Lacey Green Windmill, Buckinghamshire
Introduction Opening Times Latest News Christopher Wallis Contact
Details on other pages:
Information for Visitors Booklet
History Restoration Interior of Mill News Archive Previous Events Links
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Lacey Green windmill stands on the escarpment of the Chiltern Hills, near Princes Risborough and halfway between High Wycombe and Aylesbury. Since 1971 it has been restored back to working order by members of The Chiltern Society. The 1970 picture below shows the sad condition it had reached. It has been restored to preserve its unique wooden machinery, which probably dates from around 1650, making this the oldest smock windmill in the country.
All the restoration work has been done by volunteers, led by Christopher Wallis, who devised the methods by which the collapsing mill could be straightened, strengthened and made watertight to survive into the future.
Volunteers open the windmill to the public on about 30 afternoons each year.
2017 OPENING TIMES
In 2017, the windmill will be open to the public from 2 pm to 5 pm on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from Sunday 2nd April to Sunday 24th September.
Bank Holiday Monday Open Days: 17th April, 1st May, 29th May, 28th August. (all 2pm - 5pm).
For National Mills Weekend: Open on Saturday 13th May (2pm - 5pm) & Sunday 14th May (11am - 5pm).
Admission Charges for 2017: Adult £2.50, Child (5 to 15) £1.00. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
For further details about visiting the mill, such as access, facilities, location, and travelling,
please look at the Information for Visitors page.
Please note that on very rare occasions the windmill may close in extreme weather conditions, such as High Winds or Thunderstorms.
Whenever possible, we will try to put a note about a closure on this website.
Sunday 28th March 2016 ~ Windmill Closed due to High Winds
Due to the high winds with gusts of 50 mph forecast for Sunday 28th March (Storm Katie), a decision was taken at 8.30 am that the windmill would not be open that afternoon.
With the windmill being in such an exposed position on top of the Chiltern escarpment (with the tips of the sails being 800 feet above sea level), it is very clear that winds from the South and West can be accelerated, and can form very unpredictable and extreme local conditions. In such conditions, or in thunderstorms, which could result in damage to the windmill, the decision to close the windmill has to be made that is safest for our volunteers and visitors.
We are sorry if any visitors were disappointed on the day. The closure was shown on this website, and notices displayed at the end of the footpath to the windmill.
April 2015 Extended Opening for 50th Anniversary Year of Chiltern Society and Chilterns AONB
To mark 2015 being a special year, which is the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Chiltern Society, and the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), we will opening the windmill a month earlier than usual. We will be open from Easter Sunday 5th April, and then every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until 27th September, a total of five extra days to normal years when we not opened until May.
Sunday 10th August 2014 ~ Windmill Closed due to High Winds
Due to the high winds with gusts of 42 mph forecast for Sunday 10th May (the remnants of Hurricane Bertha), a decision was taken at 9 am that the windmill would not be open that afternoon. During Sunday, the strongest gusts actually measured at RAF High Wycombe (2 miles South) were 33 mph. However at Aylesbury (8 miles North) the high winds brought down many trees in the early afternoon and metdesk.com reported that gusts reached 50-60 mph.
With the windmill being in such an exposed position on top of the Chiltern escarpment (with the tips of the sails being 800 feet above sea level), it is very clear that winds from the South and West can be accelerated, and can form very unpredictable and extreme local conditions. The winds that the windmill did experience that day were equivalent to a winter gale. In such conditions, or in thunderstorms, which could result in damage to the windmill, the decision has to be made that it is safest for our volunteers and visitors to close the windmill.
We are sorry if any visitors were disappointed on the day. The closure was shown on this website, and notices displayed at the end of the footpath to the windmill.
Wycombe District Council ~ Attraction of the Month (June 2014)
Wycombe District Council has chosen Lacey Green Windmill as their "Attraction of the Month" for June. There will be a Prize Draw at their 3 Tourist Information Offices (High Wycombe, Marlow, and Princes Risborough) between 1st and 28th June. The prize will be a private tour of the windmill for 4 people at a mutually agreed time between July and September, but not on our normal opening days (Sundays and August Bank Holiday Monday).
