Frank W. Gregory (1917-1998) A Milling Hero

Restoration of Argos Hill Mill, Mayfield

November 02nd 2014 by Elizabeth Trout

Click here for more information on Argos mill.

The restored mill, 1986

In 1970, a letter from Mr F. Child warned Frank that the some of the information in the brochure for Argos Mill may be plagiarised from Frank’s article in the Polegate guide. Then he mentions Rex Wailes who showed members of the Uckfield District Council around the mill with Mr Child and Edwin Hole, a few days earlier. Finally, he asks Frank for some advice. Does he know where there might be a mill with a wooden winsdshaft with the stocks morticed through? Apparently Sidney Ashdown thought that Bursledon near Southampton was the only mill left in the country with such an arrangement. Frank also made notes comparing measurements of the fly post and fan of Argos Hill and Cross in Hand.

Frank’s chief involvement in Argos Hill came from 1985 onwards. Mr Glover of Wealden District Council was concerned about the erection of a fence around the mill by the then owners, whilst the daily management of the mill was being carried out by the Mayfield Historical Society. Frank reported that he was “horrified” that the fence was so close that it had destroyed the turning circle track and thus prevented the sails from turning, a task done regularly by council workmen to ensure that the wooden stocks did not develop a sway [bend] and also to enable any water collected in the poll end and shakes in the timber to drain away. He was also concerned that the fence allowed for would-be vandals to hide out of sight of the house; the close proximity of the mill to the house surely was a natural deterrent without the need for a fence. The owners had erected the fence to protect their children from possible attacks from strangers visiting the mill! Apparently, Frank often visited the mill with parties of people and the mill was closed to visitors in 1986 because of the continued concerns of the mill owners opposed to the interests of the Mayfield Parish Council.

In a further letter dated 19th March 1986, Mr Glover tells Frank that due to changes in personnel, their ‘windmill expertise’ in the Works and Services Department had been seriously depleted. He “would appreciate being able to draw on your knowledge to ensure that Argos Hill Windmill is correctly maintained”. To that end, Frank was invited to make a site visit with Mr Glover and the WDC’s Principal Property Surveyor on Tuesday 22nd April 1986 at 2pm in order to establish exactly the maintenance required.

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