The history of Windmills in Rayleigh dates back to the year 1300.This is the last remaining mill in Rayleigh and was built in 1809, on the Outer Bailey of Rayleigh Castle from local brick.Statistics:Highest mill in Essex at 68 Feet.Diameter 20 ft;Walls 4ft 6inches at the base. The original grinding stones came from Caen, France.
Its cap, an impressive 60ft. from ground level, shares the skyline with the church, towering above the mound of Rayleigh Castle and the modern building development.
When it was wind-powered, the mill had three pairs of stones driven by two spring sails and two cloth covered `commons`.
Milling by wind had stopped by the mill's centenary being replaced by more reliable sources of power: first oil and then, in 1974, a replacement cap and non-working sails were fitted ; more recently, a stage designed by the county millwright has been added. Though lacking machinery, the mill's appearance is now very similar to that of its working days.
Following a major refurbishment programme the Mill was reopened in 2006.The Ground floor, which is registered for Civil weddings, is also an information and exhibition area.The Museum of Rayleigh is on the 1st floor. Temporary exhibitions are held on the 2nd floor whilst the top floor is where the National Trust have an exhibition about the Castle and Mount.
Rayleigh Mill is open to the Public from April to September each year on Wednesday mornings and Saturday & Sunday afternoons.
© Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass