Perhaps the best place to begin is William Coles Finch's book on "Watermills and Windmills: A Historical Survey of their Rise, Decline and Fall as Portrayed by those of Kent". We have added newspaper articles that further illustrate the fate of our windmills. The only structures remaining are the tower of Champion's Mill that sits behind "Mill House" (now called Berkeley House), which at one time contained a steam-driven mill.
[Note: actually NE of the Church!] A Union of farmers built this mill to grind their corn, hence its name. It was a little, tarred smock mill without a stage, having an old-fashioned wooden windshaft and working two pairs of stones.
A miller who once had this mill was standing by his open door during a terrific thunderstorm when lightning ran down the doorway and killed him.
In about 1870, during the ownership of a Mr.Thomas, a gale wrenched the head of the windshaft off and the sweeps crashed to the ground. This ended the milling career of the Union Mill. Mr.Thomas had the ragged end [p.240] of the wooden windshaft sawn off flush with the front of the cap to make it look more tidy and it remained like that for a few years until pulled down.
No mill is shown here on the 1769 map, so that the mill noted on the 1736 map must have disappeared before 1769 and that the mill on the 1819-43 map was built after 1769. [Note: We found the Union Mill in this 1803 OS Map - inset]
On visiting the site recently (April, 1933) the tenant of Windmill Cottage kindly showed me where, in an orchard near by, he had lately dug up stone and debris that were evidently remains of the old mill.
5th July 1808 - Kentish Gazette: "Lynsted, Kent.- To Millers.
TO BE SOLD BYAUCTION, BY MR.HARMAN, At the SWAN INN, Greenstreet, on THURSDAY, the 14th of July, 1808, unless in the meantime disposed of by Private Contract, of which notice will be given.
All that substantial well-built Windmill, (with or without one acre and a half of rich pasture Land, more or less); comprising four floors, with the stage on the second floor, two pair of capital French Stones, flour and clearing off Machines, and other requisite conveniences equally situate for Country Trade, and for sending the produce to London Market, being about 3 miles from Milton and four from Faversham Quays. Immediate possession may be had. For particulars enquire on the premises, or at Mr. HENRY WANSTALL, New House, Greenstreet."
19th July 1808: Kentish Gazette - TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION,
At the SWAN, at GREENSTREET, In LINSTED, in the County of Kent, On WEDNESDAY, the 27th day of JULY instant, at Four of the Clock in the Afternoon, All that new and substantial and well-built WINDMILL, with or without One Acre and a Half of RICH PASTURE LAND, (more or less), comprising four Floors, with the Stage on the Second Floor; two pair of capital French Stones; Flour and Clearing-off Machines, and other requisite conveniences; equally well situated for Country Trade, as for sending the produce to London Market, being about three miles from Milton and Sittingbourne, and four from the Faversham Quays.- And on the FOLLOWING DAY, at Eleven o'clock in the Forenoon, will also be SOLD BY AUCTION, on the premises, near the said Mill, in Linsted aforesaid, All the HOUSEHOLD GOODS, Furniture, Horses, Stock in trade, belonging to the said Mill, and EFFECTS of Nathaniel Henley White, quitting the premises. MR.WHITE will shew the Mill, &c. and further particulars may be known on application to Mr. HENRY WANSTALL, at Greenstreet; or to Mr. FAUSSETT, Solicitor, Sittingborne.
[Society Note: Nathaniel Henley (also "Healy") White was born in Faversham to George and Lucy White - christened on 21st March, 1783. He married Elizabeth Mannerings in St.Mary's Church, Chatham on 22nd September 1806. Possibly (?Nathaniel White) died in Chatham on 27th March 1825].
[Society Snippet: Samuel Fairman (1841 Census) lived in "Millers House" [between Sewards Farm to the south and the Lion Inn to the north]; S.C.Fairman lived in Lynsted Street in the 1851 Census]
3rd August 1858 - South Eastern Gazette (also Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser)- FREEHOLD CORN WINDMILL,
Fruitful Garden ground, Dwelling-house, and Premises, within One Mile of the Teynham Station, on the East Kent Railway. TO BE SOLD BY PUBLIC AUCTION, By Mr. Shrubsole, (By order of the Trustees of the late S.C.Fairman, Esq., and other shareholders,) at the SHIP HOTEL, FAVERSHAM, on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11th, 1858, at Three o'clock in the afternoon precisely, in one lot.
All that desireable Freehold Corn Windmill, known as the "Union Mill," in the parish of Lynsted; a Dwelling-House and appurtenances adjoining, in the occupation of George Ferrell, together with about 64 perches of Garden Ground, with a frontage in all to the road of 320 feet.
The fixtures in the house, and implements and utensil in trade about the mill, will be sold with the estate.
Particulars and conditions of sale, with plan of the estate, may be had seven days prior to the sale, at the Bull Inn, Sittingbourne; the Ship Hotel, Faversham; of Messrs. ESSELL and HAYWARD, Solicitors, Rochester; Messrs. MATHURST and PHILLIPS, Solicitors, Faversham; or of Mr. S.M.SHRUBSOLE, Auctioneer and Estate Agent, Faversham.
Society Snippets on:
Samuel Creed Fairman:
Samuel Creed Fairman was a significant landowner in Lynsted Parish. He was also a magistrate, sitting in the East Kent Sessions, Canterbury (e.g. West Kent Guardian, 27th October 1849)
Martha Fairman, daughter of William Fairman, Lynsted, has her death (19th April 1849) recorded in the Morning Post, 3rd May 1849
15th September 1809 & 11th September 1812: Game Licences were granted to William C. Fairman, Esq., and Samuel Fairman, gent. Both of Lynsted.
30th January 1836: (Kentish Gazette, 9th February) Samuel Creed Fairman of Lynsted married Christiana, the only daughter of Lieut.-General Gosselin, brother to Vice-Admiral Gosselin.]
14th June 1858. WILLS: SAMUEL CREED FAIRMAN: Effects under £30,000.
The Will with a Codicil of Samuel Creed Fairman late of Lynsted in the County of Kent Esquire deceased who died 24 April 1858 at Lynsted aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry by the oaths of Christian Fairman of Lynsted aforesaid Widow the Relict and Gerard Lipyeatt Gosselin of Bath in the County of Somerset Esquire two of the Executors.
Mrs. Christiana Fairman:
Tuesday 13th September 1859 (Kentish Gazette). SALES: on Monday, October 10, at Elevan o'clock, the HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, 3 superior Alderney Cows, 6 Pigs, Phaetons, Dog Carts, and miscellaneous effects, at Lynsted, near Sittingbourne, the property of Mrs. Fairman, who is removing.
Tuesday 20th September 1859 (Kentish Gazette). AUCTION LYNSTED
HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Three Valuable Alderney Cows, Pigs, Poultry, Phaeton, Dog Carts, Superior Light Spring Van, Spring Cart, and Miscellaneous Effects. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY MR.H.MINTER, On Monday, the 10th day of October, 1859, at Lynsted, near Sittingbourne, the property of Mrs Fairman, (who is removing.)
THE HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE - Consists of handsome Brussells and Kidderminster carpets and hearth rugs, set of mahogany chairs in morocco, two pedestal side boards, pole and other screens, sets of chintz and other window curtains, handsome rosewood cabriole sofa, covered with tabaret and loose covers, (by Gillow,) Canterbury, music stools, mahogany desk and bookcase, mahogany dining, Pembroke, card, and tea tables, whatnot, mahogany 4-post, tent, and French bedsteads with chintz and other furniture, superior horsehair and wool mattrasses (sic), seven bordered and other feather beds, bolsters, and pillows, mahogany wardrobes, double and single chests of drawers, night conveniences, mahogany and Japanned wash-stands, dressing tables and glasses, cane and rush seat chairs, wheel barometer, 8-day clock, bronze tea and coffee urns, kitchen furniture, a few lots of ware and glass, and about 200 vols. of books, &c.
