Filey’s Windmill Recreating an iconic building
The   history   of   windmills   on   the   present   site,   as   far   as   the written   record   goes,   begins   in   the   14th   century   when   a   windmill was   mentioned   in   an   “Inquisition   Post   Mortem”   which   was   an English   medieval   record   of   the   death,   estate   and   heir   of   one   of the   King’s   “Tenants-in-Chief”   otherwise   known   as   feudal   barons. The   miller   at   that   time   was   William   Reigate   who   paid   an   annual rent   of   6d   (2.5p   today)   or   a   pair   of   gilt   spurs   to   the   owner Arnold   de   Buckton.   In   1575   two   windmills   were   recorded   on   the site;   one   of   them   was   marked   on   Jeffreys’   map   of   1772   and   is
believed   to   have   survived   until   1826.   It   is   mentioned   in   a   deed   of that    year    as    being    a    “post    mill”    (see    Heritage    Statement    for description   of   mill   types).   This   was   replaced   in   around   1850   by   the tower   mill   which   we   see   today.   We   were   extremely   fortunate   to obtain   from   an   internet   search   a   copy   of   a   painting   done   in   1878 which   clearly   shows   the   windmill   and   Mill   Farm   to   which   it   belonged. It   is   reproduced   below   and   bears   a   striking   resemblance   to   the same view today.
Mill Farm & Windmill 1878
We   see   the   mill   again   25   years   later.   This   is   a   photograph taken   by   a   publisher   from   Leeds.   It   was   later   hand-coloured and   offered   for   sale   as   a   picture   postcard.   Edwardian   visitors would   send   it   to   family   and   friends   telling   about   the   holiday they    had    spent    at    Filey.    We    were    delighted    to    find    and purchase   one   of   the   originals   on   ebay   and   we   have   used   the image   as   a   header   to   these   web   pages.   As   can   be   seen   the mill   already   had   two   of   its   four   sails   dismantled,   the   remains of   them   are   visible   in   the   1910   picture,   lying   alongside   the cart   track.   This   happened   frequently   when   expensive   repairs were   required   and   not   considered   to   be   economically   viable. The   mill   still   ground   corn   but   nowhere   near   as   efficiently, especially   when   the   winds   were   light. The   next   evidence   of the   mill’s   decline   comes   from   the   photograph   on   the   right, taken   by   the   Reverend   Stanwell   in   1910,   after   storm   force winds   had   wrecked   the   fantail   and   badly   damaged   the   two remaining   sails.   This   was   the   point   of   no   return   for   the   old mill   as   shortly   afterwards   the   cap,   sails   and   the   whole   third storey   were   dismantled   and   a   crude   temporary   roof   made from   old   floorboards   over   which   concrete   was   poured.   This kept    the    weather    out    and    unbelievably    lasted    until    2010 when   the   present   owners   had   a   very   lucky   escape   -   of   which more   later! There   are   several   theories   about   why   the   mill was    reduced    to    a    “stump”,    which    was    not    an    unusual occurrence   as   windmills   gradually   fell   out   of   use   around   this time.   Certainly   the   mechanical   parts   which   remained   intact would   have   had   a   value   for   other   mill   owners.   The   wind shaft,   the   brake   wheel,   the   curb   and   various   parts   of   the milling   machinery   would   have   been   especially   valuable.   Also
removing   the   cap   and   general   “top   hamper”   would   serve to     consolidate     the     structure     and     prevent     further deterioration.    Another    possibility    is    that,    following    the devastation   wreaked   by   the   German   Grand   Fleet   when they   shelled   Scarborough,   Whitby   and   Hartlepool   early   in the    First    World    War,    causing    several    thousand    mainly civilian   casualties,   including   many   deaths,   the   War   Office anxious   to   remove   any   landmarks   that   might   assist   the enemy’s    navigation    took    drastic    action.    The    mill    was clearly   visible   from   the   North   Sea   and   was   used   by   the local   fishing   fleet   as   a   “mark”   when   entering   the   bay   so there   was   a   credible   case   for   ordering   it   to   be   dismantled in    return    for    a    generous    state    subsidy.    Whatever    the reason,   repairing   the   mill   was   obviously   not   considered   an economic   proposition   as   it   was   already   becoming   apparent that   the   age   of   wind   power   was   passing.   The   arrival   of   the railways    made    the    transport    of    grain    easier    and    less expensive   and   steam   and   electricity   were   proving   more reliable   sources   of   power   than   the   ever   changing   strength of the wind.
