Ivanhoe Ashby de la Zouch U3A U3A Group Logo

Monthly Meetings

We meet at 2 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Congregational Church, Kilwardby St, Ashby.
There is normally a guest speaker or, in December, musical entertainment.
This is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to meet and talk with other members.


Future programme
DateSpecial EventsSpeakerSubject

Tue 10th DecChristmas EventNick GravestockAyres & Graces - Christmas entertainment
Tue 28th JanStephanie and Trevor MeeConfessions of game show junkies
Tue 25th FebColin HillDancing with Diana
Tue 24th MarMark Walsh"The Ukulele Sensation"

Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups

MonthTea GroupMeet & GreetReporting Groups
Tue 10th DecThe Committee for Christmas FareDavid & Lesley Thomasnone


26th November "Lost Windmils of Leicestershire" by Mark Temple

After we were let down by our booked speaker at very short notice, we were very lucky to have Mark Temple come and give us his talk on the "Lost windmills of Leicestershire" or as an alternative title he thought "Gone with the Wind" sounded appropriate.

Mark is a volunteer at Hough mill at Swannington. So why Windmills? He went to University in Loughborough where he studied to be a librarian. As part of his degree course, he researched local windmills and watermills and through this he became interested in them. His interest was helped by growing up in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, where a windmill had once stood in the high street; as a boy he had watched it being demolished .

Windmills and watermills were first recorded in Britain back in the 12th century, mainly in religious texts. Windmills were then mostly post mills with a base supporting a central pillar that the mill house could be revolved around to face the wind. These were very precarious in storms as they would topple over.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, some churches had carvings of mills on their pew ends.
Around this time, horizontal mills started to appear. These are built around a central vertical shaft with paddles fixed to it so they rotate horizontally, a bit like a watermill standing on its end. Only one remains in UK, in Margate, otherwise they are mainly found in the middle east.

More locally in Leicester city in 1828 there were 9 mills shown on local maps. On a map of Bradgate Park from 1754, Old John was shown as originally being a hill with a windmill on it .

In 1897 Mountsorrel windmill was taken down and moved to the other side of town. It never worked again as it was in the lee of the wind. It was taken down and the wood used in the church screen, and the millstone can still be seen in the garden of Stonehurst farm

A mill was built in 1890 at Woodhouse Eaves but in a big storm in 1895, it and 38 nearby mills were destroyed. Woodhouse Eaves mill was restored on the outside as a view point for tours and picnics and then in 1930 it was burnt down. In the 1950s local councillors raised £2500 to rebuild it but the money went missing! Since then there have been two more attempts to replace it but the cost has been prohibitive and all that is left of it is the base

A lot of the millers in an area would be relatives from the same family, the Hive family being a local milling family. The mills could only support one miller so when sons needed to work they were sent to a nearby mill to work.

There are records on maps of there having been 3 mills in Ashby, one in Featherbed lane, demolished in 1900, another on the hill south of the castle, the third being in Smisby. There is thought to have been another, and those visiting the Lamb pub in Market Street can see a rubbing on a beam there of this 4th windmill.

The last type of mill is a tower mill where only the cap on top of the tower rotates. There are examples of these in Castle Donnington, Melbourne, in Staunton Harold reservoir, Shepshed and Kegworth, several of these style of mill have survived as they have been incorporated into houses.

Mark gave us a very interesting talk with lots of facts about something we see all around us but take little notice of, nor realise their many differences and their various problems in use.