Gallery ~ Landmarks
The Ruiton Mill
Off Vale Street, Ruiton, Upper Gornal.
A windmill at Ruiton has existed since the 17th century, the old mill has long since been demolished, a new windmill, the remains of which still show on the skyline, was built by George Richmond in 1830.
The mills occupied a lofty position well suited to their purpose at Ruiton.
Ruiton Mill tower has long since lost its sails, internal workings and grinding stones.
The adjacent mill cottages which included the bake-house were also constructed using the local quarried stone.
Several mills existed at Ruiton in the 19th Century, used for flour and grinding sand.
The Old Rewardine Windmill.
The old windmill at 'Rewardine' [Ruiton] was built of local stone, it was situated near to the summit of Hill Street, Ruiton.
In the 17th Century, it belonged to local gentry, the Persehouse family.
In 1702, Peter Persehouse sold Rewardine Mill to Thomas Maullin.
Among the probate items of Thomas Maullin of "Overgornal" [Upper Gornal] in 1722, were two millstones, 'Barley on the ground', hayricks, 4 cows, pig and mare, plus a large list of workshop and household items, all totalling 73.13.11. [Sedgley Probate Inventories, Roper]
The Old Mill continued in the ownership of the Maullin family and leased to local millers.
In 1759, Job Maullin disposed of it to William Woodward of Bloxwich and John Lees of Walsall. Their ownership lasted only a short time and it was sold to Samuel Fereday of Upper Gornal.
In 1790, Samuel Fereday transferred ownership of the windmill to his Son, Samuel Fereday, farmer of Park Farm, Sedgley.
1861: Newspaper Sale Notice
"All that FLOUR MILL, situate at Ruiton, in the parish of Sedgley, with Wind-mills, Machinery, and two pairs of French Stones, two Store Rooms, Stable, and Piggery; also a MESSUAGE or Dwelling House adjoining, consisting of Shop, Parlour, Kitchen, and three Chambers, Washhouse and Cistern. The whole contains an area of 580 square yards or thereabouts, and is Leasehold for the term of 999 years, of which 841 years are unexpired."
Thomas Turner and Benjamin Lloyd took possession in 1795, and in 1805 it was sold to William Richmond.
By 1835, it was in the ownership of his son George Richmond who had just built the new windmill nearby in Vale Street.
It was described in Mr. Richmonds bankruptcy notice in 1837 as...
"all that other corn wind mill, with a messuage or dwelling-house, store-room, stabling, pump of water and garden..."
After the failure of George Richmond in 1837, it passed to a succession of owners, in the 1844 Tythe, it was owned by Paul Thompson, described as 2 Houses, Windmill, Yard etc...
The last owner being Edward Jones who took possession in 1861.
It is likely that it was used for grinding sand from the local quarries in much of it's later life.
However the windmill fell into a dilapidated condition and eventually fell down sometime in 1872 due to age and the proximity of the quarry workings.
A contempory account of the demise of the Old Mill reads:-
Mr. Edward Jones, the owner, first noticed at 8 o'clock in the morning that it leaned very much.
He very properly cautioned people living nearby that it would likely fall.
About 10 o'clock a terrible rent appeared across the front of the mill and the back part of it had sunk some inches in the ground.
A great number of people by this time had collected near to witness the end of Ruiton Old Mill, and great anxiety was felt with regard to the damage that was likely to follow to houses close by, and over which there seemed a sad but inevitable consequence.
However all anxiety soon ended, for a few minutes before 12 o'clock it fell without doing damage to any house or person, and much thankfulness was expressed by those living near for such a marvellous escape.
Two further mills were located at Ruiton according to the 1844 Tithe map, they were located near to the Old Mill but it is thought that these may have been Oxen powered sand crushing mills and not windmills, there would have been sand crushing mills at the stone quarries.
Piece 2515, described as House, Land, Mill & Land, owned by Isaac Williams and occupied by Aaron Hall,
The other mill, piece 2534, is described as a Sand Mill occupied by Esther Rollason.
The New Windmill at Ruiton
George Richmond, who owner of the old mill, had built the new windmill in 1830.
1837: Notice on the bankruptcy of George Richmond.
Extensive sale of Household furniture, Stock of Wheat, Flour, Beans, Peas, Spring Carts, capital Black Gelding, &c., at Ruiton Mills, in the parish of Sedgley, by the order of assignees of Mr. George Richmond, bankrupt.
By R. Adams - To be SOLD by AUCTION, this present Monday, November 27, and following days, until the whole is disposed of-all the valuable large stock of Wheat, Flour, Sharps, Brans, Beans, Peas, part of a Rick of Oats, Potatoes, Scales and Weights, large quantity of bags, Capital Black Gelding, rising five, steady to ride or drive, two light Spring Carts, Gig Harness, two sets of Cart Gearing, Baking Peals, Tins, tubs, scales and weights &c., also the gentile and useful Household Furniture, including oak four post, tent, and other bedsteads, capital feather beds, eight-day clock in mahogany case, mahogany dining and other tables, chest of drawers, chairs, pier and swing glasses, prints, pictures, glassware, linen, china, brass mounted wire and other fenders, garden chair, together with well seasoned brewing vessels kitchen and culinary utensils, and other effects. "
The 'new' windmill was substantially built of sandstone from the nearby quarry, it had three grinding stones capable of grinding 120 bags of corn per week.
The new venture by George Richmond was short-lived and he was bankrupted in 1837 and both mills were sold off.
George Richmond was described as a Miller, Baker, Dealer and Chapman in bankruptcy notices in 1837.
Robson's 1839 directory lists him as a Pawnbroker, Upper Gornal.
The 1844 Tythe map shows the new mill was owned by Holyoak & Co., the plot was described as a House, Mill, Garden & Croft.
In the last few years of it's active life, the 'new' mill was possibly used to grind sand from the nearby stone quarry after the old mill had fallen, the resulting fine sand was extensively used around the area for scouring.

1860: Aris's Birmingham Gazette, October 13.
TO be SOLD or LET, all that very desirable
situate as above.
The Mill is well and substantially built of Stone, and the Fittings and Grinding Apparatus are all complete, and it is in every way suitable for carrying on a good Business. There is a large Water Cistern underneath, by which, at a very small cost, the Mill might be made to work with Steam Power.
The House contains four Bed Rooms, Parlour, Sitting Room, Shop, Kitchen, and large Garden, with a sufficient supply of Hard and Soft Water, and lately in the occupation of Mr. Paul Thompson, the Proprietor.
Also two FREEHOLD HOUSES situated near the above, producing the low annual rent of 13., and is in the occupation of Joseph Hickman and another.
Also all that eligible Piece of PASTURE LAND, adjoining the above; and containing, including the site of the Buildings, 1A. 0R. 12P., or thereabouts, and in all probability there is a good Mine of Stone underneath.
The above Property is delightfully situated on an eminence, and commands very extensive views, including the Wrekin, Clee, and Malvern Hills, Enville, Himley, and surrounding country.
For further particulars and to treat apply to Mr. Charles Round, Surveyor and Auctioneer, Owen Street, Tipton.
1864: Newspaper Notice.
The above Mill having Three Pairs of Stones, Flour Machine, Smutter, Duster, &c., in good repair, with trade attached.
-For particular apply on the Premises."
Location of the old and new Windmills, at this time belonging to Paul Thompson, the 'Sand Mill' may have been Oxen powered.
The last recorded use was in the 1870s, in 1877 a storm hit Ruiton and it was reported that the sails were damaged.
A newspaper of December 1877, reported violent gales accompanying bad snow storms had affected Ruiton and damaged several buildings in the area.
"..the sails of Ruiton Windmill which is used for grinding sand, were destroyed".
It is likely that it was no longer used for grinding after that time.
The new mill at Ruiton apparently didn't prosper under any ownership, no doubt partly due to the changing landscape of the area -the once farmland yeilding to quarrying and mining enterprises.
The Mill fell into a poor state of repair and was derelict for a long period of time. During the 1950s there was more interest in saving this landmark.
Two photos of Ruiton windmill in 1958. The spars and gears were removed shortly after.
The four spars - the wooden remains of the sails, were removed in the late 1950s after a very long period of disuse and decay.
The windmill became a grade II listed building in 1950, although throughout that decade its future was in still in doubt, the preservation of the windmill tower was taken over by the local authority.
The nearby stone cottages are also listed buildings and of the same period as the tower.
The Mill Cottages are now a private residence.
In 1958, the sails and gearing were removed and put into storage, then work commenced on capping the mill with a concrete crown, fitting three floors with connecting wooden stairs, then when the project initiated by Staffordshire County Council was complete in 1962, the mill was offered for use by local scout groups.
The Mill is now used as the headquarters for the Dudley Caving Club, who use the structure for abseiling, and also Dudley Amateur Radio Club who regularly meet there as well as local youth groups.
Internally, it has been refurbished and has toilet and kitchen facilities, it occupies three floors, as well as the roof which gives impressive views on a clear day over Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, West Midlands and beyond.
Showing the courtyard and entrancde.
Photo CDM 2017
Fabulous views to the west showing Titterstone Clee Hill (left) and Brown Clee (right) on the horizon more than 20 miles away.
Photo CDM 2017.
Standing around 900 feet above sea level, the top gallery of the mill gives outstanding views in all directions but particularily to the south and west, where on a clear day the horizon 40 miles way can be seen.