Hampshire Mills Group



Crux Easton Wind Engine

The Crux Easton Wind Engine is a John Wallis Titt "Simplex" self-regulating geared wind engine, erected on this site circa 1891/92.

Historically this engine type is an important and rare example of a transitional design in wind engine technology between the earlier annular sailed windmills (such as Haverhill in Suffolk and Owlesbury in Hampshire), of which no example survives and the 20th Century fixed blade galvanised wind engines (the "prairie type" wind pumps).

Crux Easton has a 20ft wind wheel on a 32ft hexagonal skeletal steel tower, which originally pumped water and ground corn. It has 48 canvas sails, each of which is 5ft in length, and their angle is adjustable to allow for variations in the strength of the wind. A fan tail enables the engine to turn into the wind.

The Crux Easton Wind Engine is regularly Open to the Public and is situated at OS Map ref: SU 425 564, one mile off the A343 between Highclere and Hurstbourne Tarrant. 

The tower has had to be extensively restored, as the original legs were corroded and in danger of collapse. Much of the wind wheel has also been restored, and where parts were missing, cracked or broken these were re-cast from the original components.

The well house predates the engine by about 100 years and contained the well with water being brought up by a man wheel.  When the engine was erected a lean-to was built alongside which housed a small barn thresher worked by the wind engine via an exterior wheel.  On the upper floor inside can be seen a secondary inner wall built on two sides to hold the bearing boxes for the shafting to run the milling machinery.

Maps from the 19th Century show that the well existed before the wind engine was built. In 1873 a well is marked alongside a square pit (which could have been the site of the manor that research suggests was here up to the 18th Century). Twenty one years later in 1894 the map shows a small circle on the North side of the well to indicate the Wind Engine.

After construction in the 1890's the pumped water provided via the wind engine supplied only the Manor House and the farm for agricultural purposes. At the same time, water from the Carnarvon Estate supplied four other houses in the village.

During the excavation around the well house, numerous pieces of broken bottles have been found that date from the 18th Century, including some identification seals bearing the name Ed. Lisle Esq., the landowner here from 1678 -1722. Some of these are on display in the well house.

John Wallis Titt was born into a farming family at Elm Farm, Chitterne in 1841. After working on the family farm and for agricultural engineers and millwrights in Basingstoke and Devizes, he opened his own business in Warminster in 1872

In 1876 he established the Woodcock Ironworks, adjacent to his own Woodcock House, and within 10 years was producing the wind engines which made him famous. When he died in 1910 he left a thriving business, run by his two sons, which was engaged in many engineering projects.

For further information on John Wallis Titt follow this link to Sue Robinson's page, on the Village of Chitterne from where the extract was made, with her permission.


Crux Easton Wind Engine is not currently open.



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