The History of the Windmill Suffolk
A note from the owners of The Windmill Suffolk, Steve and Natalie Roberts
We understand from historical records that The Windmill Suffolk was the last windmill to be built in Suffolk, in 1891, it replaced Pepper Mill that had previously sat on the same site. The mill had ceased running as a working mill by 1900.
From old photographs and records we believe the cap was removed in the early 1920s and the building was then used as a store for almost a century. The photographs on this page include images of the windmill with cap and fantails c.1922 alongside those taken in 1925 and the early 1930’s when these had been removed.
Further to this, photographs taken in the mid 1930’s and 1950’s show a water tank sat atop the windmill. This, we are told, held water for houses in the local area.
From the 1960s through to 2014 the windmill stood as a deteriorating building as can be seen in the later colour images which were taken in the early 2000s.
We moved to Suffolk in 2008 after seeing the farmhouse, granary and windmill for sale in a newspaper during a visit to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas market the previous year.
We always hoped we could bring the windmill back to life in some way, but with no inner working mechanisms, sails, cap or fan tail, there was nothing left of the original mill apart from the derelict shell.
In 2014, after the windmill started to show further signs of structural decline, we decided it was time to renovate the mill, giving it a brand-new life as unique and unusual holiday accommodation.
The Windmill really is our baby- we both left our jobs to make The Windmill Suffolk come to life. Steve to build and restore The Windmill over a period of just under 2 years and now Natalie who runs the luxury holiday accommodation on a day to day basis.
Our idea was to renovate the building to appeal to a high customer expectation while remaining sympathetic to the heritage of The Windmill. For instance, the decision to use zinc as the roofing material came from our discussions with Beech Architects about our wish to combine contemporary with tradition. This has been very successful, with the stunning design winning a National Roofing Association award in 2016.
We are also very proud to have been selected as both finalists and winners of various architectural and tourism awards since the completion of the renovation of The Windmill.
Since opening our doors, we have been very lucky to welcome some wonderful guests to The Windmill Suffolk. In addition to being an incredible place to escape to for a holiday or a surprise weekend away, it has been fabulous for us to be part of so many people’s celebrations in life! Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, honeymoons and even marriage proposals- all these occasions make running The Windmill Suffolk an absolute joy.
We look forward to welcoming you to The Windmill Suffolk!
Natalie & Steve Roberts