The mill, a red brick building with white sails and top sits in the background behind a field and hedge, adjacent to the village church.
Thaxted Windmill with the church in the background © Trustees of Thaxted Windmill
Thaxted Windmill with the church in the background © Trustees of Thaxted Windmill

A Step Closer To Saving Thaxted's Last Remaining Windmill

Thaxted Windmill Trust has received a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. With additional grant funding and advice from Historic England, this partnership support enables the Trust to progress the conservation of an important local landmark.

Thaxted Windmill Trust Community Interest Company (CIO) has received a grant of £116,902 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the development of a project to conserve John Webb’s Mill in Thaxted.

Historic England has also contributed £33,326 to the development of the project, largely towards planning for the structural and millwrighting repairs, alongside technical support and guidance.

The last remaining Thaxted mill

The Grade II* listed red brick tower windmill was built in 1804 for Mr John Webb, a local businessman and farmer. In addition to owning both Borough and Park Farms and numerous other properties, Mr Webb was the owner of the town’s brick and tile works. The windmill was constructed from local red brick.

The largest and most advanced of the Thaxted mills, it was in operation for 100 years and is the only remaining windmill in the area. The stories of the people who worked the mill for more than 100 years will be brought to life as part of the project.

Saving over 200 years of history

John Webb’s Windmill was added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register in 2019. The building is suffering from extensive internal damp caused by eroded brickwork and open joints, which is causing widespread mould on internal walls.

The interior of the mill has been propped and the Windmill Trust is carrying out detailed investigations to inform a repair strategy to address these issues.

Revitalising traditional craft skills

The Trust aims to use the conservation work to offer work placements in traditional building and millwrighting skills. This will help to promote careers in these time-honoured but endangered crafts, which may be lost in the next generation. The project will also offer students work experience as conservators and will enable volunteers to try their hand at research, interpretation and delivering learning activities.

Community consultation will be an important part of the 1-year development phase so that the project team can engage with people who live in Thaxted and the surrounding villages and reflect their interests and enthusiasms.

I am delighted that the Trustees of Thaxted Windmill Trust CIO have secured development stage funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the repair and restoration of this iconic structure. This, together with the preliminary surveys which Historic England helped to fund, means that repair proposals can be taken forward to the next stage on a sound and robust technical footing. Millwrighting is an endangered craft skill. Trustees are liaising with us and with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings on how the windmill can be used as a vehicle for all to learn and for some to train in windmill repairs and maintenance

Trudi Hughes, Architect/Surveyor Historic England