Also known as
The only surviving 8 sailed windmill in western Europe and probably the world's only one of this type. As the mill is still in operation, milling days are held where you can observe the stone ground flour being produced. You get to discover one of the finest examples of 19th century windmill technology.
Originally built as a five-sailed windmill in 1830 by Edward Ingledew of Gainsborough for Michael Hare, the mill was worked for over 40 years by Sleighton and Joseph Nash until 1890, when a sudden tailwind destroyed the sails.
New owner John Pocklington introduced the eight-blade fantail, with the mill driving five pairs of stones and a circular saw, used to cut elm boards for coffins.
After Pocklington's death in 1943, all work at the mill ceased, with the County Council buying up the building in 1953.
Extensive repair work was undertaken in 1969, with more restoration work taking place in 2004.
The tarred five storey 16.8m high tower, tapers from 8.53m (the widest in Lincolnshire) to 3.35m in internal diameter, measuring 9.75m at the base.
As a condition of the deal, he had to remove all the machinery from the mill site. So he was in an urgent need for a suitable mill stump to mount the cap on, as he had no place to put his new acquisition. Luckily he came across the wrecked Heckington mill, bought it subsequently, and, from 1891 until early 1892, he fitted the white onion-shaped and fantail-driven Tuxford's Mill cap to the Heckington Mill and set it working for the following 54 years. Later on he installed a large circular saw-mill in a shed on one side, also driven by wind-power using line-shafts. It was used to make elm boards for coffins. John Pocklington was very successful in milling, baking, building, sawing, and farming. In that time and even up today the mill was also called the Pocklington's Mill.
After John Pocklington's death in 1941 the mill stopped working in 1946 for the next 40 years. The shutters ("shades" in Lincs) were removed from the sails. In 1953 the mill came into the hands of the "Kesteven County Council" who made the first restorations preventing the fine old mill from being dismantled and restoring it as a rare landmark. Only four of the eight sails could be installed (from the Old Bolingbroke and Wainfleet St. Mary mills, ~ 22/25 miles north east of Heckington). When the mill changed hands to Lincolnshire County Council in 1986 the mill was finally restored to working order (the repairs included the construction of 192 new shades and four new sails sustained by the "Friends of Heckington Mill", with the new sails cross weighing five tons. The cap's overhang assures the fact it is from a mill with a much wider tower top. As a rare feature with post and smock mills (Dutch type mills) and common with "sail windmills" (with pole-shaped sailstocks and triangular sails) such as around the Mediterranean Sea) the sail-tips are linked together by steel rods or cables to prevent sagging in the sails, a probably unnecessary work with this kind of mill sails. Parts of the bigger timber wheels have iron teeth instead of wooden ones. Among the six floors the third one being the lower of the two bin floors provides two grain cleaners (a modern one driven by an electric motor and the other an old wind-driven separator. On the second floor, the stone and stage floor, there are the original three pairs of stones (two pairs of grey and one pair of French quartzite stones) and a drive down to the first floor with a fourth pair of stones. On the ground floor a fifth pair of stones was installed which could also be driven by wind if desired or rather by engine. The mill houses a mixer on the first floor and in addition an elevator from the ground floor. Due to its large sail area supplied by its eight sails and its well-winded site the mill is able to drive four pairs of millstones - now 2 pairs of French (quartzite) stones and 2 pairs of so called Peak stones (Derbyshire sandstone) and is able to work in very light breezes, when other local mills don't. An additional dresser is used to make white flour from time to time.
Now the distinctive eight-sails windmill is run by the Friends of Heckington Mill and was reopened in 1986. In 2004 the mill underwent its last larger restoration.
Source of most information:- Wikipedia.
Heckington Windmill is the last one of around 12 eight-sailed windmills in all England and four in Lincolnshire including:
These mills were partly converted into four-sailed mills, into residences, were dismantled, or still exist as ruins.
Mediterranean windmills ("sail-windmills") seem to have more sails, but their sails are in fact up to six long poles ('polestocks') forming a wheel-shaped sail-cross of 12 round sailstocks each holding one triangular sail. They don't have shutter-type or lattice-type sails (with canvas sails attached to the lattice blades) as they come with Dutch-type windmills the Heckington Windmill belongs to. Beside this there are a few post mills in Northern and Eastern Europe with six short paddle-shaped sails, and in Finland there're some eight-sailed hollow-post windmills with a similar type of short sails.
Heckington Village Trust and Station Museum
These preserved 1859, Victorian station buildings house a collection of artefacts and historical information in connection with the local area. They also offer the opportunity to purchase a souvenir.
The attractive signal box is still staffed, with the signalman manually opening and closing the level crossing gates when required. Its still a request stop on the line from Grantham through Sleaford to Skegness, the old building was saved from British Rail's ever-eager demolition gang by the Heckington Village Trust in 1975.
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