The Windmills HistoryCutaway Diagram

The tower, of five floors, was built by bricklayer Thomas Honeysett, of Herstmonceux from bricks believed to have been made in an adjoining field. The machinery was fitted by Stephen Neve, a millwright from Heathfield. The whole Mill cost £2,700. The firm of Neve was famous for their Smock mills and Stone Cross would appear to be the only Tower Mill they fitted out. The quality of workmanship is of the highest order.

The ironwork was supplied by the Phoenix iron foundry in Lewes and it is claimed that this Mill has more ironwork than any other Mill in the country.

The mill includes two pairs of Derbyshire Peak stones largely used for grinding barley and oats for animal food, and a French-built pair of burr-stones for flour production.

Power is derived from the wind driving the patent sweeps, which span some 64 feet (19.5m) and the driving speed is controlled by adjusting the angle of closure of the 174 shutters. One pair of sweeps was removed as a result of a severe gale in 1928 but the Mill continued to work up until the early 1940s.

During World War II the Mill was taken over by the Army and used as an observation post, with a gun being mounted on the re-inforced roof of the roundel. In 1952 English Heritage adjudged the building to be worthy of a Grade II* Listing and then in the early 1960's the Mill was sold out of the Dallaway family to Mr. John Glessing, a local landowner, who obtained planning permission for the Windmill to be converted into private accommodation.

Fortunately for us, the conversion did not proceed and Mr. Ron Hall bought the Mill two years later with a view to restoration. The work proved to be both time-consuming and costly, and when Mr. Hall died there was still much work to be done. In 1994 discussions took place between the Hall family, local campaigners and the Sussex Mills' Group in conjunction with Wealden District Council.

This produced a solution to safeguard the future of the Mill whereby a charitable trust should be formed and ownership of the Listed Building given over to the Trust for restoration and preservation in perpetuity. Stone Cross Mill Trust was formed in 1994 and transfer of the ownership of the Mill was completed in November 1995. Charity Status was granted at the beginning of 1996 and the serious business of fund raising began.

In 1998 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Trust a grant equal to 75% of the estimated total cost of the restoration with the remainder to be found by Stone Cross Mill Trust. At this time it was the highest single grant awarded by the HLF for mill restoration in the South of England.

The first phase of the work was the restoration of the mill tower and machinery, which commenced in November 1998 with a contract being awarded to the Chiltern Partnership (an internationally recognised firm of millwrights). Work continued on site and at the millwrights' works. The restored cap and associated machinery were fitted in August 1999, and the new sweeps the following month. This part of the restoration was completed in February 2000, when the Mill worked for the first time in 60 years and produced flour.

Pre RenovationExtensive and essential repair work was undertaken on the Cap, Sweeps, Stocks and Fan Stage at the end of 2012. Most of this work was undertaken by our Volunteer maintenance team, who worked tirelessly over two years to overhaul these essential parts of the Mill. Sussex Sand Blasters kindly cleaned the tower, and applied a sealant and final coat of paint.
On the 6th and 7th November 2012 the Cap, Sweeps, Stocks and Fan stage were successfully installed and the Windmill looks magnificent. The View of Stone Cross Windmill is for all to admire. The Trust owes a debt of gratitude to all the team who had volunteered their time and energy to complete this mammoth task.

To date Stone Cross Mill Trust has spent in excess of £10,000 and there is still more work to be completed.

Stone Cross Tower Mill is a fully working windmill producing whole meal flour for public sale and local businesses. Flour can be purchased from the Mill Store.

Last Updated 16/04/2018