Bursledon Windmill was built
by Mrs Phoebe Langtry in 1813-14 on the site of an earlier windmill.
Although her mill was built to an old-fashioned design with wooden
parts, it was in use until the 1880s. Changes in technology and a
prolonged agricultural depression caused it to fall into decay.
Bursledon is a 5-storey brick tower mill, which is
used to convert different kinds of grain into flour and animal feed.
The first windmill was built on this site in 1766-67, and some of its
wooden machinery was incorporated in the present mill. built 1813-14
at a cost of about £800. A Mrs. Phoebe Langtry was responsible for its
construction, and her son
William was miller for many years. The Windmill formed a part of the
'golden years' of English agricultural prosperity in the mid 19th
century, processing wheat from the surrounding area into flour for
local bakers, ships biscuits and household use, and making animal feed
from locally grown barley and oats.
It last worked in the late 1880s. Like many other windmills, it was
made redundant by major changes in flour milling technology. This
coincided with a prolonged depression in agriculture which began in
the late 1870s, and Bursledon Windmill was an early casualty of the
period; major repairs were needed, but it was no longer worthwhile to
The last miller was a George Gosling, who bought the Windmill in 1872
and set up as a threshing contractor. His decision to replace the cap
with a flat roof preserved the internal machinery long after the
stocks and sails had been
OUTSIDE THE MILL
Once inside, the Windmill you are effectively 'inside the machine'.
The boat-shaped cap (so called because it looks like the inverted hull
of a boat) turns upon the top of the tower to keep the sails facing
into the wind. Most surviving English windmills have a fantail which
automatically keeps the sails facing into the wind. Bursledon has a
simpler manually- operated mechanism to do this. This is known as an
endless chain gear, and is operated from the
When the mill is grinding corn the sails have canvas cloths spread
upon them to catch the wind. Hardly any canvas is required in a strong
wind, whereas 'full cloths' are needed in a fresh breeze. The sails
are furled up and tied along the
leading edge of the sweeps when the mill is not working.
The reefing stage around the mill gives the miller access to the
sails, and also allows him to operate the endless-chain turning gear
and pull the
The brake rope works a friction band brake which encircles the brake
wheel in the cap.
INSIDE THE MILL
The ground floor is mainly used for the temporary storage of
newly-delivered grain, and for bagging off the milled meal and flour.
The chain hanging through the trap door in the ceiling is part of the
sack hoist. The power of the wind is
used to lift sacks of grain to storage bins on the third floor.
This is known as the dust floor because it can so easily become dusty,
greasy and dirty. From here you can look up into the cap. The sails
are fixed to the oak
windshaft which spans the inside of the cap. The huge wooden brake
wheel on the windshaft engages with the wallower on the top of the
main shaft. The
latter goes down through three floors to drive the millstones.
The cap of the mill turns on a wood and iron kerb ring. The five truck
wheels fixed on the underside of the cap frame stop the cap from
sliding off the top of the tower.
Sacks of grain are lifted on the sack hoist and emptied into the bins.
These feed grain down chutes to the millstones on the floor below.
GRAIN TO FLOUR
Grain flows down the chute from the bin on the floor above into
the hopper, and then into the trough-shaped shoe just above the
millstones. The stones are
enclosed in a wooden casing known as a tun. At the bottom 'end of the
shoe, grain is fed into the 'eye' of the upper or runner stone. The
small bell warns the
miller when the hopper is nearly empty.
HOW THE WIRE
The wire machine on this floor is used to
'dress' wholemeal flour. It is a mechanical sieve which removes most
of the bran to make a whiter flour.
The grain is ground into flour as it passes outwards between the
runner stone and the stationary bed stone. The flour emerges from the
periphery of the stones, and drops down a chute to be bagged-off on
the ground floor.
A hurst is a traditional English name for a strong wooden framework.
This contains the main mill gearing, which drives all of the machinery
the sack hoist.
When the sails turn, the great spurwheel on the main shaft turns too.
The runner stone rotates when the stone nut engages with the great
is done with a slip-cog arrangement of three successive removable cogs
which can only be inserted when the machinery is stationary.
SLIP COG MECHANISM
Another cog wheel below the great spurwheel
connects with a layshaft to drive the wire machine and a small bean
The centrifugal governor helps the miller to keep the texture of the
flour constant. It works automatically, adjusting the gap between the
millstones as the wind strength varies.
VIEW OF THE MILL
RETURN TO BURSLEDON