Sark Windmill 1571
Until the 20th century, Sark’s economy was based on grain; reliable mill was essential. Domestic handmills (like the pot quern at La Seigneurie) were small and inefficient, and the monks’ water mill above Port du Moulin could not serve forty settler families. Within six years of obtaining Queen Elizabeth’s grant of Sark (1565), Helier De Carteret built a windmill. The DE Carteret arms carved on the north lintel display the Seigneur’s monopoly of milling and ‘L’AN 1571. This may be the earliest date on a vernacular building in the Channel Islands.
The windmill sits on Sark’s highest ground, 300m west of Helier’s manor. A 110m above sea level, the wind blows freely from all quarters. A wooden post-mill of the kind dotted around Elizabethan England, though easily assembled, would not have stood Sark’s weather. Helier’s cylindrical stone tower-mill resembles the medieval mill at Rosel in Jersey; it has survived well – despite a major fire in 1797 and decapitation by German Occupation forces in 1940 to make a lookout platform.
There is a booklet for sale in the Visitor Centre for £1.00 about the windmill.