Ebridge Mill
River Ant
(North Walsham & Dilham Canal)



1910
1910

Ebridge Mill was also sometimes known as North Walsham Mill. The old mill was 5 storeys high and built of red brick with a slate roof. The mill was built over the River Ant, which later became the North Walsham & Dilham Canal.

The mill remained in the ownership of the family within Cubbitt & Walker Ltd from 1869 - 1998 when it was sold to Duffields and subsequently closed.

When the goodwill of the flour milling business was sold to the Millers' Mutual Association in 1966, the milling machinery was broken up leaving the old mill as an ancillary to the new provender mill built alongside.


1910 c.1915
1910
c.1915

Ebridge 1928 c.1955
The old bridge with the lock beyond in 1928
c.1955

Ebridge tithe award map 1842
Tithe Award map 1842

Tithe Award 1842
Map, James WRIGHT, Land Surveyor, Aylsham. 1841
Owner: William PARTRIDGE (of Ebridge Mill, North Walsham)
Occupier: William PARTRIDGE (of Ebridge Mill, North Walsham)

   
No. 259: Wind Mill Hill & Premises. Pasture   .
Furze
5a. 1r. 3p.
2s. 4d.
Part of
91a. 1r. 19p.
£4. 6s. 5d.
Vicar
 
1a. 0r. 7p.
£9. 18s. 0d.
Imp. Rector
Shown as tower or smock mill with stage & fantail    

Main engine c.1940 Main engine c.1940
Main engine c.1940

Main engine c.1940
Main engine c.1940

Storage bin c.1940 Small engine c.1940
Storage bin c.1940
Small engine c.1940

During the 1800s Ebridge mill was worked in conjunction with the nearby Ebridge towermill on Mill Hill .
The tower mill was producing flour rather than animal feed as it was driving 2 pairs of French burr stones.


Ebridge c.1940 Ebridge c.1950
c.1940 still with steam chimney
c.1950

Ebridge May1967
May 1967

NORTH WALSHAM & WITTON
To Millers & others
Superior Water Corn Mill with Dwelling House attached and Brick Tower Windmill
Late the property of Mr. William PARTRIDGE decd.
Mr. Wm. BARCHAM will offer for sale by Public Auction at the Kings Arms Inn, North Walsham on Wednesday 22 September 1841 at 3 o'c
Lot 1. Comprises all that superior and highly reputed WATER CORN Mill situate in North Walsham & Witton aforesaid & late in the occupation of the deceased Proprietor.
Also a capital BRICK TOWER WINDMILL with patent sails built only a few years since of the best materials on a lofty hill within 100 yards of the water mill. The Mill drives two pair of French Stones, contains four floors & is in every respect fitted up and adapted for occupation with the water mill...
Piece of land on which the windmill stands, 5a. 1r. 5p. more or less... Lease etc.
Apply to William PARTRIDGE, son of deceased or to Mr. WILKINSON, Solr. North Walsham.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th & 18th September 1841


NORTH WALSHAM & WITTON
To be Sold by Private Contract

Water Corn Mill with Dwelling House attached
Brick Tower Wind-mill etc.
Late the Estate of Mr. William PARTRIDGE deceased
Water Mill ... North Walsham ...
Also a BRICK TOWER WINDMILL with patent sails and cast iron shaft built only a few years since of the best materials on a lofty hill within 100 yards of the Water Mill. This Mill drives two pair of French Stones, contains four floors and is in every respect fitted up and adapted for occupation with the Water Mill.
Dwelling house, Land etc. ...
Of this Estate 1a. 1r. 2p. with the barn, principal granary and other Buildings standing thereon are Freehold. 5a. 1r. 5p. with the Windmill standing thereon are held under a lease for 21 years granted by the Rt. Hon. Lord Wodehouse and others to the deceased on 6th April 1832 in which the lease is contained a covenant by the lessors allowing the lessee to remove the mill at any time before the expiration of the term.
Outgoings - Reserved annual rent to Lord Wodehouse £3.
The residue of the Estate ... lease ... 21 years ... Bishop of Norwich to deceased on the 18th day of September 1837.
Apply to G. Wilkinson, Solr. North Walsham.
Norfolk Chronicle - 28th September & 5th October 1844

