Seven Centuries of the English Windmill

Seven Centuries of the English Windmill Originally published in 1996, Seven Centuries of the English Windmill has recently been re-released in its video form, and also in a straightforward conversion to DVD (containing identical content to the video).

The DVD contains a clear and straighforward introduction to English windmills, much as any introductory text on the subject would, but of course moving images are much more effective at conveying the glory of these machines than still images can.

The history starts with illustrated manuscripts, such as the Romance of Aleaxander in the Bodleian Library (illustrated on the DVD cover), and moves quickly to post mills, the earliest type of windmill. Tower and smock mills follow, then good coverage of windmill sails - turning images of sails work so well on video!

The action moves to the machinery inside the windmill, starting again with the post mill, then up into the tower mill. David Bent, the credited author, then shows the full path of the grain through the working machinery of Greens Mill, Nottingham, where he is the miller.

A number of other subjects are covered, ranging from flour sieving machinery, millers and millwrights, to water pumping, through regional variations, and ending with a brief mention of modern turbines.

The majority of the DVD is narrated by Janet Suzman, but there are also readings from contemporary newspaper accounts, and a number of interviews with windmill owners and enthusiasts Chris Wilson, Nigel Moon, John Cockcroft, and millwrights Tom and Jim Davies.

Amongst the mills featured on the DVD are Jack and Jill, Clayton; Union Mill, Cranbrook; Greens Mill, Nottingham; Trader mill, Sibsey; Wrawby; Heckington; Alford; Downfield, Soham; Whissendine; and Saxtead Green.

Seven Centuries of the English Windmill, David Bent, Second Sight Productions, ISBN 0-85236-358-3

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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -