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Technical descriptions of English windmills


ARKLEY (now London Borough of Barnet)

Tower mill


Last worked in 1916, Arkley mill has since been maintained in good condition by successive owners, and retains a fair amount of its original machinery. The four-storey tower is tarred externally, contrasting nicely with the white cap, sails and fantail, and whitewashed internally. The present, domed cap roof is a different shape from the original, which was much less squat and almost conical in outline, though the gallery and short finial it possesses are authentic features. 

 The curb is iron. I counted twelve iron rollers more or less evenly spaced out, and six centring wheels mounted in large gunstock-shaped wooden blocks, three on each side and at right angles to one another. The sheers of the cap frame have had to be partly cut away to create room for the brakewheel to turn.  

 An iron cogwheel, on a shaft coming in from the fantail gear outside, meshes with the teeth of the rack. It is set within the rearmost of the transverse members of the cap frame, which is cut away to accommodate it in such a way that it is almost flush with the timber. A Y-wheel is provided for striking the patent sails; its spokes are braced to each other by lateral bars, giving a spider’s web (and rather nasty) appearance.

 The mill ended its working life with two common and two single-sided patent sails, which the present ones imitate though no shutters have been fitted. The wooden clasp-arm brakewheel (cogs missing), with iron brake band and wood brake is mounted on an iron windshaft which is relatively short and slender.


There are windows on the southeast and northeast sides. The stairwell and ladder into the cap are on the south.

 The brakewheel meshes with an 8-armed bevelled iron wallower. The sack hoist is missing. The upright shaft is round at the top, then octagonal, square where the wallower is mounted on it (being nicely chamfered below that point), and finally octagonal again apart from another square section on the stone floor. The square sections are chamfered where they join the octagonal ones.


The stones were underdriven. One peak bedstone remains within its hexagonal wooden tun. The hopper, shoe, horse etc are also of wood. The hopper is fed by a spout from the bin floor with a chute of sacking beneath it. It cannot be established how many pairs of stones there were in all as there is no trace of the others and nothing to indicate their former positions; the floor where they were is completely boarded over. However two of them are presumably the ones incorporated into a garden path on the property. 

 Of note is a small rectangular window, of totally different shape to the others and obviously added at a later date, the frame of which is iron and secured down by bolts. This is one of a number of alterations which seem to have been made to the mill during twentieth-century restorations. As indicated above the upright shaft exhibits another square section halfway down. This is blind, i.e. there are no mortices indicating the former attachment of a gearwheel, and appears to be purely ornamental.


There are windows on the east and west sides. On the southeast is a loading door which could at one point be accessed by a ladder from ground level. The latter is another feature put in during renovations in the modern period.

 The 8-armed great spur wheel is of iron mortice type. The cogs remain in place; one or two are badly rotted. One iron stone nut remains with jack ring, and one set of governors. The great spur wheel is supported by an arrangement of timbers which incorporates the tentering gear, bridge tree, brayer etc. for one set of stones. That for the other pairs is missing. The steelyard has been put back in the wrong position; it goes to the glut box of the upright shaft instead of the bridgetree.

 The lower bearing of the upright shaft is carried by a transverse beam, in turn supported by a vertical post coming up from the ground floor, between two horizontal members one of which bears the nameplate of Thomas B Hunt, millwrights of Soham in Cambridgeshire, suggesting the arrangement dates from repairs they carried out in the 1930s after the mill’s working life had ended. The ends of the horizontal members are badly rotted, and in some places virtually non-existent, where they meet the wall.

 On the south-eastern side between two vertical posts is a horizontal spindle carrying three solid wooden bollards, of increasing diameter going from left to right and with the smallest badly rotted. The arrangement was presumably part of the sack hoist and/or auxiliary drive mechanism.

 Empty mortises in the brickwork suggest the floor level was altered at some point. 


This is empty except for the vertical post which supports the bridge beam on the floor above. There is a window on the northeast side.

