Windmills of Romney Marsh
A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades, specifically to mill grain, but the term is also extended to windpumps, wind turbines and other applications.
It is believed that there were at least 7 windmills on Romney Marsh, almost all used for milling grain from the fields.
Where Were the Windmills?
Reputably, these were at Brenzett, about 1,000m south west of Brenzett Church];
Dymchurch, a Smock MIll,
Two mills in Lydd, the Smock Mill on Mill Road and the Post Mill on West Rype. Some believe there was another one?
There two types of windmill, Post Mills and Smock Mills.
The Post Mill is the earliest type of European windmill. Its defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. All post mills have an arm projecting from them on the side opposite the sails and reaching down to near ground level. With some, as at Saxtead Green, the arm carries a fantail to turn the mill automatically. With the others the arm serves to rotate the mill into the wind by hand.
The Smock Mill is a type of windmill that consists of a sloping, horizontally weatherboarded, thatched, or shingled tower, usually with six or eight sides. It is topped with a roof or cap that rotates to bring the sails into the wind. This type of windmill got its name from its resemblance to smocks worn by farmers in an earlier period.
Now the site of Dymchurch Station on the RH&DR. Thw windmill was demolished in 1906.
A smock mill was built c1769 and dismantled in 1914. It was sited somewhere near to where the current Sainsburys supermarket is located.
In the fourteenth century, records of New Romney mentioned as many as five
windmills and the mill above must have been the last survivor of a once flourishing milling trade.
Newchurch Tower Windmill was the only tower windmill of at least seven windmills known to have been built on Romney Marsh and was reputed to have been built by the Reverend Nares in 1810.
There is a plaque on the side of what remains of the windmill ‘TOWER MILL 1840’. It is said that the Reverend Nares was an expert on grain and his parishioners would bring samples to church on Sundays for him to examine.
The mill was used only in grinding corn for farmers after about 1890, and its use as a mill stopped completely in 1901, when the expense of restoring the woodwork and sweeps became too great.
After the top wooden part of the mill was pulled down in 1906, it was used as an agricultural store until converted into a studio/dwelling together with the former bakehouse in 1982.
Newchurch Tower Windmill c1900