Home Newsletter Locations Diary
Topic Alpha County Sections By

Travellers Resource
Windmill Section Windmills with Sails



Maud Foster Windmill

Boston, Lincolnshire

5 sails and 7 storeys, some say Britain's tallest working windmill

Climb all 7 floors and see flour being made in the traditional way by wind-power in the finest and one of the tallest windmills in the British Isles.

The windmill still operates today, producing a wide range of flours for sale.

Maud Foster Windmill is a seven-storey and five-patent sailed windmill located on the Maud Foster Drain (16 Willoughby Road) in Boston, Lincolnshire, which she takes her name from. She is one of the largest operating windmills in England being 80ft tall to the cap ball.

This tower mill was erected for Thomas and Isaac Reckitt in 1819 by the Hull millwrights Norman and Smithson to grind corn that was brought in by barge along the drain. The original drawings and accounts survive, telling us that it cost 1826-10s-6d, which was a large sum in those days. It shows just how far advanced millwrighting was in this area by 1819, with all iron gearing, patent sails and a tall, well-proportioned, and untarred tower showing the fine masonry. In her heyday in the mid-19th-century five and sixed-sailed windmills were not that rare and unusual as they are today.

Sold in 1835 the mill changed hands to various owners. In 1914 Alfred Ostler bought the mill and run her until 1942 when he gave up business and closed her down.

She was preserved as a landmark in 1953, the last of more than a dozen mills in the town. There are five instead of the more usual four patent sails, the shutters of which are now at Wrawby post mill. An unusual feature is the weather beam (or 'rode balk') which is of cast iron, probably a replacement of the original wooden one. The brake wheel is of wooden clasp-arm type with an iron tooth ring and wooden brake. The wallower is also of iron with a wooden friction drive to the sackhoist. The dust floor is more spacious than is often found in Lincolnshire and is lit by windows, a welcome change from the gloomy, cramped space usually encountered by mill explorers!

Three pairs of stones, two grey and one French, survive on the fourth floor with vats, spouts etc. all intact. The great spur wheel is of iron, as is the upright shaft. The stone nuts have wooden cogs, as usual. The spout floor gives access to the reefing stage and contains a fine governor which controls all three pairs of stones. The bridge trees are of iron and are Y-shaped, with integral bridging boxes.

In 1987 the mill was bought by James Waterfield and his family who restored her in 1988 to fully working order being now the most productive windmill in all England.

Visitors may climb all seven floors and see the milling process in action as well as enjoy fine views of the town from the balcony. Maud's tearoom in the old granary serves morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas with good old-fashioned home baking and local specialities on the menu. The mill shop sells flour, porridge and good quality souvenirs as well as local history books.

Information primarily from Wikipedia

Clicking on the above 2 image shows a larger version

When we visited

You can photograph this mill from its car park or from across the drain (canal) there are occasional boats up and down this, but it's quite a way down so not easy to get good images of mill and boats.  We didn't climb the mill to look at the view, this page had not been created at the time and we didn't know this was an option.

It's possible to get reflections but with a large wall and motorway style safety barrier its not that appealing, the normal position is also too high in relation to the water for it to work well.

The image on the right above has been edited in Photoshop to reduce the amount it is leaning back (perspective) due to taking it close and looking up. There is a limit to how far you can go back before the drain gets in the way, and from the other side you then have the barrier. Ideally you want to be on the opposite side higher up, perhaps on a double Decker bus, or one of those devices they use for fixing street lights.

When we visited one of the sails was off for repair or replacement, so our images have only 4 of the 5 sails, but as it was the one pointing down in some shots its not obvious. The image below shows it later with all 5 sails back.

   Picture by Richard Croft
Jan 2008

We have attempted to correct perspective and brightness click on photographers name to see the original.

Further information Grid


Maud Foster Windmill, Boston, Lincolnshire

Ceremonial County: Lincolnshire

Grid Reference:

TF 332447  OS Sheet - 131

Map Link:


Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

mills open




Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  



Date Updated: 05/2008

Planning Grid


Maud Foster Windmill, Boston, Lincolnshire

Grid Reference:

TF 332447  OS Sheet - 131. 

Getting there:

In Willoughby Road, Boston, just off A52 to Skegness.




Free car park



Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:



Maud Foster Mill, Willoughby Road, Boston, Lincolnshire


PE21 9EG


James Waterfield.  01205 352188

Opening times:

All year, Wed 10am-5pm, Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12 noon-5pm. 
July & August also Thursday & Friday 11.00 - 17.00.
Bank Holiday Mondays 10.00 - 17.00.
National Mills Weekend Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12noon-5pm. 


There is an admission fee to climb the mill
Entry to the shop and tea room is free

Photo Restrictions:


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

CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated:  05/2008

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote the CIN Page Ref at the bottom of the Planning Grid above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

This page:

Link directly to this page, with text or the button on right.

Text linking:  Maud Foster Windmill on Photographers Resource

Linking Instructions                            http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/