Welcome to the Restoration Update page.



December 2008



I am pleased that I can at last show you a picture of the "Roundhouse" actually being restored. Melvin Davey has been up bright and early on Saturday mornings working on the brickwork and Alan and David had to be up early too, to make sure the water tank was full and petrol was available for the generator. Melvin has made a wonderful job of removing the damaged brickwork and stitching in the replacements. Our thanks go to Melvin for persevering with the task in what can only be described as "Arctic conditions"! We are arranging for the removed brick rubble to be disposed of, please be careful when walking round the Mill. We now wait for Vincent Pargeter the Millwright to replace the old roof covering, and that will be the roundhouse complete. Unfortunately Vincent has recently damaged his thumb, which has restricted his work activities, we wish him well with that and hope to see him back at the Mill in the near future.

We are grateful to Ashdon Primary School Council who have very kindly informed us, through Tommy Kew and Amelia Moss, that the pupils have made us their charity of the year and have also made a very useful donation to our funds. Thank you to all concerned.


Although the official 'Open Days' have ended we have opened the Mill three times in October and have included visitors from Warsaw, Karlsruhe and the annual visit from the Cambridge Weakly Walkers (that is not a mis-spelling) – they used to be known as the University of the Third Age – but could not stand all the bureaucracy of the second age!

We also understand that we have had many nominations to "Waitrose Community Project Scheme" and could well be included in Waitrose's monthly list of charities to receive a share of Waitrose's monthly donation to Charity, based on the number of green tokens received from customers. We are grateful to all who have participated so far and the scheme continues through December, so please keep nominating – all very simple.

We expect to be floodlighting the Windmill over Christmas despite Peter Connatty working abroad. So watch this space – he is probably organising this by satellite.

The usual Windmill merchandise is available for useful Christmas gifts, plus some new Christmas Cards – we hope – just ring me 01799 584 404 or Andrew Eyles 01799 584 339.

When you receive your 2009 diaries and calendars be sure to put in the date for the annual party for "Friends of Ashdon Mill" which we expect to hold on 18th or 25th April in the Village Hall. This will be the tenth anniversary of the first meeting, so we hope to see as many Friends as possible to show our gratitude for their support.

I hope that despite the present doom and gloom there is about, your preparations for Christmas go well and that the true spirit of Christmas will prevail – a very happy Christmas to you all.

John Double



March 2008

At last we have made a start on the Roundhouse, although this is in Vincent’s workshop rather than at the Windmill. I imagine it is rather warmer in the workshop than at the Windmill but in fact he has been tapering the aluminium sheets for the cone like roof and preparing some curving oak plates to replace existing ones that are damaged or do not exist! I hope by the time you read this you will see him working at the Windmill.

Thank you to the many people who were kind enough to say how good the Windmill looked in the floodlighting at Christmas and to Peter Connatty for arranging it and Kevin Curtis for providing the electricity.

Subject to how the work on the roof and walls progresses we shall have our “Open Days” on the second Sunday of each month (10.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.) from April to September and the whole of the weekend of 10th and 11th May, which is National Mills weekend. We hope this will be a record year as we expect to have the structural restoration finished and now have to think about machinery and maintenance.

The Ashdon Mini Fete Committee have installed their splendid wooden seat in front of the Windmill so you will now be able to enjoy the lovely view in comfort after toiling up the hill! It is a wonderful spot to see the sunset.

We now also have a “litter bin” installed in the car park, courtesy of Ashdon Parish Council and Tony Everitt, who fixed it, which we hope will keep everything looking tidy.

The Annual Meeting of “Friends of Ashdon Mill” will take place on Friday 18th April at 7.30 p.m. when we will give our annual report, have a light supper with wine and enjoy a performance of the Saffron Walden Buskers. We shall of course have a grand raffle, but cannot promise an auction this year! We have reverted to making a modest charge (£2.50 per head) which apart from meeting some of the cost enables us to organise the catering more easily. Tickets may be obtained from Andrew Eyles 584 339, Andrew Noakes 584 780, David How 584 382 and myself 584 404. I look forward to seeing you then.

John Double

November, 2007

Although we were hoping to start on our project to restore the Roundhouse in October or November, the weather has played ducks and drakes with Vincent's work schedule and we have decided to postpone the work to an early date in the New Year.

We have, however, had a number of planning meetings on the subject with Vincent and Peter Jamieson, our Architect "Friend", to check the footings and the availability of bricks to match those used to build the Roundhouse wall about 1820. Alan Hardy, our project leader and Peter Jamieson have been scouring Solopark, armed with a specimen brick, to see how many they can find.