Visit by Guy Blythman 6th April 2004, November 2017


Post mill, standing today


Cromer post mill stands on a slight artificial mound, which suggests a previous windmill on the site although there is no evidence of one. In 1998 a dendrochronological test indicated the main post was felled in 1678 and a vertical timber in the tail of the buck is dated 1681. The lower crosstree was replaced between 1840 and 1870.(1) In fact there is some evidence that the mill was rebuilt after being blown down in the 1860s; a local inhabitant recollected having seen it “Lying, a shattered mass of timber, across the road”(2). It may have been then that the ladder-mounted fantail was fitted. The mill ceased work around 1926 and the sails were subsequently removed. Restoration, involving the fitting of skeleton sails and fan, was carried out in 1966 under the aegis of the Hertfordshire Buildings Preservation Trust who had acquired the mill, with further work, including the strengthening of the side girts with steel plates,  being undertaken in 1979 after many of the timbers were found to be infested with death-watch beetle. The mill has now been returned to something like working order, with a half-complement of shutters in the sails. There has been some replacement of original components, such as the meal beam. The striking gear has been remade with new components. Cromer mill is now the only complete windmill remaining in Hertfordshire after the sad demise of Little Hadham smock mill.

 The buck measures 19ft 2” long(3), 11ft 3” wide(4) and is 26ft tall(5), the overall height of the mill being 38ft 6”(6). The roof is of the rounded mansard type, with ogee gables at front and rear. During the mill’s working life it appears to have been tarred, as was the corrugated iron sheeting applied to the breast (7); the current restoration attempts to reproduce this colour scheme, with the breast painted black and the sides and tail of the buck white. The main post, weighing approximately 1.42 tonnes, is 18ft 9” high and is square (22”) at the base(8) and 20” inside the buck(9) with chamfered corners. Three of the quarterbars were reinforced in the early twentieth century using an old stock and two whips, which retain traces of lead paint in the sailbar mortices(10). The piers are about 5ft high(11), and the whole is enclosed within an octagonal red brick roundhouse. 

 In his guide to the mill Bonwick gives an account of the fantail mechanism and its working. “The ladder wheels run on a gravel track 40 ft 3” diameter. The 8-bladed fantail, 12ft in diameter, drives the two iron truck wheels in tandem via four sets of iron bevel gears. One pair of gears is mounted on the fantail shaft itself and is not shown in the sketch. The first pair of gears consist of a 15-toothed bevel pinion on the fan spindle driving a 30-toothed gear on an inclined shaft. At the base of this shaft a ten-toothed gear drives another with 41 teeth mounted on a horizontal shaft. This shaft transmits the drive to both truck wheels simultaneously through two identical sets of gears. An 11-toothed bevel pinion drives another with 38 teeth on a short vertical shaft. From this shaft a bevel ring on the truck wheel is driven by a 15-toothed gear. Each truckwheel is 3ft 6” in diameter and the circumference of the track is 126ft 5”. To turn the whole buck 360 degrees 1649 revolutions of the fantail are required. This gear ratio is rather high and probably contributed to the fantail’s operating problems. {According to Moore it did not function satisfactorily in light winds.}(12) Provision is made for hand cranking. 

 The brakewheel has 72 cogs, the wallower 18, and the stone nuts 32 each. This gives approximately eight revolutions of the runner stones for one of the sails.(13)

 A photograph of c1875 shows the mill with four single-shuttered patent sails; by 1905(14) it had double-shuttered patents with, apparently, ailerons fitted to two adjacent ones and the first two sail bays out from the poll end, on each side of each sail, boarded over to lessen wind resistance. The last working sails, fitted in 1914, were unique in having a single row of very long shutters, 7ft 6” X 9” wide, in each, spanning both the leading and driving sides {the shutter bar travelling down the centre of the sail}. The sail bars passed 10” in front of the whips instead of being mortised through them in the usual manner. The current sails reproduce this design. The whips are 26ft long and the stocks 34ft. There are 90 shutters in all, with three to each sail bay; one pair of sails has twenty-four, the other twenty-one.(15) There is an excrescence on the tail of the mill, just below the upper rear transverse beam, to accommodate the longitudinal movement of the rack of the striking gear. The chainwheel, located on the far right of the mill, has a wood rim and iron spokes and is mounted on a layshaft running east-west to about mid-point of the width of the buc, where the pinion engages the rack.

