The old windmill at Easington is no more. It was demolished during the 1960s after many years service, and its dominance on the landscape and outlook over the sea has now gone.
A windmill was recorded at Easington as far back as 1260 and again during the 18th century a mill is recorded as being some 330 yards (300 metres) to the north of the village, although strictly speaking it was in the hamlet of Dimlington. Little is known of its early history, but the last mill to stand there was a four-story ‘tower mill,’ powered by four double patent sails and topped off by a Lincolnshire cap and finial.
For many years the Cuthbert family owned and operated the mill, supplying the village with fresh ground flour. William Cuthbert with his wife Rebecca and three daughters and four sons is listed as corn miller in the 1851 Census, whilst the 1881 Census lists John and Miriam Cuthbert along with four daughters and two sons as corn miller.
The mill has known its share of incidents — it was struck by lightning several times, and on one occasion a mill employee was standing inside the door when lightning burned off his clothing including his boots, but left him relatively unhurt!
A far more serious incident happened in 1874, with tragic consequences. In May of that year two of the miller’s daughters, Grace and Lucy Cuthbert aged 8 and 7 years old, were killed in the mill. They had been playing inside and their clothing became entangled between the mill stones and they were dragged into the mechanism. A head stone in the churchyard records the tragic event. The inscription on the headstone reads:
In affectionate remembrance of Grace and Lucy, daughters of John and Miriam Cuthbert, who died on the 9th May 1874, the former aged 8 years and the latter 7 years.
In childhood’s gayest moments
When in the act of play
That yonder mill machinery
Our sweet lives took away
Mourn not for us dear parents
We quickly reached the shore
Wherever blooming spring abides
And grief is known no more
Two mill stones from the mill now stand at the entrance to the village on the site of the old blacksmith’s pond opposite the Corner Cottage.
The actual mill ceased production sometime during the 1920s and it gradually fell into disrepair, as this photo shows — the mill then having only two sails.
During World War II the R.A.F. had a radar base at the mill, as it was an ideal vantage point to view any invasion. William Joyce, alias Lord Haw-Haw, the infamous traitor who had been a member of Oswald Mosley’s Fascist group and who became an anti-propaganda broadcaster for Germany, accorded the mill special mention in one of his broadcasts.
The mill was finally demolished during the 1960s, after which all that remained was an old grain store and the actual mill house, then owned by a retired major, Arthur Jessop, and his wife Alexandrina. They left the mill around 1977.
When North Sea gas came to Easington things changed and eventually the area of land that once was the mill became a car park, and later a site for construction and offices, as the gas sites expanded. Finally it became the site of the new Langeled gas receiving terminal. It is quite ironic that the wind-powered mill that stood there for so long has been replaced a short distance further north by the wind-powered turbines now supplying electricity and not flour!
Michael A. Welton, January 2007