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News > Foundation Archive News > Kenilworth's Least Known Landmark - Crackley Hall's Windmill

Kenilworth's Least Known Landmark - Crackley Hall's Windmill

There was once a windmill situated in the woods behind Crackley Hall School.

There was a Windmill located in what we now call Windmill Wood at the rear of Crackley Hall School. Footage of the site of the windmill was shared recently on the In Remembrance of St Joseph’s Convent School Facebook page by John Insley and we were fascinated to see how the wood had changed over the years.

John posted:“In 1935 a half full-size model of the smock-mill at Dyke, Lincolnshire, was built on the site of the old Crackley post-mill on the Common for the late Lord Kenilworth by Messrs. Hunts of Soham, Cambs. The director of operations was the late Mr. Rex Wailes, a pioneer of industrial archaeology and president of the Newcomen Society from 1953 to 1955. This large model remained there until it was demolished in 1964."

His post generated comments that provided further information including:

  • Sister Margaret Mary used to take Transition class on nature walks to visit the windmill in 1955.
  • It was demolished in 1964 when it became derelict and dangerous as John’s father used to find youngsters playing there.
  • The windmill was intact when pupils arrived at Crackley from Stoneleigh Abbey but the sails blew off shortly afterwards.
  • The building was then used variously as a tool shed and also to anchor the clothesline for the nuns washing!

There is information on the windmill and its site in a booklet called A History Of Kenilworth, it mentions that part of the carriageway running to the cottages had survived development work stating ‘a shallow cutting lined with trees which is buried deep in the undergrowth’ and it is this that can be seen in John’s video.

The booklet contains other information, it references Kenilworth’s least known landmark as Sir John Siddeley’s windmill. Sir John had discovered that the rising ground that forms one side of the common was known as Windmill Hill. Knowing this he decided to erect a windmill as near as possible to where the originally probably stood but having of course to build it in his grounds and not on the common. The windmill was constructed by a firm of Norfolk windmill builders one of the few left in the country in the early 1930s. The windmill was octagonal, made of oak and sat on a brick base. It was fully operational although there was no record or evidence that it had ever been put to use but the views from the top were outstanding.

All that remains now are slabs that the windmill once must have stood on.

The trees have matured over the years and the wooded area is now used for Forest School activities by pupils attending Crackley Hall School and is much enjoyed by them all.

Members of the In Remembrance of St Joseph’s Facebook Group can view John’s video here.

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