Country houses for sale

A windmill with 900 years of history that has become a delightfully quirky Sussex home

If you're looking for a two-bedroom home that offers something a bit out of the ordinary, the Windmill at Barnham could be ideal. William Hosie-Lissac reports.

Windmill at Barnham, West Sussex

The idyllic West Sussex countryside is not necessarily the place you’d expect to find an engine-powered mill used by the RAF during World War II, let alone one which has since been converted into stylish residential accommodation. Nor would you expect a family home to have its own Wikipedia page.

Yet all those things are the case with the Windmill at Barnham, near Arundel, an extraordinarily unusual home that’s now on the market via Jackson-Stops for £575,000.

There’s been a mill on this site since the days of William the Conqueror – there’s apparently a mention in the Domesday Book. After the great storm of 1827 destroyed the previous mill, the present windmill was built in 1829 by John Baker – and thanks to the windmill enthusiasts who collect such information, there is a wealth of historical detail available to tell us what happened to the place after that.

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It became known as Feaver’s Mill in the 1860s, and was completely refitted in 1890 by the Shoreham millwright J W Holloway. He apparently ‘raised the four-storey flint and stone tower by 18 inches, and replaced the two common sails and two spring sails with four parent sails carried on a cast iron windshaft’; we’d be lying if we said we had any idea what all that meant, but there you have it nonetheless.

The mill was powered by wind until the early 1920s, at which point it was converted to run off an engine, remaining in active service until 1963. It actually served a second purpose during the Second World War, when it became an observation post to warn servicemen at nearby RAF Tangmere about approaching enemy aircraft.

A former owner named Barney Lee restored the mill and attempted to run it as an attraction, but the idea never took off and the local council reluctantly agreed in 2008 to turn it into a home. Following that decision the mill, its ancillary buildings and its machinery have been restored and transformed into a functional and elegant living space – and it’s wonderful to see how the original workings have been respected and incorporated into the space.

The accommodation comprises a stable door to the entrance hall, which leads to a stunning living room with ceiling beams and a central pillar. A joint kitchen and dining room are connected to the living room, while the lower level has a cloakroom and utility area.

Moving upstairs there are two double bedrooms, a study and a Victorian-style bathroom fitted with a roll-top bath with claw feet.

The star of the show, however, is the third floor, the lookout, which features an arched window, mood lighting, additional restored windmill machinery and an iron ladder to a mezzanine offering a spectacular view of the West Sussex countryside.

The Windmill at Barnham is on the market via Jackson-Stops for £575,000 – see more details and pictures.

Jackson-Stops floorplan of The Windmill at Barnham

Jackson-Stops floorplan of The Windmill at Barnham