The history of Vindeby Mill Picture of the mill

Over time many attempts have been made to write the history of Vindeby Mill. The best description is the one compiled by the team from the Ravnsborg Local History Archive, which appears in the premier issue of the periodical of that society, "Lokalhistorien". This article (in Danish) can also be found on the net, on the Local History Archive website.

The turning point was a dendrochronological dating of the massive oak beams that form the skeleton of the mill. This was carried out in 2005, and showed that the timber was cut in 1824. Combined with the available historical documents this shows that the mill must have been built at its present location in 1824 and is the only smock mill at this location.

It's important to realize that there have been a number of different mills at approximately the same location as the present Vindeby Mill, the highest point in an admittedly extremely flat landscape. The predecessors have all been post mills.

There are records of millers all the way back to December 13th 1763 when the mill of that time changed owner and miller - from Anders Olsen to Peter Beyerholm. From then on the information is a bit sparse - most likely with some "missing links" in the succession of millers. On December 21st 1768 the name of the miller was Jonas Johansen and on December 14th 1780 Peder Jørgensen Tærning took over the mill from Niels Clausen. From the year 1800 we have the first appraisement of the mill, i.e. a valuation in connection with insurance of the mill against fire. From 1801 there's a record of a miller named Johan Frantz Broch. This is a census record, which also lists other members of the household. The miller would often have an apprentice and perhaps one or more other resident assistants.

From 1811 onwards we're on firmer ground, with a complete list of millers beginning with Niels Poulsen, who on March 11th 1811 hands over the mill to Anders Clausen, who remains in office until January 11th 1825. During this period, on November 9th 1823, the mill, a worn down and practically worthless post mill, was destroyed by fire and the present smock mill was constructed for the insurance sum (and insured against fire in 1824). A case of extreme overinsurance, which of course led to suspicions of fraud, but nothing could be proved, the insurance sum was payed out and the mill was built. Shortly after though, on January 11th 1825, before the erection of the mill had been completed, Anders Clausen sold the mill and moved away from the area.

The fascinating story of the fire, as well as a general account of the history of the mill based on the existing documents, has been compiled by local historian Jens Erik Christiansen on his website Vindebye Veirmølle (in Danish).

The new owner of the mill was Niels Raahauge, who in 1845 had a new appraisement done. After his death in 1856 his widow Birgith Hansigne Raahauge continued managing the mill until April 20th 1869, when her son Ferdinand Raahauge took over and remained the miller until June 10th 1884. There's an appraisement record from 1872 following a comprehensive restoration of the mill.

Next is Magnus Krogstrup Petersen who's miller from June 10th 1884 until January 12th 1904, his sons Peter Carl Krogstrup and Niels Poul Krogstrup take over for a year until January 7th 1905, and then Johannes Christian Rasmussen is the miller until August 3rd 1938.

Finally, the last miller at Vindeby Mill was Helge Gren. He was apprenticed to J. C. Rasmussen and in 1938 took over the mill and remained in charge of it until 1993, except that the practical matter of carrying out the restoration of the mill was placed in the hands of Vindeby Mill Guild in 1986.

 

Vindeby Mill

Vindeby Mill is a "Dutch windmill" or "smock mill". This type of mill is characterized by a design where only the upper part of the mill, the cap, is turned to face the wind while the main body of the mill is stationary. In contrast, the earlier "post mill" type has the entire construction balanced on a vertical post and turned as a whole, which places a limit on the size of the milling equipment.

The dendrochronological dating and the available documents determine the age of the mill to be approximately 192 years.

The sturdy construction of the mill and the unusual side portal on the east side of the mill, not found in other mills in this part of the world, were necessitated by the presence of a so-called stamp mill or hammer mill. This has caused strong vibrations in the mill and has also taken up the space at the center of the mill, which is the usual location of the portal. The stamp mill has probably been used for crushing animal bones, but was only in use for the first 20 years or so of the mills existence.

In 1959 Vindeby Mill was given protected status as part of our national heritage. In spite of this, however, the mill continued to deteriorate, and not until 1989 did the restoration get underway. It lasted for a decade and on April 25th 1998 Vindeby Mill was reinaugurated as a fully functional grain mill.

To the greatest possible extent the original timber has been preserved. Only the cap, the sails, the gallery and the covering have had to be completely replaced and have been reconstructed using authentic materials and procedures according to the original design.

Vindeby Mill has always stood - and still stands - as a landmark, a monument to the history of the region and a reminder of technical achievements in days gone by.