- Possible Windmills in Pembury
Localities - Windmills
In August 2023 we were contacted by Rob Cumming, an
author of books on windmills. He came with some
evidence of there being a windmill in Lower Green
What we have listed below is the 1831 advertisement, a
lot of circumstantial evidence, and some speculative
Currently there is no positive identification of the
location of this windmill.
Before venturing forth with any additional sluething
or investigation please consider these suggestions -
The location suggests 'adjoining
good Turnpike road
'. It would be
preferable to consider 'adjoining
as 'close by
' rather than
literally 'attached to
The sale suggests 3 acres of land adjoining the
mill. This may not be 3 acres where the land
plots are all immediate neighbours.
Recent speculation dismisses some possible sites in
favour of others because of preferential landscape
location on higher ground or hill profiles.
At any time in recent history all the countryside was
owned and managed. The siters of windmills may not
have had the luxury of choosing their ideal
They were not in a position to wander the countryside,
spot a piece of open hillside and gleefully announce
"We'll put it there".
It's a fallacy for today's observers to look for such
ideal sites in the landscape as contenders for results
in our kind of investigations.
As in the 21st Century you can only buy, rent or use
land that is available to you at the time.
A Windmill in Pembury
Below is a copy of the advertisement for the sale of
the windmill that appeared in Kent newspapers, 3 times
over 5 months. Not a quick sale.
Below the advertisement are Rob Cumming's comments.
Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Tues 26
South Eastern Gazette - Tues 30 May 1831
Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser - Tues
2 August 1831
Congratulations on the
excellent Pembury History site which I've only
I've just had a scan of the
mills section, as I've written the odd book on
Kent Windmills. I'm trying to do Kent in
sections as the much lauded book by William
Coles-Finch, written in 1933 missed so much in
terms of mills and information. I wrote
this lot on the watermills about 30 years ago,
and haven't really touched it since:
"PEMBURY, Spring Grove Mill.
TQ632431. Tributary of R. Medway.
Traces only. Spring Grove Mill was a
corn mill which ceased operating under Edwin
Coppard around 1880, but it probably survived
into this century as there are local
reminiscences of it. It had been
demolished by 1939 however; today only the
impressive mill pond, mill house and fall for an
overshot wheel, together with some foundations
PEMBURY, Herrings Mill.
TQ644424. Tributary of R. Medway. Site
only. This site was probably only established as
a mill in the first half of the nineteenth
century; it ceased work between 1862 and 1868
and remained derelict perhaps into this century
as it is remembered by an elderly
resident. Water extraction probably
ended the mills working life, and the miller may
well have received compensation. The site
is now woodland and forms part of a sewage
The windmill bit interests me
though. I can say I have no reference to a
mill at Windmill Field.
I do however have a number of
newspaper references to a windmill at Lower
Green. I suspect its presence was very
brief, and it was probably built after the 1819
OS map survey, and gone before the 1840 tithe
map. Various newspaper adverts advertise
it for sale in 1831. I suspect the
owner/builder became more interested in building
houses at Lower Green than a fairly new working
windmill, and I strongly suspect the mill was
sold for removal, probably to another parish
locally, presumably the land being more valuable
for building. The practice of moving
windmills was very common in the nineteenth
century, much like moving a business.
Anyway, attached a couple of
newspaper references. I suspect that the
site of it was on the plots marked 220 and 309,
where it was replaced by housing.
helps, and happy for you to put it up, and/or
share with the people researching this subject.
Plot 309 is in Cornford Lane
near Mouseden farm and does not relate to Lower
Plot 220 is Brickhurst Field to the south-west of
Brickhurst Farm, remote from Turnpike Roads and
Below are copies of the Lower
Green portions of the 1840 Tithe map
This survey would have been conducted around 1838,
some 7 years after the advertisement for sale.
Above: Southern / Western part of Lower Green at
Romford Road and Beagleswood.
The area '415' is the junction of Lower Green Road and
Henwood Green Road.
The double lines across the roads indicate the toll
gates for paying road taxes.
Both roads needed gates to avoid a cheating detour via
To help assess the size of 3 acres here are some of
the plot sizes on the above map.
Plot 821 - 2 acres Plot 940
- 1 acre Plot 798 - 1
acre Plot 818 - 0.8 Acre
Plot 825 - 0.5 Acre Plot
819/820 - 0.3 Acre
Plot 818 is shown fenced or protected, maybe raised,
and is the only contender on the Tithe map for
"... within a Ring Fence
For reference purposes plots 819 & 820 (12 houses)
were known as Slate Row. 815 (10 houses)
was known as Red Row.
Plot 813 is occupied by Waterfield House
Surgery. The building 823 is 3 dwellings.
Red buildings are inhabited. Black or grey
buildings are unihabited (churches, barns, sheds,
Below : Northern / Eastern part of Lower
Green at Church Road
The 1831 sale of 3 acres does not specify that it is
one plot or that any multiple plots totaling 3 acres
are adjoining neighbours.
