from The Barwicker No.1

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The earliest reference was in Domesday of 1086 when a mill was referred to at Hillam, a village which has totally disappeared. The mill, driven by water power was situated in the loop of Cock Beck close to Parlington. On the south bank of what in those days would have "been a much larger stream, the mill was reached by a terraced way which ran along the banking. This mill was shown on Jeffreys detailed map of 1775, and is believed to have been in use up to the 19th. century, when the Leeds Road windmill commenced working.

In 1258 Edmund de Lacy held- 90 acres of arable land, 5 acres of meadow and two mills at Barwick -(West Yorks Archeological Survey). There are also several records of a windmill at Shippen (Barnbow) up to the year 1367.

It would perhaps be useful to include a few notes about windmills in general. No one can say definitely, how, when, or where they originated, but in this country they have been used since the twelfth century. It took hundreds of years, however, for their development into the type of mills recognised today.

Windmills are not often found where water-power is available, water being much easier to harness than the wind. The dry eastern side of Britain is the most prolific windmilling area, stretching from Suffolk to Lincolnshire, with a number also in parts of Lancashire and adjacent areas.

Windmills fall into two main types:-


Post mills were turned to face the wind by means of a tail-pole and rotated on a large central post. There were also SMOCK MILLS, a more elaborate type of Post Mill. This type was not represented in our area, but we have an interesting heritage of Tower Mills.

These were so called because the structure is in the form of a tower, which may be of brick or stone construction. The following examples are (or were) all within a mile or so from Barwick.

ABERFORD MILL had a history back to and beyond the 1400's, but over the years, natural decay and vandalism rendered it unsafe. Now since 1984, it is no more, the venerable stones being carried away for building purposes.
HICKLAM MILL, ABERFORD A similar example of an old stone-built tower mill, the tower portion of which is still standing.
WHINMOOR, SEACROFT This ancient mill, once stood on open moorland close to the main York Road. The stump of the stone tower is now incorporated into the modern Windmill Hotel, in what is today a busy, built-up district of Leeds.
AUSTHORFE MILL, CROSS GATES Was situated in Austhorpe Lane, at the top of what was known as Appleyard's Hill. A brick-built tower, it is remembered as just a ruined shell in 1928. The site is now the school playground of Austhorpe Primary School.
COLTON MILL, BULLERTHORPE LANE, SELBY ROAD, LEEDS An extremely ancient stone-built tower mill with ancillary "buildings, still standing, but much overgrown and badly in need of restoration if it is to be saved.
BARWICK-IN-ELMET MILL, LEEDS ROAD There is a lack of documentary evidence to accurately date the building of the mill and adjacent property, earlier than 1819, but it can be fairly assumed to be 200 years ago, give or take a year or two.
In use by wind-power through much of the 19th. century, but from the 1850's, steam power was also installed. A combination of factors toward the end of the century caused a decline. No wind--mills were constructed after the 1890's, and by the time of World War 1, mills were being closed down at a great rate, until only a very few of the estimated 10,000 once in use remained in operation in this country.


The above is taken from a paper presented to a meeting of the Society on 6th.Nov.1985. B.R.Hammond local artist and society member had researched the subject of a village land-mark, lost nearly half a century ago. He acknowledged the valuable help given by others, in particular Mr.W.Stead for his interest and recall of detail.

To accompany this article Bart Hammond provided an illustrative guide to the windmill at Barwick-in-Elmet based on his memory of the site and his researches.

Pictures of the windmills at Barwick-in-Elmet and Seacroft
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