Kibworth Harcourt Windmill
Kibworth Harcourt Mill is an early 18th-century post mill, the only mill of this type remaining in Leicestershire. It was designed with one set of common sails and one set of spring sails which were used to power the two sets of millstones in the mill, one of French Burr, the other Derbyshire Peak stones. The mill also contains a small dressing machine. It was listed Grade II* in 1986 and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The mill continued to work up to 1912 but by the 1930s it was in such a poor state that the mill’s owners, Merton College, Oxford decided it should either be put in sound repair or demolished. They had the mill inspected by the SPAB, and the millwright’s report estimated that the repair would cost approximately £100 – a not insignificant sum. So in 1936 the mill together with a small piece of land which takes in the turning circle, and an access path from the main road, were given to the SPAB who took on the responsibility of the mill’s future upkeep.
Major work to the mill was carried out in 1936 and again in 1970, since when minor repairs and painting have been undertaken to keep the mill in good order, and the sails turned on a regular basis. In 2016, while under inspection, one of the common sails failed and for safety’s sake the remaining common sail and both spring sails were removed for examination; they remain in storage at a millwright’s yard.
Plans for the future
The SPAB and the Mills Section have now agreed that a major overhaul of the mill is due and this, once done, will bring the mill back to a workable state. The works envisaged will retain as much historic fabric as possible, and will follow proposals put forward by Vincent Pargeter in 2015 when he produced detailed drawings of the mill along with a justification paper for repairs and alterations.
The work proposed will involve repair of the trestle and work to the roundhouse. Four new sails will be made, two common and two spring, a new tailpole and ladder. There will be new weatherboarding, with wider boards as it had originally; existing boards with original graffiti, initials and dates on them which are of historic significance will be retained. There will also be some work to the interior machinery. Once finished, the mill will be able to turn to wind and the sails able to idle.
It is anticipated that work will begin in 2021, once the necessary consents have been received from Historic England and specifications confirmed. We will be able to provide further detail when we launch an appeal for funding the repairs.
Please note: The mill is on private land. It opens for National Mills Weekend and Heritage Weekend, otherwise by appointment only. A press release for Kibworth Harcourt Mill can be found here. Please also see additional information, a 3D laser scan survey of the mill and an interview about Kibworth Harcourt Windmill, with Matthew Slocombe, Director of SPAB, here
Additional 3D films about Kibworth Harcourt of the Upper Mill can be found here and of the Lower Mill here