Castle Rising Mill
River Babingley


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Steam Mills

June 1968
June 1968

Castle Rising watermill was one of Norfolk's smallest mills in later years, although in 1868 the mill had a four storey steam mill alongside the watermill running up to twelve pairs of stones between them. The mill site and the surrounding farm complex as can be seen on the 1888-89 O.S. map below. Eventually most of the mill complex was demolished and a new cut was made for the river to bypass the mill.



June 1968 13th March 2004
June 1968
13th March 2004

Castle Rising mill has often, throughout history, been mistaken for West_Newton mill, mainly because although they are separate mills, they are in the same parish. When both were insured by the Howard family in 1868 Castle Rising Mill was listed as the Lower Mill and West Newton mill as the Upper Mill.


On 21st July 1722 The Norwich Gazette reported: 'Yesterday were committed to the Castel one Jeremy Holmes of Castlerising and Richard Gibson his servant, both millers for firing a Paper-mill in the said Borough'. Apparently the cause of the dispute was that West_Newton papermill had been used for grinding corn. No more details were given and the fate of the millers is unknown, except that five years later the paper-mill was still in ruins and Holmes was no longer the corn-miller.


Richd. Newman of Castle Rising in the County of Norfolk, Miller. £200 Buildings. The Buildings above mention'd being Afsigned to Geo. Boldin of Grimston in the County of Norfolk, Yeoman, on the Back of this Policy is hereby allow'd. Afsignment N. 60221.
Royal Exchange Fire Insurance - 14th January 1774


WEREHAM
Wm. Spelman & Sons are honoured with instructions from the Mortgagees in fee with concurrence of the Assignees of Edward Wolsey a Bankrupt
To Sell by Auction at the Castle Inn, Downham Market on Monday 18 March 1850 at 2 for 3 o'c
The following highly Desirable and Valuable Property
lot 1.
A Freehold STEAM FLOUR MILL
Lot 7.
A POST_WINDMILL with Patent Sails and Roundhouse, driving two pairs of French 4 ft. Stones with all her going gears, standing well winded in about an Acre of Land adjoining Lot 6 and the road to Lynn.
Apply to H. B. B. Mason, Esq. Solr. Wereham, near Stoke Ferry, F. B. Bell Esq. Solr. Downham Market, J. Stanfield Esq. 76, Basinghall St. London and Messrs. Spelman at their offices, No0rwich & Yarmouth.
Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd, 9th & 16th March 1850


Splendid Steam Flour Mill, recently erected and fitted up in the best style, Post_Windmill, Dwelling House, Flour Shop, Baking Office, extensive Warehouses, Granaries and Stabling, four Cottages, Gardens and five Inclosures of Arable and Pasture Land.
WEREHAM Within 5 miles of the Railway Station, Downham Market.
William Spelman & Sons are honoured with instructions from the Mortgagees with full powers of Sale
To Sell by Auction at the Castle Inn, Downham Market on Monday July 8, 1850 at 2 o'c
The ESTATES situate at Wereham in the county of Norfolk lately occupied by EDWD. WOLSEY, a Bankrupt and his undertenants.
Apply to H. B. B. Mason, Esq. Solr. Wereham near Stoke Ferry, F. B. Bell Esq. Solr. Downham Market or Messrs. Spelman at their offices, Norwich & Yarmouth.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 15th & 22nd June 1850


Situations Vacant
To Journeyman Millers
WANTED, a Man who thoroughly understands the Business, to work in a Steam Mill.
Apply to Edward Wolsey, Wereham, Stoke Ferry.
Norfolk News - 22nd April 1865


To MILLERS & BAKERS
WANTED, a Young Single Man in the above trade.
Apply F. Woolsey, Miller, WEREHAM, Brandon.
Norfolk News - 16th September 1865


WATER, WIND & STEAM MILLS
To be Let or Sold on adventageous Terms, now in full trade & Baking Business, 10 to 12 sacks a week done. GOOD DWELLING HOUSE, GARDEN & PREMISES, near a first class market town. Apply to Mr. Shute, Auctioneer, Valuer etc. 8 Portland Street, Kings Lynn

Lynn Advertiser - 23rd February 1867


Messrs. F. & E. Beck
Are instructed by the asignees of Messrs. Ayre & Son
To Sell by Unreserved Sale
on Monday March 11, 1867 commencing at 11 o'c the following valuable PROPERTY
Comprising Horses ...
42 sacks of superfine & fine wheat flour
15 sacks of randan
4 sacks of barley meal
7 combs of beans
8 acres of swede turnips to be fed on the land
Waggons etc. ...
1200 flour sacks
Catalogues at the place of Sale & of the Auctioneers, Mileham & Oxwick.

