Sally is gone that was so kindly,
Sally is gone from Ha’nacker Hill
And the Briar grows ever since then so blindly;
And ever since then the clapper is still…
And the sweeps have fallen from Ha’nacker Mill.
Ha’nacker Hill is in Desolation:
Ruin a-top and a field unploughed.
And Spirits that call on a fallen nation,
Spirits that loved her calling aloud,
Spirits abroad in a windy cloud.
Spirits that call and no one answers —
Ha’nacker’s down and England’s done.
Wind and Thistle for pipe and dancers,
And never a ploughman under the Sun:
Never a ploughman. Never a one.
Halnaker Mill was first mentioned in 1540 as belonging to the manor of “Halfnaked”. It was built for the Duke of Richmond as the feudal mill of the Goodwood Estate. The surviving mill is thought to date from the 1740s and is known to have been standing c.1780. Halnaker Mill was working until struck by lightning in 1905, damaging the sails and windshaft. The derelict mill was restored in 1934 by Neve’s, the Heathfield millwrights as a memorial to the wife of Sir William Bird. Further repair work was done in 1954 by E Hole and Sons, The Burgess Hill millwrights. The mill was again restored in 2004. The mill is owned by West Sussex County Council.
Halnaker Mill (or Ha’nacker Mill, reflecting the true pronunciation) is the subject of a poem by the English writer Hilaire Belloc in which the collapse of the Mill is used as a metaphor for the tragic decay of the prevailing moral and social system.