I always enjoy taking a stroll around the Moulton whenever I stay here – even when being battered by the chilly fenland winds. By many standards it is a quintessential English village, with its twelfth-century church overlooking a neatly-mown village green which is surrounded by charming old houses that testify to the place’s enduring wealth resulting from the rich agricultural land in the area.
Over the centuries, a good proportion of this wealth has been productively invested by the local gentry in ensuring that Moulton remains a thriving village. Some of the buildings around the village green were once the site of Moulton Grammar School that was opened in 1562 following a bequest from John Harrox the year before.
The school went on to educate generation after generation of local boys until it was finally merged with the nearby Spalding Grammar School (where I studied) in 1939. Over 400 years of continuous operation is quite an achievement given that even now the population is less than 4,000. Sir John must have been a man of great foresight and vision.
Just down the road from the church and village green is another symbol of productive investment in the form of Moulton Windmill. Standing over 100ft height, this is the tallest tower mill in the country and was built in 1822 to grind wheat and other grains from the surrounding farms. Even when its sails were removed in 1895 after being severely damaged in a gale the year it before, the mill continued to operate well into the twentieth century after being converted to steam power.
Following a campaign launched in 2003 to restore the mill, it has now been brought back to its former glory – even grinding its first bag of flour using wind power for the first time in over hundred years in 2013. The mill is open to visitors, where you can watch it in operation, enjoy refreshments in the coffee shop, and take a guided tour up to the top.
In all the years I’ve been coming here, I’ve never actually been inside the mill. The time has come to fix that this weekend…