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 1
December 2002 to August 2005
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


August 2005

The last Diary entry at the end of 2004 said that we had got the DEFRA grant for the sweeps and brake wheel to be made by a millwright. Lots of investigation has been undertaken regarding the most suitable wood for the sweeps and also what was available. We eventually settled on laminated larch. The stocks and whips for the sweeps are now on order and we hope to see them before the end of the year.

The segments for the brake wheel are made from 5" and 3.5" thick elm. We did get quotes for this but decided to look at an elm that had been given to us by Brighton and Hove Council after the hurricane in 1987. It had been sawn into the right thickness and stacked correctly but, over the years, had lain on our site neglected. The top layers were rotten and there was quite a bit of worm on the edges. The lower planks in the stack looked better and, when we had sawn off an end, we were pleased to find nice pink and sound timber. We managed to cut out enough sound segments, the millwright is pleased with it, and it is now in his workshop.

David cutting segments of elm for brakewheel
David cutting segments of elm for brakewheel

In January we started on the roundhouse floor. This had suffered from a lot of subsidence. The bricks were removed and cleaned then six inches of soil were removed and replaced by shale. Roy then re-laid the bricks, in the same pattern, on a bed of sand with a little lime mortar added. It was a treat to see an expert at work, every brick laid with a level in two directions. No doubt good enough for a game of bowls.

We had to get the millstones out of the round-house to do the floor but also needed them out as Plumpton College have offered to use their blacksmiths to re-band them as a practical exercise.

Moving the millstones out of the roundhouse
Moving the millstones out of the roundhouse

In February and March we fitted heavy iron straps over the trestle to hold it to the brick piers.

In February and March we fitted heavy iron straps over the trestle to hold it to the brick piers.

Since April we have been clearing the site. The old timber store is now demolished, lots of old rotten timbers taken away and bare patches sown with grass seed.

Not a lot we can do at the moment on the restoration until we can install the new brakewheel. Everything follows on from then, millstones put back, machinery put together, top floor to be made.

On Sunday 8th May we had our first open day of the year. A GOOD DAY, lots of visitors, raised a few hundred pounds, Roy's barbeque doing a roaring trade.

THURSDAY 2nd JUNE 2005 was a special day. We rotated the mill. Only a few feet, we cannot lift the steps as we do not have the lever on the tailpole, and used rollers under the bottom step. But it moved quite smoothly, a bit stiff to start but, as far as we know, it has not been rotated since the mill stopped working in 1912. The next week, feeling bold, we rotated the mill 180 degrees. This showed up that the post is not quite upright. After this is corrected we can then take measurements from the body to the roundhouse roof and complete the cladding down to the roundhouse.

We had another open day on Sunday 10th July. Lots of visitors and raised some much needed money.

So far this year there has not been much progress to see but a lot is going on in the background. We should see the timber for the sweeps before long, a contract for the construction of the brake wheel has been given, Plumpton College are re-banding the millstones and making iron rods to support the tailpole to the top of the mill. When any of these are complete then we will have plenty to get on with.    D.A.F. 3-8-05

November 2004
The round house roof is nearly completely weatherboarded, just a few rows to go at the end of October.
For some many months we have been trying to get a grant for the cost of new sweeps and brake wheel. Some of us would have preferred to have done the work ourselves as , up until now, all the major work has been done in-house. But the way these grants work is that we could not get a grant just for the materials, we had to get the work done professionally. The upside is that we would hope to get the restoration completed a year or so sooner.

The round house roof is nearly completely  weatherboarded November 2004

19th October 2004

Copy of Press Release :-
Oldland Mill - Major restoration grant awarded by DEFRA.
Oldland Mill has attracted a substantial grant from the Rural Enterprise Scheme- part of the England Rural Development Programme coordinated by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs ( DEFRA) - to continue the restoration of this historic Post mill built in about 1703 just to the north of Hassocks. The grant for just over 62,000 will enable the sweeps to be rebuilt and critical weatherproofing of the mill, including replacing the skirt around the mill body, to be completed. In addition, the two pairs of millstones will be redressed and reset within the body of the mill, the brake and tail wheels rebuilt and refitted to the windshaft, and the roundhouse floor to be resurfaced. All this work will take place over the next 18 months so that by the summer of 2006, the sweeps should be turning again over Hassocks! The next phase of restoring the internal machinery will then commence in earnest.
Open Day visitors over recent years will have noticed the steady transformation in the condition of Oldland Mill. Although this has apparently accelerated over the last couple of years with the completion of the external weather boarding of the mill body, this is somewhat misleading in that a vast amount of less obvious but vitally important work has been progressing for more than 20 years, including replacing the main structure where it was no longer sound. Fortunately, a survey of the main oak post- the critical member of a post mill- demonstrated that it remained sound despite its great age.
There is no doubt that the size of this grant reflects how impressed the DEFRA Inspectors were with the current condition of the mill. Indeed, no less than the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) visited the mill recently and praised the quality of both the materials and workmanship evident in the restoration. This is thus an achievement of which all the local residents and other friends who have contributed to the work to date in any capacity can be rightly proud!
Oldland Mill Trust is dedicated to her restoration.
Fred Maillardet, Chairman of the Trust, 19-10-2004

1100 TO 1600

Sunday 8th August
was an Open Day. Lots of visitors, not all local, very hot, raised some money, good time had by all.
DAF,19th August 2004

Tuesday 8th June 2004
Roundhouse walls completed

June 2004. Old drawings taken of the round house roof are not very detailed as to dimensions. Lot of mocking up with scraps of timber to make sure that there will be enough room at the peak of the roundhouse to get the millstones through.
" ROUNDHOUSE " in fact is an octagonal brick-built building but it seems odd to call it " the octagonal house "

The Dumbrell Trust donated the money for the roundhouse oak frames and softwood weatherboarding. By the 5th August the roof timbers were in place with much help from Roy Short. The next stage was to close board the roof which was finished 12th August. Now we have to cover this with a breathable membrane ( told this would be better than roofing felt) fix battens and then put on the weatherboarding. Back to sanding, knotting, undercoating and top-coating ANOTHER great pile of weatherboards.

Roundhouse walls completed
Roundhouse walls completed

Roundhouse roof rafters
Roundhouse roof rafters

14th May 2004
Back again, had trouble with the broadband connection for two months.

The steam engine came to naught. The Arrangement was that we could use it if I assembled it and provided a boiler. However he telephoned me one morning and said he had sold it without even giving me the option to match the price. So we are back to square one. We are still looking for a stationary steam engine and boiler, not sure of the power required, does anyone know the Brake horsepower required to turn one pair of mill stones whilst grinding wheat? I should guess it would be something with a bore of 5" by 7" stroke running at 150 rpm at a steam pressure of 100 psi. If you know better then please let me know.

We have not been idle over the winter even if this website has been.
The windshaft hatch was finished and Alan made up a metal weather seal for the windshaft. Both took a long time due to poor weather.
The old rotten oak frames were chainsawed up and I split them for logs but found that there was some nice wood under all the rot so I am making them into door wedges for sale for rebuilding funds, 5 a time if you want any, look nice and have label of provenance.

Four new beams were mortised and tenoned into place to support the millstones.
The old tailpole was recovered from store, planed and sanded down and ,in general looked pretty good, from the dated carved on it, it had been replaced in 1892. There was some rot to cut out and we glued in some inserts cut from a telegraph pole. The largest insert was 72" x 6" x 4". The test will come when we try to support the weight of the steps on it.
One of the old roundhouse doors was rebuilt and a second one was made to match.

Yesterday, 13th May, was a good day and not because it was my birthday but because we (well Roy) started laying the brickwork for the roundhouse walls, made a good start, watch this space.
I am working on a new website with the help of Simon Potter from Jack and Jill. This will be able to show a lot more photographs.

20th May was a GREAT DAY. We took down the last of the scaffolding, been up since March 2001, and Oldland Windmill is revealed in all her glory.
David Friend,20/5/2004

The 1892 tailpole
The 1892 tailpole

The Roundhouse walls
The Roundhouse walls

December 2003
Welcome to our visitors to this website from Australia.

It was decided to use lime mortar to rebuild the walls of the octagonal roundhouse, not for any technical merit but because it was as it was. This posed problems as none of us had used it and a lot of research was required. By then the frosts were about so it was decided to leave the brickwork till the spring.

We have been busy our usual one and a half days per week but not a lot to show for it. At least we can now work inside in all weathers.

Sunday August 10th we had an open day, hottest day of the year, good number of visitors and raised a few hundred pounds.
A new stable door was fitted to the back of the mill. Various hatches have been made and fitted. The wind shaft has been rubbed down and painted. Door frames made for the roundhouse and the roundhouse hatch has been rebuild.

In the 1800s a steam engine was used to power the front pair of stones on windless days. We have found a suitable stationary steam engine, we had a very nice old cast iron chassis on site and all we (I) have to do is find a boiler and put it all together. DAF 23-12-2003

Roy pouring the foundations
Roy pouring the foundations

New stable door
New stable door

August 2003
It has been a busy time since the last report. In April the back of the mill was weatherboarded. Gerry fitted the lead roll to the roof.

May saw the two old sprattle beams hoisted out of store on to the stone floor. The old steps to the stone floor were retreaded and put in position.

By mid June all the mill body had been given a third and final top coat.

By the end of July we had started pouring concrete for the roundhouse foundations and is now completed.

Roy Short, a retired local builder of note, has joined our team and next week we hope to make a start on the brickwork for the roundhouse. DAF 7th August 2003

Repaired Spout Floor ladder
Repaired Spout Floor ladder

April 24th 2003
We have made good use of the dry and sunny spring. Today we finished weatherboarding the back of the mill and also completed the lead roll to cap the apex of the roof.

We have the hatch above the windshaft on the breast of the mill to make and also the weather seal round the windshaft. Next is to put another two topcoats of paint on and the scaffolding can come down.

We have started digging to make new foundations for the roundhouse walls. D.A.F. 24/4/03

Weatherboarding the back
Weatherboarding the back

Gerry on a roll
Gerry on a roll

February 2003
The back of the mill is now weatherboarded to a foot above the door which is a far as we can reach until we get some more scaffolding.

The bottom floor (spout floor) has been floored with 1" pine but not yet nailed as it has to be treated with preservative another reason is we do not want to nail it until we are sure there are no more jobs to do under the floor.

Next task is to make the main stable door.D.A.F.17/2/03

Weatherboarding the back of the Mill - Jan 2003

December 30th 2002
We have got to the end of another year. Both sides and the front have been reclad with treated softwood weather boarding. The roof timbers, curved and laminated oak, have been installed. The roof has been weather boarded and is now complete except for a lead roll to the peak.

We are now dry and next year's summer ? should see the mill frames dry out. We have the back of the mill to weather board. Quite a lot of the boards are prepared and we hope to finish them over the winter. In total there is a run of about 1.6 kilometres of boarding. We sand them down, round the edges, undercoat and put on one topcoat before fixing. We need to keep the scaffolding in place to put on more topcoats in the warm weather. This leaves us short of scaffolding for the back of the mill.

Another winter job is to put in three floors, the timber is ordered and we can get on with the job now we have a roof over our heads.

Money is a perpetual problem as we rely on donations. A major problem is that, as a Charity, we have to have Employers Liability Insurance. There have been huge increases in this insurance in the UK this year and it is an unproductive use of our money.

What we would like is a major sponsor to fund us with 5000 per year but any donations are very welcome. D.A.F. 30-12-2002


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