Old Mill – by Sue Preston

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Thursday 13 March 1952 

THIS WORLD OF OURS:  Saving a famous old Yorkshire windmill. For more than 20 years the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings have been trying to ensure the preservation of a unique Yorkshire windmill —the famous old five-sailed mill at Seaton Ross, near Market Weighton. They have at last succeeded, for the mill has now been scheduled as a building of architectural and historic interest by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. The mill, which has dominated the flat landscape round Seaton Ross for 200 years, was still grinding corn up to 1935, when the cost of repairing and maintaining It caused its owner to cease work. Its five sails, each weighing nearly a ton, make it unique in the county. Four sails are the usual number, but millers sometimes added a fifth in unscientific hopes of obtaining greater power. Mr Charles Preston, in whose family the mill has been for over 50 years, estimates that it would take £1,000 or more to put it back into working order. The only other mill with five sails in the East Riding is, I believe, the fine old tower mill at Selby, near Beverley, which is still working. Like the mill at Seaton Ross it has a movable cap to which the sails are attached. The cap has a fan-wheel behind it and when the wind veers the movement of the fan causes the cap to swivel so that the sails catch every wind that blows. 

Friday 13th 1953 – taken from W Preston’s letter to Edna his daughter.  

Some NEWS for you – The Millwrights come on Monday 16th to take the Windmill Sails and Fantail down. It is positively dangerous, will give you more gen as I get it.  

16th February 1953 

A hurried line with the photos of Mill. I have just seen the FANTAIL sawn off and dropped to the ground. Everything is rotten and the sails will have to come down in a trice as they are too dangerous to fix tackle to lower. Yorkshire Post photographers took a snap of the fantail gallery and he said it should be in Tuesdays Yorkshire Post, get one, if not on Tuesdays look out Wed or Thursday.  

17th  February 1953 

More chat with diagrams and etc of mill  the sawing off of the fantail. There is a little diagram that grandad has drawn.  

…. All they did was to saw the 2 pieces and down it came all on a heap it was ‘saddening’. (little diagram) 

19th February 1953 

Well there will be no more Old Mill, they have taken all the top off down to the wall, and the xxx which xxxx and beams, everything. Chat about the ‘old girl’, the beams, shaft, sails etc. They tipped the end of the big metal shaft and it was a sad sight, she poised for a few seconds. I could see all the sails lay back and then CRASH brought down and only took about 1 doz tiles on the cow shed. Another little diagram by grandad. Uncle Harry was sat in his car and it was truly sad. Those boyhood days when the old mill went moving around in the wind. 

A noble giant. The sails are 35 foot long 8’6” wide, and the arms of the beam cross 6’ long.  

Whitsun 1953 Edna Preston 
Blessing the Corn, Charles Preston second from right.  

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