We have been promised some support from Ridgeons in respect of the materials for the Roundhouse and we also have a skilled volunteer from the Village to work on the brickwork, which will be a great help in funding the project, we are very grateful for this. So although we have not started on the actual work we have been very busy sourcing material and planning the project.

When we have been doing things at the Windmill the spontaneous interest from 'passers by' has been very rewarding. We are always delighted to show visitors around and if you would like to visit the Mill any time, just 'phone David or me and we will arrange.

In the late summer we were delighted to be approached by Annette Bel, on behalf of the Ashdon Mini Fete Committee, who plan to have a special wooden seat made to be sited in front of the Mill facing the Village, which will be a lovely place to rest and relax. We are also very grateful to Carl Jarvis of Linton who has restored our old metal table, used at our Open Days and drawn a sketch of the Mill on the table top.

The Essex Mills Group used a picture of Ashdon Mill on the cover of their Autumn Newsletter, which includes an article on the four Corn Exchanges that used to flourish in Essex. The Corn Exchange in Saffron Walden was built on the site of a magnificent Medieval Wool Hall that was demolished in 1844 to make way for the Corn Exchange, designed by Robert Tress and opened in 1850. It ceased trading in 1971 and has since been used as the library, which as you know, has just been revamped but remains recognisable as the Corn Exchange in all its Italianate style. If you would like to know more the Editor of the Essex Mills Group, Mrs. Petra Ward, 01376 561 310 will be pleased to help.

We expect to have the Mill floodlit at Christmas and the New Year, arranged by Peter Connatty and with the courtesy of Kevin and Mrs Curtis, who live at the Mill House.

At the time of writing this article our Windmill Christmas Cards are being printed and will be available by the time this is published, together with the sweat shirts, tea towels and candles (4th edition) we have on sale. All goods may be obtained from Andrew Eyles 584 339, David How 584 382 and John Double 584 404. Sweatshirts £12.50 adult, £10 children, candles £3.50 each, 3 for £10, tea towels £3 each, and Christmas Cards 6 for £2.50.

Finally, we all hope you will enjoy Christmas with your family and have a very happy New Year.

John Double

June 2007

The annual meeting of "Friends" was a great success and we had over a hundred "Friends" and Trustees, including our Millwright, Vincent Pargeter, at the meeting. After David reported on our finances, Vincent explained some of the more complicated photos included in Alan Hardy's DVD presentation of the work carried out during the last year.

Supper was then served by an "army" of lady helpers, followed by a 'rapid fire' raffle organised by Andrew Noakes, which included many extra prizes donated on the night. Two unusual raffle prizes were a wonderful 14" model of a postmill, made entirely from matchsticks, by Adrian Cubitt, who is a paraplegic, and donated by Glen Osbourne and a brilliant 14" model metal tractor made by Ernie Arnold and donated by him. The tractor was in fact auctioned by Michael Snow, who apart from being a 'Busker' is also a professional Auctioneer; this wasn't in the script but it was very successful.

The evening was rounded off by The Walden Buskers, led by Michael Snow, playing a medley of country songs and ballads including a rather 'haunting' Hebrew song ,sung in Hebrew, which I believe is also a dance.

The evening raised over £1100 toward the Roundhouse restoration. This was a good start to our fund raising and we have since applied to U.D.C. and Essex Heritage Trust for further grants. We hope we shall be able to start work on the Roundhouse repair and restoration, which includes the roof as well as the walls, in the late summer, so fingers crossed.

Our fame is spreading and Ashdon Windmill was featured on the front of the E.C.C leaflet entitled "Visiting Essex Windmills".

The Open Days for National Mills Weekend and The Three Counties Walk, the following weekend, went pretty well considering the miserable weather. The next Open Days will be Sunday 10th June, 8th July and 12th August - you do not have to book yet but if you would like to have a guided tour any other time ring David How (01799 584 382) and he will arrange.

I am very pleased to report that Kevin Nicholas has joined the Board of Trustees particularly as Kevin is involved with youth organisations and will be a great help widening interest in the Mill. As we now have seven Trustees, this will allow one or two of the senior Trustees to become "non executive" later in the year.

Our new line in merchandise, the windmill "Tea Towel", has proved very popular and we have already had to order more. The fourth candle in the series is also now available, after some delay, and if you would like to order these, not forgetting the sweatshirts, contact Andrew Eyes (01799 584 339). The tea towel is £3 and the new candle £3.50.

All best wishes.

John Double