Portaferry Windmill

This windmill was built by the Savage family in 1771. In 1836 records show that it was owned by William McCleery, a local merchant, shipowner and shipbuilder. At that time Portaferry was a place of prosperity and between 1812 and 1822 over thirty vessels were built in this little port. The main builders were the McCleerys and Thomas Gelston.

The windmill had two sets of millstones but was completely destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1878. There is little trace of the kiln house or grain store. Only the mill stump remains and it is an important navigational aid to shipping coming up the Lough.

A trial excavation in 1993 by the Historic Monuments and Buildings’ service concluded that the platform is original and was created in the 18th century by terracing the hilltop specifically for the windmill.

Portaferry Windmill

At one time there were over fifty windmills on the Ards Peninsula and most, like this, were built by local landowners. They would then allow their tenants to scutch flax or grind grain for a percentage of the crop.

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