2014 World Hockey Cup (The Hague, 31 May - 15 June)
World Cup Hockey may not immediately seem to have a great deal to do with Lacey Green Windmill, but we were chosen for a publicity photo shoot for England's Team Captains Kate Richardson-Walsh and Barry Middleton. Looking to salute the Netherlands with a Dutch flavoured setting before their trip from Bisham to The Hague, they chose our smock mill, reminiscent of so many Dutch mills.
The pictures above are amongst many that are (at the end of May) appearing on various media, particularly the internet on Twitter and Facebook (for both see England Hockey) and various other sports web sites, including SkySports and The Daily Telegraph.
There have been certain comments asking whether the photographer was very short to take such low shots, but as I was there, I can reveal below that a photographer's job is obviously not always a comfortable one, especially when you come dressed in a suit for the England Hockey World Cup media day.
We wish the Women's and Men's Teams all the best at The Hague.
"Yours" Magazine ~ 10 of the Best Wind and Water Mills (Issue 194, 27 May 2014)
We were very pleased that Lacey Green Windmill has been chosen as one of the 10 best mills to visit. The other 4 windmills are Heage (Derbyshire), Heckington (Lincolnshire), Wicken (Cambridgeshire), and Oldland (West Sussex). The 5 watermills are Talgarth (Powys), Hele (N Devon), Heron (Cumbria), Woodbridge Tide Mill (Suffolk), and House Mill (Bromley-by-Bow).
An Important Announcement.
On the 14th May 2014, the Windmill Restoration Committee made a unanimous decision that we will not let the wind turn the sails of the windmill again. This decision has been made to best meet our objectives of preserving the windmill and its historic machinery, and enabling visitors to see the interior of the windmill and its historic machinery in the safest way possible.
National Mills Weekend 2014, (10th and) 11th May 2014.
The windmill, as always on this particular day, was open on the Sunday only, from 11 to 5. On a cold day the sails turned for 6 hours. Our village Horticultural Society had their usual plant stall near the windmill, and Drovers Hill Farm again had their local Apple Juice for sale.
A list showing other mills open in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties for National Mills Weekend 2014 is available as a pdf to download by clicking here
The photo below shows two colourful characters who happened to meet at the windmill on Sunday 11th May. One was a visitor, and the other was one of our volunteers.
Buckinghamshire Life Magazine.
The September 2013 edition of Buckinghamshire Life shows Lacey Green windmill on the front cover. Inside is an article (and another good photo of the windmill) describing a circular walk around the villages of Lacey Green and Speen.
The magazine's web site is http://berksandbucks.greatbritishlife.co.uk/home (This link is set to open in a new window)
Daily Mail Online.
On Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August 2013, Lacey Green Windmill was featured on the Daily Mail's website.
The feature can be seen at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2398266/ (This link is set to open in a new window)
Engineering Heritage Award, from Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
On Sunday 14th July 2013, John Wood, Chairman of the Heritage Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers presented their 86th Engineering Heritage Award to Lacey Green Windmill. It was received by Barbara Wallis (widow of Christopher Wallis), on behalf of the Windmill Restoration Committee. This prestigious award is a great honour for the windmill, those who originally built it, and those who restored it.
For further details about the EHA and links to more EHA details, click here.
For an illustrated report on the presentation ceremony, click here.
For a pdf file of the complete text of the speeches made at the presentation ceremony, click here. (This link is set to open in a new window)
This shows John Wood and Barbara Wallis with the Engineering Heritage Award Plaque.
