Plans to restore iconic windmill placed on at risk list
PUBLISHED: 10:58 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:01 01 November 2019
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013
Work to begin the restoration of an iconic windmill added to the buildings at risk list could begin next year allowing it to be re-opened to the public.
The Grade II listed windmill in Old Buckenham is among the Norfolk buildings added to Historic England's 2019 list of properties that are at risk.
The building is said to be in a critical condition with "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration" after the loss of its sails.
The present brick mill was built in 1818 and has the widest diameter tower of any mill in the country - 23ft across at the base. It has had a number of illustrious owners including James Colman, who married the daughter of the first miller, but production ceased in 1926.
Norfolk Windmills Trust, which owns the mill, said it was determined to fix the issues and had been given a development grant by Historic England for preliminary work. The last restoration was overseen by millwright John Lawn with new cap and sails fitted in 1996.
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Amanda Rix, technical advisor at Norfolk Windmills Trust, said the first phase of work costing around £100,000-£120,000 could begin next year.
She said: "What we are looking at is breaking the works down into three phases. Phase one will be the tower brickworks repairs and works to windows and doors so that essentially the mill is safe and the community are then able to re-open the windmill to the public. There is a very good band of volunteers that we have and who are every enthusiastic.
"Then phase two will be looking at the works to the cap and the rolling gear, the element that make it turn to wind. Because of the size of it and the mechanics there are some serious problems that need to be fixed. Then going forward phase three would be the stocks and new sails.
"We are hoping to go back to Historic England for a further grant but the local community are planning events to raise funds as well. It is good that the village is so behind it."
MORE: The two new Norwich buildings declared 'at risk' of being lost
Each year Historic England adds or removes properties from its Heritage at Risk Register, which aims to highlight places which could be lost due to neglect, decay or inappropriate development.
Old Buckenham Windmill is one of five new locations in Norfolk added to the 2019 risk register, while six have been taken off, including another South Norfolk windmill at Billingford.
Also on the 2018 risk register is the Church of All Saints in Old Buckenham which thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant has seen repairs to its tower and is at the beginning of a five-month project to re-thatch its main roof.
MORE SOUTH NORFOLK BUILDINGS AT RISK
- Tower of All Saints' Church, Garboldisham
A 14th century church tower only part of which survives as a free-standing monument. A vertical crack runs the full height of the structure giving rise to concern for its structural stability.
- Church of St Nicholas, North Lopham
Loose masonry at top of the tower; structural repairs required to chancel east wall. Excessive dampness, structural movement and deterioration to windows. Congregation are still trying to secure grant aid.
- County Library, Wymondham
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Grade I listed chapel founded 1174 and restored in 1873 and opened as public hall, latterly a county branch library but now disused. Historic England discussing plans for repair and use as community arts venue.
- Church of St Mary, Forncett
Declared redundant in 1985 but has subsequently been returned to use for worship and community activities, winning a Historic England Angel Award in 2015. In 2017, a further application for the masonry and roofs of the tower and north porch was successful and is anticipated to complete by summer 2020.
- Church of St Nicholas, Bracon Ash
Medieval parish church but failing rainwater gutters and downpipes causing severe deterioration also placing at risk the remains of significant 16th century terracotta monument, commissioned by the Bedingfield family. An application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been unsuccessful. Discussions on going.
- Church of All Saints, Snetterton
Redundant parish church in the care of the Norfolk Churches Trust. Structural repairs needed to three parts of the building. National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants for Places of Worship grant accepted in 2017 and project progressing towards completion.
- Church of St Andrew, Deopham
Parish church built in imitation of St Andrew's Hingham. South porch roof leaking; all butresses in south aisle bulging; loose flint facework; south aisle east window: mullions are in poor condition.
MORE SUFFOLK-NORFOLK BORDER BUILDINGS AT RISK
- Church of All Saints, Stuston
Structural movement and cracking to tower, with masonry falls; tower is cordoned off. Poor rainwater disposal has led to structural movement in the chancel. A National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants for Places of Worship grant was awarded in 2017 and project is underway.
- Church of St Margaret, Starston
Extensive rain and ground water penetration due to poor roof coverings, ground drainage and open joints in facework. Grant was offered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2016 with repairs nearing completion.
- Poplar Farmhouse, Brome and Oakley
Two-storey farmhouse, timber framed thatched farmhouse partially destroyed by fire in April 2016. Historic England has agreed a programme of repair but this has not yet been implemented.