To Millers & others
NORTH WALSHAM & WITTON in Norfolk
Messrs. BARCHAM & SON will offer for Sale by Auction on Wednesday 2 June 1847 at 3 o'c at the Kings Arms Inn, North Walsham
A superior Water Corn Mill with Dwelling House attached, a Brick Tower Windmill etc. situate in North Walsham and Witton aforesaid
Late the Estate of Mr. William PARTRIDGE deceased.
The Estate comprises
A superior and highly reputed WATER CORN Mill ... late in the occupation of the deceased Proprietor and now in the occupation of his Son, Mr. William PARTRIDGE ....
Also a capital Brick Tower Windmill with patent sails and cast iron shaft built only a few years since of the best materials, on a lofty hill within 100 yards of the water mill. This Mill drives two pair of French Stones, contains 4 floors and is in every respect fitted up and adapted for occupation with the Water Mill. ...
Also a fine piece of land on which the Windmill stands containing by admeasurement 5a. 1r. 5p. more or less ... held under a lease for 21 years granted by the Rt. Hon. Lord WODEHOUSE and others to the late proprietor on the 6th April 1832 in which lease is contained a covenant by the lessors allowing the lessee to remove the mill at any time before the expiration of the term.
Outgoings - Reserved annual rent to Lord WODEHOUSE £3.
Norfolk Chronicle - 15th & 22nd May 1847

Ebridge 1977
1977

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal

This was the only official canal in Norfolk and was really the canalisation of the River Ant. It was made wider than most other canals in order to accommodate Norfolk wherries. The main cargoes were offal to the two Antingham Bone mills with return loads of fertiliser. Corn and flour moved in and out of Bacton Wood and Swafield mills with other commodities such as timber, farm produce and coal making up the majority of the remainder of trade. It was hoped that coal would be the mainstay cargo but this never materialised. The canal was just over 8¾ miles long, ran from Smallburgh to Antingham and contained 6 locks: Honing, Briggate mill, Ebridge mill, Bacton Wood mill, Swafield lower and Swafield Upper.

1812: Act of Parliament passed authorising construction of the canal

July 1826: Canal opened having cost £32,000 to build

1885: Ailing canal sold for £600 but the company's London solicitor absconded with the money

1886: Scheme introduced to encourage tourist traffic

c.1893: Antingham - Swafield section abandoned because of lack of traffic

1934: The wherry Ella, sailed from Bacton Wood Staithe for the last time

2003: Canal navigable for the first 2 miles as far as Honing Lock

Ebridge lock 1977
Ebridge lock long unused by 1977
Overgrown canal 12th January 2003

The waterwheel has not been used since about 1920 and was taken out in 1972.


Ebridge warehouse May1967 tailrace Apr1969
Warehouse in May 1967
Tailrace in April 1969

A Wherryman and his Family

My mother should have been christened Lewell Jane, but unfortunately my grandfather had the birth certificate made out wrongly so that she became Jane Lewell. The unfeminine Lewell came from her grandfather, well known as Old Lew from Yarmouth harbour up the Yare, Bure and Ant to the flour-mills on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. He was a wherry-man on one of the fleet of fourteen moored on Barton Broad and belonging to the Hewitts of Wayford Bridge. Every Monday he sailed for Yarmouth Docks, arriving home on Saturday with a load of corn for the Briggate and Ebridge Mills.

* * *
Ebridge Mills and Yarmouth were a long way apart in those days, and there were none of the well-stocked shops found today by Broads' holidaymakers at every mooring place. So when the wherrymen went off to the river they took with them a week's supply of food, leaving very little in the larder for Old Lew's wife and eight children.

My grandfather, Edwin, used to accompany his father during the school holidays and he remembered the pork, butter and so on being kept up one corner of the tiny cabin on the wherry and how they "used to get pretty strong by the end of the week". Up another corner was the stove with the big iron saucepan in which all the cooking was done, always kept scrupulously clean. A few years ago this was still lying, neglected and rusty, in the back of the shed at my mother's old home at Briggate.

* * *
Old Lew lived in one of a pair of cottages still standing at Meeting Hill. The children slept four in a bed and my grandfather remembered lying there in the winter looking up at the bare tiles with the frost glistening white on their edges, or the wind making them go clickety-clack, clickety-clack against the rafters. Wages were not high, so there was never more than sufficient food and clothes for the family, and often not that. Great Grandmother would make two stone of flour into bread every week and they only ever had skim milk. Sometimes a kindly farmer would give them the runt pig or "petman" from a litter, which they would carefully nurture in a corner of the garden. This must have been a great comfort in the long winters, when there was often no work for thirteen weeks because the rivers were frozen up.

Sunday was spent mainly at the Baptist Chapel at Meeting Hill, starting with Sunday School at 9.0 a.m. Since the boys had no special Sunday boots they had laboriously to polish their weekday pair with the aid of a rabbit's foot and plenty of dubbin and they would smooth their hair to Sabbath neatness with water from the large butt by the back door.

* * *
Old Lew was a hard husband and father, but a man who worked in Ebridge Mill said about him, "They don't breed men like Lew nowadays. Strong as anything he was. They can't work like that now." He met his death like several other wherry-men: coming on board one pitch dark night at Yarmouth he slipped off the gang-plank and was sucked under the wherry by the tide. This was in 1898 when my grandfather was twenty and most of the children were still at school. All that the widow had to feed and clothe them was two shillings and sixpence per week and a stone of flour from the Relieving Officer.

