Sissinghurst windmill, Kent

Sissinghurst #2705

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NGR: TQ789376

Map/aerial photo of the area around the mill

smock mill - octagonal brick foundations survive

Info provided by Neil Woolliams, grandson of Keith Woolliams, mill owner when it was demolished on Tuesday November 27th 1951.

Newspaper reports of the demolition:

Sissinghurst Mill is down. Over 100 years old. Sissinghurst now has a Mill-lane and a Mill Farm - but no mill. After a date with a traction engine on Tuesday, nothing of it is left but a heap of firewood. Over 100 years old and becoming dangerous, its end was certain as soon as one of Mr. C. W. Lambert's famous fleet of Horsmonden "fliers" (traction engines) turned into the farm. A steel hawser was fixed to the mill, the flywheel of the 20-year old engine began to turn, and before the cable seemed really tight it was all over. With a thud the mill collapsed on its foundations. Mr. K. L. Woolliams, of Mill Farm, said afterwards that the woodwork was so rotten that he believes the engine could have pushed it straight over without using a cable. A four-sailer, the mill worked until about 25 years ago. The last owner to use it was the late Mr. G. Crampton. DERELICT Although derelict for so long, the mill was a local landmark and was particularly usful to anyone looking for Mill-lane. "Now we will have to put signs up" said Mr. H. Punnett, who lives in the lane. Sissinghurst's other mill on The Common met its end in exactly the same way over 50 years ago. But at that time windmills and tractions engines were not novelties - they worked.
Another Weald Windmill is no more. Pulled down by traction engine. Man with no fuel wories all this coming winter is Mr. K. L. Woolliams, of Mill Farm, Sissinghurst. He has a huge pile of splintered wood lying not far from his back door - all that remains of a well-known Sissinghurst landmark, the windmill from which the farm took its name. Some time ago, Mr. Woolliams's young son asked him to take him up inside the 80-ft derelict mill. Mr. Woolliams knew the wood structure was rotten and was reluctant to climb to the top, but persistent youth prevailed and they climbed up among the wooden-cogged machinery. At the top Mr. Woolliams discovered that the mortice on one of the main beams had broken and the beam had dropped considerably. Realising that the mill, which he estimates is about 110 years old, was extremely unsafe, he and his son made a hasty, but careful, exit. Next day he consulted Mr. C. W. Lambert, of Horsmonden, the contractor with an amazing collection of old steam engines, and on Tuesday one of Mr. Lambert's engines was used to demolish the mill. A steel hawser was attached to the mill cap, and the other end went to a power drum on the steam engine. Unfortunately, the demolition did not go acording to plan, and no sooner did the hawser tighten on the revolving drum than the mill began to fall - the wrong way. Instead of falling into an open field as planned, the weatherboarded tower twisted sideways and demolished part of some pig-sties. Unfortunately, too, the brickwork at the base collaped, and now Mr. Woolliams will probably have to demolish the rest of it, instead of using it as a store, as he originally hoped. But he was glad to have the tottering tower out of the way. "It was dangerous and I was afraid I or my cows might have been underneath if it fell." The mill was last used in 1926 or 1927, and formerly had four sweeps, but they were sold, before Mr. Woolliams took over the farm, to embellish a cafe. Now. Mr. Woolliams eyes his pile of splintered woodwork, and thinks about all the sawing, burning and clearing up he has to do. Yet another Weald mill has disappeared from the scene.

Sissinghurst mill with sails, 1930's

Sissinghurst mill without sails, approx 1940's

Entry in Mills Archive database - #2705

Entry in Millers' Tales - Overview and All Records from The Mills Archive.

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