Clayton Windmills, West Sussex - 18th January 2004

These two windmills are a well known landmark on the downs above the village of Clayton.  They are named Jack (in the background) and Jill (in the foreground), to name mills such was common practice when two were found together. This is the only pair of mills together remaining in Sussex.

Clayton Windmills, 17th January 2004 - MTC

Jill is a white post mill. It was built in about 1821 in Dyke Road, Brighton.  She was moved to a more open position on the downs in 1852 because the town had started to grow outwards and the buildings kept the wind away from the mill.  At that time she was close to an older mill, called Duncton or Duncton Gate Mill which had been built  in this location in 1765. Sadly this mill has gone, but the roundhouse can still be seen.

This second picture of Jill was taken into the sun; however I like the silhouette effect of the sails against the blue sky.

Clayton Windmills, Jill, 18th January 2004 - MTC

This wind shaft is displayed on the ground next to Jill. It came from Bexhill Downs Windmill.

Clayton Windmills, old main shaft, 18th January 2004 - MTC

Jack, a brick tower mill, was erected to replace the old Duncton mill in 1866, and Jack and Jill continued working in along side each other until about 1907.

Jack is surrounded by trees and is much harder to photograph, however here is a view from the field below the windmills.

Clayton Windmills, Jack, 18th January 2004 - MTC

Here is one final picture of the windmills from higher on the downs, showing what a truly magnificent place this is - a real view to die for.

Clayton Windmills & the view, 18th January 2004 - MTC

Mr Edward Martin, a writer and archaeologist, lived in Jack for three years and told of his experience living there in "Life in a Sussex Windmill" (1921). It is a fascinating account of life in an old mill high up on the Downs, and he tells of his battles against slugs, mice, silverfish and so on. Alone at night, he wrote 'The silences were almost appalling'. But it was not always quiet. 'The mill in fact spoke. Sometimes there was a decided change of wind, and that rather suddenly. Then the groaning would be like a thousand demons let loose.'

Jack and Jill now have Preservation Society, Jill has been returned to working order, Jack remains in private ownership. The mills are good examples of the two distinct windmill types, the brick built tower mill and the wooden post mill, the latter being the earliest windmill style to be built in England.  Let's hope they survive for many years to come!

I have been provided with information about various Sussex windmills from  Simon Potter who runs a brilliant site about Sussex Mills. 

More information on this and other wind and water mills may be found on the excellent  Windmill World site.

Check out my other windmill photographs in my Windmill Album.

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Photographs Mark Collins 2006

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