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Home arrow Bardwell Windmill
Bardwell Windmill
A Brief History of the Windmill
Read more about the Mills of Bardwell flower festival display here and the 2007 Flower Festival here.

Bardwell Windmill which is believed to have been built in the 1820’s stands on the edge of the village where it served the community until the 1940s after which it fell into dereliction. In 1985/6 the mill was again milling flour having been renovated by the previous owner James Waterfield. In July 1987 Enid and Geoffrey Wheeler bought the Mill and continued milling flour until the windmill was partly destroyed in the Great Storm on the 15th October 1987.

In 1989 The Wheeler family started work to restore the damaged mill which proved to be very difficult on limited funds work eventually stopped when Geoffrey Wheeler was taken ill; he died in 1995. In 1997 a committee, consisting of local villagers, called 'The Friends of Bardwell Windmill' was set up, with a constitution, to raise funds. English Heritage and St.Edmundsbury Council were approached and both promised grant aid. The total needed for completion was projected in 2000 to be £92,000. English Heritage agreed to give £63,616 and St. Edmundsbury Council £10,000 with the balance raised by the Friends. This money enabled a new cap and fantail to be fitted in the spring of 2004.

The estimate for building a new set of sails had risen to an extra £85,000, so during the winter of 2005/6 it was agreed by the Friends that Jonathan Wheeler - a family member - should start the construction of the sails with the help of volunteer labour. This decision greatly reduced the cost and made it possible to start building the sails with money raised by the Friends. With the help of detailed sketches drawn by Geoffrey Wheeler a set of working drawings were prepared by Luke Bonwick an experienced millwright consultant.

In the spring of 2006 new timber for the sails was delivered at the cost of £2000 and during the summer of 2006 mortises were cut in the first pair of whips, the first of four sail panels constructed and 800 shutter pivots were cast and drilled, costing £1600. Over the 2006/7 winter 192 shutters have been manufactured, costing £5000, in the old engine shed behind the Mill which now serves as a workshop.

At the time of writing (February 2010) two sails have been built complete with their shutters and painted using special lead paint which has (so far) cost one thousand pounds. The running gear, which turns the cap so the sails are always facing the wind, has been revamped and much of it renewed so it is now running smoothly and ready to receive the sails. Hopefully we can have them in place and turning by the end of the year. Meanwhile the mill machinery is being serviced so it can be used again to mill flour; this is a big job requiring patience, skill and plenty of muscle power! It was last turned by steam power in 2000. All work is being done ‘at cost’, without the overheads which a commercial millwright contractor would have to bear.

Sponsor a Shutter

All shutters have now been sponsored; thank you everyone who took part.

contact the Mill here.

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