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Holman Bros., Millwrights of Canterbury: A history

New Mill, Northbourne

New Mill, Northbourne
New Mill, Northbourne. Photo: Amos and Amos, Dover

Built in 1848 by J.J. & T.R. Holman.

Stands on New Mill farm.

Original draft estimate:

Canterbury April 1848

Memorandum of Agreement made this day between John Holman of the City of Canterbury, Millwright, & Richard Fuller of the Parish of Northbourne, Miller.

For erecting a Windmill at a certain Place in the Parish of Northbourne, & to be built to the following Particulars.

19ft Diameter at Bottom 9ft 4in the Curb, & of Sufficient height to admit of 33ft sweeps. To have a Fantail, Oak Cills 9in by 4in & the whole of the timber to be Memel or Red Pine & the same dimensions of the Margate & Staple Mills, Boarded to 3 in guage, the floors 1in thick & tongued together. Stone floor 11/4 in thick.

1 Pair French Stones 4 ft Diameter. 1 Pair Peak 4ft 2in Diameter, Flour Machine 16in Cylinder 5 sheets long & Jumper. Cast Iron Upright Shaft Bridge Trees & stone Boxes, Cast Iron Spur Wheel the same pattern as the one on Staple & Margate. To stand on Brickwork 10 ft in height 14ins thick.The first floor about 2ft 6in from the ground with a Porch. To have a stage with oak post & joists & fir bottom.

All the materials to be new with the exception of the windshaft, Brake Wheel, & Wallower. 1 oak midling & 2 sweeps. The mill to be tarred twice over & the whole to be completed in a substantial & workmanlike manner for the sum of Six Hundred Pounds, with the exception of the straps & ropes & such other articles as are considered the Tenants property & the said John Holman doth engage to have the 2 pairs of stones ready to work by the 11th day of October next & the whole completed in one month from that date or forfeit £1 per week until it is & the said Richard Fuller doth agree to pay unto John Holman, the half of the money immediately the body of the mill is raised & begun the weather boarding & the remainder within one month after the mill finished is completed.

Dated this 30th day of June 1848

Signed John Holman

Richard Fuller

Witness Thomas Mackney


Estimate for new mill top, curb at Northbourne mill belonging to Sir Walter James Bart comprising 1 new curb 13 ft 6 in diameter fitted in 2 thicknesses of best well-seasoned elm timber, strongly bolted together with screw bolts & cast iron ring bolted on ditto, in segments with iron teeth & stout iron band round inside of ditto,

1 new mill top fitted with well-seasoned English oak timber with side strakes? not less than 12″ X 6″ & all other timbers in proportion. Stout under trance? to ditto, for carrying trucks, all necessary screws & bolts to ditto, the whole of fan tackle timber to be replaced with new, where found faulty, 1 new cast iron worm with xxx shaft & bearings to ditto, the whole of the present wheels in cap to be put in good repair or replaced with new where required, 1 new cast carriage & brass bored and fitted to neck of wind shaft, 1 new carriage & brass to tail of ditto, the top of mill to be boarded with dry yellow battens, to 31/2″ gauge, & to have 2 coats of Stockholm tar.

The sweeps & midlings to be taken down, as also the wind shaft & brake wheel & replaced in the new cap.

The whole of the above work to be fitted, & fixed in a substantial & workmanlike manner for the sum of one hundred & forty nine pounds ten shillings, one half to be paid when the weather boarding is begun, & the remaining half four months after completion.

Thos. R Holman Millwright, Canterbury April 11th 1868

No date – possibly late 1860s

For Mr Fuller. Sweep rod. Whole length 32 feet. 7in x 5in at heel. 8 x 7 1/4 at midling end. 4in x 4in at point. 10 bars 2 1/4in wide. Midling end 12ft from point of sweep rod.

New Mill, Northbourne
New Mill, Northbourne. Photo: Rex Wailes


Owned by Thomas M. Fuller.


Apr 19th. 1 7hp Robey fixed engine and locomotive boiler combined, No 9414 with coal burning firebox, set of spanners, stoking tools, all necessary fittings and mountings complete £160-0-0

Apr 22nd. Getting engine to mill, fixing do. on brickwork etc as agreed £10-0-0. 1 70 gallon No 3 quality galvanised iron tank and connecting pipes to do. £2-0-0.

Sep 20th. 2 doz lifts 8/-. 2 doz flat cleats drilled 9/-. 1 doz nipples 4/-. 3 doz 1 1/2in X 3/8in coach screws 2/3. 1 – 1/2in round file 1/6.

Sep 24th. Millwright 50 hours to mill £1-17-6. Paid rail 1/10.

Credit 4 days board to H.B.H. 6/-


Apr 2nd. 1 – 4ft 2in diameter Peak runner stone faced rounded hooped and eye cut out £6-5-0. Loading up do. at shop and blocking for do.  3s d.

