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Dobson's Windmill

Burgh le Marsh, Lincolnshire

The mill was built by Sam Oxley of Alford in about 1813, he also built the Alford windmill. It has five storeys and has unusual left-handed sails which means the sails rotate clockwise. It contains much of its original equipment.

The mill is named after Frank Dobson who worked on the mill until 1964.

The mill should be working on open days wind permitting. There is a milling museum which includes a Blackstone Diesel engine.

Some confusion as to what was here earlier

It is shown on an Estate map of 1819 as having four sails. These are said to have been common sails operated from a stage but some think it has always had patent sails. The stage is now missing but the filled-in putlog holes can be made out at second floor level, where the two door openings have been partly filled in and converted to windows. Some suggest that as a stage only relied on the putlogs for support it cannot have been wide enough to reef common sails from. They think it originally had five sails as it does at present, like Alford Mill which was also erected in 1813 by Oxley.

Click Image to see a larger version

How it works

The five patent sails drive through a composite brake wheel with iron hub, spokes and teeth and a wooden rim. The brake band is also of iron. The wallower is of iron with mortised wooden cogs, an unusual type in the County. The sackhoist is driven from the underside of the wallower and as is often found uses an endless chain which saves having to lower the chain after each sack is raised.

There are two bin floors, both divided up by partitions and the stones are on the second floor. The two pairs of greys and one pair of French are driven in the usual manner by an iron great spur wheel, mortice stone nuts and an iron upright shaft. A fourth 'nut' engages with the spur wheel and formerly took the drive from the auxiliary oil engine. By putting the wallower out of gear it was possible to then drive the 'wind' stones by engine if desired.

The first floor, in addition to containing the wind-mill tentering gear, governor and spouts, has a pair of grey stones directly underdriven from the engine by way of bevel gears. The ground floor contains more engine driven machinery consisting of a Hunt Corn Crushing Mill (or roller mill), a mixer by Thompsons of Alford (for making up animal feeds) and an elevator for moving stock around when the wind-powered hoist is not in use.

It has an engine that takes over at least some roles when there is not enough wind.

When we visited

When we visited we found the best position to take a photograph was just inside the entrance, picture right. We walked around other streets, and although you can see it from most directions without difficulty there are low level obstacles, as in the picture below. Because of the angle you are shooting up at, the mill tends to lean back, the image on the right has had its perspective corrected in Photoshop.

War time memory of this mill in WW2

By Marjorie McClory, on WW2 peoples war (BBC)

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I was 9 years old when war broke out. My father, Frank Dobson owned the windmill and bakehouse in Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire during the war. The Sherwood Forresters, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry (or KSLI Kings Silly Little Idiots), Duke of Wellingtons commandeered the windmill yard and sheds for the various transport vehicles such as the Brenn Gun carriers, motorbikes etc. My mother invited some of the troops in for baths and cups of tea, a luxury for them at the time to make them feel more at home.

The miller used to get annoyed with the Brenn Gun drivers because their caterpillar tracks used to churn up the asphalt surface.

Because there were so many troops stationed here, getting in and out of the village was difficult. You had to show your identity cards before you were allowed in.

When the troops came back from Dunkirk, they had only the uniforms they stood up in, no vehicles or guns came back with them. Part of the cattle market was turned into a field cookhouse.

Further information Grid


Dobson's Windmill, Burgh le Marsh, Lincolnshire

Ceremonial County: Lincolnshire

Grid Reference:

TF504649  OS Sheet - 122.

Map Link:


Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:




Nearby Locations: There is a second mill in Burgh le Marsh, that is now a B&B, see Hanson's Mill, Burgh Le Marsh windmill
Other Relevant pages:  



Date Updated: 05/2008

Planning Grid


Dobson's Windmill, Burgh le Marsh, Lincolnshire

Grid Reference:

TF 504649

Getting there:

High Street, Burgh-le-Marsh, about 5 miles west of Skegness, on A158.







Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:







Curator, John Clarke Tel - 01754 810324

Opening times:

April to September, Sundays, 14.00 17.00

Parties by arrangement.

plus one weekday ?

National Mills Weekend  Sunday, 14.00 17.00.


Admission: donation

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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