History & Restoration


Roundel transparent white background and edge 97 copyDetailed History by Key Dates

1703   Earliest record of Oldland mill on the Turner Estate map as an open trestle windmill.

1755   Mill mentioned in the Ditchling Churchwarden’s Accounts.

1801   Mill mentioned in the National Defence Schedule for the Napoleonic Wars.

1839   Earliest name of a tenant miller (Joseph Winchester) carved on the main post.

First evidence of the round house shown in a carving on the main post.

1870   Steam engine installed around this date, beside the mill, to provide alternative power to drive the mill.

1873   Replacement cast iron wind shaft installed. Existing granary probably constructed.

1887   Mill used to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

1892   Date inscribed on tail pole.

1912   Mill ceased working commercially. Last driven by both wind or steam power.

1927   Mill conveyed to the Sussex Archaeological Society (SAS) by the Turner family.

Round house used as a museum of Agricultural Tools.

1934   ‘Shilling Fund’ launched to restore the mill. Estimated cost £150.

1935   Some repairs carried out, but restoration then abandoned.

1951   Frank Brangwyn launched a second appeal to restore the mill.

Estimated cost £500. Later abandoned.

1958   Repairs to the mill’s breast.

1976  A presentation on restoration is made at a meeting of the Hassocks Field Society.

1980   Hassocks Amenity Association (HAA) acquired the lease on the mill.

Exhibition mounted by the Bourne sisters of Ditchling with John and Iris Annett.

Volunteer group formed and restoration commenced.

Estimated timescale 7 years and cost £7,000.

1981   Remaining pair of original sweeps and both stocks removed.

1985   Mill stones, some machinery and stone floor removed.

Fund raising commenced in earnest.

1987   Brick supporting piers partly dismantled to aid removal of the cross tree.

1988   Trestle and crown tree replaced.

1991-93   New frames for sides, breast, sheers and tail wall constructed.

1993-95   Remaining machinery removed and scaffolding erected.

1995-97   Rotten timbers in mill body removed and new frames erected.

1997   Oldland Mill Trust (OMT) formed as a charity linked to the HAA.

1998   New tail ladder constructed. HAA acquired the freehold to the mill.

2000   Round house walls dismantled.

The use of Jenner’s Barn for mill activity commenced.

2001   Breast and port side weather boarding completed.

2002   New rafters erected. Starboard side, roof and tail wall weather boarding completed.

2003   Spout floor relayed, tail ladder fitted and round house foundations reconstructed.

Formal topping out ceremony conducted.

2004   DEFRA Grant of £60,000 awarded under the Rural Enterprise Scheme.

Round House rebuilt using original bricks, and new roof constructed to original design.

Scaffolding removed from around the mill.

2005   Upper and lower tail beams reinforced with steel plates.

Round house floor relayed using original bricks.

Iron bands fitted to the millstones and the stones redressed.

Mill was winded for the first time since the restoration began.

2006   Four new sweeps and the brake wheel constructed.

Millwright contracted to build the new sweeps died.

All contracted work brought back in house to be carried out by volunteers.

2007   New brake wheel fitted.

New stocks fitted and new sweeps hung.

OMT reformed as a charity independent of the HAA.

2008   New sweeps turned by the wind for the first time.

Front mill stone drive installed and flour produced.

Skirt finished and restoration of the mill exterior completed.

2009   Grand Celebration event to mark the first milling post restoration.

Oldland Mill and Jill Mill both have their sweeps turning at the same time for the first time in about 100 years.

2011   Sussex Heritage Trust Award given to OMT.

Two of the four sweeps were removed, using a mobile crane, and refurbished with the help of new volunteers.

2012   A servery was installed and given a food hygiene rating of 5

2013   The flour dresser was installed.

The new website went live.

The remaining two sweeps were removed, using a mobile crane, and refurbished.

2014   English Heritage Angel Award given to OMT, following a national vote.

2015   Auxiliary drive demonstrated, for the first time, using a local Traction Engine.

2016   The Shenton Family kindly allowed the use of a garage for use as a mill store and workshop.

2017   Mill Safety Officer appointed and the Accident Prevention Team formed.

2018   Sweeps 1 & 3 were removed, using traditional rope and pulley methods, and refurbished with the help of volunteers painters.

2019   Sweeps 2 & 4 were removed, using traditional rope and pulley methods, and refurbished with the help of volunteers painters.

2020   Lightning protection was installed.

2021   Removal of the temporary Porta-Cabin workshop.

Construction of new boundary walls and a permanent workshop commenced.

For a history of the Oldland Windmill Millers please go to page 3 below.