The Mill

Entrance Charges (to go up the mill)

Adult £ 2.50
Child £ 1.00
Concession £ 2.00
English Heritage Members Free

Unfortunately there is no disabled access to the mill itself. We are unable to implement this at this time due to the mill’s Grade One Listed Building status.

Sibsey Trader Windmill is one of the few six-sailed mills remaining in England. The mill was built in 1877 by local millwrights Saundersons of Louth, in a typical Lincolnshire style, to replace a small post mill. It is not exceptionally tall, containing only six floors above ground, and the height to the top of the cap is 74 feet 3 inches. The slenderness of the tower, and the flat landscape in which it stands, together create the impression that it is bigger than it actually is, and make the sails, already admittedly large, look enormous.

Base Floor

This is where you enter the mill and where the shop now is. The base floor is where the sacks of grain were received and where the meal was bagged for dispatch. Incoming sacks were hooked to the sack hoist, which lifted them through the trapdoors to the grain bins above on the third and fourth floors. The meal, which is ground on the second floor (stones floor), then goes down a chute and into a sack on the first floor (meal floor), which is then lowered on the sack hoist to the base floor.

First Floor (Meal Floor)

Up the wooden ladder is the meal floor. Here is the device called the governor which controls the gaps between the rotating stones. The gaps tend to expand as the speed of the sails increases, and this expansion is offset by the action of the governor. It does this via bob-weights linked to sliding collars on the vertical spindle, which lift up as the speed increases, so setting in motion a compensating action which lowers the upper stones.

Here too are the tensioners. These are handles linked by ropes to the hoppers above, which control the rate at which the grain is fed into the stones. The meal then falls from the stones on the floor above, down the chutes and into the waiting sacks below.

Second Floor (Stones Floor)

The next floor up is the stones floor. Here there are three pairs of stones in round wooden casings, two of which were originally used for cattle feed (oats, barley or beans), and the third for flour. In each case, the upper runner stone is rotated by the gearing from the great spur wheel on the central driving shaft. The gaps between the stones are set according to the speed of the mill, the grain to be ground, and the degree of fineness of the meal required. The grain was fed to the centre of the stones from the hopper through inclined troughs which were shaken by a wooden spring as the stones turned. It was ground into meal as it travelled to the outer edge of the stone and then down the chute to the floor below. The speed of the mill can also be controlled by the miller at this level from the balcony outside.

Third and Fourth Floor (Grain Bins)

The third and fourth floors are largely taken up with storage bins. The grain is raised to these levels by the sack-hoist.

On the fourth floor is also a photo album, as well as an account of the work done to restore the sails in 2002.

Fifth Floor (Dust Floor)

The dust floor is directly beneath the cap, which rotates on a cast iron kerb on top of the brickwork. It is driven by gearing from the fantail at the back of the cap. Inside the cap is the windshaft which carries the sails, and drives both the upright shaft, turning the milling stones below, and the sack hoist. Through the centre of the windshaft passes the striking rod. This controls the shutters on the sails and hence the speed of the sails. The speed is regulated automatically during milling through the addition of a weight on the control chain, which reaches down to the balcony.