Buildings shown in red are habitable. Buildings
shown in grey or black are unihabitable (sheds,
churches, workshops, barns, etc)
Plot 801 - 2 acres Plot 926
- 1 acre Plot 922 - 2
The map above gives an indication of the landowners of
plots c1838 - 1840.
If the windmill plot(s) was sold sometime after 1831
clues to its ownership might be taken from the 1838
If the windmill plots were NOT sold the owner may have
demolished the windmill for better use of the land.
If the windmill plots were sold but the windmill was
NOT needed it may have been demolished.
We cannot tell from the available data if the 1831
sale was successful.
Plots 937 and 938 were owned by The Road
Trusts. 937 was the gate house for
collecting road taxes. Toll gates shown in red.
The following data has been gathered by Jane Grooms.
This is a result of searches for Pembury Debts,
Deaths, Sales and Purchases in the years around 1831.
It is hoped that something may spark a useful line of
investigation into this windmill.
Brighton Gazette 6 April 1826
Sussex Advertiser 16 Jan 1826
Sussex Advetiser 5 Feb 1827
Maidstone Gazette 19 April 1842
Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 3 Oct
Grooms has added this speculation -
Observation of articles
referring to Benjamin Lewis, miller and
In 1826, Benjamin Lewis (the younger) of
Tunbridge Wells, miller, transferred his
property to trustees including Jacob
Dartnall of Pembury (a yeoman) who were
also beneficiaries along with other
creditors of Benjamin Lewis (the younger).
In the same year, Benjamin Lewis, the
elder, who owned a bakery in Tunbridge
Wells, became bankrupt. There is a
possibility that Benjamin Lewis, the
elder, is the father of Benjamin Lewis,
the younger, and the two legal proceedings
In 1827, there is a meeting of creditors
to settle the debts of Benjamin Lewis, the
younger. The windmill which existed in
Pembury, Lower Green, was advertised for
sale in 1831 a few years after these
events. These articles are
interesting because a Jacob Dartnall
owned plots 814 and 815a on the Tithe map
as indicated on the Tithe Schedule of
1840. Assuming this is the same Jacob
Dartnall who was a trustee and beneficiary
of the trust relating to Benjamin Lewis
younger) plus also a creditor, was this
business connection related to the land in
Pembury where the windmill at Lower Green
might have been? The key is the fact
that Benjamin was a miller. Jacob Dartnall
died in 1842 and reference is made to
cottages which seem likely to be those
shown on the plots he owned on the Tithe
Jane Grooms, August 2023
has added this further speculation -
Jane Grooms (October 2023)
What area of land could
be the land and property described in
the Windmill Article of 1831?
NOTE: ALL PLOTS REFER TO THE TITHE MAP
SURVEYED IN 1838 AND PUBLISHED IN 1840.
As spotted by Tony Nicholls, the only
contender for an area “within a ring
fence” is plot 818.
Plot 818 along with plots 819, 820, 823,
824 and 825 were in the ownership of
Thomas Larkin with Thomas Hallett
occupying all plots except plot 824, the
“Roadway” and plots 818, 825 “Meadows”
as described in the Tithe Schedule of
1840. It is my contention that these
plots owned by Thomas Larkin in circa
1840 represent the land and property for
sale in the Windmill Article of 1831.
If my contention is correct, the
Windmill article of 1831 can be
explained as follows:
The Windmill Article refers to nine
cottages, “adjoining the mill, and
within a ring fence; six
of the Cottages have been
Plot 823 – three cottages
If six cottages have been “recently
erected”, that means three cottages on
the land for sale in question are older
as “Nine COTTAGES and Gardens” are for
sale along with the windmill and land.
Plot 823 on the Tithe Map contains three
cottages which are older than the two
groups of cottages on Plots 819 and 820
on the Tithe Map. As of 2023, these
three cottages are known as 138 Henwood
Green Road (Henwood Cottage), 140
Henwood Green Road and 142 Henwood Green
Road (Damson Cottage). The “Roadway” on
Plot 824 still exists in front of the
three cottages as of 2023.
The article goes on to state “the
land has a frontage capable of
containing six more.”
Plots 819 and 820 – six cottages on
It is unknown whether the cottages on
plots 819 and 820 were built at the same
time but my contention is that one set
of six could have been built in about
1831 and the second set after the sale
of the property in 1831 which would fit
the description in the article. As of
2023, plot 820 still contains six
cottages but plot 820 contains six
cottages plus more modern houses
attached at either side. On the 1841
Census, these twelve cottages are
described as “Larkin Row”. Thomas
Hallett (occupier) is a Butcher and
lives at number 7.
Which Plot could the Windmill have
I think the “Roadway” on Plot 824 and
the older three cottages on Plot 823 are
significant. On the one hand, the
Windmill could have been within the
“ring fence” on Plot 818 behind the
three cottages on Plot 823. However, if
the Windmill Article of 1831 is to be
taken literally, the “ring fence”
appears to be related to the area of the
cottages not the Windmill.
It follows, could the Windmill have been
on Plot 825? This plot has the advantage
of being next to the Roadway at 824 and
is a junction point. As of 2023, Plot
825 is where fast food take away exists
on the corner of Romford Road and
Henwood Green Road..
