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The walls are approximately 3 feet (0.91 m) thick, and the diameter of the inner chamber is approximately 18 feet (5.5 m).
The chamber has four windows on what used to be the main floor, and three very small ones at the upper level.
It is supported by eight cylindrical columns that form stone arches, two of which are slightly broader than the other six.
Above the arches and inside the tower is evidence of a floor that once supported an interior chamber.
De Barres' plan of Newport published in 1776 marks it as "Stone Wind Mill." During the American Revolution, the tower was used by the Americans as a lookout and by the British to store munitions.
The tower is located at the upper end of the plot behind the now-demolished mansion built by Benedict Arnold, the first colonial governor of Rhode Island, who moved from Pawtuxet to Newport in 1651.
Eighteenth-century paintings show that the hill itself once furnished a view of the harbor and would have been visible to passing mariners in Narragansett Bay, but recent tree growth now obscures the view. From southeast to northwest, the diameter reportedly measures 22 feet 2 inches (6.76 m) but, when measured from east to west, the diameter lengthens to 23 feet 3 inches (7.09 m).
A conventional chimney could not be used, as it would foul the turning cap and sails of the windmill.
At some period before 1677 Arnold built the Old Stone Mill." claiming that "on the other hand, there is very little probability that Benedict built his Tower as a mill...
the tower mill form, as contrasted to the smock, post and composite forms, was not common in England until the beginning of the 18th century." Subsequent research has determined that Chesterton was, in fact, built as a windmill in 1632-33, as the original building accounts have been traced since Wailes' death in 1986, including payments for sailcloths. In 1993, radiocarbon dating tests of the tower's mortar were undertaken by a team of researchers from Denmark and Finland.
Examples include Upholland Windmill, Lancashire, where the fireplace is at second floor level (first floor in British English), and the doors and windows are aligned to the cardinal points of the compass, as well as Much Wenlock windmill, Shropshire, which has double flues of uncertain purpose rising from the middle floor level.
Four of the eight supporting pillars of the tower face the main points of the compass.
There is a mistaken notion that Arnold was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, only a short distance from Chesterton; the family lived near Limington in Somerset, about 100 miles (160 km) away.