Bright looking future for one of Fenland’s oldest suriving windmills thanks to �77,000 grant

THE future looks bright for what is thought to be one of Fenland’s oldest surviving windmills, Sneath’s Mill, thanks to a �77,000 repair project largely funded by English Heritage, which began this week.

Thought to have been built in 1779 near Lutton Gowts, Long Sutton, the Grade I listed mill’s octagonal structure and existing wooden mill machinery make it unique to the area.

The mill, which is thought to be one of the the only surviving examples of its type in the area, is only four storeys high, which is considered ‘short’, as the sails would have reached and could have been adjusted from the ground.

Sadly, following storm damage, the mill ceased operation in the 1930s and despite attempts to secure its preservation, World War II broke and work never got underway.

By 1971 only part of one sail remained and the cap was missing. Since then a modern temporary weather cap has deteriorated and the building has been vulnerable to the weather and to pigeon infestation for some time.

The sail has gone, the cap frame is breaking up and the floors are on the verge of collapse. Sneath’s Mill Trust, set up in 2007, is committed to rescuing and repairing this important mill, and one day the Trust hopes to open it up for the public to enjoy.

Alongside a full measured survey, archaeological recording, condition survey and an assessment of the significance of the mill and machinery, the repair scheme will see the installation of a new temporary roof, improved security, brickwork repairs and vegetation clearance.

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Jenny Cox, Trustee and Director of Sneath’s Mill Trust, said: “All the trustees and members of Sneath’s Mill Trust are delighted that the urgent repairs to this important, but very neglected, mill are now going ahead, thanks to this grant from English Heritage. Once the urgent repairs and various surveys are completed we will be able to make plans for the mill’s future and to allow some public access to the site.”

Amanda White, English Heritage Historic Buildings Surveyor, said: “Sneath’s Mill has been on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register since 1998 due to its poor condition. We are extremely pleased to be able to fund this vital urgent repair work to help Sneath’s Mill Trust in their mission to secure this historically important building for future generations to enjoy.”

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