Considered to be one of the most important and famous landmarks of Warwickshire, this extraordinary building was originally constructed in 1632, thus making it the oldest stone windmill in Britain. It is believed to have been commissioned by Sir Edward Peyto the then Lord of Chesterton Manor. There has been some speculation that it was originally meant to be a stellar observatory even though records show that it was always designated as a windmill. However, what the estate records of Chesterton Manor reflect may not have been the whole truth. In 1632 the science of alchemy was in in its ascendency but also carried a stigma that was considered by many to be unwholesome. This was the time of Sir Isaac Newton and Thomas Vaughan and it is wholly possible that the mill served a dual purpose. Sir Edward is known to have had an interest in mathematics and astrology and these is interests often went hand-in-hand with other scientific pursuits such as alchemy. The area has certainly attracted many other strange occurrences over the years.
The design is attributed to Inigo Jones, the famous British architect who was also responsible for the Palace of Whitehall although the practical implementation was more likely carried out by one of his students, Mr. John Stone. It is fair to note that some historians believe that the design of the Chesterton windmill was actually the work of Sir Edward Peyto himself.
The Chesterton windmill is constructed on two levels which are supported by six stone arches. The cap of the windmill could once be rotated manually to ensure that the sails were facing into the wind. It has been regularly upgraded over the years but most of the mechanism is still made from wood and has never been replaced by iron. Revisions were undertaken in 1776 and involved modifying the mill-shaft and in 1860 when adjustments were made to the frame of the cap. It stopped general milling in 1910 when it was no longer able to rotate the cap. However it was still used as late as 1936 if the winds were coming from the right direction.
Given its extraordinary duration of use it enters the records as one of the longest working windmills. Primary restorations took place during 1969 and additional work has been carried out over the decades. The upper floors are sometimes opened for public viewing.
It is the site of several unexplained crop circles (including the famous ‘All Seeing Eye’ of 2009) and has become a popular location for UFO spotters during spring and autumn.
It has been linked to the mysterious and ancient stone tower of Rhode Island. Around 1676 a duplicate of the Chesterton Windmill was built in Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A. by Governor Benedict Arnold. The family had lived near the Chesterton windmill prior to immigrating to America in 1635. While this is the generally accepted origin of the Rhode Island Ruin, a small but vocal group of historians believe that the tower dates back to the pre-Columbian era and should be attributed to the Vikings.
NEAREST CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Chipping Norton Rd, Chadlington, Chipping Norton
Oxfordshire, England, OX7 3PE
+44 (0)1608 641 993
- Address: Windmill Hill Lane, Chesterton Green, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom, CV33 9LB
- GPS: 52.23125556,-1.490955556
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: CV33 9LB
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Poor / Long path over rough ground.
- Visibility from Road: Fair
- Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Vincent