 The all-wood clasp-arm brakewheel is hung on a square plate on the iron windshaft; in front of it on the shaft is a solid flanged wood pulley from which a chain goes to a corresponding one on the sack hoist bollard. The brake lever and brake are both of wood.

 It is possible that the windshaft replaced a wooden one as part of the 1860s reconstruction, spur gearing being fitted at the same time. The upright shaft and wallower are iron, the great spur wheel iron mortice. Both wallower and great spur are of iron. Two pairs of stones side-by-side in the breast, those on the left being burrs and those on the right peaks, are underdriven through large six-armed iron stone nuts. The bridge beam is a single iron girder which also acts as a mounting for the stone spindles, with iron tentering bars beneath it. The nuts are taken in and out of gear with jack rings. All this ironwork probably dates from the 1860s refitting. The two governors are mounted on a single timber spanning the spout floor laterally aft of the bridge beam; in each case the steelyard travels west to a link and then forward to the tentering bars. A belt from the foot of the upright shaft goes to the right-hand governor; I could not see how the left-hand one was driven. (Visit by G Blythman May 2011)

(1)  L Bonwick, Cromer Windmill, Hertfordshire Buildings Preservation Trust 1999

(2)  Bonwick; Cyril Moore, Hertfordshire Windmills and Windmillers (Winsup Press 1999)

(3)  Bonwick

(4)  Ibid

(5)  Moore

(6)  Bonwick

(7)  Ibid

(8)  Ibid

(9)  Moore

(10) Bonwick

(11) Moore

(12) Bonwick, as above

(13) Bonwick

(14) Photograph in Bonwick

(15) Bonwick


Smock mill, base survives


The smock mill at Little Hadham in Hertfordshire was an interesting specimen in many ways, and one of the most important mills to be lost in recent decades. Perusing Denis Sanders’ notes recently I found a great deal of information on it which Cyril Moore in his Hertfordshire windmills book, the definitive work on the subject so far, seems to have missed. There is also a file on the mill, compiled by SPAB, at the Mills Archive which includes the results of a detailed technical survey by David Nicholls of IJP (now Owlsworth IJP). And some years ago I came across by chance in Hitchin Library, among back copies of county newspapers, illuminating material to do with the events surrounding its sad demise (which subject is also covered in Hugh Howes’ recent book on Hertfordshire mills, Wind, Water and Steam).   

 Denis Sanders, a molinologist with a particular interest in smock mills and their construction, visited the mill in 1968 along with a man named Chris (probably Chris Wilson of Over mill in Cambridgeshire) and made quite a few notes, now at the Science Museum Library, Wroughton but consultable at their Kensington site, though incomplete. He was intending to return at some point to finish the survey but it is not known if this ever happened. He pronounced the mill a very fine specimen, which it was, and also commented that the smocks he had inspected in detail (such as Shiremark mill, Surrey, and Lacey Green) each deserved to be the subject of a book in its own right.

 There seem to be no internal photographs in existence apart from those taken of the great spur wheel and the neck of the windshaft by Donald Muggeridge(1). However the Sanders and Nicholls notes together amount to a comprehensive Farriesan technical account of the mill, with dimensions. They will be invaluable to anyone intending to construct an authentic replica, as one enthusiast has told me he would like to do.

