Monthly Archives: March 2019

History of Lincolnshire Windmills

At our meeting on Thursday, 14th March,  the speaker will be Malcolm Ringsell of Burgh le Marsh Heritage Group, who are custodians of Dobson’s Mill, which is fully restored and open to the public.  Malcolm will describe the history of windmills throughout the county – few of which still survive.

This painting by Karl Wood (held in Lincolnshire Archives) shows the disused windmill at Deeping St James in 1933.  It was completely demolished in the 1960s, and used to stand near Broadgate Lane, in an area still called Windmill Close.

It was owned by the Tomlin family who were millers and bakers in the village for over 100 years, and was known locally as Tomlin’s Mill.

Originally, the Deeping St James windmill was a wooden structure, fixed to a timber post so that it could be turned manually to catch the wind.  It was described in 1831 by Thomas Tomlin, owner and occupier, as “a capital post windmill with one pair of French and one pair of grey stones, dressing machine and round house.” The roundhouse, made of brick or stone, would have concealed the wooden supports and provided storage,

By 1871, Deeping St James mill had been converted to a “well-built stone smock windmill”, meaning its base was made of stone, with a wooden upper tower (similar to the windmill pictured below at Dyke, near Bourne).  Its tower was later re-built completely of stone.  The mill was still operating by wind power in 1900, but in its final working years, is believed to have been engine driven.

The remains of the smock mill at Dyke have been standing without sails since about 1927, when  it ceased to be used for milling corn.   It was previously used as a wind pump to drain water from Deeping Fen.  When steam power was found to be more efficient at keeping the land drained, this mill was dismantled and moved to Dyke, where it was fitted with mill stones and used to produce flour and cattle food.  Its outer shell has been restored and it is now privately owned.

Less is known about the windmill at Market Deeping.  In 1584, John Lownde owned “the half of the windmill, the half of the three watermills, the malt mill and malt mill close.”  Other members of the Lownde family shared leases of the mills.  Margery Lownde, a widow who died in 1596, owned “the half lease of the mills” and “half a mill post”, which indicates that the windmill was a wooden post mill.

Two hundred years later in 1798, Land Tax records show that John Molecey owned a windmill and close in Market Deeping.  It was situated in Church Street, almost opposite the Rectory Paddock.  The mill had been demolished by 1840, when a row of three cottages and the Prince of Wales beer house were built on the site.

Malcolm Ringsell’s  practical experience and enthusiasm for windmills will ensure  an enjoyable event. His talk starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School, and  everyone is welcome.  There is a £2 charge for non-members.