Picture: Ryckevelde castle in Sijsele.
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The windmills of Sijsele
Sijsele still can boast with two mills: the village mill in the centre of Sijsele and the Allekerkemolen besides the Antwerpse Heirweg, in the direction of Donk. Their wings no longer turn in the wind as both have been stripped (the Allekerkemolen also has been undone of his hood), and now remain in the landscape as a memory of what was once a flourishing agricultural activity.
The mill stands in a beautiful green frame amidst the meadows. In 1632 a wooden windmill, used for the grinding of corn, was erected on this spot. In 1873 the wooden mill was taken down and replaced by the current specimen in stone. This stone mill served als corngrinder and as oil mill. Via a covered entrance you can access the ground-floor. The wings were removed in 1937 and in 1941 the cap was taken away. During the Second World War, the trunk was used as a watch-tower, first by German soldiers and then by collaborating Flemish. There was a direct telephone connection between the tower and the railway Maldegem-Sijsele.
The village mill is also called the "Mill Lievens", after the last family of millers that worked in it. This windmill was constructed in 1820 and was a stone mill with three storeys, an attic and a covered entrance through the artifical elevation. It was used as a corn mill and as an oil mill. In 1930, the hood and the wings were removed and a gas eninge was mounted to replace the power of the wind. After 1944 the miller worked with electricity. The operation halted in 1956, when the last miller died. Nowadays it is used as a house.
© Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com