Lynn Advertiser - 9th March 1867


THE BANKRUPTCY ACT 1861
In the affairs of Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre.
Notice is hereby given that the Trustees under the Deed of Conveyance dated 13 February 1867 executed by Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre of Castle Rising in the County of Norfolk, Millers & co-partners ... first dividend ...
Dated 7 May 1867

T.G. Archer

Daniel Ward
)
) Kings Lynn
)
Lynn Advertiser - 11th May 1867

THE BANKRUPTCY ACT 1861
In the affairs of Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre.
Notice is hereby given that the Trustees under the Deed of Conveyance dated 13 February 1867 executed by Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre of Castle Rising in the County of Norfolk, Millers & co-partners ... dividend ...
Dated 30 July 1867

T.G. Archer

Daniel Ward
)
) Kings Lynn
)
Lynn Advertiser - 3rd August 1867

HOUSEHOLD GOODS ... Flour cart ... 2 weighing machines & weights ... sack barrows ... CASTLE RISING ...
Mr. F. G. Shute
Will Sell by Auction upon the premises late in the occupation of Mr. T. J. Ayre on Wednesday August 7, 1867 at 2 o'c precisely the above.
Auction, Valuer & Surveyor's Office.
Kings Lynn, August 1, 1867

Lynn Advertiser - 3rd August 1867


THE BANKRUPTCY ACT 1861
In the affairs of Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre.
Notice is hereby given that the Trustees under the Deed of Conveyance dated 13 February 1867 executed by Thomas James Ayre & Charles Harris Ayre of Castle Rising in the County of Norfolk, Millers & co-partners ot the Estate & Effects for the benefit of creditors ...
... final dividend ...
Dated 9 April 1868

T.G. Archer

Daniel Ward
Joint Solrs, to the Trustees
)
) Kings Lynn
)
Lynn Advertiser - 11th April 1868

INSURANCE POLICY FOR CASTLE RISING MILLS 1868

Between Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society and the Hon Mary G Howard (widow)
From 12th May 1868 to 24th June 1869, payable annually at midsummer.
Sum insured £1790.0.0 Premium £10.10 2 + £1.10.6 (duty) = £ 12.0.8
£400 on the Building of a water and steam Corn Mill called Lower Mill, four stories high Engine House and Fitting Shed adjoining and communicating with the mill, containing not more than twelve pairs of stones. No kiln there or in adjoining or communicating buildings and no oats shelled therein. An Arnoll Stove has been erected in the grinding room, the flue passing through the brick gable in the chimney of the counting house adjacent to the said mill occupied by Edward Wolsey.
£200 on the Dwelling House, Counting House and Domestic Offices, adjacent and communicating with the Mill through the Counting House occupied by Ed. Wolsey.
£200 on the Dwelling House and Domestic Offices all adjoining the last item, at present unoccupied.
£200 on the Stables, Harness House and Coach House adj. with Granary over, near but detached from the mill.
£30 on the Stables adj. to last item, with loft over.
£30 on Stables, and Chaff House adjoining and adjacent to the last item.
£40 on Stables and Bullock Sheds adjoining the fourth item, built of brick, board and tile.
£20 on a range of Piggeries with a feeding house adj. last item.
£50 on a Waggon Lodge and Chaff House adj., detached from last item, under one roof.
£15 on a lean-to building adj. Waggon Lodge used as a carpenter’s shop, an open flue in the building.
£5 on a Fowl House near last item.
£60 in equal proportion on a double cottage occupied by Bennington and another.
£40 on a cottage in the garden occupied by Robert Roy.
£300 on a Water Corn Mill called the Upper Mill, four stories high containing not more than six pairs of stones. No kiln therein or adjoining or communicating and no oats shelled there. An Arnott stove well secured in the said mill occupied by Ed Wolsey.
£100 on a double cottage adj. the said mill at present unoccupied.
£50 on a Waggon Shed and Stable near.
£50 on a Storehouse near.
All situate at Castle Rising, Norfolk and all in brick and tile except where specified.
Norfolk Record Office - Ref. HOW 601


F. & W. Wolsey, Castle Rising Water & Steam Mills,
Miller required.

Lynn Advertiser - 28th September 1883



Mill interior with pipe outlet 13th March 2004 Wheelpit 13th March 2004
Mill interior with pipe outlet 13th March 2004
Wheelpit 13th March 2004

