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Cranbrook Union Mill

Cranbrook, Kent

The Union Windmill is a smock mill built in 1814. It stands at the highest point overlooking the town of Cranbrook.

The mill has recently undergone major renovations and is in excellent working order. Wind permitting, wheat is ground and visitors can purchase wholemeal flour.

It was built by the Cranbrook millwright, James Humphrey, in 1814 for Mary Dobell , just before the end of the Napoleonic Wars, to set up her son, Henry, in business. After Napoleon was defeated in 1815, there was a great depression in England and many businesses went into bankruptcy, including Henry Dobell's in 1819. As a result, it was conveyed to and operated by a union of creditors, local farmers and businessmen, hence the name, "Union Mill".

From Cranbrook High Street
Colin Smith

Click on the above image to see a larger copy


When Mary Dobell's debts had been paid off, it was sold to John Russell in 1832 and remained in the Russell family until the death of his great grandson, another John Russell, in the 1950's.

Originally the mill had common sweeps with canvas to catch the wind. The cap was turned manually by a chain and Y-wheel. In 1840 the Russells decided to modernise the mill, they employed the millwrights Medhurst of Lewes to fit a new iron windshaft and gearwork, as well as the new style Cubitt's patent sweeps. They also employed Warrens, the millwrights of Hawkhurst, to fit a fantail.

It is said to be the second tallest surviving windmill in the British Isles, measuring 72 feet to the top of the cap. It is the tallest surviving smock mill, with an eight-sided three-storey brick base and a four-storey, fixed wooden tower above that, clad in white painted weather-board. It has four sails (called sweeps) with patent shutters and a fantail which keeps the sweeps facing into the wind at all times.

  Cranbrook Windmill

Further information Grid


Cranbrook Union Mill, Cranbrook, Kent

Ceremonial County: Kent

Grid Reference:

TQ 779359 OS Sheet 188

Map Link:


Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:







Other useful websites:

mills open




Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  



Date Updated: 05/2008

Planning Grid


Cranbrook Union Mill, Cranbrook, Kent

Grid Reference:

TQ 779359

Getting there:

Cranbrook is just off the A229 which runs North/South from Maidstone to Hastings. The A262 runs East/West between Tunbridge Wells and Tenterden and passes just north of Cranbrook.


In the centre of Cranbrook, on the hill, in Benenden Road.





Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:





TN17 3AH   


Wynn Tremenheere, 01580 712984.
Party bookings: Peggy Fryer, 01580 712256.

Opening times:

April to September  see dates etc
Saturdays & Bank Holiday Mondays, 14.30 - 17.00. 
Easter weekend & National Mills Weekend, both days. 
May, July & August, also Sundays.
Mid-July to August, also Wednesdays, 14.30 - 17.00. 



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed:  

CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated: 05/2008

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