Jack And Jill Windmills Society - A Registered Charity

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Jesse Pumphrey Millwright
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IL 1831


Jill Windmill Clayton Sussex UK
Home
The History of Clayton Windmills
Open Days and Mid-Week visits
Current and Archive Photographs
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Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonEarly History

The earliest reference to a windmill on the present site is from September 1765 when an indenture was made between Viscount Montague and Edward Oram of Clayton. It read: -

'Lease all that part of ground near to Duncton Gate on which a windmill has been lately erected by the son of the said Viscount and contained in the whole by five rods every way for a term of 99 years.'

A medieval post mill
An illustration of a medieval post mill

Mr Oram's mill, known as Duncton, first appeared on a map of 1780. No illustration of the mill survives but it is popularly believed that John Constable may have painted her during visits to Brighton in the 1820s.

A sale notice in 1816 describes Duncton as 'a substantial post mill carrying two pairs of stones'.    She was brought into wind by hand using a tailpole and talthur.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1840s

An account book for 1849 shows the type of work the mill was doing at the time and the charges that were typical.

For Products Supplied and Ground

   3 Bushel Bag  Bushel  ½ Stone
1st Grade Flour  £1:12:0  10:8d    1:2d
2nd Grade Flour  £1:8:0    9:4d    1:1d
3rd Grade Flour  £1:5:0  
Barley    3:9d  
Oats    3:4d    4½d 
Peas    4:9d  

(1 bushel = 64lb Wheat, 56lb Barley and 42lb Oats)

Who lived around the mills years ago ?    A study of the census returns from 1841 to 1901 reveal a fascinating story.

This website includes the story of a working millwright Jesse Pumphrey 1783 to 1866 .

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1850s

Duncton was bringing in an annual income of over £2,500 and her owner decided to expand the business. The following entry in the Brighton Gazette on 1st April 1852 may have caught his eye . . .

'Mr John Edwards is instructed to sell by Private Contract a substantially-erected CORN WINDMILL, with patent shutter sweeps, gear and fixtures complete and now in full work. The Mill may be purchased at a price that will render its removal a profitable speculation.'

The building in question was Lashmar's New Mill, built in 1821 and situated on the outskirts of Brighton on land that was required for redevelopment. The mill was dismantled and was probably hauled in sections by teams of oxen to her present location above Clayton village.

Lashmar's New Mill is now known as Jill. Research suggests that the windmills were probably first given the names of Jack and Jill by day trippers, taking the train from London to Brighton in the late 1920s.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1860s

Duncton and Jill worked together until 1864. Two years after the lease expired, the upper section of Duncton was dismantled and Jack was built. Duncton's roundhouse remains to this day.

Jack is a brick tower mill with a rotating cap that allowed the sweeps to face the wind. She is over 44ft from the ground to the curb (upon which the cap rotates) and has an inside diameter of 13ft at the top and 22ft at the bottom.

In 1867 two local farmers Joseph and Charles Hammond took on the mills. The were destined to take a very serious interest in milling, for in 1865 the two brothers married the two daughters of a local miller.

Charles was of an inventive nature, and in 1873 he took out a patent on a novel centrifugal governor that he employed to control the speed of a windmill (Patent No. 1654). The governor prevented the sweeps turning too quickly or too slowly, a task that would otherwise have been performed by the miller.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1900s

By 1900 the business of milling by wind power had become less profitable as a result of the new mechanical methods that were becoming available. Journeyman millers must also have been difficult to find, and in 1906 both Jack and Jill fell into disuse.

Jack was used as a holiday residence and one visitor (Edward Martin) made study of downland life that was later published in three books. In his book 'Life in A Sussex Windmill' he wrote . .. 'Will the Mills ever be set working again? It does not pay to work them, I am told. Most of the floors contain machinery, wonderful testimony to the power of the wind in this exposed position. It is all silent. Cogs are locked, but do not shift. Leather bands are slipped off their running wheels. The dust of flour covers all the cracks and crevices, and some corn in one place lies on the floor tipped there probably by the last workman, when he was called away at the last moment to work no more in the mill.'

Click here for further extracts from 'Life in A Sussex Windmill' or Click here for details of the shepherd depicted in probably the best known photograph of Clayton Windmills.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1910s

In 1910 Jack was leased for the sum of £10 per annum to Minna Spencer Cowper Coles Anson and her husband, Walter Vernon Anson, a serving naval officer.