 The mill appeared to date from at least the late eighteenth century (“DT 1787”), the style of the millwrighting confirming this, and retained a great deal of its original fabric. Both the building and the machinery were of very fine construction. In appearance the mill generally conformed to the approximate pattern of smocks in the northwest Essex/east Herts region, though no doubt with features peculiar to itself. The octagonal tower stood on a high two-storey tarred brick base with an unusually wide stage braced to it by diagonal struts. The stage was extended on one side to encompass the roof of the timber engine shed which abutted the base. The overall height of the smock was 21 feet 5 inches, although it always looked somewhat taller, with a diameter at the curb of between 11 and 12 feet, and that of the base approximately the same with an internal diameter, presumably at ground level, of 17ft 1in. Nicholls gives a total height from ground to curb of 42ft 10in. The smock frame, along with many smaller components, was largely of oak, elm also being used, and this enabled it to remain in a restorable state decades after ceasing work despite its external appearance not giving cause for optimism.

 The spout/meal floor, the upper floor of the base, was located high up. The lowest floor of the smock was the stone floor and above it were an upper and lower bin floor and the dust floor. The sills were 11 feet across by 7 or 8 deep and the cant posts 9” square (8” on the upper bin floor). Sanders measured the intermediary framing, uprights and diagonals, at 5” wide by six and a half long. On the stone and upper bin floors the uprights were beautifully shaped where morticed into the transoms. The topmost ones were effectively doubled, having shaped brackets secured to their outer faces by three bolts and standing on the dust floor transoms, while being attached at their upper ends to the curb. The dust floor had no joists or beams as such but instead intermediate-sized timbers set across the transoms were used. Internally the mill was plastered and limewashed white throughout. Externally it was painted white although latterly the lower part of the smock and the corners were proofed against rot with darker strips of lead. There was a sloping lintel, supported on nicely-shaped side pieces, above each of the doors giving onto the stage.

 The ogee cap was also lead-sheeted including the one-piece turned finial, a prominent feature part of which at least remained in place until the emergency repairs of 1979. Beneath this cladding it was vertically boarded. It had a skirt and a large dormer extension, another distinctive feature, at the rear enclosing the fantail support structure. The latter was braced to a point on the cap roof just below the finial by two stays at a shallow angle. The extension was squarish in shape with a tapering, flat-topped roof.

 The sheers of the cap frame were of oak. The sprattle beam was not flush with them but carried on timbers running parallel to them on the inside. It had rotted away on one side of the windshaft when Sanders visited. The truck wheels were mounted in large finely cast iron brackets. The fan had eight blades several of which bore a dark stripe along their outer edges. It drove down via reduction gearing to a spur pinion and worm gear engaging with an outside segmented iron rack which appears to have been laid over an earlier wooden one whose sawn-off cogs, a relic of the days when the mill was winded by hand, remained. The curb was part dead and part live with wrought-iron skid plates but four rollers under the weatherbeam.

 The mill would originally have had common sails but by the end of its working life these had been replaced by single-sided springs without leading boards and with a span of 65-70ft. They were mounted in an iron poll end on a wooden windshaft. The brakewheel remained in nearly one piece until 1979, hidden from view by the remaining timbers of the cap roof. It was wooden with clasp arms and cogs of oak and elm cants (six) and rim. The brake band was also elm and like much else in the mill nicely fashioned.

 The brakewheel meshed with an iron mortice wallower on a square boss with eight short arms. This was nicely webbed to the polygonal (almost circular) single-piece pitch pine upright shaft. The latter, which at 25ft 5in was longer than the height of the smock tower, is said to have come from a sailing ship; at 18” thick it was certainly very sturdy. Neither Sanders nor Nicholls describes the sack hoist mechanism in full detail, but Nicholls notes the remains of an elm lantern pinion gear on the dust floor, and a pulley – again of elm, and still in good condition – on the upper bin floor which were part of it. Also on the latter floor was a dust extractor fan.

