DOWNS FARM - WINDMILL.
Downs Farm House is directly above the Walnut Tree public house, and stood next to the farm yard where the houses of Walnut Close are now. On the other side of the hill road was the entrance to the main part of Downs Farm. The windmill itself could be accessed by Windmill Lane going diagonally across the Green, pass the Almshouses, and from the rear left hand wall of these it went diagonally over to the rear boundary of Broomfield House in Lughorse Lane. On the high ground, a few metres to the left of this path was the site of this windmill. The location can be seen on some old maps, but also on the village tithe map. There is the copy of a sketch in the Parish section.
There are two family names attached to this farm; that of Hatch and Town, which were in some way linked, but the only current connection found is that of a son born to Thomas and Elizabeth Town in 1784 named Isaac Hatch.
The name Hatch appears when our registers started with two marriages in 1560, and two baptisms on:-
Nov. 3rd 1561 of Jane and Thomas children of Jhon Hatche of Rudgud Hill.
After 13 more baptisms there is another reference to this hill.
Oct. 24th 1602 Elizabeth d. of Thomas Hach of Rug.- Hill.
This obviously refers to Rugmer Hill where at one time there had been another windmill.
The last Hatch entries in our registers are:-
Feb. 3rd 1783 Isaac Hatch aged 76, and
Dec. 19th 1785 Widow Hatch.
Members of this family have been Churchwardens several times. These were Richard Hache in 1615, Hughe Hache in 1621, and again Richard Hatch in 1640 this time jointly with John Kenward. Isaac Hatch was warden from 1760 to 1765.
The name of Town is on our records from 1713 to 1900. At least three names over this period have had the occupation of miller. The 19th century millers were John, George and Thomas, basically in that order although they could have worked together. A Thomas Town was Churchwarden in 1787 and 88, and John Town who was buried in our cemetery on July 27th 1875 had been Parish Clerk for forty years.
The last entries of ‘Town’ in our burial register are:-
March 21st 1900 Charlotte Elizabeth aged 71, she remained unmarried.
Jan. 4th 1893 Julia aged 69.
Jan. 1st 1878 Thomas aged 91, the last miller.
Nov. 21st 1878 Ann Warner aged 84, wife of John, miller and Parish Clerk.
In a period leading up to 1850 a Miss Julia Town had run a Day School.