This week’s curiosity comes in the quirky shape of Chesterton Windmill in Warwickshire. This unusual landmark is thought to be the oldest tower mill in England to retain any of its working parts.
This prominent mill stands on a hilltop overlooking the Roman Fosse Way not far from Warwick. The windmill was built in around 1632 but there is some debate over whether it was originally designed as a windmill or as an observatory. Looking at its unusual shape you can see why, it is not a typical style mill and it does make an ideal viewing station.
It was most likely built for Sir Edward Peyto, owner of Chesterton Manor at the time. There is some debate over who designed the building but the most likely candidate is John Stone who was a pupil of Inigo Jones. Peyto himself was interested in architecture and mathematics and knew many of that era’s top architects including Jones. The mill is set on six pillars linked by semi-circular arches and has sails with a sixty foot span, carrying 450 square feet of canvas. Chesterton Windmill is certainly unique, both structurally and mechanically (to see the inside workings of the mill visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk).
It was used as a mill until about 1910 when it ceased to work and the miller moved away. After falling into disrepair, it was restored between 1965 and 1971 by Warwickshire County Council in collaboration with the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings and the Ministry of Public Building and Works.
The windmill will hopefully be open to the public on 14th and 15th September (visit their Facebook page for up to date information). When open, visitors are able to climb up the steep wooden stairs into the building where there are two floors to discover. The lower floor contains the mill wheels for grinding corn into flour. So why not take a look at this unique landmark for yourself?
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