Oldland Windmill

Keymer, West Sussex
Designed by Simon Potter
Website design : Simon Potter
Designed by Simon Potter
Oldland Mill Trust - Registered Charity No : 1072911
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Volume 5
November 2008 to January 2010
Oldland Windmill is an 18th century post-mill situated in the village of Keymer in the County of West Sussex. She is currently being restored to full working order by a dedicated team of local volunteers.

David Friend, the diarist
David, the diarist



2009 was another busy year with not much to see on the outside of the mill, except that we did fit and use the Windboards on the Sweeps.

Windboards fitted and turning
Windboards fitted and turning

A continuous programme of work has been carried out refitting the inside of the mill with different teams working simultaneously on their own projects.

The sackhoist was one major task.

We had most of the original ironwork which Michael Peat refurbished and he also made a new wooden drum. Michael, Danny and Craig installed all this in the roof and I made a leather drive belt to take the power from the brakewheel to the sack hoist. This has yet to be tried under wind power, but all should work.

The sackhoist

The sackhoist.

The lever in the foreground moves the pulley upwards so that the leather belt is tensioned and takes drive from the brakewheel to the drum.

The sackhoist

The small wooden toothed sackhoist drive wheel is raised so that the teeth engage with the brakewheel teeth and transmit drive via the belt to the sackhoist

Michael and Danny installing the sackhoist drum

Michael and Danny installing the sackhoist drum

The flour dresser is another job that Michael is working on.

There was very little left of the original woodwork but sufficient to use as patterns. Some of the metalwork was broken, but is now repaired.

The dresser is a horizontal drum with metal gauze fastened to a wood frame.

Meal (that which comes from the stones after wheat is ground, consisting of grains of flour in different sizes and the remains of the outer husk) is fed into one end of the flour dresser drum. The first half of which is covered with a fine metal gauze and the second half is covered with a slightly coarser gauze.

Inside the drum are bristle brushes which rotate and push the meal against the gauze. Only the finest flour can pass through the first section and falls through a spout to the floor below (the spout floor). The next grade of flour is collected from the second half. Anything too coarse to pass through either gauze is collected from the end as Bran.

The new flour dresser drum
The new flour dresser drum copied from the remains of the original.
It will be installed horizontally.

The restored brush spindle
The restored brush spindle which rotates inside the drum. Brushes will be fitted to the spokes. Also shown is the new wooden pulley which will be belt driven from the brakeheel.

The grain bin.

The original design of the top floor of Oldland Mill (The bin floor) was that the flat floor was divided in two.

The front section was to store grain for the front pair of stones and the rear for the other pair of stones. The grain was fed through a hole in the floor down a spout to the hopper.

As we are not likely to use much grain at a time we decided to make a smaller bin with a sloping base so that the grain will flow easily to the hopper.

The original design would have been fine with a lot of grain but would have required the use of shovels to empty the bin as the level of grain got near to the floor.

The grain bin
The grain bin

The grain bin
The grain bin

Auxiliary drive.

In the 1800s Oldland was modified so that a steam engine could drive all the mill machinery on windless days. A shaft came out of the side of the mill and this was belt driven by the steam engine.

This is an ongoing project.( Does anyone have a steam engine that we can use ? )

The auxiliary drive

The auxiliary drive on the stone floor.

The iron pulley wheel will be belt driven from a shaft on the floor below, the spout floor, which protrudes through the side of the mill with a pulley which is belt driven by a steam engine on the ground.

Rear stones. (tail stones)

The pair of stones at the back of the mill are French Burrs. Sections of a hard quartz stone set into plaster of Paris to form a millstone. All the machinery for the tail stones is being restored and put back into position. The tail wheel itself is completely rotten and will have to be rebuilt before we can use the tail stones.

We had a hunt for a set of sack scales to weigh grain and sacks of flour.

Ardingly Antiques Fair had some nice ones, I came across Michael Peat sitting on them but he had not noticed what they were as he was so busy looking for bells to add to his collection, however they were French.

