Iconic windmill landmark handed to the village for posterity

  |  Published: May 7th 2015
Brill Parish Council Chairman David Munson: a great milestone for Brill
Brill Parish Council Chairman David Munson: a great milestone for Brill

A gathering of around 50 witnessed a piece of local history on Tuesday (May 5) when ownership of the iconic Brill windmill was officially handed to the village. 

Buckinghamshire County Council Vice-Chairman Bill Chapple presented the keys to Jan Molyneux, of Brill Society, which has looked after the windmill and opened it to visitors.

And, with Brill Parish Council Chairman David Munson, Bill snipped a ribbon across the entrance to Brill Walks, seven acres next door, which has just been designated as a village green.

Sixty nine local people, many of them at the handover ceremony, clubbed together to raise £34,365 of the £45,000 needed to buy the Walks from the County Council, to ensure their protection for the future.

The 17th century Grade 2* listed windmill, restored in 2009 was presented to Brill as part of the County Council's priorities to protect the county’s special environment, and to encourage people and communities to be actively involved in their local area. 

Parish Council Chairman David Munson said: 'This is a great milestone for Brill - a fantastic opportunity for the village to take an active role in preserving these valuable local assets for future generations.'

County Council Vice Chairman Bill Chapple said: 'Brill windmill and the Walks have been part of village life for three centuries, and I'm very pleased they're passing into safe and secure hands for the benefit of everyone.'

Buckinghamshire County Council has been responsible for Brill Windmill since 1947, when it was acquired from local landowner, the Aubrey-Fletcher Estate. The neighbouring Brill Walks were bought for £467 10s 0d (£467.50) from the same estate in 1951 to protect as Green Belt.

The windmill, dating from the 1680s, is the survivor of three mills that stood sentinel over Brill Common, where locals carried on clay excavation for the village's thriving pottery industry.

By 1919, the windmill - capable of 180lbs of flour per hour - had ceased producing flour and miller Albert Nixey turned to grinding barley for animal feed.

In its working life the windmill was operated by just six millers from Joseph Rymer in the 17th century to Albert, who took over in 1907.

Brill Windmill was immortalised by British painter James Govier (1910–74), whose family lived in the village, and examples of his work can be seen at the County Museum in Aylesbury and at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

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