It is believed that this Smock Mill was erected on Beacon Hill in 1802 as the carved initials TB, 1802, standing for Thomas Beard, the owner, are to be seen on one of the original internal timbers. Further evidence of the date comes from the Sussex Weekly Advertiser of the 7th June 1802, which states that a human skeleton was discovered by workmen digging for the foundations of the windmill.
The Mill ground the corn of the village and supplied flour to the local bakers until it ceased to function in 1881. After this time it became progressively dilapidated and the village was in danger of losing their mill.
In 1923 the Marquess of Abergavenny, Lord of the Manor, granted a 99 year lease of the Mill and a small piece of land around it, to a group of important village people as Trustees for the village. The Trustees undertook “‘not to alter or detract from the picturesque appearance of the Mill and to preserve the same as an object of interest to the inhabitants and visitors to Rottingdean and district”.
When Rottingdean was absorbed into Brighton Borough in 1928, the Corporation acquired all the downland to the west side of the village from the Abergavenny estate, including the lease of the Windmill. The lease and trusteeship expire in 2021 at which time responsibility for the Mill will revert to Brighton and Hove City Council.