Buildings

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.


Nice Job!

Quainton  Orchard Cottage

I was amazed to find that it’s been a whole year since I stopped at Orchard Cottage in Quainton, to watch the thatchers at work.

It isn’t nice working at height in the winter; I’ve done it. Just a few feet up a ladder, the breeze at ground level becomes a wind that goes straight through you. But they did a good job; the cottage looks great. They rebuilt the chimney, too.

The cottage was first built in the 17th Century, and later enlarged. From what the listing says, (it’s Grade 2) the 18th Century extension is on the end furthest from the road, on the right of the photo. My aunt and uncle moved into that end in 1955 when the cottage was divided into two. I wrote about the cottage and what it was to live there in the 50s last year.

Thatching is a highly skilled job, but If you fancy giving it a go, this is the book for you!


Platform Done

New platform at the Peace PagodaThe newly finished platform, at the Peace Pagoda.

It’s done! The weather beaten platform in front of the Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes has been replaced by a brand new one, ready for next year’s 40th Peace Pagoda Ceremony.

I went to Willen to see it on Monday. It was raining. The new platform was built using a warm coloured stone. The path around it and up to the pagoda have also been replaced, in the same material. The new stone goes well with the yellow bricks on the pagoda. It looked great, despite the weather.

New pagoda platform and Willen LakeWillen Lake and the new platform, from the Peace Pagoda.

In January I told you about the project to replace the cracked and sagging original platform, expected to be completed by October this year. It was finished on time.

The 40th year is an important milestone and it means a lot to have a platform to be proud of at the pagoda ceremony, which will be in June.

Next at the pagoda will be the Sunrise Welcoming Ceremony, at 8am on New Year’s Day. But  there will be New Year’s Eve chanting the night before at the temple from 11 pm.

Nun at Peace Pagoda  Milton KeynesThe old cracked platform, in January