Published on July 5th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw0
Windmills and Watermills
In a new selection of Special Stamps from the Royal Mail, UK’s iconic windmills and watermills are celebrated. Some of these structures are over 400 years old and many remain in working order.
This country has a rich history of stunning windmill and watermill architecture. The power of both wind and water has been used in Britain over the centuries to drive machinery and grind grain for the towns and countryside.
The Doomsday Book in 1086 listed 6,000 watermills and the first windmills appeared in England in around 1180.
Fixed structures, where the mill would only work it the wind was blowing in the right direction were soon replaced by post mills which would turn into the wind. Smock mills constructed from timber became part of the landscape in the 16th century. Yet, today, it is the brick or stone built tower mills that have lasted the test of time.
Most villages in Britain would have a mill to grind corn. Prior to the age of steam during the Industrial Revolution, water power was used in many industries including paper production, tanning, even gun powder making. There were over 10,000 watermills throughout the country in the mid-19th century.
Windmills and Watermills Special Stamps
Three windmills and three watermills have been selected to feature in this latest Special Stamp edition from the Royal Mail. The buildings included in the Windmills and Watermills collection are:
Situated in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex this windmill was originally built during King Henry VIII’s reign in the 16th century. It was moved to its current location in 1830 and was restored to full working order in the 1970s. It is one of only five post mills left in the country.
Cheddleton Flint Mill
This unique watermill in Cheddleton, Staffordshire made its name during the Industrial Revolution as part of the Staffordshire pottery industry. Two mills are on the site, one to grind the flint and one to grind corn. The Cheddleton Flint Mill Preservation Trust preserves this mill and major renovations were finished in 2000 to ensure the buildings are now structurally sound.
The whitewashed tower in County Down is the last remaining windmill for more than 100 miles in this area of Northern Ireland. It was built in the late 1700s and ground grain until 1915. It was restored to working order once again in the 1970s.
New Abbey Corn Mill
This fully restored watermill in Dumfries and Galloway was built at the end of the 18th century. However, it origins are thought to go back even further to the 13th century to the time when Cistercians monks established their monastery of Dulce Cor. Today the mill remains in use and visitors can see how it would have worked centuries ago.
This Kentish smock mill, seven miles from Ashford, Kent was originally part of a pair of windmills known as “The Twins”. It is thought that this windmill was built around 1729. During the First World War its twin, the “Black Mill” was used as an observation post. Woodchurch Windmill, otherwise known as the “White Mill” has been extensively restored since 1946.
Felin Cochwillian Mill in Gwynedd is a corn mill located close to Snowdonia National Park. It was originally built over 200 years ago as a fulling mill used to prepare cloth. It was eventually converted to a corn mill and today the water wheel, mill stones and drying kiln remain.
If you have an interest in our architectural heritage, take a look at the wide range of Special Stamps available from our Events and Themes selection. From Bridges to Seaside Architecture, these offer a superb insight into our history and feats of innovation.