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Chesterton Windmill, Warwickshire

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Chesterton Windmill is just off the Fosse Way (an old Roman Road also known as the B4455), about five miles to the south of Leamington Spa, near the village of Harbury in Warwickshire. OS Grid reference SP348594 (see map by Streetmap.co.uk).

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This unique windmill stands on six stone pillars, supporting two raised floors. It was built in 1632, and worked until 1910 when its machinery broke down. It not clear if it was originally intended as a functional windmill, or as a folly - an observatory has been suggested, which in many ways makes more sense.

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The Windmill is managed by Warwickshire County Council, and as explained on this page the interior is usually open to the public a few days each year in September. I still haven't managed to remember this and actually turn up - I was only a week late in 2006. The rest of the year you are free to visit the exterior - its just a short walk from the road, where you can park in the layby (easily room for six cars, maybe more).

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The following text is from the informational plaque on the windmill itself, an edited photo of which is shown above.

An actual mill stone:

Chesterton Windmill

Erected in 1632 from a design attributed to Inigo Jones. The machinery was extensively modified in 1860 but last used in 1910.

The Warwickshire County Council are now guardians of the windmill and responsible for its upkeep.

Restoration work was commenced in 1966 and completed in 1971 under the control of Warwickshire Counting Council and the County Architect Mr. Eric Davies. Work on the building was carried out by E.H.Burgess Ltd., of Leamington Spa and the reconstruction of the machinery by Mr. Derek Ogden of Great Alne.

The design on the mill is unique both structurally and mechanically.

Originally the was a central timber structure containing a staircase and the lower bay of the hoist.

Most of the gearing is of timber, two outstanding items being the compass arm fixing of the eight feet diameter brake wheel and the lantern pinion wallower. The millstones are on the first floor set on a timber frame known as a hurst, an arrangement not often found in English windmills. The sails are of the common cloth spread type. The cap is turned into the wind by a hand operated geared winch mounted on the framework in the cap, which engages with a rack located on the top of the tower.

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Recent News

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For the end of 2006, the windmill was "out of bounds" after an accident during the annual "open weekend" (9 and 10 September 2006). One of the main timbers had rotted, and the stress of turning was too much - one sail crashed to the ground. The other half was left dangling from the lightning conductor. The area was fenced off for months, but now all the sails have been removed and the site is open again. As a grade one listed building, the Council will be repairing it - an important question is why the timber only lasted 7 years. They had hoped to restore the sails in April 2007 (once the ground has dried out)...

The sails were finally replaced at the end of September 2007, just over a year after the accident.

[Geograph Logo]

 

[Midland Wind and Water Mills Group Logo]

 

[Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings - Mills Section]

 

[Warwickshire County Council Crest (Coat of Arms)]