Since moving to Fleckney I have been out walking the many footpaths, bridleways, and tracks. One of the latter is, of course, the one leading from Kibworth Road to Smeeton Westerby. Mill Lane was so named because there was once a mill somewhere in the vicinity and I have often wondered where it might have been. Dave Harvey, my walking buddy and an original member of The Fleckney Walking Club, has also given this subject some thought and he recently discovered a likely location for the mill. He showed me the spot and I agreed that it looked to be very likely especially as a gust of wind sprang up at that moment and nearly bowled me over!
According to the British History website: “A windmill stood about half a mile west of Smeeton and a little south of Mill Lane in 1885. It is said to have been blown down, apparently about this date, with the miller inside it.” The website refers to this map: O.S. Map 6″ Leics. XLV. NW. (1st edn.) from the National Library of Scotland.
The Mills Archive website this information on the Smeeton Westerby mill:
Power source: Wind
Mill type: Post mill
Mill function: Corn mill
Location: Smeeton Westerby
Historic county: Leicestershire
NGR: SP 672 931
Latitude/longitude: 52.53163200, -1.01079840
I would add that the what3words location is ////name.occur.eagle.
I sent a message to the British History Online website to offer a correction to the aforementioned text. As you can see from the report in the Leicester Mercury on 25th September, 1847 the actual date of the event was 17th September, 1847. However, the B.H.O. policy is to reproduce the Victoria County History Project volumes exactly as they are printed.
According to some sources, £300 would be worth nearly £40,000 today. The Bank of England suggests the inflation to be a mere £25,000.
The Mercury got Mr. Innocent’s name wrong though as his first name was Thomas. He was born in Kibworth Beauchamp in 1796 (the son of Thomas and Sarah Innocent), and was apparently a strong man – as this article from the Leicester Chronicle, 4th October, 1879 records.
I can’t put any pictures of the mill here as there are none! However, for an idea of what it probably looked like you can take a peek at the image below of the Hinckley post mill from The Mills Archive Trust. If you want to see one close up you should take a visit to the newly restored mill at Kibworth Harcourt.
There is an informative article about post mills on the Tring Local History site.