A 34 second video of the actual presentation is available on YouTube, courtesy of our volunteer photographer. Watch in YouTube by clicking here: YouTube video (This link is set to open in a new window)
A Press Release issued on Monday 15th July by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (on Monday 15th July) can be seen on their web site, to see it click IMechE Press Release (This link is set to open in a new window)
The award was included in a 2 minute slot on the BBC South (Oxford) 18.30 news bulletin on Friday 12th July. It has been made available from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers web site, to see it clickhere (This link is set to open in a new window)
70th Anniversary of Dambusters Raid.
People might not imagine there would be much connection between a Buckinghamshire windmill and the raid by 617 Squadron on 16-17 May 1943. Elsewhere on this website you can read that it was Christopher Wallis who led the restoration of Lacey Green windmill from 1971. You can also read that Christopher's father was Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, inventor of the revolutionary bouncing bombs used to smash the Ruhr dams. A lot of publicity about the anniversary is planned including a dedicated BBC2 television programme on 16 May 2013. The news coverage will also strongly feature the sole British survivor who took part in the raid, Johnny Johnson. At the age of 21, he was a bomb-aimer in the nose of one of the Avro Lancaster bombers.
In 2010, I (Michael Hardy) was pleased to meet Johnny Johnson, and he told me that in meetings before the 1943 raid he had met Barnes Wallis, and had even met the young Christopher Wallis, then 8 years old. Johnny Johnson had remembered Christopher and followed his career, knowing well that his interest and enthusiasm for restoring Lacey Green Windmill had led him on to a career working with historic buildings and particularly mills. Johnny had been sad to hear of Christopher's death in 2006, so when attending a meeting nearby in 2010 he asked if he could go and have a look at Lacey Green Windmill. I was naturally pleased to help, and below you can see a photo of Johnny Johnson standing outside the windmill, on National Mills Day, 9th May 2010.
National Mills Weekend 2013, 11th and 12th May 2013.
The windmill, as always, was only open on the Sunday, from 11 to 5. The weather forecast (on Saturday) predicted gusty winds for Sunday morning, and rain in the afternoon. As they are the worst conditions for us to safely operate the sails, the decision was taken that we would not attempt to fit the sailcloths. Therefore our volunteers who help us with the cloths were told, and a note was put on this website to inform potential visitors.
On Sunday the wind was strong enough to keep turning the sails most of the morning. However, there was rain for most of the afternoon, although not as severe as it could have been. During the day, we had 170 visitors inside the windmill. Our village Horticultural Society had their usual plant stall, which did a good trade, despite their fears of not having enough plants to sell, due to the very late spring. We also again had Drovers Hill Farm with their local Apple Juice, but their range was depleted by the poor weather in 2012.
A list showing other mills open in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties for National Mills Weekend 2013 is available as a pdf to download by clicking here
Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Windmill Open 3rd to 5th June 2012.
We were open from 2 -5 on Sunday 3rd June and also the two Bank Holidays on Monday 4th June, and Tuesday 5th June. We dressed the windmill with bunting on the sails, as well as some Union Jacks, but were not able to park the sails in the traditional celebratory way that we did for the Royal Wedding last year (see below).
National Mills Weekend 2012 - Open Sunday 13th May.
As usual, Lacey Green Windmill was only open on the Sunday (13th May), from 11 am to 5 pm. We had a good breeze in the afternoon, turning the sails at a good speed with just two sailcloths fitted. Our village Horticultural Society had their usual plant and produce stall close to the windmill, and this year we also had a local producer of organic apple juice join us, offering tasting of their different varieties and selling juice by the bottle. You can read more about their enterprise at www.drovershillfarm.co.uk
Two other local mills open during National Mills Weekend 2012.
Great Haseley windmill stands near the A329 to the SW of Thame in Oxfordshire and just a mile to the SW of Junction 7 of the M40. It was open on Saturday 12th May from 13.00 to 17.00. The mill has a website but more information can actually be found on a blog written by one of the restoration team.
Chinnor windmill was open on Sunday 13th May from 12.30 to 17.00. See their blog
National Mills Weekend 2011.