Jul 15th Millwright 41 hours to mill £1.10s 9d Paid rail 3s 5d.


Jan 27th. 1x 4ft dia Peak stone faced rounded hooped and eye cut out. £5-15-0. Loading and blocking 2/6. Carriage to mill 12/0.

May 5th 1 prepared pitch pine midling 41ft long 12in X 12in £7-10-0. 2 prepared spring backs 12/0. 1 doz back stays 6/0. 6ft fir 9in X 3in 2/6. 2 gripe couplings for spring backs 6/0. Carriage of tackle to mill 12/6. 7lbs assorted nails 2/4.

May 11th. Millwright 72 hours to mill £2-11-0. Son 57 hours £2-0-4. Apprentice 21 hours 7/0. Paid rail fares 7/0.


Mar 30th: Fitting stone nut on mandril and new gearing to do. with 6 cogs and pins to do. £1.4s 0d.


Apr 5th. Making a model and a new C.I. mortise pinion 1ft 9ins diameter geared with 23 cogs to do. 4iins wide and bored and keyed £4.19s 0d.

New 41’ 6” inner midling for Mr. Fuller


Feb 10th. A new pair of 4ft 2ins diameter Peak stones faced hooped and dressed £13.10s 0d. A new set of driving gear complete consisting of bridge tree and lighter irons, extra-long spindle, stone box, cross bar, driving box and damsel, pair of bevel gears with wood and iron teeth pitched and trimmed. 4 holding down bolts for do. £19.10s 0d. A new set of tuns with horsing hopper, shoe etc., complete £4.8s 6d. A new set of 2in curbing 11/6. A stout pitch pine frame for carrying stones and C.I ring fitted with 3 – 1 1/8in raising screws and nuts £4.10s 0d.


Jul 1st. 1 – 4ft 2in Peak stone faced and rounded and eye cut out £6-5-0. Loading do. and blocking for same 6s 0d.


Aug 12th A new pitch pine midling prepared and painted 3 coats £8-0-0 Loading and carry to mill 14s 0.d

Aug 28th 18 back stays prepared and painted 12s 0d.


Oct 11th. A new stout wrought iron chimney 9ft long with bell top to do. complete £3.


Jan 28th. Repairs to machine tackle viz turning up bearings of upright shaft. A new pair of G.M. bearings fitted in block and bored for do. New gearing bevel wheel with 37 cogs and keys to do. £3.18s 0d.


Owner George Warne Franks / Thomas Mackney Fuller.


Smoke box for Robey engine. 4′ 2″ Peak stone for Mr Fuller.

Brake wheel gears

1902 – 1933

Owned by Ernest M. Fuller.

16 July 1902

Measure for new pair sweeps to replace old ones. Repair other pair. New set striking gear complete for Mr. Franks.


2 new sweeps. Striking gear. Uplings.


Brake wheel – Holman’s

Mill with house and cottage and 9 acres land. Wilks asking £1100, Fuller offering £800, HH suggesting £900


For Fuller. No 3 sweep broken at midling end. Want new framed sweep about 1/3rd new shutters. All new lifts, cheeks and nipples. No 2 sweep wants heel spliced, few new bars and shutters, all new lifts and cheeks. No 1 sweep about same as no. 2 but no splice. No 4 sweep about as bad as no.1. Striking tackle is clean worn out. All sweeps want painting 2 coats

Cills cant posts 8” X 9” 27’ long.


Bill headed Northbourne New Mill, Eastry S.O.

March 1st 1911
Mr. H. Holman
from E.M. Fuller
1/2 sack best standard flour 15s 6d
Paid – signed H.J. Horton 1.3.11


July. Whirlwind blew off fan and two sweeps.

Cills. Posts. 42′ midling. Shutters

3 pairs stones but power from 2 sweeps can only drive 2 at a time. Austin tractor provides power in calm winds.


Inner bearing. Cill. Posts.




Repair cap and midling for Mr Fuller.


New sweeps 36’ long 6’ 2” wide at point.




Worked by wind into 1930s then by electric motor to late 1950s.


Run by R.J. Fuller.


Last verse of a poem published in the Kent County Journal:

… That’s Bettshanger there upon our right,
where they dig local coal by day and night,
flap, flap, flapperty over the hill,
with the two sweeps missing is Northbourne mill.


Mr. J. Court Miller 5.8.35.


Machinery and remaining 2 sweeps removed.


East Kent Mercury 21st February 1974:

The mill has been in the hands of the Fuller family for four generations and is the last survivor of a trio of windmills around Northbourne. Now Northbourne Mill has been declared unsafe. The cost of its repair is prohibitive so it will be demolished shortly. A shame – but the owners are left with no alternative.


Empty and derelict no cap or sails, though windshaft remains.




Owner Paul Harrison.