The lost Holestrete or Holt Street windmill in Nonington

A post mill, taken from a King's Lynn, Norfolk, funeral brass, 1349
A post mill, taken from a King’s Lynn, Norfolk, funeral brass, 1349

In 1309 John (1), the son of Stephen de Akolte (Acholt) transferred **[see below] to John (2), the son of Thomas de Akholte, and Lucia, his mother, the ownership a windmill [unum molendinum ventifluim] in the parish of Nonington. The mill was recorded as being situated near Holestrete [Holt Street] on Freydviles [the Manor of Fredville] land, and with it came two shillings [10 pence] and two hens free rent [duos solidos et duas gallinas de libere redditu] from Thomas le Kete of Holestrete, who was presumably the miller. The Fredvile land in question was almost certainly a part of Cookys, now known as Cooks Hill.
In the 1440’s there was a protracted and convoluted dispute over ownership of land in and around Akholte along with subsidiary property in Womenswold, Nonington [Cookys or Cooks Hill, Chillenden [Chillenden Court, part of the Manor of Hame (Hamill)] and Rowling. It was resolved in 1448 when the disputed land and property was divided amongst several claimants.

** “Carta qua Johannes Filius Stephani de Akholte, concedit Johanni filio Thomae de Akholte et Lucie matri ejusdem, unum molendinum ventifluim (venti fluim) in paroch de Nonyngton juxta Holestrete in ter(re) de Freydvile,et duos solidos et duas gallinas de libere redditu, a Thoma le Kete de Holestrete annuatin debite tenend praedictus Johanni et Lucine et herdibus Johannis de corpore procreates; quimbus deficientibus Thomas fratri dicti Johannis filii Thomas de Akolte, et heribus suis, quibus deficient praedicto Johanni fili Stephani de Akolte et heredibus suis per servitia inde annuatum debita. Et pro hac confirmatione Johannes Fil Thomae et Lucia dederunt Johhani fil Stephani xx marc sterling in gersuman. Test Thomas de Godwynstone, Thomas de Akholte, Johanne de Akholte et aliis. Et quia Johannes de Akholte infra aetatem est, et proprium sigillum non habet, sigillum Johannis de Grenehelle apposuit huic scripte Dat. 3 Edw II

“Charter of John, son of Stephen de Akolte, granting to John, son of Thomas de Akholte and Lucy, the mother of the same, one wind mill in the parish of Nonyngton, near Holestrete [Holt Street] on Freydviles land [the manor of Fredville], and two shillings and two hens free rent, annually from Thomas le Kete of Holestrete, held of the aforesaid John and Lucy and the heirs of John ect ., by the services due annually. In confirmation of this John, son of Stephen received 20 marks (£.12.13s 4d) sterling in gersuman from John and Lucy.
Witnessed by  Thomas de Godwynstone, Thomas de Akholte, John de Akholte and others. And because John de Akholte was under age  and does not have his own seal, he signed under the seal of John de Grenehelle”.
Dated 3 Edward II (1309-10)
Gersuman was a fee paid to the lord of the manor when the ownership of property on his manor was transferred. At this time John Colkyn held the Manor of Fredville).

The windmill  would have almost certainly been located just to the north-west of the old Snowdown Collier  pit-head baths, canteen, and car park  on the brow of the hill on the west side of the road up from Holt Street. The site would have been well served by roads to Ackholt, Holt Street in Nonington, and to Womenswold and Woolege Green. As can be seen on the annotated 1859 Poor Law Commisioners map below, the road up from Ackholt which now joins the main road from Holt Street on the south side of Snowdown railway bridge then joined the Holt Street road some two hundred yards or so closer to Holt Street approximately where the gate now goes into the field at the north-east end of the old colliery car park. The road was re-routed when the railway line through the parish of Nonington was actually built in 1860-61, over a year  after the survey for the map was made. The map shows the land then owned by the L.C.D.R. company in order that Poor Law rates could be charged to them.

Holt Street mill site map
The most likely location of the 14th century Holestreet or Holt Street windmill [1859 Poor Law Commissioners map].

In 1341 John de Acholte granted the mill along with other property and rents in Nonyngton, Rollynge (Rolling) and Wimelyngewelde (Womenswold) near Crodewode (Crudeswood or Curleswood) to Peter Heyward. After this transfer there is no presently known reference to this mill, so it would appear to have gone out of service and was not replaced.

These early post mills were usually constructed with two crossed beams resting on the ground and four angled beams coming up to support a central post, usually wooden, around which the superstructure of the mill was built. These cross beams were often buried stop the mill blowing away in a storm. This style of construction allowed the mill to be turned to face the wind by using a long beam attached horizontally to the body of the mill. Often the windmills were built on a specially constructed mound, although sometimes an existing barrow (burial mound) was used, to increase exposure to the wind. The sails on the early mills were sometimes only six or seven feet long, much smaller than those on later mills.

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