Minna's father, Captain Cowper Coles, whilst commanding the paddle steamer Stromboli during the Crimean War, devised and constructed a gun raft capable of carrying a heavy gun protected by armour. He was ordered home by the Admiralty to supervise the construction of further rafts. He gradually evolved the idea of equipping battleships with rotating gun turrets.

Cowper Coles enlisted the support of many public figures in his campaign to gain backing and funds for his work, even Prince Albert was approached.

An experimental ship, HMS Captain, was finally fitted with the new turrets, and Cowper Coles sailed aboard her as a guest in 1870, only to lose his life when she was caught in a gale off Finisterre. Click here for information on HMS Captain.

Today, all manner of weapons are launched from rotating turrets and the technology can be traced back to Jack windmill.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now
Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe War Years

In 1917, after seven years of leasing the mills, Minna Anson purchased them outright for £580 and lived there the rest of her life, caring for and improving the property.

A garden was established, Jack was sheathed in iron and in 1948 a holding beam was installed in Jill to ensure that the building was kept in good repair.

Constructing tail parts for WWI aircraft in the Granary circa. 1915
Constructing tail parts for WWI aircraft in the Granary circa. 1915
Arthur Baker and colleagues working on Jack Windmill in 1926

 

Arthur Baker and colleagues working on Jack Windmill in 1926
Arthur Baker and colleagues working on Jack Windmill in 1926
Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1970s

Henry Longhurst, writer, broadcaster and Sunday Times golf correspondent, gave Jill into public ownership.

Exterior repairs were carried out on Jill, including new Stocks and Sweeps, fitted by H.J. Paris of Hove.

The roundhouse of Duncton Windmill became Henry's study.

Duncton Windmill - Henry Longhurst's study

Henry Longhurst - writer, broadcaster and Sunday Times golf correspondent
My life and soft times - Henry Longhurst

The Black Windmill movie poster

In the Summer of 1973 Jack and Jill became movie stars when Universal Pictures made the film ' The Black Windmill '.

Actors featured in the film included Michael Caine, Janet Suzman, Donald Pleasance and Joss Ackland.

Click here for images from the film

New sweeps were fitted to Jack for the film, at a cost of £3,000 and the exterior of the mill was repainted.

The underground tunnel leading from the Granary to Jack also appears in the film.   It was doused in a special chemical so that when a gun was fired, flames engulfed the whole passage.

Henry's wife, Claudine, recalled that some months later she and Henry were flying to the United States when 'The Black Windmill' was shown as the in-flight movie.   'So there we were halfway cross the Atlantic watching our home on film!'

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonThe 1980s

Restoration work on Jill windmill commenced in October 1978. Skilled craftsmen joined Society volunteers in the best tradition of English craftsmanship. Local and national firms provided discounted (and even free) materials, and in 1986 Jill's millstones produced flour for the first time in eighty years.

The restoration project was documented with over 3,000 photographs and Jill's official opening took place in July 1986 when a plaque was unveiled by Mrs Claudine Longhurst, whose golfing husband had given the mill into public ownership.

Our Society continues to maintain and to care for Jill, particularly so after the 'great storm' that struck Southern England in October 1987. At the height of the storm wind speeds reached 120mph and caused Jill's sweeps to turn against the brake. The friction between the brake shoes and the brakewheel produced sparks which set the building alight.

Luckily, members of our Society reached the mill and were able to bring the blaze under control and eventually to stop the sweeps. Over 700 man-hours of voluntary labour were required to repair the storm damage.

Early 1840s 1850s 1860s 1900s
1910s War Years 1970s 1980s Now

Website Design : Simon Potter & Kevin CramptonNow

Today, Jack remains in private ownership whilst Jill is open to visitors. If weather conditions are suitable, Jill's majestic sweeps could well be turning in the Downland breeze.

New Society members are always welcome and details of how to join can be found on the 'Join' page.

For a full history of Duncton, Jill and Jack - the publication 'Clayton Windmills' compiled by Simon Potter and published by our Society is available from Jill's souvenir shop.

Clayton Windmills
Click here for further details of this publication
.

www.jillwindmill.org.uk