The   next   sighting   we   get   is   the   photograph   below   taken   by William   Muggeridge   in   1955.   It   had   survived   intact   through the   Second   World   War   providing   storage   for   the   farmer   and shelter   for   his   animals   during   those   turbulent   times   and   had been   well   maintained   over   the   45   years   since   we   last   saw   it; its   windows   and   doors   were   intact   and   it   looks   in   reasonably good   condition.   Unfortunately   this   state   of   affairs   did   not last.   An   unknown   photographer   took   the   next   shot   on   the   left
in   1980   and   despite   its   poor   quality   we   can   clearly   see   the mill   has   been   totally   neglected   for   a   long   time   and   looks   to be   in   a   very   sorry   state.   The   windows   and   doors   have   rotted away,   weeds   are   growing   out   of   the   roof   and   the   protective pitch   coating   had   almost   all   gone.   It   is   obviously   still   proving of   some   use   to   the   farmer   as   an   animal   shelter   but   clearly   it was   having   no   money   spent   on   it   and   being   allowed   to become dilapidated.
Muston Mill 1955
Muston Mill 1980
Finally   and   sadly   we   see   the   mill’s   desperate   condition   when we   purchased   the   field   in   2002.   It   is   hard   to   believe   it   could be   possible   to   bring   it   back   to   its   former   impressive   stature     standing   tall   once   again   on   the   hill   above   the   town.   Despite
this    after    15    years    research,    hard    work    and    a    steadfast refusal   to   admit   defeat   in   the   face   of   adversity   we   are   already well on our way to achieving that goal.
Muston Mill 2002
The   last   photograph   on   this   page   was   taken   in   the   spring   of 2011.   It   gives   the   reader   a   glimpse   of   the   mill   after   we   had carried   out   emergency   repair   work   and   made   the   building weatherproof   and   secure.   Permission,   fortunately,   was   not needed   to   do   this   as   the   inevitable   long   delay   would   have
meant   it   would   be   too   late   for   us   to   save   the   fast   crumbling structure   from   complete   ruin.   The   next   page   lists   details   of the   work   we   did   to   provide   protection   for   the   structure   thus gaining   the   time   necessary   to   complete   our   twelve   year struggle to obtain planning permission.
The Sad Story of Muston Mill’s Decline
The   years   rolled   by   and   the mill,   now   much   reduced   in stature,     sat     in     its     field without    anything    of    note taking    place.    We    meet    it again    in    1942    during    the Second    World    War    when one    of    our    twin-engined Wellington   bombers   piloted by    Australians    ran    out    of
fuel      returning      from      a mission   and   was   fortunately able   to   make   an   emergency landing   in   the   mill   field.   The crew   were   unhurt   and   the aircraft   was   not   too   badly damaged    as    can    be    seen from   the   photograph   inset. The   mill   itself   is   just   out   of view on the right hand side.
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Wellington bomber in the mill field As a side note to the main topic in the 1904 picture you can just make out a tall timber pole to the left of the field gate together with the insulator and cable of what we believe was the first electricity supply to come to Filey. The power was generated in Scarborough and the cable was strung along the main Scarborough - Bridlington road and then a spur was taken up Mill Hill and down into the town. In the photograph below the electricity supply pole is clearly visible above the wing of the Wellington bomber.
Muston Mill 1904
Muston Mill 1910