The windmills of Jersey
Grouville Mill in the 1970s
In dealing with the subject of the water mills of Jersey in the Bulletin for 1934 Mr J F Le Cornu gives a list of 33 known examples, but it was found that out of this total four only were in active operation at that time.
No working windmills
That article naturally suggests that the time is ripe for some little attention to be given to the kindred matter of the windmills, for it is immediately obvious that not a single specimen is at work now, and a little enquiry elicits the information that the last one ceased operations over a quarter of a century ago.
Indeed, the very existence of the towers in their present situations is only accounted for by their value as landmarks for the use of mariners and fishermen using the coasts. Under these circumstances it is hardly necessary to offer an apology for collecting and placing on record what few items of information about their history can be garnered at the present day.
Although the origins of the Jersey windmills cannot be traced quite so far into the misty past as those of the water mills, yet for well over 600 years they have exercised their useful functions on the heights, side by side with their neighbours in the valleys, and it may be noted that both classes of mill have many features in common.
Thus they both derived their motive power from the bounty of nature, and they both pursued the same aim, the provision of necessary food for men and beasts. In Jersey they had another important feature in common, and that was that the special permission of the King was required before a com mill, either water or wind, could be operated, and this permission was prayed for as recently as 1874.
But in one important particular there was a marked difference; that was their position in regard to the feudal rights of the " lord", for it was laid down that whereas he might have rights over both sides of a stream, and therefore could exercise control over the water therein, and thus regulate the working of the water mill, he had no command of the air, and this view of the privilege of the wind mill is taken by the authorities on the old Norman Law.
If we take Major Rybot's map, illustrating Mr J F Le Cornu's article in the 1934 Bulletin, and mark on it the sites of the known windmills, it becomes apparent that, with one exception, they have been placed to serve a district comparatively distant from any of the existing watermills, and this was one of the pleas usually put forward when craving His Majesty's Licence to erect a windmill to grind com. Other reasons given in these petitions were that the population was increasing, and that the water in the streams was insufficient to supply fully the watermills.
First windmill - 1292
The first mention of a windmill so far found in the annals of Jersey is that quoted by Mr Le Cornu, when in 1292 one Gallichan erected a windmill because the watermill for the seigneurie of Augres was insufficient to serve the tenants, and this was done without thinking that he had infringed the rights of the Crown.
As this is in the Parish of Trinity it must refer to a mill of which no other record now survives. Thenm in the 1331 Extentem it is recorded that one Drouet of St Martin was fined for erecting a windmill in the parish of St Ouen without the licence of the King.
A study of old maps clearly shows that in and before the year 1563 there were three windmills on the Island, situated at St Ouen, at Rozel and at Grouville, and they each appear to be on or near the spots where the existing towers now remain. These three are shown on Popinjay's Platte of 1563, on Speede's map of 1610 and on the later maps down to 1820.
After that date three more come into the survey, those at St Peter, at Mont Mado and at Bel Royal. These six, together with the illegally erected one at Augres and the one at Elizabeth Castle mentioned later, appear to complete the census of the authenticated windmills in Jersey.
What these old mills at St Ouen, Rozel and Grouville were like it is impossible to state definitely, as no records have survived, but from the sketches on the maps, one is inclined to surmise that they were of the "post mill" type, many examples of which still survive on the Continent and in England, and which were still doing useful work in the early years of the present century.
The illustration shows the outward appearance of this type and it is known that they have been at work in England from very early times. The old post mill is built of wood, and the machinery is housed in the square body which revolves round a central post so that the sails may face the wind.
The power to effect this revolution, in the old mills, was provided by the miller and/or his horse, applied to the end of a long wooden tail, running on a cart wheel round a circular track of stones sunk into the ground.
In later times this crude method was superseded by the automatic "fantail" driven by the power of the wind itself, as it shifted round into any position not square on to the face of the sails.
The tower mill first came into use about 1750, but many improvements were made in the design right up to the end of the 19th century, when building ceased, although many are still doing good work in England to the present time.
In this type, the stone tower which contains the mill stones is,of course, stationary, while the sails and shafting are on and in the wooden "dome", which revolves on a track at the top of the tower. This dome could be turned by hand, as was the case at Rozel to be described later, but the more usual method was by means of the automatic fantail as just mentioned.
