New cap for Jack Windmill

Jack Windmill gets a new cap. Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society
Jack Windmill gets a new cap. Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society

Jack and Jill Windmills will once again turn into the wind together for the first time in living memory.

A three-year restoration project to restore Jack’s cap has been completed, and it was carefully placed on top of the landmark structure on on Thursday March 16.

Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society

Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society

The landmark pair were built in 1866 at Clayton on the South Downs.

Jack’s wooden cap was removed three years ago and has been repaired by local millwrights Jeremy and Tony Hole.

The intricate weatherboard construction has been lovingly repaired, as has the wooden stage and fantail which will rotate the cap into the wind. The cap will now sit on its original iron curb, enabling it to rotate.

Volunteers from the Jack and Jill Windmills Society constructed the fan blades, refurbished the windshaft and made the temporary lid that was placed on top of Jack’s tower whilst the cap was being repaired.

Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society

Pictures: Simon Potter of Jack and Jill Windmills Society

Simon Potter of the society said: “This will be the first time since 1909 that anyone has witnessed both Jack and Jill turning together to face the Downland winds.

“The local community and windmill enthusiasts further afield have been watching and waiting for this great moment. What makes it even more special and poignant is that Jack Windmill is likely to be last ever mill to be worked on by Tony and Jeremy Hole, a Sussex-based family of millwrights going back four generations.”

The owners have also built a new house next to Jack, based on Henry Longhurst’s 1960s house, and a new building encasing the historic elements of the original granary within a new glass and timber structure. The granary contains a large triple-height space which is occasionally available to the local community for creative and musical purposes.

The new house was designed by architects Featherstone Young and has been nominated for a BD award for ‘Individual House Architect of the Year’.

Historic photo of the windmill

Historic photo of the windmill

Owners Claire and Jo Maugham bought the property in 2012, and live there with their three daughters.

Claire said: “We are so grateful to the volunteers at Jill Windmill and all the experts who are working on Jack. Since we and our family moved in, it’s been clear to us how important this site is to local people.

“We’ve heard countless happy memories of the two windmills, going back generations, so it’s great to see Jack taking her rightful place alongside Jill once more. We hope the walkers and cyclists and local people for miles around will enjoy the newly improved view up at the windmills.”

Claire said her family was drawn to the incredible views, atmosphere and history of the property. They have paid for the restoration themselves but had also had huge support and advice from the Jack and Jill Windmills Society including simon Potter and Mike Peat.

“Their advice, expertise and support has been beyond compare,” she said. “It’s been inspiring to look across to Jill Windmill, so lovingly restored over decades of pain-staking work by the volunteers - who really do know everything there is to know about Sussex windmills.

“Restoring the windmill has cost a significant six-figure sum - and it’s not finished yet, so we’re really grateful for the help we’ve had.”

Claire, 40, works as communications and policy director for Smart Energy GB, and plays violin in the Kensington Symphony Orchestra. Her husband Jo, 45, is a barrister.

She said they enjoy modern architecture and weren’t afraid of taking on a project.

“Our children love the garden, the rope swings and all the gardening and vegetable-growing. We’re not expert gardeners but we like doing the heavy-lifting and having a go.

“One of the joys of the project has been the help of friends in bringing little corners of the garden back into use while they’ve been visiting, or planting new trees and flowers - and then seeing on their next visit what a difference they’ve made.”

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