History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The mill was built by a millwright named John Hill to replace an earlier smock mill on the site. The millers were the Cornes family, who worked Willesborough until WWI. Around 1900 the steam engine and accompanying chimney stack were removed, probably because they cost too much to run.
The boiler house and boiler from the steam engine still remain, however. In 1912 a gas-oil engine was installed. This was much more reliable and more economical to operate than the steam engine and enabled the mill to run on days with no wind. It was not until mains electricity came to Willesborough in 1938 that the gas-oil engine was replaced with an electric motor.
The mill ceased grinding flour in 1938 as it simply could not compete with more efficient and cheaper commercial mills. It continued to produce animal feed from oats, maize, peas and beans, but finally went out of use completely in the 1950s.
After production stopped the building was used for storage, and the fantail installed on the mill at Barham. The mill was purchased by Ashford Borough Council in 1991, restored, and opened to the public as a museum.
The mill stands 4 storeys high, on a 2 storey base of brick. There are 4 millstones powered by the patent sails, and a 5th grinding stone powered by the electric engine. The large brake wheel and windshaft were probably reused from the earlier smock mill.
Norman Cycles Museum
Aside from grinding its own flour using either wind or a gas engine, the mill houses a museum of cycles made by the local Norman Cycles firm. The Norman company made autocycles, bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds, and the museum showcases several models of bicycles and mopeds. The Norman Cycles Club also has their headquarters at Willesborough.
About Willesborough Windmill
Address: Mill Lane, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent, England, TN24 0QG
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: off the A292, at the eastern edge of Ashford
Website: Willesborough Windmill
Phone: 01233 733416
Photo Credit: Stephen Nunney, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Brook, St Mary's Church - 2.6 miles (Historic Church)
Wye, St. Gregory and St. Martin Church - 3.3 miles (Historic Church)
Godinton House and Gardens - 3.3 miles (Historic House)
Brabourne, St Mary's Church - 4.5 miles (Historic Church)
Charing Palace - 5.9 miles (Historic Building)
Charing, St Peter and St Paul - 6.6 miles (Historic Church)
Westenhanger Castle and Barns - 6.7 miles (Castle)
Pluckley, St Nicholas - 6.8 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Willesborough Windmill:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')
Tourist Information Service
2nd Floor, Ashford Gateway Plus
Tel: 01233 330 316