The best example in Jersey of the tower mill is undoubtedly the one at St Peter, belonging to Mr W H Hawkins, and as it still contains its machinery, it is proposed to describe it, before dealing with the older specimens.
Mr. Hawkins follows his father in the ownership of this mill, and the writer must express his sense of gratitude for the kindness and patience with which he explained the details of his mill, and for allowing the necessary notes to be taken from which the following description is compiled.
St Peter’s Windmill
This erstwhile windmill is shown on some maps as "St Peter's New Mill", but as there is no evidence of any previous mill on this site, it would appear that the title was conferred upon it by the map makers.
It stands in a commanding position 322 feet above sea level, and on the boundary separating the parishes of St Peter and St Ouen, and but a short distance from the Church and Arsenal of St Mary.
The tower of the mill is built of local granite and is 27ft in diameter at the base, and 19ft diameter at the top, while the height from the ground to the top course of stone is 43ft 8in, the platform of the fantail being another 2ft 1in higher. From this platform a magnificent view of the surrounding country can be obtained, and this fact was utilised by the RE officers in making the Ordnance Survey many years ago, for on a clear day they were able to get a sight on the flag flying on Prince's Tower, then standing on the Hougue Bie, as well as on the landmarks on the western coast line.
The windmill was built in 1837, a patent authorising its erection having been obtained from England two years earlier. Its life as a windmill came to an end in 1911, when its sails, as they are popularly called, were dismantled and a Petter oil engine of 18 horsepower replaced their motive power.
The dome, the wooden structure on the top of the stone tower, was left in position and it still contains the main shaft and gearing, which were too heavy and cumbersome to remove.
This mill retained its wind power longer than any other in Jersey and in view of the total disappearance of these picturesque and old time features from Island life, a short description of the machinery involved may prove of interest to the mechanically minded.
(Note: some 60 years after this article was written, as part of an extensive redevelopment of the buildings surrounding the windmill, by then a public house, the mill itself was restored and new sails added)
To the casual observer the distinguishing feature of the windmill is what is popu¬larly known as the sails. This name was probably given to them because in the early types they consisted of simple wooden frames, over which were stretched pieces of sail cloth, and many examples of this crude design may still be seen in the Eastern Counties of England, doing good work attached to pumps draining the marsh lands.
In Jersey this style of sail was still in use 50 years ago on the mills at Rozel and Mont Mado. The later improved type of windmill was, however, fitted with a much more elaborate arrangement, better suited for the comparatively delicate operation of grinding com, where a steady speed was desired. "Sweeps", "vanes" or "whips" is the name given to these sails by the miller, and the improved type referred to are called self reefing whips. The self reefing machinery was invented in the year 1811 by that great engineer and contractor William Cubitt.
St Peter's Mill was fitted with a set of four of these self reefing whips, and when at work, they revolved in an anticlockwise direction, when the observer was facing them, with his back to the wind. If we ascend to the dome we shall there see the main shaft, of cast iron and hollow, inclined to the horizontal some 15 degrees. To the end of the shaft, and outside the dome, is attached a heavy casting termed the box, into which were inserted the two main beams, at right angles, on which the whips were built.
These beams were secured in the box by means of shoulders in front and wedges behind, and were of wood 11in square and weighed some 8 cwt each. Being about 32ft long, each of the four arms reached out 16ft from the centre and the inner edge of the frame of the whip was fixed at a radius of 6ft.
The whip consisted of a middle member fastened to the main beam, and a wooden frame 28ft long. This frame was not fixed centrally on the beam, the leading part being narrower than the following part. The frame, the side bars of which. were termed rails, was divided into eight spaces termed bays by crossbars fitted into mortices, cut on the bevel in the middle member, thus giving the whip its pitch as a propeller.
Each of these eight bays contained three shutters, each made of a wooden frame covered with canvas and painted three coats. All of these numerous shutters were fIxed on iron levers, and they swung on little bearings fastened to the rails, thus allowing the shutters to open and close.
Wooden striking rods coupled up the whole of these little levers and led away to the centre of the box. At this centre, the four wooden striking rods were connected by means of triangular levers known as "horses' heads" and coach springs to the main striking rod, an iron bar passing right through the hollow centre of the main shaft, and coming out under the platform of the fantail.
The photograph of St Ouen's Mill and the sectional diagram will assist the reader in following these somewhat intricate details. On the back end of this main striking rod was a rack, gearing into a pinion, keyed to a shaft which carried a grooved pulley about 4ft in diameter, which will be seen under the platform, and from which depended an endless rope or chain reaching down to a convenient height from the ground for the miller to handle.
On another grooved pulley, about 3ft in diameter, and inside the dome, also geared into the rack, hung another rope or chain, and three loose stone weights were provided of about 70 lb, 50 Ib and 40 lb respectively. This last fItting acted as a governor.
Operating the mill
The method of operation was as follows: To start the mill, the miller eased off the brake, to be described later, and pulled on the rope or chain over the 4ft pulley, actuating the pinion, rack, main striking rod, and the wooden striking rods, which movement closed the shutters and enabled the whips to catch the wind.
The miller then hung on the governor chain, one or more of the three weights, according to the strength of the wind, and then that very ingenious contrivance came into play and kept the mill shafting running at a steady pace.
It worked in this way: when an extra heavy puff of wind came on the shutters they, through their levers and wooden striking rods, compressed the four coach springs and forced the main iron striking rod inwards, thus allowing the shutters to partly open and spill some of the wind. When the wind eased again, the weights, which had been raised by the previous movement, pulled the chain down, pushed out the main iron striking rod and its connections, and closed the shutters so that they once more caught the full force of the wind.
It is this automatic striking gear control that gave to the improved type of windmill its name of self reefing. To stop the mill, the weights were taken off the chain, the shutters were opened, and the brake put on, and sometimes as an extra safeguard in squally weather, a chain was put round one of the arms of the cogwheel and an adjacent beam.
We will now trace the method of transmitting the power, created by the revolu-tions of the whips, to the milling machinery situated on the second floor below. On the main shaft in the dome is keyed a large bevel cog wheel with a cast iron centre and a wooden rim, fitted with apple wood teeth. This wheel is 9ft in diameter and drove a bevel pinion 3ft 6in in diameter keyed to a vertical shaft, running in bearings fixed at the very centre of the tower, and leading to the floors below. Under the rim of the large cog wheel is a big wooden shoe attached to an iron band, which when pulled up against the perimeter of the wheel formed an effective brake to hold the whole of the machinery stationary.
There are at the present day in the mill two pairs of French burr stones and an oat crusher. The stones are 4ft 4in diameter and somewhat larger than those we found in the water mills of the Island. All these are now driven by the Petter oil engine fitted in 1911, by means of a strap and gearing coupled to the old vertical shaft of the windmill which, of course, is now disconnected from the upper gear.
Turning the dome
It is now time to consider the automatic machinery which turned the dome and the apparatus contained therein, so that the whips were always facing the wind, how-ever much or little it might shift.
The dome itself and the gear attached to it totals a considerable weight, probably well over 25 tons, and the whole of this is carried on eight travelling wheels, running on an oak circular track laid on the top course of the stone tower, being guided in position by a series of five horizontal wheels bearing on the inside of the oak track.
The turning power is derived from the fantail, the simple wheel propeller to be seen on the opposite side of the dome to the whips. The action was quite simple, for as soon as the wind shifted in either direction, away from the normal of the whips, it struck on one side of the fantail causing it to revolve, and this motion, transmitted by shafting and a worm and wheel, drove a small pinion geared into a big cogwheel, the whole diameter of the tower, and fixed to the oak track already des¬cribed. This oak track is 16ft in diameter and the cogwheel is formed by several cast iron segments bolted together.
There is, however, one combination of circumstances which defeated this auto-matic trimming device, and further provision had to be made to prevent a stoppage. When a failing wind was followed by a dead calm, and the new wind sprung up in an exactly opposite quarter, it is obvious that this new wind would blow on the edge of the fantail, which therefore would have no power to revolve and work its gearing.
The millwright made provision against this eventuality by fitting a box coupling on one of the internal shafts, so that the miller could go up into the dome, disconnect the shaft, and by means of a crank handle, turn the dome round some 45degrees until the wind once more struck the side of the fantail and enabled it to resume its duty.
St Ouen’s Windmill
’Sometimes called Grantez Windmill
The surviving part of this windmill is a familiar sight to all passengers arriving in Jersey by boat, for its white tower when in line with the white Martello tower on the shore below, marks the safe channel round the dangerous reef of rocks running out from La Corbiere. In order to preserve it for this important duty it was acquired by the States from Mr Wilford Malzard in October 19II for the sum of £100 and handed over to the charge of the Harbours Committee.
It appears to have been built in the early part of the 19th century, as it is shown on Hugh Godfray's map dated 1849, and the owner is given thereon as Ph Le Feuvre, and we know from the contract in the hands of the States that this same owner was also in possession in September 1854.
This present building is, however, but the last of a long line, for there has been a windmill at this spot for certainly 400, and probably 600 years. A windmill is shown in this position on Popinjay's Platte of 1563, as a post mill, and on all subsequent maps down to the present time, and there is also the record in the 1331 Extente of a windmill having been erected by Drouet, before that date, and it is probable, though of course not certain, that it was on the site of the present structure.
The fine granite tower is 43ft 6in high, excluding the wooden dome, and 27ft diameter at ground level, the walls being 3ft thick. Although dismantled and no longer in use as a mill, some of the windmill machinery still remains in position and it is to be hoped will be long preserved, for it is a worthy example of the nearly extinct millwright's craft.
It may be permissible to point out that this automatic turning gear constituted one of the chief improvements which differentiated the modern windmill from the old post windmill. To trim this old type, the whole mill and its contents were revolved around the central post, the power being the miller, who pushed and levered a tail made of a long wooden spar, the end of which rested on a wheel running on a great circular track of stones let into the ground.
The picture of an old post mill shows this spar behind the ladder. Many of these old post mills are still in existence on the Continent and in England, and one is being preserved in Suffolk as a national monument.
It may at first sight strike the observer as sad that such a picturesque feature of the landscape as the windmill should entirely vanish from the Island, but the regrets of the miller and the engineer will be tempered by the thought that as an efficient power producer its day is past.
The immense number of parts to be kept in order, and the great size and weight of the main pieces of gear, must have meant a heavy tax on the miller for upkeep and repairs, while the engineer although observing and admiring the skill and ingenuity displayed by the millwright in designing and erecting such machinery, cannot refrain from heaving a sigh when he realises that the major part of the power so freely supplied by nature's wind was expended in friction long before it reached the millstones. It is also as well to reflect that under the bonnet of any medium size motor car is as much power as was generated by the huge sweeps of the old windmill.
The sails or whips were taken down about 1907, but the cast iron main shaft with its big bevel cogwheel remains intact. This wheel is 9ft 4in in diameter with teeth 6in wide, and is built entirely of wood, the rim of elm, the spokes of pine, and the teeth of apple wood, and it is a splendid example of the old millwright's skill in design and workmanship, for to build up in wood a wheel of that size, that will run true within a small fraction of an inch, is no mean achievement.
The vertical shaft also remains, and that is fashioned from a fine baulk of pitch pine, 18in square; it is coupled at the level of the third floor to a similar wooden shaft stepped on the first floor, where the driving pinions of the mill stones still stand. The stones are on the second floor; there is one old pair 3ft 11in in diameter and two others, but little used, both made by Coombes and Co, of Mark Lane, London, one pair 4ft 14in in diameter and the other of the exceptional size of 4ft 9in .
The dome and its revolving gear is mostly there, but none of the striking gear has survived. The segmental wheel on the oak track at the top of the tower is 15ft 8in in diameter, and is complete. The whips turned in an anticlockwise direction to the observer facing them.
The photograph was taken in I907 during the process of dismantling the whips and fantail, parts of which can be seen in the foreground. The picture is worthy of a close examination as it shows the construction of the hips and external striking gear far better than is possible by any written description.
This mill is frequently referred to as St Martin's Windmill, and is one of the three old original windmills of the Island, being shown on all the maps from 1563 to the present day. It is now in the hands of the States, having been acquired by them in I920, and is entirely dismantled, but the tower is preserved and painted white to serve as a landmark, to assist local fishermen in going to, and returning from the Ecrehous. The tower stands on a rocky mound 7ft above the surrounding ground which is 310 feet above sea level. Since the mill has gone out of commission, the ground round the tower has been quarried away to serve the convenience of its neighbours, so that the track which was used when turning the whips to the wind can no longer be traced.
The height of the stone tower is about 27ft, while the diameter at ground level is 20ft 8in, which dimensions show that, compared with St Peter and St Ouen, this must have been a comparatively small mill. The illustration has been prepared from a photograph lent by Mrs Renouf, formerly Miss Vardon and sister to the last private owner of the mill.
The photograph was taken by J R G Stroud, who was in business in New Street from I888 to I892 only. It shows that the whips were of the old type, using sailcloth stretched over a fixed wooden framework, not the later self reefing type, and a comparison with those of St Peter and St Ouen reveals an entirely different construction of the woodwork.
Neither was there an automatic turning gear, the only method of trimming the sails being the application of man or horse power to the end of the tail rod running on the cart wheel shown. A rope leads away from this wheel, and as stone mooring posts are also visible, no doubt the miller made use of a tackle to help him with this hard work. The figure in the illustration is Mr P Vardon the father of Mrs Renouf.
The earliest reference to Rozel Windmill so far traced is the Latin will mentioned by de la Croix, where the Seigneur of Salinelles (Saumarez) gave to the Abbey of St Saviour (le Vicomte in the Cotentin) the tenth of the windmill that he possessed in the Isle of Jersey, for the health of his soul and for those of his father, mother and ancestors; and de la Croix identifies this windmill as being at Rozel.
The date of this will is I2I9 and it can also be seen in the Cartulaire. Coming to more recent times, in I849 the mill was in the hands of D Anley, who sold it to the first Philip Vardon. On the death of this owner it passed to his son, also named Philip Vardon, and finally descended to his son, the third Philip Vardon who dismantled it some 20 years ago and sold the tower to the States in 1920. It must have ceased work as a mill many years earlier for the wooden dome was taken off in 1909, as can be proved by a series of photographs in Mrs Renouf's album.
There were two doors originally in the tower, one facing north and one facing south, this latter being now built up. On entering by me north door it will be seen that nothing whatever remains of the mill gearing, the inside of the tower being empty, and the wooden dome having been replaced by a concrete roof, the top 4ft of the stone work of the tower having been rebuilt. Opposite the door is a fireplace, and on the left side a recess. Two windows at the level of the first floor are of the loophole variety, which would have enabled the mill to be used as a defensive position in the event of invasion.
On a stone, four courses up, in the doorway, some letters and figures are cut; they are somewhat difficult to decipher but appear to read HRI DAN 1799. The figures 1799 have been read as 1299, the 7 being easily mistaken for a 2, and this has given rise to the idea that the mill was built in the penultimate year of the 13th century. The class of work and the style of lettering would make this early date quite impossible, while 1799 would be a reasonable year to assign for the erection. Both the stonework and the class of engraving would agree with this period, and as the stone is in a position where the owner's marks might be expected, we shall probably be not far out in concluding that this is when the tower was built.
At the sixth course is another engraved stone and on this is cut the letters EDL this inscription is in a much more recent style of lettering than the former one, lower down.
Among the windmills of the Island, Grouville occupies the unique position of being the only windmill whose dues to the Crown are fully recorded in the Extentes from as far back as 1331. Furthermore the information contained in this Extente enable us to assume that a windmill existed in Grouville several years earlier than 1331. In fact, we should be fairly safe in saying that the first windmill was built there soon after 1300.
In the 1274 Extente, Grouville is credited with two mills which pay 13 livres, but these were no doubt the two watermills now known as Moulin de Haut and Moulin de Bas, and then styled Moulin de Ruequal and Moulin Maeyn, which both belonged to the King.
In the 1331 Extente we learn that the King (Edward III) had a mill at Beauvoier but it was overthrown by a tempest of wind when Sir John des Roches was Guardian of the Isles (he held the office in the year 1327 only) and that it would cost to re-erect, all new, 120 livres tournais, and then it would be worth “all expenses deducted, whatever the King owes to furnish all things necessary" 20 livres per annum.
The King's advisers seem to have agreed that it was not worth the outlay, as its repair is specifically excluded from the estimate for putting the rest of the King's mills into good order.
- In the 1528 (Henry VIII) Extente, Beauvoier Mill, or as it is now spelt "The mylne of Bewuer " is assessed" j qart " (1 quarter of wheat).
- In the 1607 (James I) Extente is the entry "Nicolas de Soulment of St Helier for the windmill ... 8 Cab" (1 quarter of wheat).
