Stembridge Mill, High Ham

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Stembridge Tower Mill
Stembridge Windmill (geograph 2013400).jpg
Mill location High Ham, Somerset, England
Grid reference ST432305
Coordinates 51°04′17″N 2°48′39″W / 51.0713°N 2.8107°W / 51.0713; -2.8107Coordinates: 51°04′17″N 2°48′39″W / 51.0713°N 2.8107°W / 51.0713; -2.8107
Year built 1822
2009 (restored)
Purpose Corn mill
Type Tower mill
Storeys Four
Number of sails 4
Type of sails Common sails
Windshaft Wood, with a cast iron cross[1]
Winding Chain and wheel
Number of pairs of millstones 2[1]
Size of millstones 4 feet 0 inches (1.22 m) diameter[1]

Stembridge Tower Mill in High Ham, Somerset, England, is the last remaining thatched windmill in England. The mill is designated as a grade II* listed building.[2] The mill is owned by The National Trust and underwent a £100,000 restoration by local craftsmen funded by the Grantscape Community Heritage Fund in 2009 and was re-opened later in the year.[3]

Stembridge Mill was constructed in 1822, including parts from the earlier Ham Mill which stood nearby,[4] with a 26 feet (7.9 m) high tower on an old mill mound.[5] It is the last survivor of five windmills that once existed in the area.[6]

A Tower Mill is a type of windmill which consists of a brick or stone tower, on top of which sits a roof or cap which can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. The advantage of the tower mill over the earlier post mill is that it is not necessary to turn the whole mill ("body", "buck") with all its machinery into the wind; this allows more space for the machinery as well as for storage. In the earliest tower mills the cap was turned into the wind with a long tail-pole which stretched down to the ground at the back of the mill. Later an endless chain was used which drove the cap through gearing as is used at Stembridge.

Stembridge Mill was damaged by storms and left running via steam by 1897/8 and last used commercially in 1910. In 1969 Professor H. H. Bellot left the windmill, cottage and garden to the National Trust in his will. The mill has four floors, a thatched cap and is constructed of local limestone known in the area as Blue Lias.[7] The remains of the old bakehouse can still be see to the rear of the mill.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Coulthard, A. J.; Watts, Martin (1978). The Windmills of Somerset and the men who worked them. London: The Research Publishing Co Ltd. pp. 49–51. ISBN 0 7050 0060 5. 
  2. ^ "Stembridge Mill". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "The National Trust Magazine". News (Autumn 2009): p11. 
  4. ^ Coulthard, Alfred J.; Watts, Martin (1978). Windmills of Somerset and the men who worked them. London: Research Publishing Co. pp. 49–51. ISBN 978-0705000604. 
  5. ^ Warren, Derrick (2005). Curious Somerset. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7509-4057-3. 
  6. ^ Leete-Hodge, Lornie (1985). Curiosities of Somerset. Bodmin: Bossiney Books. p. 84. ISBN 978-0906456996. 
  7. ^ Robert Dunning (Editor) (2004). "High Ham". A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 8: The Poldens and the Levels. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 

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