A year-long £250,000 project to restore a rare post mill in Suffolk came to fruition last week as its newly constructed set of sails were fitted.
A newly-constructed set of sails were hoisted into place on the 18th- century Saxtead Green Post Mill last week, securing the future of a celebrated piece of Suffolk heritage.
The Mill is a striking four-sailed corn-grinding windmill in Framilingham, and the reinstallation of the mill’s sails represents the culmination of a £250,000, year-long conservation project in collaboration with one of Suffolk’s last remaining specialist millwrights, Tim Whiting.
Alongside the new set of sails and stocks, a replacement staircase has been created and repairs have been undertaken to the timber Buck house as well as the fantail at the rear of the windmill.
Standing in an idyllic village green, Saxtead is a rare example of a post mill, the whole body of which turns with the wind on its base. Originally constructed around 1796, the Mill has been rebuilt three times. It was in use until 1947 and is maintained in working order.
The project is the first part of a major investment in historic windmills by English Heritage: Sibsey Trader Windmill in Lincolnshire and Berney Arms Windmill in Norfolk are both scheduled for works over the next few years.
Earlier this year, traditional millwrighting – a skill that has been practiced in the UK for more than 700 years – was added to the Heritage Crafts Association’s red list of critically endangered heritage crafts for the first time, with only a small number of people still practicing nationwide, and English Heritage says its hopes that these works will help to keep millwrighting alive.
Joseph James, English Heritage’s National Project Manager, said: ‘Saxtead Green Post Mill is a fascinating piece of our industrial history. Before the arrival of steam and electricity, mills powered by wind and water were a vital part of daily life, grinding corn into flour for local people.
‘We are delighted to have been able to secure the future of this important piece of Suffolk’s heritage. If historic windmills are to survive for the future they need our help now more than ever.’
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