BONWICK

Heritage Consultancy

Windmills

Meopham Windmill, Kent

One of only three English smock mills to have six sides instead of the usual eight, Meopham Mill survives complete with all its machinery.

This slim and elegant windmill overlooks Meopham Green in a classic village setting. Listed Grade II*, it is owned by Kent County Council and managed by the Meopham Windmill Trust. The mill's structural timber frame stands on a tall brick base of two storeys. The ground floor of the mill is used as a meeting room by Meopham Parish Council and the Parish Office is housed in the former engine house attached to the brick base of the mill. 

The mill is supposed to have been built in 1801 but a construction date some time after 1819, when the land was purchased by James Killick, seems more likely. James junior was the owner/occupier in 1840. The Killicks were millwrights in Strood in 1794. Two other smock mills associated with the Killick family, at Strood and Lower Stoke, were also hexagonal in plan and had certain similarities with Meopham Mill. Both have now gone.

Meopham Mill worked until the 1930s, in its later years with only two sweeps and supplemented by power from a paraffin engine. After passing into County Council ownership it was restored as a landmark in 1962. Over succeeding years the milling machinery was gradually returned to full working order. At present, the cap and sweeps are out of action due to decay in the rear part of the cap frame.

A comprehensive scheme of repairs is currently being planned by Bonwick HC, and this will involve lowering the cap and sweeps to ground level. In a few years time the mill will be returned to its former glory and will recommence flour milling by wind power.

Kent's only surviving smock mill of the "Medway" type, Meopham windmill has many intriguing features including a pair of millstones that can be operated either by wind power or by engine.