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Kings Windmill

also known as

  • Shipley Windmill

  • Vincent's Mill

Shipley, Sussex

Shipley Windmill served as the fictional home of the hero of the BBC Television series Jonathan Creek.  
Click here
to read all about it.

This mill was built in 1879 by Messrs Grist and Steele, Horsham millwrights. Machinery from a windmill at Coldwaltham is believed to have been incorporated in the mill. The mill worked commercially until 1926, but towards the end of this time powered by a steam engine

Shipley is an eight-sided smock mill built on a brick base, which is two storeys high. Above the base the smock mill is another three/four more storeys constructed of wood, tapering towards the top.  Above this is a rotating  cap, that carries the sails or sweeps. At the back of the cap is the fantail, set at right angles to the sails, this is used to keep the sails/sweeps facing directly into the wind. 

The mill was was bought in 1906 by Hilaire Belloc, who owned it until his death in 1953. It was restored as a memorial to Belloc soon after his death. The restoration was done by E Hole and Sons, the Burgess Hill millwrights. The restored mill was opened to visitors for the first time in 1958. West Sussex County Council had the responsibility for the upkeep of the mill, which remained in the ownership of the Belloc family. The Shipley Windmill Charitable Trust was formed in 1987 and now has the responsibility for the maintenance. Further restoration work was carried out by Hole's between 1987 and 1990, when the mill re-opened, although with only two sails at that time. The second pair of sails was fitted in 1991. A new pair of sails and a new stock were fitted in November 2004.

This Mill is in working order. It occasionally grinds corn for flour and is open to visitors on the first, second and third Sundays each month, and Bank Holiday Mondays between 2-5pm throughout the spring and summer.

We have an article on how a smock mill works with an explanation of the parts involved.

A little more technical

It has four Patent Sails carried on a cast iron windshaft. The Brake Wheel is wood, driving a cast iron Wallower on an oak Upright Shaft. This carries a cast iron Great Spur Wheel which drives three pairs of overdrift millstones.

Patent Sails, or shuttered sweeps are fitted to Shipley Mill, their advantage is that they can be adjusted without the need to stop the Mill.  Each of the four sweeps carries a set of shutters, which can be opened and closed like a Venetian blind, by the movement of the uplongs, long wooden rods to which the shutters are connected. At the centre of the four sweeps, the uplongs are coupled to the spider, which connects through links and triangles to the striking rod, an iron bar that goes right through the windshaft, which carries the sweeps. At the back of the mill the striking rod connects to the chainwheel, from which is hung an endless chain, reaching down to the stage outside the second floor of the Mill. The striking weight is hung on this chain to hold the shutters either open or closed. The speed of the Mill can be regulated within limits by altering the weight, a heavy weight will hold the shutters tightly closed in a light breeze, while a lighter weight can be used in a strong wind to allow the shutters to open slightly in the gusts. Ten to twelve turns per minute of the sweeps is a good speed for grinding.

When we visited

We found an attractive mill, and you could see it from the bridleway/footpath without too much of a problem, but was a little too near really to get the perspective right.

The  filming of the TV series Jonathan Creek at this windmill makes it a recognisable mill when you first see it, although they did manage to make it look far larger on TV.

Further information Grid


Kings Windmill, Shipley, Sussex

Ceremonial County: Sussex

Grid Reference:

TQ 143218.  OS Sheet - 198.

Map Link:

OS TQ144218

Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

mills open




Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  



Date Updated: 05/2008

Planning Grid


Kings Windmill, Shipley, Sussex

Grid Reference:

TQ 143218  OS Sheet - 198

Getting there:

From A24/A272 crossroads (traffic lights), take A272 W. After 1 mile turn left to Shipley, follow brown signs. Take first right and follow road round to car parking on left. Mill is down bridleway on left beyond house.


Footpath runs up the bridleway/mill drive then up the side of the side of the windmill property, allowing good views, but too close.


Car parking about 50 yards away



Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:







Gillian & David French - 01403 730439

Opening times:

April to October, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Sundays, plus Bank Holidays, National Mills Sunday & Whit Saturday 14.00 17.00.

Parties by arrangement.

Open dates can be check from the listing



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed:  

CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated: 05/2008

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