Ewelme Watercress Beds & Nature Reserve The Chiltern Society

Miller time

The Lacey Green millers and dates we know of are: John Steel (1847), Charles Woods (1854), John Cheshire (1863-87), Mrs Ann Cheshire (1891), George Cheshire (1895-1907) and G.A. Cheshire (1911-5).

Securing a nation …and a farmer

From 1940-44, The 4th Bucks Battalion of The Home Guard, who lived in Lacey Green, Loosley Row, Great Hampden, Speen and Bryants Bottom, used Lacey Green Windmill as an observation tower. Its prominence over the surrounding countryside made it ideal for their primary duty to “observe and report any enemies landing by plane or parachute.” After its role during WWII the adjacent farm used it for storage.

History

We're trying to find out more about the history of Lacey Green Windmill. What we know so far…

The majority of the inner workings of the mill, with seldom-seen design, parts of which date back to 1650, plus two pairs of millstones are still in place.

The body of the mill was rebuilt in the early 1800s and at times the latest advances in mill technology were installed. For example at some point the fantail was added, two of the four common sails were replaced with patent (shuttered) sails, and a governor (speed limiter), smutter and bolter were also added.

Before the fantail was added, the sails were luffed manually with a wheel and chain mechanism.

Winds of change

Lacey Green Windmill was a working, commercial mill until 1915, but during the 1920s it was being used as a weekend cottage and it was during this time that the condition of the mill started to deteriorate very badly.

Among other things, the fantail broke off during a snowstorm on 26th December 1927 and by 1934 only the two, more recently fitted, patent sails were still attached (pictured).

Cant go on

By the end of 1935 a number of locals, together with members of SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings), had shored up the then rotten cant (corner) posts, by adding exterior strengthening posts set on concrete blocks. They also painted the mill white.

A few years later the mill played a brief role in World War II and then entered a long period of neglect. By the late 1960s it was in a shocking condition close to collapse, but in 1971 The Chiltern Society stepped in and volunteers, led by Christopher Wallis, began work to completely restore the mill.