Crux Easton Wind EngineCrux Easton, Newbury RG20, UK
The Crux Easton Wind Engine is a rare geared wind engine.
It was built by John Wallis Titt of Warminster in 1891.
The Earl of Carnarvon had the Crux Easton Wind Engine installed to pump water from a well 410 feet (125 m) deep for agricultural purposes. Rather brilliantly, it could also be modified, with a clutch, to grind grain or to drive a circular saw.
Technically it is a Titt Simplex geared wind engine – it has a sail with a 20 ft (6.10 m) diameter, mounted on a fabulous 35 ft (10.67 m) hexagonal steel tower. The sail has 48 blades, each one 5 ft (1.52 m) long and it is guided by a 6 blade fantail!
Read about John Wallis Titt – HERE!
This engine is an important and rare example of a transitional design in wind engine technology. It is a intermediate design somewhere between the earlier annular sailed windmills ,of which no examples survive, and the 20th Century fixed blade galvanised wind engines, eg the prairie type wind pumps.
The Wind Engine and Well House are Grade II listed buildings.
The Well House is about 100 years older than the wind tower. It is believed to have originally been constructed to house a manually operated wheel to bring water up from the well. The building was later adapted for milling grain utilising the wind engine power.
In 1920, Martin and Wilcox explored the possibility of finding extra water with a deeper borehole, but this proved to be unproductive.
The wind engine was last used in the 1920s and in the 1960s the sails were removed and placed in storage.
The restoration was a true partnership success – the Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society (HIAS) and Hampshire Mills Group “Heavy Gang” worked together, in conjunction with the British Engineerium of Hove, on behalf of the Crux Easton Wind Engine Restoration Trust.
The structure was carefully stripped into its component parts by professionals and amateurs working together. Then the Wind Engine was taken to Hove for restoration. When it returned home to Crux Easton, it was carefully reassembled by the team, to full working order for the first time for over 70 years!
It survived the metal collections of the second world war and the great gales in the late 1980s!
The Crux Easton Wind Engine Conservation Trust obtained restoration grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Basingstoke & Deane District Council, Hampshire County Council and the Vodafone Charitable Trust.
Visit the Hampshire Mills Group website for more information – HERE!
The Crux Easton wind engine is open from 11:00 to 16:00 on the second Sunday of each month from April to August, plus both days of the National Mills weekend. It is also open at other times by appointment.
(one mile off the A343, between Highclere and Hurstbourne Tarrant)
Grid Reference: SU 425 564