200 yards south of a point on the Cromford and High Peak Railway, close to the Hopton Incline is a windmill tower with a curved profile. The building is 21ft high, of limestone, three storeys with brown gritstone door and window surrounds. There is an internal fireplace with a curved flue. There are two doorways and six windows. There is an inscription "H 178 RM" on the east jamb of the south doorway. The north doorway and all windows have been infilled. (1, 2)
The stump of this tower windmill still stands, just over a mile from the village of Brassington. It probably dates back to the 18th century and is one of the few small stumpy tower mills remaining in the country. The actual date it was built is not known although it may have been during the 1780s based on a very worn inscription in the jamb of one of the doors to the tower. It does not appear on Burdett's map of 1767 but is shown on the OS map of 1839. It was out of use by 1887, being shown on the OS map for that year as 'Windmill - Corn (disused)'. No records of millers, names or of the mill being advertised have been found. The limestone block tower is about 22 feet high, 18 feet internal diameter at the base and 15 feet at the top. The top two courses are of millstone grit blocks, immediately below where a cap would have fitted. The batter on the walls is much steeper from about 15 feet from the ground, giving an unusual profile. This shape is very similar to the rond house found on many windmills; however, no traces of any stone piers, which would have supported the trestles of a post mill, are present, almost certainly confirming it to be a tower mill. The two opposing doorways and the staggered window openings all have millstone grit framings, suggesting that it was owned by a wealthy person. One of the doorways has a fragment of an old millstone forming a doorstep into the mill. All openings have, however, been walled for many years and internal access is not now possible. There is no equipment remaining inside, although there was a fireplace inside the tower, the flue of which can be seen on the south side of the tower, near the top. (4
During a rapid visual inspection of a proposed wind turbine site on Carsington Pasture in 2006, it was noted that a previously blocked doorway into the windmill had been recently unblocked, with a fragment of millstone evident as the orignal step into the building. (5)
Limestone with gritstone lintel to windows and coping. (6)
Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Tower mill, 1964 & 1970.
Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 10(i).1, with photo.
Bibliographic reference: Gifford, A. 2003. Derbyshire Windmills Past and Present. pp 27-28, illust..
Unpublished document: Oxford Archaeology North. 2006. An archaeological desk-based assessment and rapid visual inspection of the proposed development area for a wind farm at Carsington, near Matlock, Derbyshire (NGR 424824, 354269). p 8-10, Plate 1.
Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1997. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part IV. Derbyshire Dales.
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Centred SK 251 544 (19m by 28m) (Approximate)
HOPTON, DERBYSHIRE DALES, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Dec 2 2014 3:15PM
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