Great Gransden Windmill is an ‘open trestle’ post mill set on low piers. It dates from some time prior to 1694. Its date has been reported as 1612 by one author but this possibly refers to a predecessor on the same site.
The mill is a ‘head and tail’ mill with good machinery, including two pairs of stones directly overdriven using stone nuts with 11 and 18 cogs, and with unusual tail lag governors in wrought iron with lead weights and three arms on curved horns. The brake-wheel used to have two rows of staggered apple wood cogs but one row has been removed. There is an iron tail-wheel. A bolter (a type of flour dressing machine) is located on the first floor. The black tarred horizontally weather boarded buck (body) has an ogee roof and a rear extension, a tailpole and rear ladder.
It was last worked in around 1890, when it had two common and two spring sails, which it retained until at least 1914, though it was last wind worked in 1911. The mill was derelict by 1925, and was later bought by Wallis Mills, who waterproofed the body. It was owned by Queen Marie and her son, King Peter of Yugoslavia, who lived in the mill house during World War II. The mill was given to the County Council in 1950.
By the 1970s, the sails had long gone but the stocks remained. The buck was twisted and had to be supported with scaffolding. Restoration took place 1982-4.
Great Gransden village in Cambridgeshire has a population of approximately 1000 people. The village name is derived ‘valley of a man named Granta or Grante and was mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.
Great Gransden was mentioned in 973 when its land was endowed to Thorney Abbey by Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester. Its older centre is made up of cottages grouped around the 16th century church, although its tower dates from about 1390.The continuing connection between the village and Clare College, Cambridge appears to date back to 1346, when the advowson for Great Gransden church was part of the original endowment of the college.