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From the Archives

Reprinted from "The Windmills of Surrey and Inner London" by K.C. Farriers and M. T. Mason (Charles Skilton Ltd London 1966)

100 yd from the Smallfield road and about 25 yd to the W. of Langshott (Lane) just before the bend around Mill Croft. National Grid Reference 52891434.

This post mill was probably erected during the first half of the eighteenth century, after which period it is indicated on most maps of Surrey (1). In 1848 the mill and the small meadow around it were occupied by Griffin Beale, the owner of this and surrounding land then being Henry Bridges (2). Another Beale  Thomas  is recorded at Nutfield in 1839 (3). The mill house lay 300 yd north-eastward along Langshott Lane where Windmill Cottage now stands  Greenwood's map of 1823 is precise upon this point.

The mill was not worked after about 1875; it was used by the last miller  Henry Jennings, who succeeded William Charlwood   for the grinding of flour and cattle foods. An unsigned water-colour in private possession (4) is the only known picture of the mill, but it is a little too impressionist in style to yield precise technical data. However, a few recorded facts (5) reveal an unexceptional mill; there was a weatherboarded body winded by tail pole on a single-storied roundhouse, and there were four common sails driving two pairs of stones, one peak, one French burr, both of which were latterly dressed by Jennings. The stones were apparently driven by brake and tail wheels (6).

After the mill ceased to work, it was left to stand with broken sweeps by its owner, Canon Bridges; he was in favour of preservation, but after his death his son had the derelict removed in about 1900, when the Beddington estate was broken up. Arthur Jennings, a local builder, was commissioned to demolish the mill; it was agreed that he should take the whole of the timber and all other useful materials from the debris for what seems the ridiculously low figure of £5; his demolition charges were thereby well covered. The task of destruction was comparatively easy; several of the main timbers in the base were severed, and a number of men pushed on the tail pole until the mill reeled and fell with a tremendous crash.

One of the stones was bartered for a barrel of beer, and this stone, or another, now lies as a pedestal with a surround of crazy paving in the garden of Mill Croft, a few yards from the site. It is a French burr with working face uppermost; the weather has by now spared little of the binding loop or of the matrix between the segments. At the site itself on a piece of waste ground, a slight baldness in the grass, or perhaps a subtle difference in texture, seems to betray the area of the former mill circle  at least, to those predisposed to find it!

Notes:

(1) e.g. Rocque, 1762; Andrews and Dury, 1777; Lindley and Crosley, 1789; one-inch O.S., 1816, six-inch, 1870.

(2) Tithe map. Tithe Redemption Commission, Finsbury Square, London, EC2.

(3) Pigot's Directory.

(4) Mr M. T. Mason, bequeathed by the late Mr T. J. Mason, Bromley, Kent.

(5) By Mr D. W. Muggeridge, c.1935 from Mr Arthur Jennings.

(6) Evidence provided by the millstone and by the anti-clockwise sails of the water-colour.