Armchair Exploration 2
Armchair Exploration 3

The Mill on the Hill

Quainton windmill

The Monday Photo

This is the tallest windmill in Buckinghamshire, and it’s at Quainton. The mill sits at the top of the village green, but it’s still 150 feet, or 45 metres, below the crest of Simber Hill on the North side of the village.

That’s why Quainton Windmill is 65 feet, 19 metres tall; so it can catch the North wind as it comes over the hill. This is the third tallest windmill in England.

By the way, Simber Hill is really just part of the great mass of Quainton Hill. The actual summit of Quainton Hill is another 110 feet or 34 metres higher, and half a mile further North.

Construction of the mill started in 1830, but a few years later the owners installed a steam engine into the base of the mill, so grain could be milled on calm days. This was a common ploy then.

There are photos of the mill in working order in 1860 and 1870, but a 1900 photo shows it to be disused. The fantail, red and white in the photo above, had been blown off the year before during a gale. The mill lay derelict through two World Wars and for decades after. Then in 1972, restoration began.

Work went on for years until grain was milled for the first time in nearly a century in 1997, but more work still had to be carried out. I remember it all working when I visited a few years ago, but I later heard that the mill was out of action again.

It’s now back in working order. Just over a year ago the sails were hoisted back into position after they had undergone a six year refurbishment project.

Once we’ve overcome the Coronavirus, we can visit the windmill again. The usual opening times are 10 am to 12:30 pm, every Sunday.

There’s a pub on the green, The George and Dragon. In normal times it’s open until 2 pm on Sundays.

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