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Cromer Windmill

by janet on 27 May 2013 · 0 comments

From an article by Simon Bennett for the May 2006 Walkern Journal

Hertfordshire?s sole surviving post mill and grade II listed building, dates from 1681 as determined by a tree-ring survey in 1998. It stands on an artificial mound just outside Cromer, near Ardeley, in which parish a windmill has stood for nearly 800 years.

Many local families operated the mill, the earliest to be named was William Crane in 1576, and in 1719 his relation Matthew was living there. In 1822 William Munt and family moved in, renting the mill from Thomas Pearson. At William Munt?s death in 1937 his wife, Edith, took over and from 1841 Samuel Dawson worked for her until her son, David, became miller in 1856. The mill was blown over and badly damaged in 1861, to be rebuilt by William Alfred Boorman who was also the blacksmith at Cromer. He died in 1877 aged 56, when the dust and dirt of both trades took their toll. Since 1875 his eldest son Ebenezer, then 18, had been running the forge, with younger son Arthur (aged 16) becoming the miller. The mill was sold in 1898 to Joseph Ponder Scowen who had recently returned from milling in New Zealand. New sails were fitted but trade was declining and when Joseph died in 1920, Richard Hull took over and employed Joe Pepper to run a pair of grinding stones powered by petrol engines. By this time the only trade was for animal feed. Richard Hull sold up in 1933 and the business was discontinued, with the mill being left to become derelict. A sad end to a working life, although Andrew Boorman recalls that in WWII the mill was used as an observation post

Apart from some repairs conducted in 1938 and sails having been removed for safety, nothing further was done to the mill until an appeal in 1964 from concerned local people to save the windmill. Funds were raised following the appeal and initial works to repair the mill were conducted. Major structural repairs were carried out in 1979, and the mill was treated against death-watch beetle. Grant aided restoration work began in 1989 which included the re-building of the brakewheel and brake, new sails and the painting of the mill in its original design. This enabled the mill to be opened to the public for the first time on 18th September 1991.

The fourth phase of restoration, with major funding of

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