Kibworth Harcourt Mill Project April 23

The SPAB and their Mills Section have now completed the repair project at Kibworth Harcourt Mill, an outstanding historic post mill at Kibworth Harcourt in Leicestershire.

Dated from 1711

In 1936, Merton College Oxford, who owned the mill at that time, asked that the SPAB be responsible for the mill and maintain it. The majority of the mill dates back to 1711 or earlier and its interior is covered with the graffiti of millers who’ve worked there in the past.

Classified as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II* listed building, Kibworth is the only surviving post mill in Leicestershire so it stands as an important part of local and national milling heritage.

Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2022

Kibworth Harcourt Mill was removed in Autumn 2022 by Historic England from the Heritage at Risk Register. Work on the post mill commenced in August 2021 and the repair project was finished in June 2022.

Millwrights Dorothea Restorations undertook most of the repair and lifted up of the body of the mill so work could be done on the trestle. New weatherboarding to match the original wider boards was fitted and painted white, carefully keeping the original interior weatherboarding, and retaining all the original graffiti.

Newly operational

New common and spring sails were made at the millwright’s workshop in Bristol. New exterior steps and a tailpole were also fitted and work to the internal machinery was done. The new sails are fully operational, and the aim is to enable the mill once again to turn 360 degrees on its turning circle.

Just like its former self

Careful consideration was taken throughout the initial planning stages to ensure the mill at the end of the project will look like its former self, with a white body and sails, black sheeted roof to the mill and roundhouse and a beautiful, curved tail pole was also reinstated.

Many different parties were involved in the repair project, a full engineering report, and 3D survey of the mill was provided by Terra Measurement, and an investigation of the graffiti was undertaken by buildings archaeologist James Wright of Triskele Heritage.

Many specialists worked together

The engineer in charge of the project was Naomi Hatton, a SPAB Scholar, along with Luke Bonwick, technical adviser, who had also provided the drawings for the millwright Dorothea Restoration to work from. Jonny Garlick from the SPAB  kept the project running smoothly and SPAB Millwright Fellows have also been working on the repair of the mill. Mildred Cookson, Chair of the Mills Committee and David Holmes a local historian have been invaluable assets to the whole project.

The mill is on private ground and currently not open to the public. 

Through the SPAB’s repair, the mill has become operational for the first time since the 1930s.

Volunteers hoping to operate the mill for visitors

The work was costly and was only possible through a generous legacy left to the SPAB for mill repair. Further donations are sought to ensure that future maintenance of the mill is secured and with the help of volunteers we are hoping to operate the mill on a regular basis and allow visitors to enjoy it.

If you are able to help the SPAB Mills Section to fund repairs for windmill and watermills please donate to the Mill Repair Fund.