Historic Essex landmark gets its sails back
PUBLISHED: 14:08 31 August 2009 | UPDATED: 07:21 30 May 2010
A HISTORIC Great Bardfield landmark has finally got the wind back in its sails. Gibraltar Mill – a 300-year-old, three storey tower windmill with boat-shaped cap – had been without its four sails since they were blown off during a bad storm in January 200
A HISTORIC Great Bardfield landmark has finally got the wind back in its sails.
Gibraltar Mill - a 300-year-old, three storey tower windmill with boat-shaped cap - had been without its four sails since they were blown off during a bad storm in January 2007.
However, last Friday a specialist millwright company from Lincolnshire installed four new sails, the assembly of which took up the best part of the day.
Simon Walsh, who has lived in the property for 15 years and spent in the region of £30,000 to get the sails back in place, said: "It has been a long time coming. We lost the last two sails two years ago after a bad January storm. They somersaulted over the cap, putting a hole in it, and coming to rest in the trees behind.
"The mill is an important landmark for the village and to finally see the sails up is a mixture of relief and delight."
One of the real challenges that faced Mr Walsh and the millwright team was getting the sails up Mill Road to the property - the stocks alone are 40ft long.
"Fortunately our neighbouring farmer has recently got his crops in and he let us take the sails across the fields on a telescopic forklift," explained Mr Walsh. "Without him the whole operation would have been extremely difficult."
Gibraltar Mill has a long and interesting history. It is unknown when the mill was built, although historians believe it was most likely to be around the year 1704.
It was a working mill until 1930 and was threatened with demolition in 1938 until Essex County Council stepped in to prevent that from happening.
The mill was stripped of machinery and converted into a house in the late 1950s.