Halnaker Mill, situated just north-east of Chichester, was known first to Ireland as a ruin, having been struck by lightning in 1905. It was restored in 1934, then again in 1954 and 2004. Peter Warlock (1894–1930) set Hilaire Belloc’s (1870–1953) melancholy words about the crumbling building, Belloc himself an ardent lover of Sussex (more on Belloc at a future date). We know that John Ireland and Warlock spent some time together, and given that Warlock’s song ‘Ha’nacker Mill’ dates from 1927 – around the time that Ireland knew him – it is possible that the two men may have visited the mill together. I recently came across Belloc singing his own poem, an extraordinary version that merits further exploration. It starts at 1’44.
The pictures below show Halnaker Mill’s changing face: in 1920, in 1994 and in its fully restored form in 2009. More on Sussex mills at this site: