Thaxted’s last remaining windmill is one step closer to being saved thanks to a new partnership between Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Trustees for Thaxted Windmill

Built in 1804 for Mr John Webb, a local businessman and farmer, the Grade II* listed red brick tower windmill is the largest and most advanced of the Thaxted mills. It was in operation for 100 years and is the only remaining windmill in the area.

Saving over 200 years of history

John Webb’s Windmill was added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register in 2019. The building is suffering from extensive internal damp caused by eroded brickwork and open joints, which is causing widespread mould on internal walls.

The interior of the mill has been propped and the Windmill Trust is carrying out detailed investigations to inform a repair strategy to address these issues.

Now, thanks to a grant of £116,902 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the development of a project to conserve this beautiful building, alongside a contribution of £33,326 from Historic England towards the structural and millwrighting repairs, alongside technical support and guidance, it looks like John Webb’s Windmill is one step closer to being restored to its former glory. The stories of the people who worked the mill for more than 100 years will be brought to life as part of the project.

Robyn Llewellyn, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting Thaxted Windmill Trust with the conservation of John Webb’s Windmill. Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re able to support important projects such as this one, ensuring that this rich heritage is safeguarded and the stories of the people who worked at the mill for over one hundred years will be passed on to future generations.’

Great British Life: The stone floor at Thaxted Windmill Credit: The Trustees of Thaxted Windmill The stone floor at Thaxted Windmill Credit: The Trustees of Thaxted Windmill

Revitalising traditional craft skills

The Trust aims to use the conservation work to offer work placements in traditional building and millwrighting skills, and to promote careers in these time-honoured but endangered crafts, which may be lost in the next generation. The project will also offer students work experience as conservators and will enable volunteers to try their hand at research, interpretation and delivering learning activities.

Community consultation will be an important part of the one-year development phase so that the project team can engage with people who live in Thaxted and the surrounding villages and reflect their interests and enthusiasms.

Trudi Hughes, Historic England Heritage at Risk Architect/Surveyor, said: ‘I am delighted that the Trustees of Thaxted Windmill Trust CIO have secured development stage funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the repair and restoration of this iconic structure. This, together with the preliminary surveys which Historic England helped to fund, means that repair proposals can be taken forward to the next stage on a sound and robust technical footing. Millwrighting is an endangered craft skill. Trustees are liaising with us and with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings on how the windmill can be used as a vehicle for all to learn and for some to train in windmill repairs and maintenance.’

Mark Rickards, Thaxted Windmill Trust, added: ‘The Trustees of Thaxted Windmill Trust CIO are pleased to be working with both Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund on this very important stage of the Windmill's restoration. We all remain dedicated to the original objective of ensuring that this iconic landmark is truly conserved for its community.’

If you would like to know more about the project and discover opportunities to help during the development phase, please email