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Stansted Millers bid to keep windmill turning for years to come

Stansted Millers are considering a second bid for lottery funding to secure the village's ancient windmill for future generations.

Following a failed grant attempt last year for repairs to the mill's stocks and with the structure in need of repointing, Stansted parish councillors told millers to "go for a big sum of money" to get all the projects done.

At a meeting of the council's windmill committee, Cllr Peter Jones said: "At least have an attempt and go for everything, restoring the mill to the full extent. At least have a crack at saying 'If we do it all we are restoring and maintaining a building of historical note for future generations'."

Stansted's Windmill Fete (63427431)
Stansted's Windmill Fete (63427431)

The previous grant was rejected because of a perceived lack of community involvement, but the meeting heard that the grade II-star listed windmill was greatly used and appreciated by villagers and visitors, used by schools from as far away as London for educational tours and millers held regular fetes and Christmas events.

Cllr John O'Brien said: "It's an emblem of our community, it's educational for schools from a wide area and that's certainly something to bang your drum about. If we can get the whole lot of work done then it's worth having a go."

The millers, who volunteer to look after the mill on a day-to-day basis on behalf of the trustees, said the structure was sound and certainly in no danger of falling down. But if they did the work all in one go "it wouldn't need doing for at least another 50-100 years".

Stansted's Windmill Fete (63427436)
Stansted's Windmill Fete (63427436)

The building was built in 1787 and given to the village by Lord Blyth in 1935. According to the Stansted Windmill website, it was last used to mill oats in 1910. It was used as the Boy Scouts' headquarters during the Second World War and opened to the public for the first time in 1964.

In 2003, on an August bank holiday open day event, the mill was struck by lightning while full of visitors. The lightning conductor did its job and it has since been upgraded.

In 2010, the curb ring was restored as part of a major restoration. The cap is now able to turn to the wind at all times.

The mill was scheduled as an Ancient Monument in 1952.

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