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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Broadclyst Windmill

The Windmill at Broadclyst

© Richard J. Brine


The windmill at Broadclyst was built in 1786 by Samuel Flood. It stands on a small ridge on the edge of the village, positioned to catch the winds blowing in from the Exe Estuary. The mill ceased to operate as early as 1815 but took on a new lease of life after much of Broadclyst's housing was destroyed by fire in 1870. At that time, it was converted into three "flats" to house homeless villagers. The sails were removed and a chimney added to enable each floor to have fire grates for heating and cooking. The tower is built of red sandstone and the building has been re-roofed with slates in modern times. 

An inscription on the tower carries the words:

"Vive l'ingenies"

The tower is now in a dangerous state and can only be viewed from the adjacent public footpath which crosses the field in which it stands.

Some sources incorrectly describe this tower as Clyston (or Cliston) Mill. The water-powered mill which bears this name is to be found at the rear of the village churchyard. Opening arrangements for that property are to be found in the current National Trust Handbook.

The 1871 Census shows only one family in residence at the Windmill:

Samuel Parsons (36) Labourer

Elizabeth Parsons (41)

Henry Parsons (9)

Eliza Parsons (7)

John Parsons (5)

Sarah Hallett (67) Visitor

In the 1881 Census, it was described as "Windmill House" and was again occupied by one family:

James Baker (59) Gardener

Louisa Baker (59)

Albert Baker (21) Gardener

Alfred Baker (17) Gardener

Frank Baker (15) Gardener

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