The Windmill Hill Business Park, in West Swindon, with its futuristically designed buildings, opened to great acclaim in 1984.

The area owes its name to the presence of a windmill in the vicinity, although not the one that stands in the Business Park today, which originally came from Chiseldon.

The mill, built in 1823, next to the cemetery in Butts Road, Chiseldon, passed out of use in about1892. Then it was used as a stable and for storage purposes, until the St Martin’s Property Group began reconstruction at the Windmill Hill site in January 1984. A building more authentic to the area is the former Marsh farmhouse now used as office accommodation.

The 101-acre dairy farm, once part of the Lydiard Park Estate belonged to the St John family. The tithe map apportionments, produced in 1841, record ancient field names such as The Shannells and Picks Mead.

Early 19th century rate books reveal that William Dore, the founder of the Swindon auction house, was tenant in 1806, while James Ellison was one of the longest serving tenants, paying rates on the farm from 1823-1850. He was followed by a series of relatively short-term lets until WJ Rumming moved in at the end of the century. Marsh Farm appeared as Lot 18 when Lady Bolingbroke put the bulk of her estate up for auction in 1930. The farm was described as an exceptionally convenient dairy holding with “Good, Healthy, Level Pasture Land.” The brick-built farmhouse contained three rooms, a dairy, larder and milkhouse on the ground floor and three bedrooms and a cheese room on the first floor.

Outbuildings included accommodation for 44 cows and stabling for six horses.There was also a four-roomed brick, thatched cottage close by.

The tenant, John P Rumming, the son of WJ Rumming, bought the farm in a private transaction.

In the absence of any archaeological remains of the windmill there is one compelling piece of pictorial evidence.

Among the St John monuments in St Mary’s Church, Lydiard Tregoz is the Golden Cavalier, a tribute to Sir John St John’s son Edward who died from wounds received at the 2nd Battle of Newbury in 1644.

On the base of the statue there is a relief carving of the Cavalier leading his troop . Alan Turton, writing in English Civil War Notes And Queries 1985 about the presence of a Post Mill (windmill) in the carving says “the whole design may show Captain Edward St John parading his troop in the park, hence the railings, of his family home at Lydiard Tregoze where there is also a Windmill Hill on the estate.”