Among the Miscellaneous Articles will be found a PHOTOGRAPHIC MACHINE AND STAND, (by Bland and Long, Fleet Street), stone garden roller, garden water barrel and carriage, light spring-cart, superior ditto van, dog carts, two phaetons in good condition, three ladders, corking machine, garden tools, melon frames, ditto pit with frames, wheel-barrow, had cart, &c., &c.' three capital Alderney Cows one with calf, an six shoots; chaff-cutting machine, cart harness, eel net, carriage setter, horse cloths and rollers, knee caps, two bridles, one saddle, side saddle, dog kennel, fowl coop, bottle rack, &c. Also a pair of handsome young bay carriage horses, quiet in double and single harness, and the front ends and top of a greenhouse, 29ft. by 8ft. 9in.
The whole of which will be arranged in catalogues, to be had a week previous to the Sale, at the Bull Inn, Sittingbourne; Ship Hotel, Faversham; at the Place of Sale; and of the Auctioneer, Graveny Court, Faversham. The Effects may be viewed on the Morning of Sale, which will commence at Eleven o'clock in the Forenoon.
11 October 1873 (Whitstable Times and Herald): DEATHS: LONDON. Sept. 28, at 7, Queen's-gate-place, Christiana, widow of the late Samuel Creed Fairman, of Millars, Lynsted, aged 75.
Kentish Gazette - 5th April 1864: GREENSTREET. A MAN KILLED BY LIGHTNING.- On Monday night, about seven o'clock, a dreadful storm of thunder and lightning burst over this place. Mr George Furrell (?Ferrell), of the Union Mill, was leaving the mill, and had but just got outside when he was struck to the ground senseless, in which condition he was found and taken home. He was found to be suffering from extensive burns, his flannel shirt being burned through by the electric fluid. He never recovered his consciousness, and died about eleven o'clock on Thursday morning.
South Eastern Gazette - 5th April 1864: GREENSTREET. DEATH BY LIGHTNING.- During the storm which passed over this place on Monday night, Mr.George Furrell (?Ferrell) was struck by the lightning, just as he was leaving Union Mill. Dr.Adams was called in, but the unfortunate man never recovered consciousness, and died at eleven o'clock on Thursday evening.
[further storm damage included a wheat-stack on Bogle Farm; also stables burnt to the ground, owned by Mr Blaxland of Dadmans]
26th January 1867 - Kentish Chronicle - STEALING CORN: At the County Police Court, on Thursday, George Elgar, alias Cheesman, was charged with stealing three bushels and a half of wheat, the property of his master, Mr. George Eley, of Tong. The prisoner was employed on Noud's Farm, Lynsted, of which Mr Eley is the tenant, and according to his own admission he stole the wheat and took it to be ground at the Union Mill, Lynsted, in three different quantities on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of the present month. His house was searched and the flour found. Evidence having been taken prisoner was remanded.
22nd June 1869 - Kentish Gazette - DISTRICT HIGHWAY BOARD. [Note: Claxfield Lane considered for road-widening to Lynsted - later chose Lynsted Lane] The monthly meeting was held at the Guildhall last week. ..... The Surveyor produced a plan of the alterations proposed by the committee appointed to view the suggested improvement of Wood-lane, between Lynsted and the late turnpike. The committee recommended three diversions and that a piece of road be widened, the cost was estimated at £304, which the committee recommended be borrowed and paid off in ten years. Mr. George Eley said he could not see why the parish of Tong should have 42 rods of road thrown upon it without being consulted, and without some great and positive improvement could be effected. The difficulty might be removed by widening the present road at a cost of about £10. Mr. T.Lake said it was he who proposed the diversions, but a remark which had fallen from Mr.Eley tended to alter his opinion with regard to the plan. If the Union Mill Road was a nearer way to Lynsted than the other, it would be the same to him and such people as himself if they made that a good road instead of the one in question. After some discussion the question was referred back to the committee.
