Poet’s campaign to save Cross in Hand Windmill

Bid to save Cross in Hand Windmill. Sally Fadelle
Bid to save Cross in Hand Windmill. Sally Fadelle

A poet and self-confessed windmill fanatic is launched a campaign to get the sweeps turning again on a landmark Wealden mill.

Sally Fadelle will chair a meeting at 7.30pm on Friday, August 29 in Cross-in-Hand Village Hall.

She said: “This is a public meeting to facilitate the formation of the official Friends of Cross-in-Hand Windmill group. I hope everyone can attend. We look forward to setting up a committee which could work to take the scheme forward. I would like to think we can restore this lovely mill to full working order.”

Sally, 52, currently lives in Crawley but is planning to move to the village. She has been fanatical about mills since she was a child and has been involved in various improvement projects including Lowfield Heath, West Blatchington (Hove) and even the iconic Jill Mill on top of the Downs near Hassocks.

Her aim is to form a committee, seek funding then develop and progress a gradual refurbishment - along the lines of successful mill improvement campaigns like Argos Hill Mill near Mayfield.

Cross-in-Hand’s New Mill is a Grade II listed post mill on a two-storey roundhouse - the last to be working commercially by wind in Sussex which only ceased in 1969 after a stock broke. It was built at Mount Ephraim, Framfield, in the early 19th century and in 1855 was moved to a site a quarter of a mile from where it stands now. In 1868 it was moved again. Sally says all the original workings are in the mill building together with a church organ - ‘but I have no idea where that came from!’

The mill was worked by the Newnham family who lived nearby. It is still owned by brothers Brian, 80, from Ninfield, and Geoff, 73, from Cowbeech. Third brother, Peter, was chairman of Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council until his death.

Sally said she aims to move the campaign forward slowly, in constant consultation with the brothers, particularly Geoff who takes an active interest and often visits the mill to make running repairs. And she wants to ensure that the group is set up correctly with a bank account and full working committee. As the mill is Grade II listed - with no star - it could not initially attract inward funding from English Heritage but one of Sally’s aims is to get it upgraded.

She is a working poet who writes and stages performances in halls, festivals and pubs. But her main aim now, she confirms, is to get this mill up and running. “I want to get things done.”