In a deed of sale dated 1606 it is stated that the Kirkby Mallory estate had three working mills, these being one windmill sited to the North of the village and one wind and one watermill to the South of the village., see below.

 This is my impression of what the landscape may have looked like in the mid 18th century. The church and Kirkby Hall are just visible (top right hand corner)


 Photo LEFT

.A part of the ancient track that serviced the two mills, to the South of the village.

An early O S village map has it marked as "Mill Lane" and it followed the line of Church Spinney to a point where it joined with the Barwell Lane, running at a right angle, right hand side of picture.



          As no records appear to have survived one can only guess as to the type and design of the windmills used. The present day sites yield little evidence other than the occasional red brick or large stone turned up by the plough. The windmills would have been of either the "Smock" or "Post"type design, both types being constructed of timber and usually set on a brick foundation, as the Kirkby mills appear to have been. The Post mill body was supported on a vertical post, and was turned into the prevailing wind by means of a tail pole extending from the rear of the structure. The design of the Smock mill differed in that only the top cap which supported the wind shaft was capable of turning, thus leaving the main body stationary.
For more information on windmills click here


  Present day view of the site of the North windmill, corner of the Newbold / Bosworth Road, on the edge of village. A small hillock, once in the foreground of the picture used to mark the spot where the mill once stood but this has recently been levelled out  

Todays site of the South windmill, edge of Mallory Park. The highest point is left of the fence. Kirkby church tower can just be seen, top Right hand corner 


  The construction of the watermill on the Kirkby Estate involved some major excavation work. The Mill was set in a hollow as shown in the picture above. I remember the site quite well, a grassy dip with a small stream crossing. There were no foundations to be seen, just a few granite stones scattered on the North, (wooded) side of the bank. The East / West sides of the hollow were quite shallow, which would have enabled carts etc. to cross.

The mill and the two outbuildings in the above painting are as shown in the O.S. map, held in the Wigston Records Office.      
              It  was found that a more efficient mill could be constructed if the water supply could engage the wheel from either above, or at an intermediate level instead below. From the engineering it would appear that the Kirkby Mill was of the former, being constructed below the Mill Pond .

The mill obtained its water supply from a millpond fed from two local streams. The course of these streams was diverted by means of leats, measuring today approximately 20ft. wide by 6ft. deep . These are quite large, due no doubt to considerable erosion. But it is quite conceivable they were made extra wide to retain more water for the mill.

The ground fell away quite steeply in front of the pond, on the North side of the hollow, and it was here that the Waterwheel would have been sited. The water left the mill by way of a channel, dug out to join up with the Barwell brook at the bottom of the meadow


The two leats ran in opposite directions, one East and the other North West. A small section of the North West leat can still be seen today on the edge of a small remnant of the wood. Although silted and overgrown its dimensions are still visible. See  Photo above


See  Photo Left.

Where the watermill once stood, edge of Kirkby Wood, and top of the meadow known as "Bottom Wood Close. This picture was taken (looking North) and the mill would have been just left of the trees, centre of picture. In recent years the hollow has been filled in, the meadows ploughed and the wood cleared, completely changing the landscape.

James Watt`s steam engine, invented in 1769 was a major contributor to the industrial revolution, and in so doing signalled the demise of wind and water power.

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