This was a fine smock mill in its time and a large trade was done. It was named after W.H.Champion who worked it for many years.I am able to give two photographs: one shows the mill without its sweeps and fan, as it appeared in about 1895; the other is a recent photograph, showing the remains of the old mill. The cap and a little of the body were removed and a summer house perched on top, the whole draped with wistaria.
I have since learned that the mill originally stood on the London Road, near Teynham, and that when Mr. Champion bought it he had it moved almost entire by means of a specially constructed low trolley, and re-erected in a field just behind his Steam Mill at Lynsted. Mr.Littlewood, the mill-wright of Milton, then had the task of heightening it. Mr. George E. Ride writes:
My cousin, who was serving his apprenticeship with Mr. Littlewood, was on this job. They lifted it with jacks and kept building up with bricks at the rate of a foot a day until they had got about 20 feet of base under her. When finished she rolled so much with a high wind that tie rods had to be fixed from the top right down through the mill to the brickwork to help keep her steady."
At Lynsted scarcely anyone seemed to have heard of the old derelict mill, but I was fortunate eventually in finding a local Solomon who was able to direct me to it. Pointing to a fine large house surrounded by trees and orchards, my informer said, "That is called Mill House." I entered the drive, knocked several times and got no answer. I was about to leave then a fine smooth-coated retriever in a most friendly mood came from a sheltered side-walk. From the welcome he gave me we might have been old friends. I was rather taken aback by it. His tail wagged, his body oscillated from side to side and his intelligent face smiled his welcome. Rubbing against my legs and showing every form of friendship as only a dog can show, he turned round, set the pace and led the way to the side-walk, looking back at every few yards to see if I were following. He seemed to say, "Come along, I know what you want."
Arriving in the garden at the rear of the house, by guide led me to a lady seated at needlework. This was the daughter of the house, and she also gave me a friendly welcome. I learned that by reason of sickness in the house the knocking was unheard and unanswered. But the dog's quick ear had detected my presence.
I was asked to feel free to take any picture I chose of the old mill which stood in the garden and presently was shown a picture of the mill as it had stood, without fan and sweeps, forty years ago. That was before my hostess's father removed the cap, erected on the tower a summer-house, and converted the base into a store.
It was a pathetic moment when I was offered access to the summer-house poised on the old mill, from which no doubt a glorious view was possible. I was told that since the death of her father none of the family had entered, I felt I could not trespass there. Giving me the photograph of the old mill, which I have reproduced (facing p.236), my hostess left me to my own devices.
Taking a picture of the mill as it stands to-day was a difficult task. It forms a picturesque ruin, draped in a purple pall of wistaria, an appropriate colour for so sad a reminder of the dead. Of the mill itself I hardly saw anything, as it was so covered in. I moved about in order to make the attempt and eventually found one direction the view from which was not blocked with trees. Here I was obliged to elbow my way through a dense fig-tree loaded with large and luscious fruit for gathering and the miniature perfect figs to provide the nest year's crop (facing page 236).
The amiable and deeply interested dog stayed with me the whole time of the visit and, as at my entry of the premises, so when I left he escorted to the gates and watched me out of sight. A 'doggie' welcome he had given me, almost human in its sincerity."
Family researcher, Maureen Martin, has shared her family connections but she is also looking to learn more about the mill should it be found. If you know more, please contact us (use the link at the top of this page). Maureen said:
“I live in Somerset and am researching the “William Harrison Champion” who was the Miller of Lynsted for many years. He is reported to have moved a Mill from Teynham (Conyer Quay) to Lynsted.
My Grandfather came from Kent and his Mother Clara Jane Champion was born in the Mill in 1851. Hence my interest. We recently visited Acrise Flower festival which was very enjoyable as well as informative. My Grandfather was an Osborne so these are basically the names I'm researching and the area.
Clara Jane's Father was WILLIAM HARRISON CHAMPION born 1819 in Detling. By 1847 he was a Miller and lived in Doddington. I can track his movements because of Census's, certificates, Directories etc., but I'm interested to know more about his life as a Miller and the Mills. I know there was also a Steam Mill. He was awarded a "Patent" in 1858 for a "Rail Brake" together with his brother-in-law who was "Austin Chambers". I am fascinated by the idea of moving a Mill and what it must have entailed.
