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Riseley Windmills

Riseley windmill shown on the inclosure map of 1793 [MA24]
Riseley windmill shown on the inclosure map of 1793 [MA24]

Volume XIV published by Bedfordshire Historical Record Society in 1931 included information on windmills in the county by J Steele Elliott. He noted that the earliest reference to a windmill in the parish was in a terrier produced for the Archdeaconry of Bedford in1706 [ABE2] where the mill itself as well as Millway Furling and Millway Common are mentioned.

In 1765 a smock mill was recorded as standing on the west side of the road to Swineshead, close to the parish boundary. It was also indicated by a symbol on the inclosure map of 1793 [A24]. Ordnance Survey maps show a windmill in this location until 1882.

James Lugsden was miller in 1848 and Joshua Marshall Hunt and his widow were noted as millers in directories from 1869 to 1898. The mill was demolished soon after.

Bryant's map of the county from 1826 shows a post mill on the north side of the road to Keysoe, half a mile or so from the village. It was in use until 1916 but by 1931 was becoming derelict. It had a square, wooden body with an arched roof measuring 15 feet by 10 feet over the body and 18 feet high below the roof with a brick and tiled roundhouse below. There were two floors for milling and it had two pairs of stones each 5 feet in diameter. Before 1875 it stood on four brick pillars, the roundhouse then being added. The sails were about 55 feet long and 6 feet 3 inches wide, two with wooden shutters and two with cloths. The mill was owned by Lord Saint John of Bletsoe and tenants recorded in directories included Robert Rootham in 1847, Richard Simpson in 1869 and then Frederick Green of Keysoe mill. Daniel Rootham and his son Benjamin worked as millers from about 1876 to 1916. The mill had, inscribed on a floor joist: "Be sure your sins will find you out" and "'Tis appointed unto men once to Die But after Death the Judgement".