- In the 1668 (Charles II) Extente, under the heading of the Parish of St Brelade is this entry: "Damlle Susanne Dumaresq pour le Moulin a Vent de Grouville pour Soulment en Grouville huict cab.
- M Clement Dumaresq de Grouville en doit descharger ladite Damlle de la moitie dudit quartier 1 qr 0 cab 0 sists
By 1749 (George II) the assessment has become somewhat complicated, for these are the entries in the Extente of that year. "Mrs Deborah Dumaresq, first heir of Philip Dumaresq Gent her brother, eldest son of Clement (tenant in part of Henry Herault, son of Thomas, son of Clement), twelve Cabotels of wheat, for ye Priory of St Clement; Item, in right of Mrs Susan Dumaresq, his mother, eight Cabotels of wheat (au propre) for the windmill, in Grouville, which are paid to Edward Marett, Gent, on account of two quarters owed to him for St Germain .... 1 qtr. 4 Cab 0 Six wheat rent amounting in money to £18-0-0." This entry is under the Parish of St Clement and then under the Parish of St Brelad's (sic) is the following :-
"Edward Marett, Esqr, son of Peter, in right of Mrs Susan Dumaresq his mother, in St Ouen, two Cabls of Wheat (pour la fille de Carteret); Item or l'Islet in St Saviour, six Cabts of Wheat ; these two sums remain in his hands, and besides he receives one quarter of Wheat, from Mrs. Deborah Dumaresq, first heir of Ph Dumaresq Gt, her brother, eldest son of Hilary Dumaresq Gt, of St Clemo Parish, the said rent due for the Windmill of Grouvill Parish, all of which the said Marett receives in Lieu of two Quarters of Wheat ow'd to him for St Germain .... 2 Quarters of Wheat Rent amounting in money to £24-0-0."
Grouville Windmill is clearly shown on Popinjay's Platte dated 1563, on Speede's dated 1610, and on all the subsequent maps of Jersey and, as far as can be determined by these somewhat crude efforts, in the same position as we now find the disused tower.
It is significant however that about 110 yards down the Rue Crevecoeur, towards the south, lies a field belonging to Major F A L de Gruchy, bearing the old name of Clos de Moulin à Vent. This naturally raises a suspicion that one of the older wooden mills might have stood on that land and that the site of the present ower only came into use at a later date. This Clos de Moulin à Vent is at practically the same level as the existing tower and the ground is eminently suitable as a windmill site.
The windmill is situated 196 feet above sea level and is well placed to command an uninterrupted wind from all the southern quarters, and the view to be obtained from its windows, over the coastline, well warrants its old name of Beauvoier.
The present height of the tower, the dome having been taken off and replaced with a flat roof, is some 44ft its diameter at the base 28ft 8in, and at the top 19ft, the taper of its sides being more pronounced than in any of the other towers noticed.
19th Century stonework
The thickness of the stone walls at the base is 3ft 4in. The stone and woodwork has the appearance of having been erected somewhere in the early years of the 19th century. At the present day no machinery remains in the mill, and as already mentioned, the dome has been removed, but the four floors are intact and even the ladders of the old mill are in position, the pine beams, rafters etc. being of excellent material seldom to be seen nowadays.
It would appear to have ceased work as a windmill in 1900 or 1901 and Mr John Wm Labey, who remembers it all his life, says that it had self reefing shutter whips, and an automatic turning fantail, so this latest survivor of a long series of windmills must have been of comparatively recent construction, which would agree with the apparent age of the stonework.
Mr Labey also says that the last miller was called Lee and his predecessor, who goes back to about 1860, a Mr Stevens. An advertise¬ment in the Chrouique de Jersey dated 18 January 1821 shows that it was then in the hands of M Jean Vautier, who might well be the Jean Vautier whose slate headstone in Grouville Churchyard records that he died in 1828 aged 51. The present owner of the property is Mr P J Simon, of La Rocque, who bought from a de Gruchy in 1923.
The east side of the mill tower is whitened to serve as a landmark for mariners entering Gorey Roads. With the tower in line with the southern side of Mont Orgueil bluff, a safe channel is indicated clear of the northern edge of the Banc du Chateau lying outside the anchorage.
It is somewhat strange that, as a result of a careful hunt, old photographs of all the other windmills in the Island have been discovered, but not a single one of Grouville mill has so far come to light, although there must be some in existence somewhere. It has therefore not been possible to give an illustration of this mill as has been done with the other five.
