Newsletter for Members and Friends of High Salvington Windmill September 2022
The image on the right shows the mill sweeps set to mourning position. This was done to mark the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. The tradition dates from earlier times when mill sweeps were used to announce more local births and deaths.
This season, with the aim of addressing our need for new millers, Bob Potts and Hazel Marsden have been running a series of training sessions. We hope to have several new millers fully trained by the end of the 2023 season. Our former wheat supplier has stopped selling grain in the small quantities we and many other mills require. While Sussex Mills Group is addressing this issue on behalf of many of its members, we were fortunate that Barry Flannaghan at Burton Watermill, who had obtained grain from a farmer in Petworth and developed his own grain-cleaning equipment, donated 55Kg to us for miller training.
After the enforced closures of 2020 and limited opening in 2021, 2022 started well, with a very successful public meeting during which many our existing volunteers were on hand to talk about our requirements. Dave Porter’s film, “Restoration of High Salvington Windmill”, featuring Peter Casebow, was shown. From the meeting itself and calls before and afterwards, over 50 new volunteers came forward, all of whom have made a valuable contribution to helping maintain the mill, run open days and events.
In June, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the High Salvington Residents’ Association and the Mill Trust joined forces to host a picnic on the mill field. This was widely enjoyed, so it is likely that this will become an annual event and plans for 2023 are already in progress! Keep an eye on your Residents’ Association newsletter for details.
Our open days and events have gone very well this year, some with record numbers in attendance. Our thanks to the new team of Phil Dawson, Paul Kuhn, Julie Gaskell and Sam Bisset, who joined us in January and pulled out all the stops to deliver a very successful fete.
Cereal products: the early medieval period to now
The importance of bread in the early medieval period is highlighted by the Old English words for lord (hlaford) and lady (hloefdige), meaning loaf keeper and loaf kneader respectively. Payments and rents were often made in loaves. As in Roman times bread from fine white flour was considered the best and on feast days spiced bread or cakes were made. Bread was considered a strengthening food and medical books contained recipes using fine flour for those patients with delicate stomachs. There seem to have been two basic sizes of loaf, large and small. Bread was usually eaten with butter or dripping or something more substantial such as cheese, beans or meat.
The story of King Alfred burning the cakes is well known and although it is only a tale written to illustrate his desperate plight after his defeat by the Danes at Chippenham in AD878, it nevertheless illustrates that in many households bread would have continued to be baked on the hearth. However, ovens are also known, mostly associated with monastic and wealthier establishments such as at North Elmham in Norfolk, Goltho in Lincolnshire and Portchester, Hampshire.
Bread continued to be a staple food throughout the Middle Ages. In rural areas, most households baked their own bread. This was probably usually under a pot on a hearthstone but some small rural cottages, such those excavated at Hangleton on the Sussex Downs and Tresmorn in north Cornwall, had their own ovens. The floor of the oven in the cottage at Tresmorn was a granite rotary quernstone – a not uncommon reuse. Monasteries, castles and manor houses also had their own bakehouses and ovens. . You can read the rest of this article at The Mills Archive ( Chapter 14 From Quern to Computer).
Over twenty-five stallholders had a splendid afternoon displaying their home-crafted product. The public arrived to browse the stalls. A coach party from Maidstone also arrived, with the coach parking outside the shop for a couple of hours. Thanks to Andy Campbell for organising the event.
We started taking credit/debit card payments at the gate and in the tea-room in 2021. The pandemic seems to have accelerated a cashless society, and we were surprised by how many people now turn up without a single penny in their pockets. The app proved to be easy to use, and several of us have now trained in its use. Cashless payment does not extend to individual stalls at the fete. However, you will be able to purchase bags of cash with a card. Craft stall holders often have their own system.
If you prefer to pay your membership dues by card, please go to our website. You can also pay your membership at the gate. Or fill in the form on page 5 and post to our membership secretary.
|From the Treasurer
This has been a very successful season with most open days being well supported. The fete was particularly spectacular with over 1000 paying visitors and takings on the day of £5800 before expenses. The Classic Car Day in August and the Craft Fair in September also generated lots of interest and takings for each were over £1300.
I changed our electricity supplier in April and fixed the tariff for 3 years so, although now at a slightly higher rate, we are at least protected from further rises for a while.
The Village Shop has been holding a Sunday charity collection in exchange for nibbles and have twice given these proceeds to the Mill. We thank them and wish them success in their new venture.
