Windmills Of Yorkshire


  • The first written record from 1185 is of a Yorkshire windmill near South Cave in Weedley. The land was owned by the Knights Templar who may have been copying a 9th Century Iranian design.
  • The 13th century saw an increase in mills for example in Stillingfleet, Drax, Easington and Colton.
  • Medieval mills were designed on a central massive upright post supported by cross bars of timber.
  • Under ‘Soke law’ medieval rights to collect payments led in the 19th century to a number of ‘Union Mill’ and cooperative ventures to be established.
  • The golden age of mills in Yorkshire was the 19th century from when the oldest surviving example date.
  • Since 1880 the number of surviving mills has been in decline


  • It is no surprise that there was a concentration of mills on the east of the county eg Hull, Beverley, Bridlington and York.
  • There are good databases of former locations but the best indicator may be in addresses. Windhill is an large area of Bradford/Shipley and in Leeds there is a Windmill Hotel.
  • Many street names still retain the link to a former wind mill within the name.
  • Repurposed mills have produced some innovative renovations and designs including a dwelling at Scott Hall road Leeds.
  • Skidby Windmill (below) is a Grade II* listed windmill at Skidby near Beverley, in the East Riding. Originally built in 1821, the mill was further extended to its current 5 stories in 1870 and in 2022 is currently being refurbished. It is powered by 4 sails, 11 metres in length, and was in commercial use until 1966. Wikipedia

thanks to Alan Whitworth and ‘Yorkshire Windmills’ for background information that is far more detailed in this MTD Publication

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