The Glenmire Windmill Conundrum
For at least the last 50 years there are many in Stanstead Abbotts who have referred to the building that stands at the end of Glenmire Terrace as the windmill. Indeed it now proudly displays a black oval plaque which declares it to be “The Old Windmill of 1770”. Guy Hurlock correctly dated the old bricks in this building to give a build date in the latter half of the 1700s. This rectangular building appears on Bryant’s map of 1822 and the tithe map of 1840 and on all later maps, being labelled both before and after the windmill existence as a boathouse. A function it was still performing even as late as the 1920s.
The old building in Glenmire Terrace long known as the “Old Windmill”
The 1891 sale description of the Glenmire windmill describes a hexagonal ground plan to this large smock mill and clearly is not the rectangular boathouse building which for so long was regarded within the village as the base of the old Glenmire windmill. Because of the limited time that this windmill stood in Glenmire it was never to appear on maps as it was built and then demolished in between mapping surveys.
In the book “Hertfordshire Windmills and Windmillers” by Cyril Moore the windmill is stated to be of late 19th century and within the text the following millers are listed.
The Allin family 1820 – 1850
Richard Hunt 1850 – 1875
Garratt and Son 1875 – 1885 and
The Pearce family 1885-
This list actually refers to the watermill in Roydon Road and not the windmill in Glenmire and can be confirmed from other sources. This can cause some confusion to those who read the book without having knowledge from other sources. The existence of the windmill in Glenmire
Dates from no earlier than 1875 and was pulled down quite soon after Richard Hunt was able to sell it in the first half of the 1890s.
It is worth bearing in mind that Richard Hunt built this windmill as a hobby well beyond the date that it would have been economically viable as a going concern. He was to do the same again when he moved to Much Hadham in the early 1890’s. It would be reasonable to assume that it was never used as part of a viable business but operated occasionally to please a rich man’s interest in his enormously expensive hobby. This would explain why no one is listed as a windmiller in the village at that time. No doubt Richard Hunt found some enthusiasts from among his staff in his businesses to entertain him by operating his large windmill.
The differing explanations which have been produced by SALHS members Guy Horlock, Ron Dale and Stuart Moye reflect the ongoing development of the detailed history of the village. This is of course a major strength of local history societies which concentrate their studies on a relatively small geographical area. To continue this theme readers will be pleased to hear that the author is currently working on an article which will among other things locate the windmill in question more precisely within the Glenmire Terrace area as well as throw more light on the boathouse of the late 1700s.
Stuart Moye April 2015