Visit Robertson’s Windmill, located at Ewing Field. Designed and built between 1955 and 1957, the reconstructed Windmill is based on the 1636 Bourn windmill in Cambridgeshire, England.
History of the Windmill
Harnessing wind power is not a new concept; windmills were used in the 18th century to industrialize labor intensive tasks like grinding grain into meal. There is documentation of Williamsburg residents owning windmills. For example, in 1723, William Robertson sold his land, house, and windmill to John Holloway. While it is unclear where that windmill was located, this is evidence that a Williamsburg resident owned one near the town. The original location continues to elude us, but it quite possibly was located where the Colonial Parkway is today. There is also a windmill recorded just south of the Public Hospital on the 1782 Frenchman’s map.
The windmill was originally reconstructed in 1956 and operated at the north end of the Peyton Randolph site. The design, called a post mill, is based on the 1636 Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire, England. In 2010, the decision was made to move it to Great Hopes Plantation. Due to the condition of the moving elements, the building was in need of a major restoration. The move provided an excellent opportunity to work on the building and replace essential framing. On August 8, 2022, this iconic structure was returned to the Historic Area to be a part of the Historic Farming program at Ewing Field.
By the Numbers
Moving the Windmill
Tour: Meet the Gardener
Garden volunteers answer questions about growing flowers and vegetables in the Historic Area. Free reservation required.
Free Event Ticket
Conversation: Meet a Nation Builder at the Farm
Visit the farmers and a Nation Builder at the Historic Farming and Windmill site as they discuss how agriculture impacted everyone in Virginia society, both free and enslaved.
Tour: Arboretum Central Historic Area
Learn about some of Colonial Williamsburg's most asked-about trees, how the colonists used them, and how they continue to be important today.
Free Event Ticket