Featured Location Guide
An attractive mill in
a picturesque country setting
|Heage windmill is a tower mill with six sails and fan tail and built of local sandstone and is
over two hundred years old. Standing on the brow of a hill between the
villages of Heage and Nether Heage in the district of Amber Valley. It overlooks the village of
Heage windmill was built
somewhen between 1791 and 1798.
An advertisement for a tradesman in the
Derby Mercury of 16th June 1791,“Heage windmill is to be erected, any mason
inclined to undertake the stone building to attend at the mill, all materials
laid down in place.” In 1798:- “To be let – complete smock mill with fantail, two pairs of stones, good dressing machine – made to plans approved by Mr Wass – standing in good situation at Heage.”
Although this and other later adverts refer
to it as a smock mill, rather than a tower mill, its not thought to have
changed and its said that in this part of the country and time tower mills
where often refered to as smock mills.
The squat stone built tower is 24 feet in diameter and has a stone plaque by the
entrance door marked “WSM 1850”, - the significance of which is not clear, so
perhaps changes were made at that time, and perhaps it was a smock mil
before this point.
mill is built on a small mound and an entrance below could have enabled carts to
back right into the building for loading and unloading.
There was a small stone building, built after the mill, alongside the mill which was used as the kiln.
A kiln was often used to dry grain before it was ground into flour or oatmeal.
One report suggested that a woman who entered the kiln to turn the corn was
burnt to death when her clothes caught fire. The roof of this kiln later fell in
and for a long time only the shell remained. This has now been restored and
turned into the Visitor Centre.
A photograph taken before 1890 shows the mill
with two common and two spring sales, a black ogee cap and a fantail which had
14 slim blades. It operated in this form until February 1894 when the mill was
tail winded and the cap and four sails were blown off in a violent storm.
Another photograph shows a man, presumably the miller, standing on the wreckage
of the sails in front of the mill and the brake wheel protrudes from the top of
When rebuilt the four sails was replaced with six
patent sails, presumably to obtain more power, although in other respects the
mill was externally similar. The work was carried out by George Chell, a
millwright from nearby Crich.
Click on images for larger
On the mills own site you can find far more
details of the construction.
In 1919 the fan tail was severely damaged in a
gale, most of the blades being lost. The damage was serious and with the
economic situation of mills at that time, the mill closed down and became over
the following years almost derelict.
The mill was struck by lightning in 1961 and a photograph taken in 1967 shows
only the remnants of the sails and a stub where the fantail and its staging had
been. A preservation order (Number 1 by Derbyshire County Council under the 1962
Town and Country Planning Act) was placed upon the mill by Derbyshire County
Council who bought the mill for £350 and the mill was then listed "Grade II*" on
the 27th May 1966.
Over the next few years partial restoration,
but not to full working order, was carried out by the millwrights Thompsons of Alford in Lincolnshire and new floors, sails, cap and fantail were
made. New sails went up on the 15th March 1972 followed by the the fantail three
days later. However, subsequently, ongoing maintenance was lacking and the mill
slowly deteriorated. The Midlands Mills Group became involved as guides on open
days in the 1980's and recognised that much work was urgently needed to prevent
further decay. They initiated some repairs, local people became involved and the
Heage Windmill Society was formed in 1996. With large grants, and much voluntary
work, the mill was restored to working order in 2002, complete with a new access
road off Chesterfield Road together with a car park. The mill was opened in June
that year and is now open to the public every weekend, from Easter until the end
of October. She has since become a major tourist attraction in the area.
The mill is still owned by Derbyshire County
Council but they lease it to the Heage Windmill Society who are now responsible
for all care and maintenance. Recent major works carried out the the society
include replacing some sales, resurfacing the apron in front of the mill,
repainting the cap by a professional millwright.
All visitors to the mill are taken round by
trained guides who explain the workings and history of the mill.
Some of the parts to restore it came out of
Mill in Lincolnshire.
About 2 miles
north of Belper. From A38 take A610 west. Follow brown signs from village.
Free car park on site off the Chesterfield
Things To Do,
See and Photograph:
What to take:
Parties 01773 715177
April to end of October
Sat, Sun and Bank Holidays Mondays 11am-4pm
Last tour starting 3:30pm
Parties by arrangement.
Adult £4; Concessionary £3.50; Child (5-16)
£1.50; Under 5 Free
Special Needs Access:
Very steep stairs to the upper parts of the
Special Needs Facilities:
Please let us know any other information that we
can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always
wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be
correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of
course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have
any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page
then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you
quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the
planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.
Please submit information on locations you discover so
that this system continues to grow.