Jack and Jill Windmills Society : Mobile-friendly page
Our Society, a registered Charity, has fully restored and now maintains Jill Windmill - a 19th century corn windmill located at Clayton, West Sussex BN6 9PG in the United Kingdom.
She is a traditional working corn windmill in
the South Downs National Park.
The vast majority of the restoration work and the
ongoing maintenance of Jill Windmill has been carried out by unpaid
Society Volunteers, who have met at the Mill on virtually every Saturday
since January 1979.
Jill Windmill has been restored to working order
and she now produces stoneground wholegrain flour on an occasional basis.
The vast majority of her flour [which is sold to visitors] is ground from
local wheat, grown in Sussex.
Jack Windmill is in private ownership and is not
open to the general public. Our Society Members are, however, granted
exclusive access to Jack Windmill on specified dates.
Jill Windmill is normally open to visitors on most Summer Sundays from May to September, though this is dependent upon the availability of volunteers.
We recommend that you check our 'visit' page for the latest information on public Open Days. The Mill may be closed at short notice in the event of adverse weather conditions.
Donations are one of our Charity's main income sources.
Admission up into the mill body [to view Jill's millstones and her 19th century machinery] is by donation.
Maintenance work is undertaken on most Saturdays, when Jill Windmill
is closed to visitors. Depending upon the nature of the maintenance work
being undertaken, casual visitors may occasionally be granted access to
the mill grounds and exceptionally access inside Jill Windmill, though
such access is at the discretion of our work team. Maintenance work is given
priority over visitors, so those hoping to gain access on a Saturday may
well be disappointed.
Please note that whilst we will make every effort to open Jill Windmill
to visitors, we do very much rely upon the goodwill and the availability
of our volunteers, so we cannot guarantee that Jill Windmill will be
open to visitors on every planned date.
Please contact us if you would be interested in being a Mill Steward, keeping
our visitors safe in the Mill, or if you are willing to help in the Roundhouse
with teas or souvenirs. The duties are not that onerous and everybody who
comes to help enjoys it.
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
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
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.
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
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.'
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
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.
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
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.
In the Summer of 1973 Jack and Jill became movie stars when Universal Pictures
made the film ' The Black Windmill '. 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!'
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
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
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.
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.
Travelling to Jill Windmill :
As Jill Windmill does not have an official postal address, her location
may not appear on all online maps.
Her postcode is BN6 9PG.
To find Jill Windmill on G00GLE MAPS, please search for 'Jack And Jill Windmills'.
We are most grateful to BING PLACES FOR BUSINESS SUPPORT for featuring both
'Jill Windmill' and 'Clayton Windmills' on Bing Maps.
On occasions, Jill Windmill's Fantackle mechanism gets caught out
when the wind springs up from right behind the Sweeps.
This is known as a tailwind.
Remarkably, Jill's location on what3words is presented.tailwind.checked
Car / Bike : From the A23 (London - Brighton
road) turn off at Pyecombe village, six miles South of Burgess Hill and
follow the A273 Northwards. The windmills can be reached via 'Mill Lane',
located on the right hand side as the road begins to run downhill.
Drivers of high sided vehicles should note that there is a 2.1 metre height
restriction bar located approximately 19 metres from the car park entrance.
As a result, the northern end of the car park can only be used by vehicles
under two metres high.
Our postcode for Sat-Nav users is BN6 9PG.
[Note : This is the location of Jill Windmill and is not a correspondence
address. Please do not write to us at this address.]
Train: The nearest railway station is Hassocks.
A footpath (1.75 miles) runs alongside the railway line from Hassocks
to Clayton village.
Bus:Metrobus runs limited services on Sundays.
Please check their online timetables for Service 270 and Service 271.
Southbound buses stop at "Mill Lane", and Northbound buses stop at "Rockrose".
Mill Lane, which leads to Clayton Windmills, is 300 metres North of
the "Rockrose" bus stop. Helpfully, the "Jack & Jill"
bus stop, is located at the foot of the Downs. The "Mill Lane"
bus stop is closer !
On Foot: The South Downs Way passes Jack
and Jill Windmills, connecting them with Devil's Dyke to the West and
Ditchling Beacon to the East.
Footpaths run up to the windmills from both Clayton village green and Clayton