Wendover windmill, Buckinghamshire


Wendover #1702

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NGR: SP873082
(51.76571,-0.7450)


Map/aerial photo of the area around the mill

tower - house converted

Whilst the site of Wendover windmill may be older, the present mill was built between 1796 and 1804 - a date carved into a beam on the second floor. The mill tower is massive, reputedly built from 500 tonnes of bricks, brought from nearby St Leonards, and internally does not taper (though the external taper is accounted for by the walls narrowing as they rise up through the 5 floors).

The windmill converted from wind to steam in the late C19, as houses built around the site affected the windflow. The rising cost of coal in the 1920's proved the downfall of this power source by 1926, and the owning Purcell family leased the mill to the London actress, Marion Fawcett, who converted it into a country residence in the 1930's. After the Second World War it was probably rented for a while, but gradually fell into disuse.

By 1953 the structure was in danger of demolition - the roof was in very poor repair and an inner flat asphalt roof had been created with the top two floors in their original state with ladders and trapdoors etc, though apparently the mill was rented for a time to a dentist.

After having been on the market for a while, an advertisment in the New Statesman caught the eye of Kenneth and Margaret Roberton, who bought the mill, and moved their young family in on Coronation Day, 1953. The four year old Meg, and her two older brothers found that the two top floors made great playrooms! The mill was the first property to be sold in The Mill Estate and the adjoining properties, The Millhouse, The Bakehouse, and The Millers Cottage were all rented for a great many years after. They are now all privately owned. Only the adjoining granary building was never sold by the original owners, and has passed down through the family, to Mark Goodson.

Derek Ogden, the millwright, was engaged in the mid 60's to rebuild the domed roof, and he noted that it still retains the largest cast windshaft he had ever seen. Some other machinery is retained at cap level. The rebuilt roof made the top two floors habitable, and from the 1970's the family music publishing firm, Roberton Publications was run from these, and continued to be so until Kenneth Roberton died in May 2003.

Sales particulars - when working via steam

WENDOVER, BUCKS. Four Miles from the excellent Market Town of Aylesbury. Particulars and Conditions of Sale OF ALL THAT BRICK-BUILT, OCTAGONAL-SHAPED, ROOMY, FREEHOLD WINDMILL OF FIVE STORIES, DRIVING THREE PAIRS OF STONES, WITH THE WHOLE OF THE GEARING COMPLETE; ALSO, ATTACHED THERETO, A 12-HORSE-POWER STEAM ENGINE And BOILER, with high Shaft, driving two separate pairs of Stones; and the necessary DRESSING MACHINES and GEAR together with the GRANARY, STORE HOUSES, CART SHEDS, STABLES;

My thanks to Meg Roberton, who provided many of these details.

[Roberton Publications was run from the mill for many years] [1904 photo] [photo] [1936 photo] [1917 photo] [photo] [photo] [photo] [photo]

Entry in Mills Archive database - #1702

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Mill ID 1702
Wendover, Buckinghamshire, 30/4/89 - {The Peter Hedges Collection}

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Last updated 20/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -