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JACK AND JILL WINDMILLSby Julie Kempson, Jun 2019
The Clayton Windmills, standing on the South Downs overlooking the village of Clayton in West Sussex are known locally as Jack and Jill Windmills, comprising of a post mill and a tower mill together with the roundhouse of a former post mill, Duncton Mill. All three are grade II listed buildings.
Built in 1765, and owned by Viscount Montague and leased for 99 years, Duncton Mill was built in 1765 and demolished in 1866, leaving the roundhouse to be used as a store.
Jill is a post mill and she was originally built in 1821. In 1908 Jill was damaged in a storm and over the years, she lost her fantail and sails. In 1953 restoration work was carried out and in 1978, work to restore her to full working order began, and Jill ground flour again in 1986! During the great storm of 1987, the sails of the mill were set in motion with the brake on, setting fire to the mill. Fortunately some members of the Windmill Society were able to get to the mill and save her. Today Jill is in good working order with visits permitted by the public between May and Sepetember. (see more details here). Using organic wheat grown locally in Sussex, Jill produces stoneground wholemeal flour which is sold to visitors to the mill. She is owned by Mid Sussex District Council and when the wind is blowing and Jill is in operation, a guide is available to explain the process of milling. For more details about visiting times to Jill Windmill, check out the Jack and Jill Windmill Society by clicking here
Unusually for a windmill (as almost every mill in the country is considered female) Jack has a male name. Built in 1866 to replace Duncton Mill, Jack is a five storey tower mill and worked up to around 1907. An Anglo-saxon skeleton was discovered in1928 when a pit was being dug to for a water tank, and removed to the British museum.
Jack is in private ownership and the current owners have lived there since 2012.
Both windmills are iconic to the area perched high up on the South Downs overlooking the Weald, seven miles of Brighton, easily accessible by the road at the end of Mill Lane from the A273 road with free parking.