A windmill in 1620

Old Mill Close, Patcham.
Photo by William Maskell

The history of windmills, located in the area of Old Mill Close, spanned a period of almost three hundred years.

A windmill, probably a post-mill, held by Richard Geeringe in 1620, was known to have existed in Patcham. A hundred years later, a windmill is displayed to the south of All Saints Church on Budgen’s Map of Sussex, published in 1724. Evidence from documents of the 1780’s lists, for the purpose of insurance, the existence of a post-mill, dwelling house, granary and stables.

About this time a smock-mill was built adjacent, and possibly to replace, the old post-mill. The new mill was taken over by Richard Ballard in 1818; thus began the long family association with what was to become known as “Ballard’s Mill”. The mill was removed just before 1900.

The much restored Mill House, with some flint outbuildings, and Mill Cottages remain close to the junction of Overhill Way and Highview Avenue South. Nearby Old Mill Close is named from the mill.

Comments about this page

  • I remember a guy named Raymond Berg who lived on Old Mill Close. We went to Patcham School on Warmdene Road back in the 60s.

    By John Hutchings (17/06/2010)
  • I now live at Mill House, Overhill Drive, and am trying to find out the history of the house. If anyone knows anything, or has any photos from years ago, I would love to get copies please. We are renovating it at present and plan to build three more houses on the land, but are keen to keep any history about the original Mill House alive.

    By Fiona Maysey (27/11/2011)
  • The footpath down the side of Mill House was always known by me and friends as the ‘ghost track’. This would have been in the 70s. As far as I can recall Mill House was empty then and I think that was where the ghost was reckoned to be. We used to dare each other to go up the footpath in the dark but I don’t think any of us did as we were too scared. This would have been when we were maybe 10-12 years old. I read just now another message on this site where someone said there was a skull in the window sill there, bizarre. That person referred to the footpath as ‘ghost alley’.

    By Cliff (11/01/2012)
  • Hi, I have just come across this page again and read my comment from 2011 and  thought I would update it just in case anyone ever does read it! It is 2015 now and my husband and I still own and have developed the site of Mill house. After getting planning permission (five years) we have built in our opinion three lovely executive homes which all sold very quickly. We named it “Ballards Mill Close” and it is now a lovely gated community. We still have to renovate poor Mill House, and plan to have this done by end of 2015. We love living here, and would still welcome any past memories anyone has or history on the place. I do know that a child did die here in an unfortunate accident with the windmill, many years ago, but can honestly say we have never seen any ghosts!! We thought as the Ballard family had the most history with it, we would name this close after him and keep his name alive.

    By Fiona Maysey (25/01/2015)
  • Hi Fiona, I was helping up at the Jill Post Windmill at Clayton this afternoon and met a chap who said he was a friend of yours. He told me about the Mill Close development and said that something of the old windmill foundations are still visible? Would love to know if this is true and whether you have any images of the actual mill site. I’d assumed that it had been covered. I’m the Editor of the Sussex Mills Group Newsletter and have been researching the mills of Sussex for many years for a project I’m working on.

    By Justin Brice (12/06/2016)
  • I researched interwar Patcham for my doctorate; Old Mill Close was built sometime after 1934, which is the date on the plans for the estate. The line of trees up the centre of the Close is of interest as they are there on the 1931 OS map so presumably are much older. Rather nice of a 1930s developer to make use of an existing landscape feature, but then the Braybons estates were  nearly always more ‘up market’ than the competition.

    By Geoffrey Mead (13/06/2016)
  • I live in Old Mill Close. In the late 80’s a taxis driver asked if I knew where the Mill House was. His passenger was a very old lady who said that she used to live in the house as a young girl and was the millers daughter. I directed the driver to the appropriate area.

    By Norman Vener (12/07/2020)
  • I have been reading your notes about Patcham with great interest and you may be able to help me. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Julia (Cissie) Ballard and I have long been trying to find out more about her and the family’s mill in Patcham. As far as I can tell, Ballard’s Mill was owned by a succession of Ballards all, unfortunately , called Richard! Other first names have appeared, though not nessesarily the same line e.g. Ebenezer. Others were geographically remote such as another Ebenezer B who was a lead miner in the North Pennines. Unlikely…or is it?
    Any help you can give me would be most welcome.

    By Edward Haslam (04/10/2021)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *