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The Mill on the Post

Post mill  Pitstone

The Monday Photo

This is Pitstone windmill. It's the oldest windmill in the British Isles, and there are several ancient dates carved into the mill. The oldest is 1627, but the mill may be even older. It’s a post mill, turned into the wind on a great central post.

Unlike Quainton’s windmill, where just the top turns automatically into the wind driven by its fantail, the miller at Pitstone had to turn the great bulk of the mill by walking around at ground level, pushing on the tail pole.

You might just be able to see the red painted wheel it ran round on, in the photo.

Not facing in the right direction led to the mill being wrecked in a violent storm in 1902. Damaged beyond economic repair, it rotted in the fields for 35 years, then it was given to the National Trust.

They eventually rebuilt it, and in 1970 it was once again able to grind corn. But now, fifty years later, the sails cause too much vibration when they turn and the mill can’t be used.

In normal times, Pitstone Mill is open to the public. But there’s not much room inside a mill and social distancing must be impossible. However, as you can see, visitors do visit the mill. But they can’t go inside.


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