Ballycopeland Windmill

Map Reference: J579761 (3579, 3761)

Of the more than 100 windmills in Co Down this is the only remaining complete, working structure. It was built probably in the 1780s and worked until after the start of the First World War. After closure it suffered greatly from dry rot and wood worm and, in the late 1950s, the Ministry of Finance, who was responsible for Ancient Monuments in Northern Ireland, carried out extensive repairs, which involved replacing all the structural timbers and some of the wooden machinery. It is a good example of a stone tower mill with walls 60cm thick. The external diameter is about 6.7m at the base and the height is about 10m. The mill was underdrift i.e. the spur wheel drove the three pairs of stones from below.

At the top floor there are hoppers which fed the grain to the stones at the floor below. The spur wheel is at the floor below that and at the ground floor the sacks of grain are received and the sacks of flour are dispatched.

At the top floor the horizontal drive from the sails is converted to the vertical drive which turns the central shaft which is attached to the spur wheel. There is a minor take-off from this central shaft at the upper level to operate the hoist by which the sacks of grain are raised to the hopper floor.

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