National Mills Weekend was on the 14th and 15th May in 2011. As always, Lacey Green Windmill was only open on the Sunday (15th May), but our opening hours were extended from 11 am to 5 pm. The wind on the day proved rather too variable, you can read a report on the day at NMW - 2011
Great Haseley Windmill open on Sunday 15th May 2011.
Great Haseley windmill is a familiar site to people travelling on the A329 to the SW of Thame in Oxfordshire. The tower mill (which probably dates from the 18th century) stands in a field just a mile to the SW of Junction 7 of the M40. The Great Haseley Windmill Trust was formed in 2005, and work started on restoring the windmill in July 2009. The mill was open to the public on Sunday 15th May 2011.
The mill has a website but more information can actually be found on a blog written by one of the restoration team.
Windmill "Dressed" for Royal Wedding - Friday 29th April 2011.
As prominent features in the landscape, windmills would often be used to recognise national events by being "dressed" in a similar way to a boat being "dressed" with flags and bunting. To mark the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (who immediately became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), the sails of Lacey Green Windmill were dressed for the day, which was rather a grey one at Lacey Green.
The windmill's sails were parked in the position that traditionally notes a happy occasion, which is just before the ascending sail has reached the upright position. The top sail just starting to descend on the other side is a position to denote a sorrowful occasion. However, I rather suspect that such fine detail was not realised by many of the people who may have seen the bunting flapping in the strong breeze.
Windmill Rewiring and New lighting - August 2010.
In June nd July 2010 a new electricity supply was run to the windmill. The windmill has been completely rewired and new lighting has been installed. Enclosed bulkhead fittings have been used which are all fitted with energy saving light bulbs. Energy Saving Floodlights have also been installed to light the interior of the cap, which is now easier to see, particularly on dull days. Despite their now being 36 light fittings within the windmill, the total power consumption is less than 450 watts.
For news prior to 2011, please click on: News Archive
Christopher Wallis (born 1935, died 2006)
Christopher Wallis died on 10th May 2006 after a short illness. Lacey Green Windmill only stands today because of his passion for historic buildings, and mills in particular. Since 1971 he was the driving force behind the many volunteers that between them gave thousands of hours of their time to restore the windmill.
After starting the restoration at Lacey Green, Christopher left his work as a Civil Engineer. He then devoted his engineering and carpentry skills to restoring many other historic buildings across the country.
His everlasting enthusiasm has been instrumental in encouraging others to take up restoration work. The mere fact of hearing Christopher's strong opinions, or seeing the work that he has achieved, has led many more people to appreciate the vital importance of preserving historic buildings in our landscape.
This photograph shows Christopher Wallis at an event in October 2005 which marked the 40th Anniversary of the founding of The Chiltern Society at The Guildhall in High Wycombe. The area of the Chiltern Hills was always a special place to Christopher, where he and his wife Barbara chose to live and bring up their family.
Christopher Wallis Memorial at the Chiltern Open Air Museum
The Christopher Wallis Collection of Timber Joints has been established in the Northolt Barn at the Chilten Open Air Museum. They have been made by Tim Hallewell, a carpenter and furniture maker. They have been designed to be demountable so they can be handled and assembled by visitors.
For more details of the Chiltern Open Air Museum, see their website:
www.coam.org.uk (set to open in new window or tab)
This web site has been produced by Michael Hardy, Windmill Manager, on behalf of the Lacey Green Windmill Restoration Committee.
You can contact me as follows:
Telephone: 01844 275871
www.visitchilterns.co.uk is a website, launched in October 2012, with a wealth of information and ideas for visitors in the Chilterns. Click on logo to visit the web site.
(set to open in new window or tab)
The list of other Visitor Attractions in the Chilterns on this web site has now been discontinued. It was very time consuming to keep updated, and in the few years since it was first established, it is now far easier to search for places to visit on the internet.
The website shown above is recommended for ideas on places to visit in the Chilterns.
Thank you for looking at www.laceygreenwindmill.org.uk
This page was last updated on 18th February 2017.
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