At the invitation of the Crux Easton Wind Engine Preservation Trust, Sir George offically opened the mill and the wind engine after its total refurbishment.
"Crux Easton is a small hamlet in North Hampshire, which depended on water drawn from wells until the 1960's when it was connected to the mains. The wind engine that was built in the 1890's provided pumped water to the Manor House and to the farm for agricultural purposes for many years, but fell into disuse with the advent of electricity and generators. Thanks to many people, it has now been restored.
Lyn Peet and Carol O'Shaughnessy, the daughters of Leonard Hill who bought the Crux Easton Estate in 1939, have provided the drive and enthusiasm, helped by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Basingstoke and Deane District Council, Hampshire County Council and the Vodaphone Group Charitable Trust.
Together with David Wolfenden, John Silman and Juston O'Shaughnessy, they formed the Crux Easton Wing Engine Preservation Trust who have managed tjhis project and preserved the wind engine and mill house for posterity. I pay tribute to their energy and foresight."
Extract from Official Programme
HISTORY OF THE WIND ENGINE
THE CRUX EASTON WIND ENGINE is a John Wallis Titt "Simplex" self-regulating geared wind engine, erected on this site circa 1891/92.
Historically this engine type is an important and rare example of a transitional design in wind engine technology between the earlier annular sailed windmills (such as Haverhill in Suffolk and Owlesbury in Hampshire), of which no example survives and the 20th Century fixed blade galvanised wind engines (the "prairie type" wind pumps). Crux Easton has a 2Oft wind wheel on a 32ft hexagonal skeletal steel tower, which originally pumped water and ground corn. It has 48 canvas sails, each of which is 5ft in length, and their angle is adjustable to allow for variations in the strength of the wind. A fan tail enables the engine to turn into the wind.
The tower has had to be extensively restored, as the original legs were corroded and in danger of collapse. Much of the wind wheel has also been restored,and where parts were missing, cracked or broken these were re-cast from the original components.
It is thought that the lower part of the well house predates the engine. There is photographic evidence that the paved area on the West side of the well house was once covered by a lean-to building which, it is believed, housed a saw bench or an oil engine. Inside the mill house it can be seen that the walls have been increased in height at some date, and there is also evidence that other machinery was turned by shafting driven by the wind engine.
JOHN WALLIS TITT
John Wallis Titt was born into a farming family at Elm Farm, Chitterne in 1841. After working on the family farm and for agricultural engineers and millwrights in Basingstoke and Devizes, he opened his own business in Warminster in 1872. In 1876 he established the Woodcock Ironworks, adjacent to his own Woodcock House, and within 10 years was producing the wind engines which made him famous. When he died in 1910 he left a thriving business, run by his two sons, which was engaged in many engineering projects. In addition to the manufacture of farm and waterworks equipment, it was also involved in the manufacture of early bicycles and cars.