Historic Brill Windmill near Aylesbury damaged in weekend gales

Cost of repairs being assessed though fortunately main structure remains intact

By Olga Norford
Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:02 pm
Updated Monday, 1st November 2021, 1:12 pm

The iconic Brill Windmill, a Grade II listed post mill with 17th century origins, was damaged as gales battered Aylesbury Vale and beyond overnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Members of Brill Parish Council report one of the sails being 'snapped in half but that fortunately the structure seems to have remained intact'.

Brill Windmill is owned by Brill Parish Council and is managed, maintained and opened to the public by The Brill Society, a registered charity.

Damage to the windmill was surveyed on Sunday morning(31/11) following Saturday night's gales

Jan Molyneux, chairman of the Brill Society said: "We lost half of one of the sails in the storm on Sunday morning and are currently assessing the damage and seeking an estimate for repairs. Once we know how much it will cost, we will be investigating funding and or seeking donations."

Chiltern resident, Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, said: "It's very sad but I'm sure everyone will rally round to help. We're all just relieved as the damage could have been much worse."

Brill Windmill is a post mill dating from around 1680, although most of the structure has been replaced or rebuilt at one time or another (the most recent refurbishment was in 2019).

In days gone by, the miller would have manoeuvred the buck (the wooden superstructure) around to face the wind. This is now fixed in place but the sails can still turn - although this is done manually to protect it from adverse weather conditions.

A close-up of the damaged sail which was snapped in half by the fierce winds

The mill's first owner was Issac Cummings with historical references including its sale on November 20, 1753 by Issac's son Charles to Sir Thomas Snell for £120.

In 1757 the mill was blown down and Sir Thomas Snell incurred expenses of £175 5s for rebuilding before letting it to John Atkins for £9 per annum. It is possible that an addition to the rear of the building was built at this time.

Brill Mill was a sunken post mill with exposed cross trees and quarter bars until the first round house was built by Andrew Nixey in 1865. The mill was sold to Sir John Aubrey in the 1700s and his heir, Major H L Aubrey Fletcher, licensed the Brill Windmill Trust to administer the mill and open it to the public in 1929.

The mill has probably only been operated by six millers including Joseph Rymer, Robert Crump, John Adkins or Atkins, William Adkins or Atkins, Andrews Nixey and Albert Nixey.

Building records suggests a total of four phases of repairs, around 1725 and 1757 when the mill was substantially rebuilt, 1760 or later and in the mid-19th century.

It remains one of only six remaining post mills in Britain to contain 17th century timbers.