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Keysoe Windmill

Keysoe windmill about 1920 [BHRS]
Keysoe windmill about 1920 [BHRS]

Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume XIV of 1931 includes a detailed survey of Bedfordshire windmills by J. Steele Elliott. His entry for Keysoe includes an inquisition into the estate of John de Steyngreve in 1295 noting that it included a windmill worth twenty shillings per annum. An inquisition into the estate of Walter de Teye in 1324 noted the same windmill, worth the same annual amount.An inquisition of 1380 into the estate of Roger de Beauchamp tells us that the windmill was "wprth nothing because in ruins". All this tells us that the windmill was part of the Manor of Keysoe Bury.

In 1765 a windmill was recorded on the site of the later post-mill: "It is quite possibly on the same site as the 13th and 14th century mills above referred to. This windmill is similar in size to the other local post-mills, the round-house being 20 feet overall, with 13-inch walling; it measures 15 feet by 11 feet over the wooden body, with two upper floors as usual, and running two pairs of stones. It was evidently restored or rebuilt in 1800, as the massive 24-inch chamfered oak main-post, tapering to 22 inches in the floor above, was then put into position, and this date is deeply carved therein above the brace fixtures. If this main post replaced an earlier one it would probably carry the life of the mill back at least several centuries. The crown-beam, supported by the main post, is of 20 inches bulk. All the principal machinery is of wooden construction. The sails have an overall width of 48 feet by 6 feet wide, and there are two shutters and two for cloths [as with the mill at Bolnhurst]. The brake-wheel is 8 feet in diameter. The mill is surmounted, strangely enough, by a fox weather-vane, with its brush to the wind. From other records carved into the main-post we learn that Edward Peacock was once owner of this mill; he was there in 1848, and was followed by James Green in 1869, and then by the latter's son Frederick Green, 1890-1906, who was also tenant at the same time at Riseley Mill. The present owner's name is John Filsell, who took over the mill about 1915; there are also many other nsmaes of uncertain connection. John Love was a miller on the jury lisr and held freehold in Keysoe in 1830".

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for the windmill [HER 930] states that it was still working in 1946 when it was blown down in a storm.

 Keysoe windmill and millers house about 1930
Keysoe windmill and miller's house about 1920 [BHRS]