Census 1841: 9 millers including Thomas Ayre; Abel Bennington; William Dye; Jeremiah Wilkerson
Census 1851: 10 millers and 2 apprentices including Thomas Ayre; Abel Bennington; Robert Faircloth, William Faircloth, Thomas Hammond; Jeremiah Wilkerson
Census 1861:
10 millers including Thomas Ayre employing 20 men; Abel Bennington; Thomas Hammond; Jeremiah Wilkerson
Census 1871: 7 millers including Abel Bennington; Thomas Hammond; Jeremiah Wilkerson; Edward Wolsey Census 1881: 11 millers (4 lodging) Robert Hammond; Jeremiah Wilkerson; Edward Wolsey (retired)
Census 1891: 2 mill cottages empty, others occupied but not by millers
In 1881, 1891 and 1901 Abel Bennington was a flour seller or corn merchant


Wheel channel blocked off February 1983 Bypass inlet channel 13th March 2004
Wheel channel blocked off February 1983
Bypass inlet channel 13th March 2004

After milling ceased approximately half of the wheel pit and wheelrace exit arch was bricked up to form a separate compartment. A metal pipe leed out of the bricked up area and for a time the building was used as a pumphouse to pump water to a reservoir for use by the village.


Eventually the the mill dam was filled in and the river channel was recut to bypass the mill completely. For some reason the headrace channel to the wheel was also filled in and a pipe was laid under the mill to take the brown, iron rich water that drained from the boggy area that was once the mill dam. The new pipe bypassed the wheel pit and rejoined the tailrace just under the end wall of the mill.


Fence around collapsed section 13th March 2004 Tailrace 13th March 2004
Fence around collapsed section 13th March 2004
Tailrace 13th March 2004

During the second world war the Mill House served as an Officers Mess and the painted sign on the front porch still remains.

The house was considerably enlarged in 1846, with
the older building at the back being extended at the front by a huge double fronted building of white brick with a date plate of 1846. The house then became more of a residence than a working farmhouse. Additions such as a walled garden and a coach house allude to an increase in wealth of the Ayre family, although the property still remained part of the Howard Estate.


Mill House notice 13th March 2004
Mill House notice 13th March 2004

Mill house 12th June 2007 Mill house courtyard 12th June 2007
Mill house 12th June 2007
Mill house courtyard 12th June 2007

I think my great great great grandfather worked in the mill around the 1870s.  Then came to the U.S. in 1876.  His name was Richard Reeve.  I have some old letters that talk about a Mr. Wolsey being the owner of this mill he worked for so I am assuming that this has to be the mill.  They live around the Castle Rising area.  We will be in England in October.  We have one day that is on our own and we are planning to see where my family came from. 
James Reeve - 15th July 2008

I believe the Robert Chapman who was the first miller at Snettisham had previously been at Castle_Rising:- his marriage licence before marrying Elizabeth Plane (they were I believe the parents of the John Chapman who took over Snettisham mill after Robert) states: 1805 Marriage Licence Robert Chapman, occupation Miller, of Castle_Rising ( have copy of this Licence) John Chapmans baptism states: baptism 18 September 1813 at Castle_Rising John Chapman son of Robert, a servant in the cornmill, and SARAH.
Rosemary Frost - 8th September 2008


From 1945 to 1960 the Mill House was rented by my parents  Alan Sauvain and Norah Sauvain from the Howard Estate. I can be certain about the last date because I remember leaving but the first date was slightly before my time! I will check the date with my older siblings. Alan Sauvain was originally Chief Education Officer for King's Lynn but after the Education Act 1944 came into force he became the Divisional Education Officer for the West Norfolk Divisional Executive. 
Whilst I believe that the house did have an electric generator initially, by the time I was growing up there we had no electricity supply at all - using paraffin lamps and coal fires in a very large and draughty house.
The mill pond came within a few feet of the back door of the house. I imagine that the river flowed in some way through the old mill - although it was not of course operating as such - because my memory is that the river split in two. Certainly, part of the river flowed through sluice gates  about 30 yards or so before the mill and then down to a pond whereafter it flowed through a field before uniting with the rest of the river which had somehow emerged from the other side of the mill and again flowed for a while in a separate channel. I was always banned from investigating the mill but there was a considerable difference in height between the mill pond and the river on the other side of the bridge that carried the farm track down to the lower pond and gave access to the fields. The local farmer was Mr Nurse.
We regularly had swans on the mill pond outside the back door and on a slightly less pleasant note the otter hunt would pass by occasionally.
From the photographs on your web-site the house has been substantially changed - mainly it would seem through the removal of most of the outbuildings at the rear and the large Victorian greenhouse at the side. 
My parents sub-let half of the house initially to Ken and Mollie Baker, then to the Goodman family and lastly to the Wellman family. We were served with notice to quit in or about March 1960. The house was then empty for a number of years - although an electricity supply was evidently laid on sometime in the 1960s. I went back there occasionally when visiting Norfolk whilst the house still appeared to be almost derelict - a caravan in the grounds one time, part of the roof having caved in on another occasion.  I was shocked to find that the river had been diverted!

