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Four Winds Windmill

A Grade II Listed Building in Bidborough, Kent

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Latitude: 51.1689 / 51°10'8"N

Longitude: 0.2319 / 0°13'54"E

OS Eastings: 556135

OS Northings: 143444

OS Grid: TQ561434

Mapcode National: GBR MPB.RFJ

Mapcode Global: VHHQ5.YWZ8

Plus Code: 9F32569J+HQ

Entry Name: Four Winds Windmill

Listing Date: 24 August 1990

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1248949

English Heritage Legacy ID: 430590

ID on this website: 101248949

Location: Bidborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3

County: Kent

District: Tunbridge Wells

Civil Parish: Bidborough

Built-Up Area: Southborough

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: St Peter with Christ Church and St Matthew Southborough and St Lawrence Bidborough

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Tagged with: Tower mill

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11/20 Four Winds Windmill


Windmill, currently used for storage. A windmill is shown on the site in 1769 and documentation in the parish accounts shows that a mill was standing here by at least 1759. The existing structure may be an early to mid C19 replacement, possibly dating from 1858. Most of the internal carpentry and some of the machinery appears to be late C19. Cement-rendered brick with a C20 flat roof, the cowl and sweeps missing.

PLAN: Sited on a high ridge, slightly set back from the Penshurst Road. A 4- storey, tapering, cylindrical structure with a late C19/early C20 porch in the east and a doorway on the west. Much of the machinery is intact on the first or meal floor.

EXTERIOR: The first floor has a loading door on the north side and a 12-pane C19 sash window on the south side. The other storeys have windows, mostly with original embrasures, with C20 glazing. Cast iron pulley to right of first floor sash window.

INTERIOR: Wooden floors and wooden steps to all floors and posts to ground floor. Although no machinery remains on the stone, bin or dust floors except for the upright drive shaft which passes through all these floors, the meal floor (first floor) retains the great spur wheel of cast iron with wooden cogs and various gearing wheels. The spur wheel incorporates a bevelled wooden cogged ring underneath where the power of a steam engine was applied when wind was insufficient to turn the sails. A horizontal shaft with a bevel pinion gear engages the bevelled cogs and carries two iron pulleys, one inside and one outside the mill tower. The outside pulley would have been coupled to the steam engine and the inner one drove a milling or crushing machine. Attached to the first floor wall are two wooden machines with skeleton cylinders. The smaller machine is a wheat cleaner, the larger machine a flour dresser. These machines are a quite rare survival as their use was banned during the First World War and many were ripped out. The second floor retains some tentering gear and centrifugal governors. The sack hoist doors survive throughout, on the meal floor a wooden shield prevented them from swinging against the moving machinery.

HISTORY: The mill ceased to work at the end of the C19, following storm damage to two of the sweeps. In 1942 the cap and its contents were destroyed during a storm. A late C19 photograph of the mill, with its sweeps and cap intact, is reproduced in The Windmills of Kent.
C19 tower mill, a less usual type in Kent, the tower surviving to full height, retaining internal floors, steps and some machinery.

[West, Jenny, The Windmills of Kent (f.p. 1973, 1979 edn.), pp.27-28.]

Listing NGR: TQ5613543444

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