The sack scales

Roy Short came up trumps or rather Carol did.

She remembered that her father, a smallholder, had some but they were passed on to her cousin, Arthur Kingsley, a farmer.

Arthur still had them and kindly presented them to the Mill.

Just what we needed and a nice family connection.

Open Days.

We had three open days during the year and we were very pleased to see so many visitors. We do not charge an entrance fee but everyone contributed generously and patronised the various stalls. Thank you so much as without your help we would not be able to keep Oldland Mill going and open to all.

Dressed overall to celebrate approximately 100 years since she last ground corn    Oldland Mill in 1887

Open Day 3rd May 2009. Dressed overall to celebrate approximately 100 years since she last ground corn.

This photo also replicates the one which shows Oldland dressed overall to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887.

Open Day

As you can see, we were busy.

The queue to go into the mill.

The Morris men really pleased everyone.

Open Day


OMT Summer Newsletter 2009 by Fred Maillardet

A weekend of celebration !

The weekend of 2nd and 3rd May 2009 will go down in the mill records as one of celebration. As anticipated in the last newsletter, we made this weekend a special one to recognise the major landmark of completing the restoration of all the external features of the mill and producing our first flour.


On the Saturday evening, we held a cheese and wine reception to thank all those neighbours, suppliers and sponsors who had helped to achieve the restoration to date. More than 70 guests attended the celebration held in twin marquees set up in the 'Llama Field' by kind permission of Fiona and Marcus Kemp. David Knight of Budgens generously provided all the food and drink at cost price, the sun shone (after a very wet week!) and even a light breeze developed in the evening so that the sweeps could be run under wind power.

The opportunity was taken to thank publicly Danny Jarmann and Mike Peat for all their expert guidance of the volunteers, to present Don Pearce with an Honorary Life Membership of the mill in recognition of his sterling support over more than 20 years, and also Honorary Life Membership to John and Iris Annett - the first Chairman and Secretary of the restoration committee. It was only through their vision in 1976, their establishment of the formal restoration project in 1980, and their persistence when progress stalled in the 1990s that the mill exists today let alone grinds again! John and Iris were presented with a watercolour of the mill painted and kindly donated by Hagop Kasparian. It was a poignant moment as the sweeps turned majestically in the background

The weather remained warm and sunny for the Sunday Open Day on 3rd May. The crowds who flocked up to the mill were entertained by a record number of attractions including a wide range of stationary engines and milling equipment, a pole lathe turner, a magician, and Morris Sides from Ditchling, Hammersmith and Bristol. Even the wind cooperated by turning the sweeps late in the afternoon accompanied by cheers from the largest number of spectators ever attracted to a mill Open Day! Betty Morley, the granddaughter of the last tenant miller, was the guest of honour and cut the ceremonial cake.

The success of the Open Day was in part due to the work behind the scenes of George Rankin, our new Publicity Officer, who is establishing a network of press, radio and TV contacts. The support of Roger Booth and the South Downs Living team also contributed to the success particularly as an article on the restoration of the mill appeared in the magazine just one week before the event !


At the end of 2008 we ground our first bucket of flour and in 2009 we have not done much more. We had a problem with the brakewheel not meshing smoothly with the quant. The brakewheel and the quant have both been re-aligned and the last run seemed fine so we hope we have cured the problem. The stones need to be run in a bit more to get rid of the grit and after that we hope to be able to supply you with some nice organic wholemeal flour in 2010.

I started this website in about 2001, in a very primitive form, to record in words and photos the work of restoration. In 2002 Simon Potter used his expertise and rebuilt the website to its present sophisticated format.

I joined the mill volunteers in 2000 when I retired from paid work and started ten years of unpaid hard labour. At that time the early volunteers who started in 1980 had fitted new supports to the original post, demolished the body of the mill, made and erected a new oak frame for the mill body. I have used the Diary to record our progress since then and now that we have completed the major work to the stage that we have ground flour I am putting away my quill and inkpot and signing off as the Diarist.
David Friend     January 2010.


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