I'm interested in any information regarding "Champions Mill" and "Steam Mill" and anything anyone might know of the family between 1840 and 1900's. William H.Champion died 1895 and is buried in Linsted Graveyard. It may confirm what little I know - but might also bring in some new information. I shall be following up the ideas you have given me, but I suspect some research may have to wait until my next visit to Kent - ie looking at the old newspapers etc.”
17th March 1866 - Kentish Chronicle - WANTED: A respectable Young Man as MILLER, Apply to Mr. W.H.Champion, Lynsted Mills, near Sittingbourne
13th April 1867 - Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - RE OLDS, A BANKRUPT.- The first meeting of the creditors of William Olds, of Greenstreet, in the parish of Teynham, baker and beer-house keeper, a bankrupt, was held at the office of the official assignee, Mr. Tassell, on Saturday last. Mr. Johnson appeared for three of the principal creditors and proved their debts as follows:- Mr. J.Brown, Milton, £82.12s.; Mr. Champion, miller, Lynsted, £68.6d. Messrs. Terry, Greenstreet, £38.10s.4d. The total liabilities of the bankrupt amount to £230.17s.6d., and his assets, consisting entirely of book debts, to £79.17s.4¼d. Mr.H.Bathurst is the bankrupt's solicitor. Friday the 10th May is fixed for the final examination.
18th May 1867 - Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - "FAVERSHAM COUNTY COURT: Before Judge, William Carmalt Scott, Esq. William Olds, of Greenstreet, baker and beerhouse keeper, whose debts amounted to £215.17s.6d., and his assets, consisting of book debts, to £79.17s. The principal creditors are - Mr. J.Brown, baker, Milton, £80; Mr. Champion, baker, Lynsted, £68; Messrs Terry, Greenstreet, coachbuilders, £38; Mr. Cannon, miller, Canterbury, £15.18s.; and Mr. Dence, carrier, £7.17s. The bankrupt was supported by Mr. H.Bathurst, and opposed by Mr. Johnson for three creditors, whose debts amounted to £170.- In cross- examination by Mr. Honson, the bankrupt said: I went into the Teynham Arms beer-house, on the 6th of April, 1866. I had no capital, and only a horse and cart worth"
29th November 1879 - Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - FAVERSHAM COUNTY COURT: Before Judge, George Russell, Esq. William H. Champion, Lynsted, miller, v. John Brewer, Teynham.- A plaint to recover 18s. For goods. When the case was called on plaintiff stated that the summons had been served on the wrong person. It was not intended for John Brewer who now appeared but for his son. The Bailiff of the Court, in answer to the Judge, said he served the summons on John Brewer, sen., personally. The case was therefore struck out. Mr. Brewer asked for his expenses which were allowed.
29th July 1882 - Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald - LYNSTED MARRIAGE. July 20, at the Parish Church, William Robert Osborne, of Elham, to Clara Jane, second daughter of W.H.Champion, Lynsted Mills, near Sittingbourne.
15th April 1896 - The Standard - WILLIAM HARRISON CHAMPION, deceased. Pursuant to the Act of Parliament 22d and 23d Victoria, chapter 35, intituled "An Act to further amend the Law of Property and to relieve Trustees," Notice is hereby Given, that all CREDITORS and other persons having any claims or demands against the estate of WILLIAM HARRISON CHAMPION, late of Lynsted, in the county of Kent, miller, deceased (who died on the 20th day of July, 1895, and whose will was proved in the Principal Registry of the Probate Division of her Majesty's High Court of Justice on the 13th day of November 1895, by Mary Ann Jane Champion, of Lynsted aforesaid, widow, Ellen Mary Champion, of Lynsted aforesaid, spinster, and Thomas Jackson Sewell, of Lynsted aforesaid, clerk in Holy Orders, the executors therein named, are hereby required to send the particulars in writing, of their claims or demands to us the undersigned, the solicitors for the said executors, on or before the 10th day of June next, after which date the said executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the claims and demands of which they shall then have had notice and they will not be liable for the assets of the said deceased, or any part thereof, so distributed, to any person or persons of whose claims or demands they shall not then have had notice. - Dated this 16th day of April 1896. TASSELL and SON, Faversham, Solicitors for the said Executors.