Stephen Sauvain - 9th September 2010


O. S. Map 1884

O. S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images


O.S. Map 2005
O.S. Map 2005
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

White's 1883: Mr. Edward Wolsey
White's 1883: Frederick (F. & W.); h Wareham
White's 1883: William Wolsey (F. & W.)


Map 1588: Map of Rising Chase shows two mills, Rising Corn Mill and Rysinge Fulling Mill (West Newton)

21st July 1722: Jeremy Holmes, miller, along with Richard Gibson, servant committed to jail in Norwich for setting fire to West Newton mill

1727: Thomas Stirke from Perio paper mill, Southwick, Northants leased the mill. He also leased West Newton

1727: John Smart, miller - occupier

1732: C. Wheeler, miller

1761: William Cooper leased mill for £48 per annum - late in the occupancy John Smart (deceased)

1774: Richard Newman, miller

1788: James Cook, miller - owing rent. Inventory taken of wheels and gears

1789: Matthew Blyford, miller

Poll Book 1799: William Turner, miller

1790: Matthew Blyford, miller

Poll Book 1802: Matthew Blyford, miller

1804: John Burgess & Sam Rudall lease mill for 21 years. Matthew Blyford, occupier

1805: Robert Chapman, miller (employee) married - later became miller at Snettisham watermill

1822: William Ayre, miller - leased mill

1830: William & Thomas Ayre jointly lease mill

Pigot's 1830: William & Thomas Ayre, millers, Castle Rising

Cary Atlas 1832: Babingley Mill

White's 1836: William & Thomas Ayre, corn millers

Pigot's 1839: William Ayre & Son

White's 1845: William Ayre & Son (Thomas James), corn miller

1846: Mill house considerably enlarged

Census 1851:

Robert Faircloth (24) b.Corpesty, miller
Sarah Ann Faircloth (21) b.Corpesty
William Faircloth (22) b.Corpesty, miller

White's 1854: Thomas Ayre, corn miller

1860: Inventory taken and an indenture and a bond of £1,000 to Thomas James Ayre

Census 1861: William Ayre, miller employing 20 men

White's 1864: Ayre & Son, corn millers

1864: William Eglington, miller (moved to Stoke Holy Cross by 1879)

1865: William & Thomas James Ayre, corn millers

13th February 1867:
Thomas James & Charles Harris Ayre bankrupt - made Deed of Conveyance to Trustees

February 1867: Watermill & windmill advertised to be sold or let

March 1867: Business effects of Messrs. Ayre & Son advertised for sale by auction

August 1867: Business effects of Thomas Ayre advertised for sale by auction

1867: Mill bought by Edward Wolsey

Insurance Policy 1868: Edward Wolsey, miller

1869: Edward Wolsey, miller

1878: Edward Wolsey, miller

Kelly's 1879: Frederick Wolsey, miller & farmer

Census 1881: Ann Bruce, servant at Mill House. 4 millers living in cottages, 11 millers listed in the parish of Castle Rising

White's 1883: F. & W. Wolsey, corn millers and farmers and Wareham

3rd May 1887: Partnership of F. & W. Wolsey dissolved

O.S. map 1888-89: Corn mIll

c.1890: Mill ceased working

1891: Mill house occupied by John Brown, groom & gardener

Kelly's 1896: Arthur C. Beck, agent to Sir William Howell Browne ffolkes bart. & Sir Horace Brand Townsend Farquhar bart. M.P. Mill house

Kelly's 1900: Arthur C. Beck, agent to Sir William Howell Browne ffolkes bart. & Lord Farquhar Mill house
Mrs. Beck, Mill house

Census 1901: Mrs Anne Beck, (widow of farmer Edward Beck) Arthur C. Beck (son) and daughter, Mill House

Kelly's 1904: Arthur C. Beck, agent to Lord Farquhar, Mill house

Kelly's 1908: Arthur C. Beck, agent to Lord Farquhar, Mill house

1908: Water being pumped from mill site to a reservoir for use by the village

Kelly's 1912: Arthur C. Beck, Mill house

Kelly's 1916: Arthur C. Beck, Mill house

Kelly's 1922: William Thompson J.P. Mill house

Kelly's 1925: Thomas Ramsden, Mill house TN 7

c.1940-45: Ministry of Defence - Officers' Mess

1945 - 1960: Alan & Norah Sauvain rented the Mill House from the Howard Estate

1999-2001: Peter & Barbara Fellowes, Mill House


If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 01263 713658 or

Nat Grid Ref TF67702508
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2007