Sussex Mills Group Web Site - Home Page
Sussex Windmills
Sussex Watermills
Sussex Windmills and Watermills Open to view
Sussex Mill Tours, Meetings, Lectures and other Events
Links to Mills in Sussex and further afield
Sussex Mills Group Contacts
Site Map of Sussex Mills Group Web Site
IL 1831
Sussex Mills Group
Sussex Mills Group
Sussex Mills Group
Sussex Mills Group
Sussex Mills Group

Website Design : Simon Potter  The last days of Ninfield Post Mill

The following two articles, the first published in April 1936 and the second in September 1937, record the demise of Ninfield Post Mill.

Sussex Mills Group logo

Sussex Mills Group

APRIL 1936
This mill, known locally as Ashburnham Mill, stood on the main road between Herstmonceux and Bexhill-on-Sea. It is now in very bad condition, and the stones and other machinery have been removed. The outer steps to the spout-floor have lost their rungs and the whole body of the mill is so shaky that the marvel is that it remains standing at all. As it is the top of the weather-boarding of the breast is missing, and part of the brake-wheel, which has lost it cogs, is exposed to view through the opening thus made in it.

It was built in the year 1809, the late Mr. Wm. Morris being the last miller to work it, his predecessor being a miller of the name of Barton. The usual arrangement of floors is found : bin-floor, stone-floor, and spout-floor, working downwards from the top of the mill. It worked three pairs of stones, one French burr and two peaks. It was also equipped with a flour-sifter and a crusher.

Ninfield Post Mill  

The round-house is of red brick, tall and rather narrow, and has two floors. The outside has been submitted to the indignity of having an advertisement for bread, in gold letters, fastened to the walls. I believe that access to the spout-floor in this mill was gained, as well as from the outside steps, by portable steps from the upper floor of the round-house.

Two of the sweeps, which were of the spring variety, suddenly fell off about eight years ago on a calm summer day without warning, and the two that remain are much battered by the weather and in a very bad state of repair.

This mill was always a very difficult one to get started, and an outside pulley is to be seen on the left-hand side of the mill as one faces the tail-end. This was driven by a belt from a portable steam engine, which was brought up to the mill for the purpose, and which rotated the sweeps until sufficient momentum had been gained to enable the wind to work the mill by its own power.

Ninfield Mill was last worked about 1900; the round-house is now the only part which is put to any use at all, and that is used as a potting shed for the garden on which the mill now stands.
[ Extracted from "Windmills In Sussex" by Peter Hemming ]

Sussex Mills Group

Ninfield's elevated village street will look very bleak for a time. The old post mill, which was such a picturesque object, has been demolished. It was not, apparently an old mill, as mills go. Mr A. Foord Hughes (in 1930) gave it a life of 120 years. Many post mills are much older than this and - on the ground that it does not appear in the Ordnance Survey map of the county, which was issued in 1813, and showed probably every windmill then standing - it may be questioned whether Ninfield was built quite so early.

Its age was, however, of comparatively little importance, its interest lying in the picturesqueness and a commanding site. Features which observant passers-by noted were that its gabled front was not flat, but consisted of two sides meeting at a very obtuse angle and, the weather-boarding under the eaves having been broken, part of the massive machinery was visible within.

The mill has been out of commission for most or all of this century, but its passing is a matter to be regretted. If the brick roundhouse, unusually tall, be left for other uses, as is often the case, it will serve as a permanent but melancholy reminder of the vastly more picturesque upper works of the mill.

  Ninfield Post Mill

[ Extracted from The Sussex County Magazine ]    Windmill Tour