Description: Post Mill 120m North of Mill Cottage
Date Listed: 15 November 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 280788
OS Grid Reference: TL9641862202
OS Grid Coordinates: 596418, 262202
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2230, 0.8742
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1228/1/35 WOOLPIT ROAD
POST MILL, 120 METRES
NORTH OF MILL COTTAGE
(Formerly listed as:
15-NOV-54 WOOPIT ROAD
Post mill. Mid-late C16 (dendrochronology dates 1541-73, 1543-74 and 1586-7); rebuilt later C17, perhaps 1689 (carved date 'SS 1689'), re-using significant earlier structure. Altered C18-C19, including addition of roundhouse in early C19. Timber-framed and weatherboarded buck with 2 floors; small windows with boarded hatches. The rear gable cants forward, an unusual feature. Lean-to open porch. Single-storey roundhouse of flint rubble and red brick, with a plain tiled roof. The mill was tailpole-winded until 1940 when a second-hand wheeled carriage was fitted. The present 6-bladed fantail was brought from Woolpit Mill c.1965.
INTERIOR: The main post (1586-7) is supported by 4 C16 quarter bars tenoned into 2 C18 crosstrees, resting on brick piers. The buck framing is unusual in that the crowntree does not carry side girts, but is tenoned into full-height vertical posts. This archaic design now only survives elsewhere at Bourn Mill, Cambridgeshire (q.v.), and in modified form at Six Mile Bottom Mill, Burrough Green, Cambridgeshire (q.v.). Much oak framing is re-used from the C16 mill, including heavy curved braces on the stone floor (thought to be unique in an English post mill), upper, mid and lower rails, and studding, halved over the curved braces but bisected by primary braces probably added in the C17 rebuild. All the C16 timbers are well-finished, with deep chamfers. Also re-used is a pair of jowled posts in the head, which probably carried longitudinal brays, part of the system for adjusting the single pair of millstones originally fitted. These timbers gave the mid C16 dendro dates. Buck extended to tail in C18, perhaps to accommodate the tail stones, and extended to head in C19. The top of the main post is reinforced by an iron collar, with wings extending under the crowntree. Intact machinery: 2 pairs of stones driven by brakewheel and tailwheel mounted on oak windshaft. The windshaft has been extended by a heavy iron casting integral with the poll end. The brakewheel originated as a compass-arm wheel in C17, and the tailwheel appears to have similar origins. Their wooden cogs were replaced by iron teeth in C19, when iron stone nuts and quants were fitted. C19 centrifugal governors control the tentering to each pair of stones, although the head stones retain hand tentering by a lighter staff, an unusual and archaic survival in the area. Chain-driven sack hoist. The interior contains many carvings and inscriptions, especially on the C18 meal bin to the head stones. Roundhouse has a brick-paved sunk floor.
HISTORY: The mill last worked with 2 cloth-spread and 2 spring shuttered sails. The latter pair, the last spring sails in Suffolk, were removed 1995 and are stored on site. The earliest documentary reference to a mill on this site is in 1616; Robert Craske was miller in 1639. Worked by the Clover family from 1774 until the 1970's. The survival of much of the C16 post mill in its original context, and the lack of rebuilding since the later C17, mean that it is almost certainly the country's oldest post mill and therefore of outstanding interest. It forms part of a very significant group of mill-related buildings, including an engine-driven smock mill and Mill Cottage (q.v.).
The mill plot has been designated a Conservation Area.
Listing NGR: TL9641862202
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.