 Two pairs of stones on the east and west sides, in octagonal wood casings and with maker’s nameplates by Hughes of Dover Road, London, were underdriven from the great spur wheel on the first floor (i.e. within the base). The bedstones were French Burrs. A photograph taken by the late Donald Muggeridge shows the spur to have been a solid wood clasp-arm with a downturned iron mortice bevel cog ring, probably a later addition, meshing with a nut on the layshaft for the engine drive, from which was also driven the wire machine on the ground floor via an intermediary mechanism which neither Sanders nor Nicholls semem gto have noted in detail (the poor condition of the flooring at some points made it difficult for Nicholls to inspect certain items at close quarters). The engine shed was on the west side of the mill. Within the latter the layshaft carried fast and loose pulleys and there was of course a third, external pulley to which a belt travelled from the engine. The dresser drive pulley at some point disappeared.

 The bridge beam formed part of a hurst frame, being carried between two timbers whose ends were tenoned into vertical posts. The bridge trees were mounted between these posts at right angles to the beams supporting the bridge tree. An iron handwheel was provided for adjusting the footstep bearing of the upright shaft, in order to disengage the wind drive after the gas engine was installed. The stone nuts were all-iron. The eastern stone spindle had a keyed-on collar for the governor belt drive. The whole of the eastern tentering gear survived and was described by Nicholls as beautifully fashioned. It is not quite clear from either Sanders or Nicholls how much of the western remained although Nicholls states that it was of a different arrangement due to the space in that part of the floor being more confined, and also that the governor is missing. The eastern stone nut was disengaged with a jack ring and screw, the western with a forked and pivoted arm, the latter arrangement being probably older.     

 On the stone floor was the 1787 date, well-carved on a cant post by the head of the stairs. Besides the stones this floor contained a Silver Creek Eureka separating and scouring machine, which had its own governor (by now missing), and two other, reciprocatory separators. All this equipment had clearly been installed much later than the mill’s original construction, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and possibly at the same time that the gas engine was installed. The power take-off for it was from a downturned 8-armed iron mortice crownwheel, probably coeval with the modifications, on the upright shaft via a layshaft carrying six pulleys, two of wood. The purpose of several of the pulleys is left unclear, but the shaft may have been second-hand. The crownwheel was partly within the ceiling and Sanders notes that the eastern main beam of same was cut away to accommodate it, having to be strengthened by means of a raised truss on the lower bin floor consisting of five oak timbers.

 On the first (meal) floor a door at the top of the steps from the ground floor to close them off bore some interesting historical graffiti and sketches. The ground floor contained, slung from the ceiling, a Joseph Armfield wire machine which was driven off the great spur wheel on the meal floor as noted. A timber bore a metal plate with the fire insurance number 123443.(2)

The mill ceased work by wind when the poll end snapped off in a gale in 1929, after which the gas engine took over altogether until final closure in 1941. The mill then deteriorated fairly rapidly, which Sanders attributes to the removal of the lead sheeting, presumably to help the war effort, from the cap, something the then owner was opposed to at the time(3). By 1971 most of the cap roof including the rear extension had disintegrated and the weatherboarding was in a very poor state. The stage had also gone and the winding worm was lying on the ground at the base of the mill where it had fallen, along with certain other components including the fan spindle which was at some point salvaged and taken to Thaxted mill, Essex(4).

 An awareness of the importance of the mill was evident by 1968 as the Council had expressed the opinion that it should be preserved, something which annoyed the owner since he had not been consulted for his views. As the building’s condition worsened concerns for its future grew and in the spring of 1979, after an application to demolish it was refused, emergency work was carried out to it by the Suffolk millwrights IJP. A compulsory repairs notice was at some point served on the owner(5) but it appears East Hertfordshire Council footed the bill, its Planning Committee allocating £2400. The cap frame was removed, being lowered to the ground along with the windshaft etc. and replaced by a temporary flat roof while the weatherboarding was patched up, and it was in this state that I last saw the mill, in April 1980. The base and smock were both strengthened with tensioned wire hawsers. The Council’s Director of Planning stressed that this was essentially a holding operation and that he was aware a full restoration, costing many more thousands, would be a different matter. He was merely acting to protect a Listed (Grade II) building in accordance with the Council’s statutory responsibilities. The mill was considered to be “of importance both architecturally and historically, reflecting as it does a particular period of evolution in windmill design and construction in the area” (origin of statement unknown). Rex Wailes, then in his late seventies, offered to inspect the mill to estimate its condition and the cost of full repair.(6)

