June 18 – A day out with Joan and David to the Jack and Jill Windmill

St John the Baptist's Church, Clayton

Hello from Gillian and Michael

My uncle and aunty had generously looked after us for two weeks but now we had three housesits organised and we will leave them in peace tomorrow. It has been great to meet my cousins and their wives though we have not yet met any of their children. I am sure that will happen in time.

On our last day with them, they took us out to Claytons Windmills, known locally as Jack and Jill Windmills which stand on the South Downs above the village of Clayton, West Sussex. Jill is a post mill with a two-storey roundhouse and Jack is a five-storey tower mill. Duncton Mill is a post mill with a single storey roundhouse of a former post mill. All three are Grade II listed buildings. They were built in 1765 and milled corn. The working life of the mills ended in 1906 but they were restored in 1953 During the great storm of 1987 Jill’s sails were set in motion with the brake on, setting fire to the mill. The mill was saved by the Windmill Society. Jill is now in working order again and produces stoneground wholemeal flour made from organic wheat grown in Sussex.

The mill was open to the public when we were there and we were able to go inside and look at the inner workings. They invited us inside “As they liked the look of us” LOL.

On the way to the mills, we stopped to look at the Clayton Tunnel. Clayton Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in the village of Pyecombe near Clayton on the Brighton Main Line. This tunnel is turreted and castellated with a single-storey cottage on the top. It is hard to believe people live there. At 1 mile 499 yards (2,066 m) the Clayton Tunnel is the longest tunnel on the route. The tunnel was designed by architect David Mocatta and it was completed in 1841 after 3 years of work. We found this absolutely fascinating and we were very pleased to get our first “sidetracked” geocache to mark the occasion. I wonder how noisy it is to live in this house when the trains travel underneath. Less noisy now, I imagine, with the advent of electric trains.

Nearby we also found the church micro at St John the Baptist in Clayton. We were hoping it would be a fast find as David and Joan were waiting for us. However, we had to find four gravestones, a seat and a stone plaque to find 20 numbers, do some sums before walking down a track adjacent to the church where we found the cache easily. We also found one cache at the Jack and Jill Mills. We had afternoon tea at the South Downs Garden Centre in Hassocks.

St John the Baptist church, a grade 1 listed building in Clayton, is a small Anglo-Saxon building with some lovely stained glass windows and a panelled ceiling with gilded bosses. But the best thing was the wonderful wall paintings in the nave and on the chancel arch which date from the 12th century.  The murals were uncovered in 1893 when C.E.Kempe was restoring the interior. It is a small Anglo-Saxon building with a large churchyard. It is likely that the frescoes were painted directly on wet plaster in a very small range of local pigments in shades of yellow and red. The main subject is the “Day of Judgement”, making them early examples of the “Doom” paintings.