The mystery of windmill remains found in some barrows in Sussex: Bronze Age burial mounds later reused as windmill-steads. By Alex Vincent
Bronze Age barrows come in several types and shapes, including platform, saucer, bell, disc and bowl – the most common type. They were as much as two to three metres in height. They were used as burial chambers and were either a single burial or for several people. Some held cremated remains which were placed in an urn and covered in earth. Barrows exist today as grassy earthen mounds, but were once bare chalk, which showed up clearly as monuments to people below the hills. A great number have been ploughed out over the years. Several Bronze Age barrows were reused as mill mounds or windmill-steads – mainly in the medieval period.
|2An ancient barrow at Rookery Hill
In the 18th and 19th centuries, during excavations of some barrows, stone foundations and timber structure remains of post mills were found. These were not identified as mill remains until the early 20th century. Charles Monkman was one of the first to discuss some of these cruciform structures found in East Yorkshire. Studies were made of some 10,000 barrows during the 20th century and some were identified as having been reused as a windmill-stead.
A medieval windmill was smaller than the later ones and for this reason the posts were sunken for extra stability. A mound, called a mill ball, would have been built around it and as most barrows were round in shape, they were ideal to use as a mill base. These windmills would have been open trestle post mills.
Several barrows in Sussex later became bases for windmills. Examples are at The Mill Ball Houghton, The Trundle at Singleton, Summer Hill, Newtimber, Piddinghoe, Glynde, Firle Beacon, Willingdon Hill and Rookery Hill Bishopstone. In the case of the latter, it is said to be one of the earliest windmills recorded in Sussex.
There could be other old windmill sites, which used Bronze Age barrows as their bases. One example could be the 16th century windmill at Highdown. The mound it stood on looks as if it was once a barrow. The medieval windmills recorded on Highdown may be on the site of the later 16th century mill.
This year the book stall has made around £280 at the various open days. Thank you to everyone who has donated books in the past. However, we no longer take DVDs/ CDs or hardback books as donations for the Windmill Book stall. These items do not sell very well and are cumbersome to move around. Paperback novels and children’s books are always welcome and sell well. You can contact me by calling 01903 695219. I’m happy to collect. Angela McMillan
The hay rake in the granary
Have you ever looked at the replica hay rake? It was made by millwright Bob Potts to a design which he had seen in use in France.
In the 1980s the grass was cut once a year on the mill site. It was then turned to dry, using this hay rake, before storing. Thus, it became hay which was then used by local ponies and goats etc. Of course, the grass needed cutting more than once a year. So, sheep were used to graze the site and keep the grass down.
The sheep were a Welsh mountain cross. They were forever getting out and the volunteers would often get a call late at night from an annoyed neighbour and had to go out looking for the sheep.
Bob Potts and Pete Casebow tried their hand at shearing the sheep. It took them two hours to shear one! They found shears were useless and used scissors. Not surprisingly it was decided that it was better to mow the grass regularly, as is done today.
As a result of a very successful volunteers recruitment evening in January there were many new helpers for serving teas and baking cakes (a special mention to Gill Johnson who kindly donated the many cakes she made). All the helpers said how much they enjoyed themselves when it was their turn to man the tea bar.
We have had some exceptionally busy open Days where we have literally run out of cakes and ice creams!
An interesting fact…. for the last three Open Days…the Car Day, the Scalextric and the Autumn Craft Fair, a slice of cake was sold for every minute the Mill was open! Now that’s an awful lot of cake!!
A huge thank you from me to all the volunteers who helped with the refreshments. Mel Wickett
Private Mill Bookings and tours 2022
This was my first year arranging the private bookings at the windmill. The mill tours have been very popular this year, especially with young groups such as Beavers, Scouts and Childminders. Two groups of adults – Worthing Renaissance WI and Arun Art Group – also visited. Vale School had an enjoyable morning at the mill earlier this month. The shop is very popular with the younger groups – especially the toy windmills. The childminders loved the cakes and refreshments. Everyone who visited seemed to enjoy themselves. Apart from the excitement of seeing the mill the children just love rolling down the mound and cartwheeling across the grass. Flour being ground before their eyes and having a go at doing it themselves was very exciting and the water pump intrigued them.
Everyone has been so kind and encouraging for this my first year of taking bookings. Angela Stephens
|Talks to groups. In the past few weeks, Lucy has given a talk on our mill and how it was restored to local groups. If you would like a talk for your group, please get in touch at the address below.
‘The Mill’ is edited by Lucy Brooks. 01903 691945. firstname.lastname@example.org