Chailey Mill is a famous Sussex landmark situated to the north of the A272 on Red House Common, North Chailey. It is adjacent to St George's, that was once part of Chailey Heritage, but has now been converted into residential accommodation.
From the mill's elevated position there are splendid views over Chailey Commons (a Site of Special Scientific Interest), Ashdown Forrest and the South Downs.
The mill was originally built in 1830 at West Hoathly and moved to its present site in 1864. Chailey Windmill is, apparently, the seventh mill to have been located here (the first was in 1595).
The mill stones last ground corn in 1911, although the mill was extensively restored in 1954.
Chailey Mill is a 'smock mill' (which means the top, or cap, rotates to ensure the sails are always pointed into the wind) and in 1830 the location was known as Founders Hill. The mill was restored in 1933 after damage by a great gale in 1928. Built on an octagonal roundhouse of tarred brick with a platform above, the main structure of the mill is faced with white painted weatherboarding.
The cap is boat-shaped, the sweeps are without shutters and the fantail is intact. Sadly the mill no longer contains any machinery inside.
The yew tree, which stands at the side of the windmill, is said to mark the centre of the historic county of Sussex.
There are some historic pictures of this windmill in my postcard album.
The "Friends of Chailey Windmill" open the mill on a regular basis to display its rural life museum and fine collection of local photographs dating back to the beginning of the last century.
I have been provided with information about various Sussex windmills from Simon Potter who runs a brilliant site about Sussex Mills.
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Photographs © Mark Collins 2006
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