In conclusion, the above is my opinion.
If research emerges to prove or disprove
these contentions, it will be updated
compilation of this page various assumptions
and presumptions were expressed about
Rob Cumming has since been in contact to
clarify and correct some of these wayward
statements (all removed).
Many thanks to Rob for these later
Just to correct you
on a couple of things:
were almost exclusively for corn
grinding/flour production. Out of
the 500+ that existed, I think 6 were
sawmills, one was used for oil
production, a handful for pumping
water; the sales adverts show that
this was a corn mill, with the machinery
listed in the advert confirming this.
You really do
need to emphasise that the mill was
probably sold for removal, and it might
be worth speculating as to where, which
would be within a ten-mile radius of
Pembury. Windmills were expensive
machines, but very moveable. The
mill at Lower Green was relatively new,
so very sellable. Steam power was
very much in its infancy and not widely
used in mills for another 30-40
years. Very unlikely the mill was
demolished at a loss; it could I
guess have been burned down for its
insurance value, but this would have
attracted newspaper attention
probably. Most likely to have been
sold at a knock down price and moved to
a parish nearby. I have recently
proved the move of a windmill at
Southborough to Tonbridge in the 1830s,
and there are at least 80 recorded
windmill moves in the county as it is a
surprisingly easy thing to do, for a
wooden post mill or smock mill.
The late 1820s and early 1830s were a
time of severe depression, and I would
suspect that, as with other Kentish
mills, the owner struggled to find
paying and honourable tenants, and
eventually was forced to cut his losses
and resort to house-building.
When looking at
maps, I suggested the plots 220 and
309. I got this as marked on the
road from the 1868 OS map, as I didn't
have the Tithe map to hand. This
actually corresponds well with other
suggestions online that it is in the
vicinity of plots 819 and 820 on the
Tithe where the cottages were built, so
I think we are probably thinking along
the same lines on that one.
Any further developments, corrections or edits will be
Tony Nicholls Aug 2023
Notes on Windmill
Field (Hastings Road)
Noted by Kathryn
Franklin from the 1840 Tithe Schedule.
Above – section
of the 1840 Tithe Map showing parcel 231 named as
Windmill Field in the Tithe Schedule
Below – how Windmill
Field fits into the modern landscape – recent aerial
Windmill Field covers St Peter’s Church, The War
Memorial, the modern burial ground and the cricket
The field shape can still be recognised from the
1840 map. Property plots do not change much
over the years.
Plot 389 is the Alms House block, and opposite that
is the start of “The Old Coach Road”, cutting right
across plot 231.
The Old Coach Road is now the access road to St
Peter’s Church and the burial ground.
The Old Coach Road
came into existence in 1813 when the Marquis of
Camden created a direct route to his Bayham Estate
There is no evidence to show that existing paths did
not already exist from the Almshouses into Windmill
Field then leading south after a sharp bend.
The 1840 Tithe Schedule lists Parcel 231 as name:
Windmill Field, acreage:
8-3-38, owner: Camden,
tenant: Edward Pawley,
John Ogilby’s road maps of 1676 give great detail
on these kind of landmarks. They were vital signs
that travelers were on the right road and
verification of where they were on the road.
Ogilby’s London to Rye map, passing through Pembury,
does not show a windmill. Another old map that could
indicate such a structure is Edward Hasted’s map of
1783 from his History of Kent. This does not
show a windmill. See the ‘Maps’ section of
this web site for these maps and others.
Although there is great anticipation that some
future discovery will confirm the site of an old
windmill here, it is possible that this was just a
good vantage point for viewing the windmills at
Tunbridge Wells or Kippings Cross.
It is also possible that the windmill existed here
long before the 1670s and the field name is all that
There is one element of speculation, and it is pure
The Tithe Map of 1840 shows the Old Coach Road
(established in 1815) running from Hastings Road
across Windmill Field and taking a sharp bend toward
the far corner.
Perhaps the coach road was following an old
established path. Maybe that path was leading to
something in the middle of the field.
Bends and kinks in modern roads often have their
origins in reaching or avoiding long lost landmarks,
buildings or obstacles.
Further comments from Kathryn Franklin refer to
estate documents she has seen at Maidstone. Old
estate maps (pre-1800) do not show paths or tracks
south of Hastings Road in this part of
Pembury. In 1811 Lord Camden persuaded James
Skinner Hartridge, owner of Fletcher's Farm, to sell
him a narrow strip of land giving him continuous
access from Pembury to Dundale Road. An estate map
dated 1813 shows the road.
Below the windmill at Kippings Cross.
Not strictly Pembury, but included here
for local knowledge.
Above: Pelton map of c1880 showing the
windmill just south of Kippings Cross at Keys Green
– base still visible from the A21 c2010
Above: OS map of c1868 showing the windmill
(corn) just south of Kippings Cross at Keys Green.
The Keys Green windmill base in recent years
The nearest Tunbridge Wells windmill was the
Calverley Windmill close to Windmill Street.
The following links, found
by Jane Grooms, gives more general information on the
practices of moving, relocating or destroying old
Tony Nicholls 2023