Mont Mado Windmill
Otherwise known as St John’s Windmill
This windmill originally stood on what was at that time a highly desirable site, on a plateau 400 feet above sea level, and well above any obstacles which might inter-rupt a free flow of the wind. It was erected in the enclosure of Mont Mado Quarries, by Royal permission, some time previous to 1830. This period is indicated as a lithograph by Gauci, made from a sketch by K de Garis and printed by Moss of Guernsey at that time, shows it in clear detail.
It is depicted with a fine stone tower, a conical wooden dome, four whips and a fantail, indicating a then fairly recent design, but It shows no platform and the drawing of the whips is not clear enough to enable us to determine their design.
The photograph made in the I870s tallies very closely with the lithograph of about 50 years earlier, and on this latter It can be seen that the whips were of the same description as those at Rozel, that is a fixed wooden framework covered with sailcloth, and therefore the reefing was done by hand.
Its exact position can be identified on Hugh Godfray's map of 1849, and on Beghin's little road map, but the very ground on which it stood has been, long since, quarried away and only a very close scrutiny will enable one to trace some slight remains of stone and cement which once formed the extreme limit of its foundations.
Mr Coutanche, of Mont Mado Quarries, says that he remembers the mill standing, but not working, some 45 years ago, and that he saw it gradually fall into ruin and fmally disappear.
As it is not marked on the Ordnance map of 1913, even the ruin must have gone during the early years of this century. Before the tower fell, the machinery was dismantled, but it is said that the main shaft could not be sold with the rest of the salvage, as it was the property of the Seigneur who, it was thought, was of the Godfray family.
From information gleaned from two old inhabitants of the district, Mr John Horton, aged 85, and Mr Bisson, of Le Bourg, it is learned that the mill ceased working because the blasting operations in the quarry formed a steep face, which getting gradually closer and deeper, created such a powerful updraught of wind that it seriously interfered with the working of the whips.
No grinding has been done in the mill, according to Mr Hotton, for upwards of 50 years, and according to Mr Bisson, for 70 years, so we may be safe in assigning its abandonment as a windmill to the decade 1870 to 1880. A severe gale blew away the lighter parts of the whips, leaving only the four ends of the main beams, and these stood for many years and must have formed a melancholy picture. The mill tower, when in position, was used by the local fishermen as a landmark, and it is said they still entertain a grievance that its removal deprived them of this right.
The building of this windmill was partly financed by the issue of One Pound and Ten shilling notes. One of the former can be seen in the collection at the Societe Jersiaise Museum, but it had not been issued as it bears no signature and the date space is not filled in.
In the left hand top corner is a picture of the mill which corres¬ponds with the photograph and in addition grves a good representation of the fantail. The right hand top comer has a study of a classIc lady with a reaping hook and a sheaf of com. Between these two illustrauons is the heading “St John's Windmill" and at the bottom is the engraver’s name, G Larbalestier.
Bel Royal Windmill
The time of the erection of this mill has not been traced exacdy, but from internal evidence I am inclined to place it in the decade 1830 to 1840. The windmill is shown in prints by Ouless dated 1840 and 1842, and it can also be seen in a lithograph dated 1841 by J and E Harwood, of Fenchurch Street, London. This latter print does not show the house or store alongside the windmill, but both of Ouless's do, but at that time there is no boiler house or tall chimney stack. This feature, a tall brick chimney, and an engine and boiler house in front, can however be seen in a water colour sketch by Isabella Struthers done in 1884, and the illustration clearly depicts it. This illustration is by far the most reliable evidence as it is reproduced from an actual photograph of St Aubin's Bay taken from a spot on the hillside just above Magnolia, and its date is somewhere about 1860. From this picture it is easy to identify the exact spot which the windmill and its buildings occupied, for the house Midbay and the Martello Tower, both still standing, define the limits of the site. The windmill itself must have stood at the eastern end of the four Bel Royal Villas houses, on the ground now occupied by Bel Royal Lodge, while the long store building must have made room for the block of villas. Still further west the boiler and engine house situation now forms part of the garage of Mr B Pitcher.
