Braintree and Bocking (2), Essex, England
A post mill dating from 1721 it is owned by Braintree District Council but maintained by a group of volunteers called 'Friends of Bocking Mill'. It is open to the public on occasions but because it has to be staffed on those occasions, by the volunteers, it opens at present only about 6 times a year.
The mill is now surrounded by housing on three sides with the other side being open fields from where this view was taken.
A post mill means that the whole wooden building can be turned, on the brick base, so that the sails always face the wind. Compare that with a Tower or Smock Mill where the building is fixed and only the cap with the sails can turn.
The very wide set of external steps up to the first floor also acts as a stabiliser. They rest on the ground and prevent the force of the wind on the sails tilting the mill backwards.
The sails span sixty feet from tip to tip and are about six feet wide. One pair would catch the wind by draping them with cloth (common sails) and the other pair had adjustable shutters (spring sails) similar to venetian blinds.
However, spring sails were not invented until 1772, so most early post mills, smock mills and tower mills would have had all sails of the common type until this date. As this mill dates from 1721 it shouldn't have spring sails unless they were fitted later but the sails are obviously of two different types.
The whole wooden part of the mill, above the brick built circular base, is built around a HUGE single wooden post, 36 inches square at the base, which rotates about it's vertical axis.
This view is inside on the upper floor of the brick base showing the underside of of the conical roof together with a large stabilising timber and a set of steps to the next floor.
|More inside the mill