scale windmill, to a Portuguese design, had deteriorated, with the tower developing structural cracks caused by the vibration of the machinery, and the cap and sail poles needed replacing. Its location, in a valley, was far from the ideal location for a windmill, so it was more of a hobby than a serious source of power to the business, and its presence on the flat roof compounded many of the problems that flat roofs often have.

Thus with a great deal of regret he took the decision to dismantle the windmill, and in its place to build an apex roof to ensure a watertight mill below, housing the successful artisan business which is producing stoneground flour in the traditional way utilising the power from the river Sturkel.

The mechanism of the windmill has been retained on site, and efforts are underway to see if a new home can be found to give this a new lease of life. This windmill is unique – not only for its design, but also because the original construction documents are still available, since they have been deposited with the Mills Archive. If anyone knows of a suitable new home for the windmill, then please get in touch.