First of all, it is worth noting that during the 19th century, the Crozon peninsula accommodated about one hundred windmills and several dozen watermills.
At this time, six windmills existed in the commune of Telgruc-sur-Mer alone. In 2012, only two remained, both of which were in ruins: the Quinivel windmill (on the Tal-Ar-Groas Châteaulin main road) and Luzéoc windmill.
The magnificent location of this second windmill (overlooking the large beach at Trez-Bellec) was one of the factors in favour of its restoration for the EOST association (Etudes Ouvertes Sur Telgruc) chaired by Jean-Pierre Quémener.
The Windmill’s History
The history of Luzéoc windmill (known in its early days as Pen ar Stang, and a dwelling for its first owners) began between 1832 and 1836.
Research which has been carried out dates its construction to about 1832/1836 by Jean Marchadour, the husband of Louise Labasque and a resident of Penn-ar-Stank (the Marchadour family 1st appears in the Telgruc-sur-Mer census in 1836).
On 26 February 1872, it was sold to Jean Alix, a miller and the owner of Le Caon watermill, who was married to Barbe Marie Boussard.
On 8 January 1887, their daughter Marguerite Alix, wife of Hervé Carn, sold the mill to Noël Kéravel, husband of Marie-Anne Trétout, in Penn-ar-Stank, as shown by the inscriptions on the door jambs: ‘K/AVEL Noël on the one facing south and ‘1887’ on the one facing north.
The following items were included in the sale: a set of scales with wooden pans, two iron weights each weighing twenty kilograms, a ten kilogram weight, a five kilogram weight, a one kilogram weight and a final five hundred gram weight, a lever, two grinding stone dressing hammers, a large hammer, a wooden bowl and a barrel, eight pieces of canvas and the planks in place below the grindstone.
Noël Kéravel (1842 – 1924) worked as a miller there until the First World War. His son Yves, who was born in 1884, carried on as a miller, but he was killed on 20 October 1915, leaving behind his son Noël (born 31 July 1914) as sole heir.
The mill deteriorated over time and lost its sails. From the 1920s onwards, its thatched roof, which was left unmaintained, started to deteriorate in bad weather (see photo Jos Le Doaré) and by the 1950s only the tower remained.
In 1972 the plot of land where the windmill stood, known as ‘ar veil aël’, was bought by the Nédelec-Jaffredou family who camped there in the summer. The building, which was never maintained, became dilapidated under the effects of the weather. The new owners regularly removed stones which posed a risk to their safety.
Luckily, these stones remained hidden away in what was left of the tower or were used to build a low wall around the land on which the ruin was located.
The windmill’s features
It comprises a windmill tower that is 5.8 m high, giving an interior diameter at the base of 3.85 m (4.05 m on the 1st floor) and with 85 cm walls (65 cm on the 1st floor).
Its sails have a span of 13.15 m, and comprise 2 fixed yards offset on a driving shaft onto which the upper sections are fixed, each comprising 14 rungs.
Each sail carries two 5 m x 1 m canvases made from maritime canvas and created by La Camarétoise sail makers.
In order to avoid having to climb on the sails to fix them on, we asked Gilles Morio to devise a system that would allow them to be raised from the ground. He has installed a system of halyards which has proved to be very satisfactory.
In 2012, the land was put up for sale, and the EOST association encouraged the community to buy it with a view to restoring the windmill. It was not possible to start with the existing ruin because of the state that it was in. As a result, it was completely demolished.
The reconstruction of the windmill would be done using just the original stones, with the assistance of the Friends of Windmills in Finistère association (whose headquarters are in Daoulas with Benoit Huot as president), the Heritage Foundation (fundraising efforts resulted in 146 donors of whom nearly a half were not from Telgruc-sur-Mer) and the Regional Council of Brittany and the Département of Finistère.
Following a call for tenders, the contract for the tower was given to Mein Breizh who specialise in restoration work, and the joinery work (cap, milling system, sails, etc.) was given to Gilles Morio from Plérneuf in the Côtes-d’Armor, who is a carpenter specialising in water wheels and the pupil and successor to the late Jean Peillet. The cost of the contracts, not including the architect’s fees, totalled at least €190,000. Funding was provided by grants from the Regional Council of Brittany and the Département of Finistère (€83,000 overall) and from donations: €40,000 was contributed, €7,000 of which was by the Heritage Foundation and the remaining balance by the community.
The rebuilding work began on 16 December 2015 and the work was completed by 10 July 2016, ready for the inauguration on 16 July.
Since the site has been opened to the public, the EOST association, which is in charge of the guided tours, has recorded over 2,000 visitors – one of whom was a Dutch miller who has turned his 7-storey windmill into a museum.
Luzéoc windmill is living testimony to Telgruc-sur-Mer’s past history and has become a show-piece example of heritage, as well as a great attraction.