Wrea Green has won Lancashire’s Best Kept Village award 15 times and passing through today it’s easy to see why. Despite being at a busy crossroads, it has kept much of its rural charm. It has a number of historical features of interest, which we’ll look at in turn.
Wrea Green Windmill
The windmill is a brick-built tower mill, four storeys high. Probably constructed in Georgian times, it is shown on the 1786 Yates Map of Lancashire. In the 1860s a steam engine was installed, making the sails redundant. Unfortunately the engine exploded and set the mill on fire. The mill machinery was never used again. When Allen Clarke visited it in 1916, while researching his book Windmill Land, he noted that it was just being used for storage, with birds nesting in the roof. By the mid twentieth century it was derelict. There are some interesting pictures of it in its ruined state on John Burke’s website here.
In 1982, a new owner, with the help of a local wheelwright from Wesham, converted it into a house. Three years of construction work took place before it was ready to be lived in. Today it stands with an imitiation Fylde cap on top, which doubles as a bedroom. The house is a private residence, but there are good views of it from Marsh Lane and McCall Close. The best time to view it is in the winter months when the trees are bare.
The Dub is a very large pond on the village’s green. It’s name possibly comes from the word ‘daub’. This is the clay based substance that is smeared on woven wooden hurdles to create walls. Wattle and daub housing has been popular for centuries in Britain and was still in use in Tudor times. Local cottagers would have dug out the clay on the green to make the daub, and probably at a later date were still using it to make clay bricks.
An 1893 map shows three ponds on the green. How much clay could be taken from the site without damaging it is unclear. Interestingly, on the Wrea Green community website is a list of bylaws which include “no person shall dig, cut or remove any sods”. Other rules include “no person shall beat or shake carpets or rugs” and “no person shall hold a public meeting, religious, political or otherwise on the green”.
There are other historical features around the green. A lane is called Pudding Pie Nook, there is a handsome clock standing in what is claimed to be the village cockpit as well as a pump that once supplied the villagers with fresh water. A row of thatched cottages opposite the church gives the area a traditional feel. The Victorian church of St Nicholas is usually open and is well worth a visit.
There is parking by the village shop on the green. The windmill is on Mill Lane which begins near the pond.
Site visited by A. and S. Bowden 2018
Nearby, just a short drive away
Return to Windmill Land, Michelle Harris and Brian Hughes (2015) Harris & Hughes. This excellent book is available from Fleetwood Museum shop, as are all Harris & Hughes publications. See the Fleetwood Museum website here.
The Lancashire Village Book, (1990) Lancashire Federation of Women’s Institutes, Countrywide Books
On site interpretation St Nicholas Church