 The owner appealed against the decision to forbid demolition. The Council had suggested it might try to acquire the mill and this led to criticism from the East Hertfordshire Labour Party at the amount of money it was believed to be proposing to spend on the structure, which the malcontents believed ought to go towards council houses. The Council denied the claims, and the Chairman of the Planning Committee responded to the suggestion that the mill was “out of sight” {it was, to be honest, a little difficult to spot among trees and houses until you were quite close to it}, and thus not an asset on which the spending of public money was justified by arguing that when (eventually) restored and properly painted it would be far more visible and distinctive. The Chairman described it as “unique”.(7)

 The appeal was heard shortly afterwards, in a session which lasted seven hours, before an inspector from the Department of the Environment. The owner had secured the services of a mill “expert”, whose name I must confess is totally unfamiliar to me, to put his case to the inquiry. This “expert” claimed the mill was so badly decayed that it would have to be completely rebuilt, resulting in an expensive replica. He suggested it should be dismantled and the parts used in the restoration of other mills or, alternatively, moved to the Chiltern Open Air Museum at Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire {a suggestion not, in itself, without merit and with which the owner agreed}, where it would be seen by more people and be among other buildings of similar age, which he thought would make its preservation more relevant. A structural engineer claimed that cracks to the brickwork extending below ground level indicated uneven settlement, requiring prohibitively expensive underpinning. The base had been seriously weakened by a landmine which fell nearby during the Second World War. The whole building, said the owner, leaned at angle and he was afraid someone might be killed if it collapsed and that he would be liable. {The work done by IJP seems not to have been taken into account here.} It would be totally uneconomic to restore the mill, for which he had no commercial use, and scandalous to insist on doing so. His appellants described the structure as a “run-of-the-mill mill”.

 The Council pointed out that the mill was the only remaining smock mill in Hertfordshire {not in fact true, although the one at Brent Pelham was/is far less interesting}. The majority of the machinery was still in position and it was technically possible to restore it to working order. David Nicholls and Chris Wallis of Millwrights International and Rex Wailes all gave evidence.

 The upper machinery, windshaft, brakewheel, etc. plus cap frame was beyond reuse, but below this level it was to some extent a different matter. In his report(8) David Nicholls drew attention to the remarkably complete state of the machinery, something I had not realised by now. There was a large amount of displaced material on site from which dismantled or decayed items such as the fantail staging could perhaps be reassembled. The brake band was rather worn but all the ironwork could be reused; the brake lever had fallen apart but details had been taken. A couple of the sail shutters had been found and might be copied, while the stocks, backs and whips had been incorporated in the floors of an adjacent building. Nicholls believed a great deal of the associated ironwork (presumably cranks, shutter bars etc.) was also present on site. Other material including some of the cap ribs and fan blades was stored within the mill. All this would have been invaluable to any authentic restoration/reconstruction. Altogether the premises seem to have been an industrial archaeological treasure trove, not including the gas engine of which there is no mention anywhere and which at a guess was scrapped during the war.  

 Mr Nicholls also said the mill was structurally sounder than appeared to be the case, although at least one cant post would have to be replaced, and easier to restore than Lacey Green which had already been saved. He estimated the cost of restoration was about £104,000-£108,000. Afterwards the mill could expect an average income of £5600 to £6800 from admission fees and sale of flour and guide books etc. He argued that the mill was “irreplaceable…one of the finest in the south of England.” Chris Wallis stated that in spite of the cracks in the base it was stable and would not need underpinning. The chairman of the Parish Council said it supported any refusal to demolish the mill at the present stage.(9)