HER Number: TQ 96 SW 1212
Grade II listed building. Main construction periods 1400 to 1866
Grid Reference: TQ 9433 6114
Map Sheet: TQ96SW
TQ 96 SW LYNSTED LYNSTED LANE (north side) 2/75 Berkeley House
House. Circa 1700 and mid-C19. Timber framed and clad with rendered brick, and rendered and tile-hung to rear, with plain tiled roof to rear, and slate roof to front. Two parallel ranges and projecting wing to rear. Entrance front: mid C19. 2 storeys and attic storey with string course, cornice and corniced parapet, vermiculated and rusticated quoins, and stacks to left and right. Two sashes each floor, and 2-storey segmental bays to left and right, all with pediment and key stones. Central half-glazed door in flat porch on Corinthian columns.
Rear range: 2 storeys and half-hipped roof, with irregular fenestration of sashes, Gothick-traceried light and plate glass windows. Projecting tile-hung wing possibly of C15 or C16 date.
Interior: moulded beams visible in both parallel wings.
Listing NGR: TQ9433761143
English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Scheduling record)
HER Number: TQ 96 SW 1243
CHAMPION'S WINDMILL, 50 YARDS NORTH WEST OF BERKELEY HOUSE
Grade II listed building. Main construction periods (Post Medieaval - 1780 to 1820)
Summary from record TQ 96 SW 70:
In Lynsted, the base of a disused timber smock mill can be seen to the north side of Lynsted Lane. The base is octagonal and built of red brick with yellow brick battlements. It was built around 1800, went out of use around the end of the 19th century and is now roofed over.
Grid Reference: TQ 94368 61193
Map Sheet: TQ96SW
WINDMILL (Closed around 1900, Post Medieval to Modern - 1800 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status: Listed Building (II) 1343930
The following text is from the original listed building designation:
TQ 96 SW LYNSTED LYNSTED LANE (north side)
Champion's Windmill, 2/77 50 yards north west of Berkeley House - GV II
Base of smock mill. Circa 1800. Red brick, tarred, with yellow stock battlements. Octagonal, base gently battered. One storey with battlements crested by carved eagles. Doorway with double segmental head and wood casement window over. No machinery survives. Interior roofed in. Included for group value.
Listing NGR: TQ9433761143
Description from record TQ 96 SW 70:
[TQ94386118] Windmill [NAT] (disused) [NAT] (1) Champion's Windmill 50 yards north west of Berkeley House, Lynsted Lane, north side. Base of smock mill. Circa 1800. Red brick, tarred with yellow stock battlements. Octagonal, base gently battered. One storey with battlements crested by carved eagles doorway with double segmental head and wood casement windows over. No machinery survives. Interior roofed in. Grade 2. (2) A timber smock mill once stood in the grounds of Mill House, Lynsted. Milling by wind had ceased here by the end of the 19th century. Now only the mill base remains, surmounted by two large model eagles. (3)
Sources and further reading
English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Scheduling record)
|Berkeley House: seen without the current high trees that obscure this view from the south-west. Note the modern extension at the rear.|
|Berkeley House (sometimes called "Mill House"): showing top of the "summer house" on Champions Windmill to the rear. Mill buildings with hoist to the right|
|Champion's Mill: Capped Off with summer house. This remnant of a windmill that was reputedly removed from the London Road before being erected behind the Steam Mill building (Berkeley House).|
|Berkeley Gardens (1930) to the rear (north) of Berkeley House. It is not clear who the child is.|
|Formal Garden to the rear (north) of Berkeley House.|