MEOPHAM WINDMILL

          Meopham Windmill
Wrotham Road
Meopham Green
Meopham
Kent
DA13 0QA

Meopham Windmill (formerly known as Killick Mill) was built in 1819 by the three Killick brothers reputedly from old ships timbers purchased from Chatham Dockyard. It is one of a handful of six-sided smock mills in the UK, eight being the usual number. The mill’s black smock tower stands on a brick base of two storeys. The mill stands preserved with all its milling machinery including three pairs of millstones. The Windmill is a grade 2* listed building. It is now owned by Kent County Council and leased to the Meopham Windmill Trust, which also owns the land around the mill (the 'Windmill Garden'). The former engine shed is currently used by Meopham Parish Council as its Parish Office. The hexagonal base of the windmill is often used for Parish Council meetings and forms a very unusual council chamber, possibly the only one of its kind in the country.

Kent has many other interesting windmills. The website for the Union Mill in Cranbrook has an excellent page of links to other windmills in Kent that are open to the public.

The Windmill is currently under restoration to working order. It will be closed to the public except on a limited basis for most of 2023 and will reopen fully in 2024. For more information, please contact the Meopham Windmill Trust: meophamwindmill@gmail.com

Volunteers Wanted
Meopham Windmill Trust is looking for volunteers to "man" the mill on occasional Sunday afternoons from April to September 2pm to 4.30pm. You do not have to be an expert on windmills as there is plenty of information available to all our visitors. You just need to be in attendance and collect any money for purchase of souvenir badges, books, pencils etc. Entry to the mill will be free, but we welcome donations.

Home   History   Restoration    Fund Raising    Mechanical Details    News Update


HISTORY

         

The Meopham Windmill was built in 1819 by the three Killick brothers reputedly from old ships timbers purchased from Chatham Dockyard. It was built to a 'Smock' design similar to the brothers' other mill at Strood; the name derives from the similarity to the garment worn by agricultural workers in earlier times. The basic principle of a Smock Mill is that the body of the mill in which the machinery is housed is static and only the 'cap' and sails turn to face the wind.

The mill remained in the Killick family for nearly 90 years when it was sold to John Norton in 1889 and operated under that name until it was closed down in 1965. The mill was driven by the sails until 1927 when the Norton family purchased a 15 h.p. engine from a mill at Boughton. Power from the oil engine was taken into the mill by a drive belt to the first floor.

The cap (and therefore sails) of the mill is turned toward the wind by a series of gearwheels and a wormgear driven by the the 'fantail' situated at the rear of the cap. The sails themselves followed a design by William Cobbett by which the effective area of the sail is automatically adjusted for any wind strength.

In order to preserve this important landmark the County Council decided to proceed with restoration and the Mill now serves as the headquarters of the parish council.

          The mill site is considerably reduced from that in the 1891 conveyance, which was reproduced in 1933 at the time of the road widening scheme. Only part of one of the outbuildings shown now remains. (The hexagonal windmill is shown as a pentagon.)

According to the Parish Council's website:

  • In 1966 the Meopham Windmill Trust bought for £3,500 the lease of Meopham Windmill (owned by KCC) and the freehold of the surrounding land.
  • In 1971 there was the first opening of Meopham Windmill to the public
  • In 1973 the base of the Windmill was converted to a Council Chamber so the Parish Council had a permanent meeting place of its own with a Parish office adjoining
  • In 1977 Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations included the erection of a flagpole in the Windmill grounds and floodlights for the mill
  • In 1979 following replacement of stocks, sails and other necessary parts, the sails on Meopham windmill turned under their own power for the first time in 50 years
  • In 2008 Cray Valley Radio society used Meopham windmill for radio broadcasting for first time


This site is maintained by the Meopham Windmill Trust
Contact: meophamwindmill@gmail.com
Trustee Login