(Note: The tower, not a Martello Tower, as the author states, but a Jersey round tower, was demolished when the Germans blew it up during the Occupation)
The house 1Bel Royal Villas (Pension St Nicholas) is built over a low rectangular cellar, the walls of which, of old stone work, originally formed the lower part and foundations of the western end of the store seen in the illustration, and this would appear to be the only piece of the old mill buildings that has survived.
The approach to the mill in the old days was by way of the lane, still existing, leading from St Aubin's (Upper) Road by the side of Hazeldene (then the Hotel de la Paix) and now used as a back entrance to the Bel Royal Villas houses and as a roadway to Mr Pitcher's garage. After passing the mill, the lane led down on to the beach, where Bel Royal slip was afterwards erected, for of course Victoria Avenue was not laid out until much later.
From the photograph we can see that the windmill was of the same type as that at St Peter, that is with self reefing whips and automatic turning gear, and from the fact that a steam engine was added some time before 1860 it is clear that business was brisk at that period.
From the position of the steam plant it seems probable that some millstones were housed in the long building in addition to those in the windmill. It is recorded that it was the custom in the last century for the miller to go round and see his farmer friends just before harvest time and bargain, over a glass or so of Marsala, for the grinding of his crop of grain. In its latter days the miller at Bel Royal mill was Mr Renou£
The end of the mill came rather suddenly in 1886. The property at that time belonged to Mr Gosset, who it will be recalled was badly involved in the Jersey Banking Company failure. The whole concern then passed into the hands of Mr. Emile Voisin, who at once pulled down all the buildings and erected on the ground the present terrace of houses.
An old billheading has just come to light which adds another name to the millers of Bel Royal. It reads :-
St Lawrence Wind and Steam Mill Jersey 186. To John Wm Taylor And it bears a print of a conventional windmill at the left side of the name
Windmill at Elizabeth Castle
Major N V L Rybot, in his work on Elizabeth Castle, records the building of a windmill on the Green in the Castle in the year 16S1. It was built on a stone tower, the lower storey of which was loopholed for musketry, and its position enabled it to command the gate leading to Fort Charles. Its life appears to have been a short one, in fact it seems doubtful if the lower storey was ever completed.
The chief interest in the structure, in this paper, is a speculation as to the design of the windmill that was erected on a stone tower in 165I, for, as we have already seen, the tower windmill proper was not invented until 17SO. No pictorial record survives, although Hollar's sketches made in 1680 could have only just missed it, and we must therefore leave the question in doubt.
This exhausts the windmills of the Island about which authenticated records have been found, but during the investigation, a few items of interest in connection with the subject have been noted which it is proposed to mention here in the hope that a wider enquiry may disclose facts of real value.
Windmill in St Brelade
Near the house" Miramar" on Mont Gras d'Eau in St. Brelade's Parish is a field named" Champs de Moulin a Vent." Standing as it does on the brow of the hill overlooking the Bay and some 200 feet above sea level, it would appear to be an eligible situation for a windmill. A further point in favour of the idea that a mill once stood on the land, and thus conferred this old name on the field, is that the site is fairly distant from the nearest water mill, le Moulin Egoutte-Pluie, situated at the bottom of the hill into St Aubin. A search of old maps and records has, however, revealed no evidence of the exiostence of a mill at this spot. After the above was in print Miss Julia M. Marett found among the La Haule manuscripts a contract of 1557 which throws a little further light on this subject. The contract reads:
1557, le 19 Fevrier. Guille Gosselin, lieut de Helier de Carteret, Bailly. Philippe Salmon vendit a Edouard du maresq (of la Haule) deux camps de terre et une buttiere et ung petit come seants ensemble au fieu de Noirmont en S brelade en la piece du moulin a vent au long de la terre qui fut a Jean Pipon.
This evidence not only proves that the name of the field is of very ancient origin but warrants the inference that at some date before 1557 a windmill did stand on this site, and it should therefore be added to the three ancient ones (St Ouen, Rozel and Grouville) already given on the authority of our oldest map, Popinjay's Platte dated 1563.
Windmill at La Corbiere
Jurat Guy de Gruchy mentions that in his early days there were rumours afloat that a windmill once stood at La Corbiere, but no facts in support of the supposition are so far forthcoming
Windmill at La Rocque
A similar story with regard to an old windmill which has long since disappeared from La Rocque came from an old lady in Grouville, but again no verification has been found.