 The appeal was eventually turned down but a month later, in the early hours of the morning of Friday 31st July 1981, the mill was destroyed by fire. The smock collapsed into the base whose walls were breached in places. The heat was so intense that iron shafting was twisted out of shape(10). The nearby granary was also destroyed, and a barn badly damaged. The police believed that the conflagration, which was described by local residents as “spectacular”, had not started by accident. By the time the fire brigade were alerted the mill was too well alight to be saved. The owner was unaware of what was happening until knocked up by police at 4.30 a.m., about an hour after neighbours had first spotted the fire. He said he was a very heavy sleeper. Immediately after the fire he went off to the West Country for the weekend, returning on Monday. He revealed that he had fought the issue of the mill’s future on the principle of access to it across his land, which would have made public viewing easier, although there is no hint of this in earlier newspaper reports of the case. He stressed, “I would have been quite content for the Council to have done what they wanted with the mill provided they could get access elsewhere and not beside my house.” The matter was due to be debated at the coming meeting of the Planning Committee and a councillor described the prospects for an agreement as favourable. (Press and public had been excluded from the previous meeting where the mill was discussed.) The owner commented that it was ironic the fire should have happened just as things were about to be resolved.(11)

 The Council was particularly concerned by what had happened in view of the money it had spent on the first-aid repairs, and which they were looking at ways of recouping. Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust feared that unless the powers of local authorities were increased there would be further incidents like this.(12) Meanwhile the police appeared to have revised their earlier opinion that the fire was caused deliberately. They stated there was insufficient evidence to prove criminal damage, although a full investigation was difficult because of the dangerous state of the remains.(13) Certain people pointed an accusing finger at the owner but he denied strongly that he was responsible and spent a lot of money on legal fees attempting to prove his innocence.(14) What seems particularly strange is that negotiations had actually been under way for the mill’s re-erection at Chalfont St Giles at the time of the fire(15). This would have solved the whole problem even if it is obviously preferable that all historic buildings should remain on their original site, a point made by the D of E Inspector in his report(16).

 In a letter to SPAB the Assistant Chief Constable pointed out that the mill was often used by tramps as a place to sleep, and it is possible one of them accidentally caused the fire. He also claimed that the Council had been progressing towards compulsory purchase of the mill, which he believed would have been considered by the owner to be to his benefit by taking responsibility for the matter off his hands (I am not sure if this is generally the case with such things).(17)

 In September 1984 the upper machinery – windshaft, cap frame and part of the fantail gearing – which had been removed before the fire still lay on the ground beside the ruins of the mill. The owner told Arthur C Smith that he was not allowed to do anything with it. Apparently he had wanted to demolish the mill in order to develop the site, although this never happened.(18)

  The danger of a mill being mysteriously burnt once it becomes an inconvenience has not gone away, as the destruction of Chislet mill in Kent (another very interesting old smock) a few years ago demonstrates. In the case of Little Hadham there seems to have been even less reason for this to happen given that a sensible solution appears to have been worked out regarding the future of the building. There appears to be very little else one can say.

(1)   Mills Archive (SPAB-BAS 231); Templeman Library, University of Kent

(2)   Mills Archive, as above plus WALL-01-12; Denis Sanders Collection (DSC), Science Museum Library; photographs in published books

(3)   DSC

(4)   Mills Archive (see above), as above

(5)   Hertfordshire Mercury Oct 17th 1980

(6)   Hertfordshire Countryside Vol 34 no.241 May 1979

(7)   Mercury Oct 17th 1980

(8)   Mills Archive (s/a)

(9)   Herts Mercury, November 1980

(10) Arthur C Smith, Windmills In Hertfordshire, second edition 1986

(11) Mercury August 7th 1981

(12) Mercury 14th August 1981

(13) Mercury August 21st 1981

(14) Arthur C Smith, letter to author

(15) H Howes, Wind, Water And Steam p133

(16) Mills Archive (s/a)

(17) Ibid

(18) Arthur C Smith, letter to author