late 19th / early 20th century
Although it may look like a pile of old springs, it is in fact a measuring device known as a Gunter Chain. The Gunter chain was invented by Rev. Edmund Gunter, Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London. A farmer would use a Gunter Chain to measure his fields, calculate the areas and thus the yield per acre of crops. The chain measures, perhaps not surprisingly, one chain or 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch. The little brass tags indicate the 10 links that make up the chain. 10 chains by 10 chains equals one acre. 80 chains in length equal one mile.
This chain was given to the windmill by Steve Tallis of Ullesthorpe who used to run a farm in Frolesworth. Steve said that the chain belonged to his father, or even his grandfather. Judging by the design of the tags and handles the chain is probably about 100 years old.
William Jayes, longest-serving miller at Ullesthorpe from about 1834 to about 1855 (and possibly later), rented fields and gardens off Manor Road. On the tithe map of 1840 (LRO) these measured 6 acres, one rod, one pole. He paid approximately six shillings an acre per annum to the vicar of Claybrooke who owned the land.
Ullesthorpe Subscription Windmill
Viewable on Open Days (see website); or on private tours by arrangement
Find Out More:
Donated by Steve Tallis, October 2009.
Tell Us More!
We want to hear your comments about this object! Tell Us More
SusanA brilliant example of salvage from the scrap heap of a long forgotten way of measuring land, which has been so important from William the Conqueror onwards. This object has all its parts intact (unlike others) and can still be used today to check details of land holdings on deeds, wills, tithe maps and other documents in Museums and Record Offices, by actually using it to measure fields and plots. It's one of those objects that covers more and more aspects of life the more you investigate its potential.
Explore other objects...
Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013