Cromer Windmill, Ardeley

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Ardeley Windmill
Cromer Windmill - - 109693.jpg
The mill in 2006
Mill name Cromer Mill
Mill location TL 304 286
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Operator(s) Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust
Year built 1681
Purpose Corn mill
Type Post mill
Roundhouse storeys Single storey roundhouse
Number of sails Four sails
Type of sails Patent sails
Windshaft Cast iron
Winding Ladder mounted fantail
Fantail blades Eight blades
Auxiliary power Steam engine, later replaced by an Oil engine
Number of pairs of millstones Two pairs, a third pair driven by engine
Size of millstones One pair is 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m) diameter
Other information Only surviving post mill in Hertfordshire

Cromer Windmill, restored in 1967-69, is a Grade II* listed[1] post mill at Cromer, Ardeley, Hertfordshire, England.


There has been a windmill in Cromer since 1192. A windmill was stated to be "in ruins" in 1374 and another is mentioned in 1576. No windmill is shown on John Seller's map dated 1676 or Herman Moll's map dated 1700.[2] Despite the omission from the latter map, tree-ring counts on its timbers show that the mill was built in 1681.[3]

In 1719, Matthew Crane was the miller. In 1773, John Pearman of Luffenhall inherited the mill from his uncle, John Crane. Pearman sold the mill to Thomas Pearman in 1800. In 1822 the mill passed to William Munt, who worked the mill until his death in 1837, when the mill passed to his widow Edith, who worked it until 1856 when her son David took over. He sold the mill for £600 to William Boorman in 1869. There is a suggestion that mill may have been blown down about this time, since the crosstrees have been dated by dendrochronology to 1840-70. Boorman was a blacksmith as well as a miller, and carried on both trades at the mill. He died in 1877 leaving the mill to his widow Emily. She ran the mill until 1888, when her son Ebenezer took over. A steam engine was being used as auxiliary power by this time. The mill was sold to Samuel Woollatt in the late 1890s, and Joseph Scowen was the tenant miller. The steam engine had been replaced by an oil engine by 1919; It worked a pair of millstones on a hurst frame outside the roundhouse. The mill was without sails in this year, although new sails were fitted by 1920. When a new 60 feet (18.29 m) long stock was imported from Sweden, the journey from Buntingford not being without difficulty as the stock went through a cottage window at one point. Scowen worked the mill until his death in 1920. The mill was worked by Joseph Ponder Scowen's widow Marian for a couple of years, and in 1922 Richard Hull took the mill. Hull worked the mill until 1930, apparently using the oil engine after 1923.[2] The fantail had blown off by 1926 and one of the sails had been blown off by July 1929. The other three sails had been taken down by 1932 and the mill became derelict.

In 1938 some restoration was undertaken by volunteer labour, organised by Captain Berry. In the 1960s, a small group of mill enthusiasts raised enough money to enable the mill to be made structurally safe. The mill was given to the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust in 1967 by the owner George Turner of Cottered. Building work carried out J. A. Elliott Ltd of Bishops Stortford included replacing some beams, and reboarding the mill and roundhouse roof. New stocks and sails, and a new set of rear steps were made by E. Hole and Sons, the Burgess Hill millwrights. The restoration took place between 1967 and 1969.[2] Further structural repairs were carried out in 1979, including work to prevent infestation by Death Watch beetles.[4] By 1988, the mill was again in need of attention. There was an unrealised proposal to use a helicopter to move the mill to a new site near Letchworth. In 1990, further restoration work carried out by Dorothea Restorations Ltd of Bristol included a new weather beam, rebuilding the brake wheel and repairing and refitting the sails.[2] Further work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage enabled the mill to be returned to working order in 1998.[5] The mill was officially reopened on 21 June 1998 by Richard Whitmore[4]


Cromer Windmill is a post mill with a single storey roundhouse. The trestle, entirely made of oak,[5] is enclosed by the roundhouse. The main post is 22 inches (560 mm) square at its lower end, and 20 inches (510 mm) diameter at the crown tree. It is 18 feet 9 inches (5.72 m) long.[2] The crosstrees, 22 feet (6.71 m) long.[5] are carried on four brick piers of about 5 feet (1.52 m) height.[2] The four quarterbars are each 11 feet (3.35 m) long.

The body measures 17 feet (5.18 m) by 13 feet 4 inches (4.06 m) in plan,[5] and is 26 feet (7.92 m) in height.[2] The mill is 38 feet 6 inches (11.73 m) high overall.[5] It is winded by a fantail mounted on the ladder. The four Patent sails are each 26 feet (7.92 m) long and 7 feet (2.13 m) wide,[2] spanning 56 feet (17.07 m).[5] They are carried on a cast iron windshaft which replaced an earlier wooden one.[2] The windshaft carries a wooden clasp arm brake wheel with 72 cogs. The brake wheel drives a cast iron wallower with 18 teeth,[5] carried at the top of the cast iron upright shaft.[2] At the lower end, the cast iron great spur wheel with 64 wooden cogs drives the two pairs of underdrift millstones located in the breast of the mill via cast iron stone nuts with 32 teeth.[5] Only one pair of 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m) French Burr stones remain.[2] The other pair of millstones were Derbyshire Peaks.[5]


  • Matthew Crane 1719-74
  • William Munt 1800-37
  • Edith Munt 1837-56
  • David Munt 1856-69
  • William Alfred Boorman 1870-75
  • Emily Boorman 1875-88
  • Ebenezer Boorman 1888-98
  • Joseph Ponder Scowen 1898-1920
  • Marian Scowen 1920-22
  • Richard Michael Hull 1922-30

Reference for above:-[2]

Public access

Cromer Windmill is open 2.30pm to 5pm on Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays and second and fourth Saturdays from mid-May until mid-September and groups at other times by appointment.


  1. "CROMER WINDMILL, ARDELEY, EAST HERTFORDSHIRE, HERTFORDSHIRE". English Heritage. Retrieved 10 June 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Moore, Cyril (1999). Hertfordshire Windmills and Windmillers. Sawbridgeworth: Windsup Publishing. pp. 65–70. ISBN 0-9533861-0-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Cromer Windmill, near Ardeley". Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust. Retrieved 10 June 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Restoration of Cromer Windmill". Retrieved 10 June 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 "Cromer windmill, Hertfordshire". Windmill World. Retrieved 10 June 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links