There has been a windmill on top of Carr Hill in Kirkham since at least the 1300s. The present one dates from 1812, but clearly this has always been an excellent site for capturing the prevailing winds being on the highest point of the ridge on which Kirkham lies.
Records show that in 1317 the wooden windmill at Kirkham needed extensive repairs. The ledger of Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire shows that it was rebuilt entirely in 1343 on the orders of an abbot named Cheyneston. A 1634 record states that there was one windmill and a two bay kiln in the manor of Kirkham. The kiln would have stood next to the mill and would have been used for drying the grain, before it was ground into flour. The windmill stayed in church hands up into the 1700s and was referred to as ‘Kirkham glebe mill’ in records.
In 1784, the wooden mill was removed, packed up and re-erected somewhere near Southport. A new lease was granted at Kirkham enabling a brick one to be built, which is probably the one we see today. Many of the surviving windmills in Lancashire seem to be from this late Georgian date, such as the ones at Clifton and Wrea Green.
However, within a few decades the mill had run into difficulties. A local resident named Mr. King had built a new house nearby. In the process of developing his gardens and woodland he cut off the prevailing westerly wind from the windmill. A similar tale (but thought to be apocryphal) is told about Wrea Green windmill, which was forced to change to steam power with disastrous results.
By 1865, it was no longer in use and by the 1900s only the hollow brick tower remained. The Historic England website gives an account that when it was surveyed in 1957 it was in a state of a decay, with no floors left. An undated photograph on the Mills Archive website (see here) shows that adverts had been painted on. They read “Moscrops Lion Motor Oil Bolton” and helpfully “Get it at Bagnall’s Garage 200 yards on the right”. In the picture the entrance way and empty window frames are barred and the roof had collapsed.
However, by 1970 local man James Dean was planning to convert it to a house, which he was successful in doing, moving out five years later. It is still a house today, in excellent condition, and a good view of it can be obtained of it from Dowbridge, the main road through Kirkham on which it stands.
Site visited by A. and S. Bowden 2018
Kirkham Windmill stands on Dowbridge, which runs into the main street through Kirkham. Park in town and head out on the main road on foot. It’s only a short walk to the windmill, which stands on the site of a Roman fort.
On the same site Kirkham’s Lost Roman Fort
Nearby, just a short walk away Kirkham’s Last Loom
A 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.
http://www.pastscape.org Kirkham Windmill