* * *
Of Old Lew's brothers, John kept the shop at Meeting Hill and George was also a wherryman. He, however, survived to enjoy a peaceful old age in the almshouses as Meeting Hill. One of my Aunts remembers visiting him there with Grandfather every Sunday after chapel. The room was always very tidy and the hearthstone snowy white, for wherrymen could not bear dirt and disorder, presumably because they had to live in such a small cabin. He would sit there continually poking into order his tiny fire and talking of the adventures of his youth.

His favourite story was of a couple living in a lonely cottage on the river bank. One wild winter night the wife was in labour while her husband lay calmly asleep. She woke him to say that a baby was born and she was fine. He went off to sleep till she woke him again with the same message. Then, when a third baby arrived, he finally woke up properly saying "I'd better get up out of this afore you have any more of these."

Another of Lew's brothers, Tom, led a very different sort of life. He emigrated to America in the 1880s with his young wife and family and bought a farm at Fowlerville, Michigan where he lived in a log-house he built in a clearing. To make extra money in the early days he sometimes drove the local stagecoach along the old plank road. Through this he later met and became a friend of the great Henry Ford, who had purchased one of the old taverns on the stage-coach route and wanted some advice on restoring it.

In 1927 he celebrated his 100th birthday with a large family party at which five generations were represented. By the side of his three-storey cake was a tiny one bearing a lonely pink candle marking the first birthday of his youngest great-great-grandchild. As he had promised a year before, Henry Ford sent along an aeroplane, and Tom, white whiskers flying in the wind, went for a ride in the air, the first in all his life. He said afterwards that if he were young again he'd be running a 'plane. It is not recorded if he ever did any sailing, but he does not seem to have lacked any of the spirit and courage of his brothers.

* * *
Grandfather worked all his life in Briggate Mill close by the river; one of his sons did the same and the other went to sea in a drifter from Yarmouth. My mother remembers playing near the lock at Briggate with the other children and begging the wherrymen to let them ride on their vessels as they were slowly quanted under the bridge and through the lock. She remembers one man particularly who had his little dog with him on every trip.

All my family are known to be "mad about the water" and although the corn comes to the mills by lorry now and only a stream winds in the course of the old canal, the great-granddaughter of Old Lew still goes sailing, albeit in a tiny Firefly on a factory-encircled London reservoir.
Eastern Daily Press, Broadland Memories - 3rd December 1959


Lewel Roper, known by many as Old Lew was born on 3rd June 1840 at Worstead and he married Jane Flaxman on 6th February 1863 at Meeting Hill. They had ten or possibly eleven children. Lew was a wherryman and sailed the rivers of the broads. He died on the night 9th January 1888, on the River Yare at Yarmouth, when he slipped off the gang plank and was sucked under the wherry by the tide.

One of Lew's sons was Edwin Samuel Roper who was born on 6th July 1867. Edwin became a miller and was also a wherryman. He married Mary Jane Burton-Pye on 28th April 1892. They went on to have six children.

Edwin and Mary's eldest was Edwin Thomas (Tom), who was born on 30th November 1893 at Worstead. Tom married Edith Rous(e) on 4th August 1919, after which they had five children. Tom worked as a miller at Ebridge mill.

Tom was my husband's Grandfather. We were married in 1968 and in March of that year we went to visit them. However, our first visit to Tom and Edith as a family was on August 4th 1969. This was their Golden wedding anniversary and all the family met up to celebrate. It was a beautiful day and the family had prepared the feast for them and the 'do' was held in the school room. On this visit Tom's hens had all laid double yolkers and he swore blind that it was the influence of a pretty young girl feeding them.

Neither Tom or Edith ever left Norfolk. They were a lovely, lively couple and we hit it off straight away. I loved pottering round with Tom on his small holding where he grew almost all the family's vegetables and lots of fruit. He also kept chickens and every week he cycled from Meeting Hill to North Walsham market to sell his veg and eggs. We always went home with a car load of goodies. Tom and Edith lived in the School House at Meeting Hill. They used to hold horticultural show each year, and the first year we attended I bid for a few things. I bid for a couple of houseplants and garden produce, but I kept being outbid. Afterwards Tom said that he would like me to come every year as they had never raised so much money. Apparently the locals didn't like 'foreigners' trying to outdo them.

Janet Sorfleet - 12th February 2004


Ebridge 15Apr1983
15th April 1983

On 15th March 1969 a fire in a silo intake was put out by a fire appliance from North Walsham.


Unloading - 1992
Unloading - 1992

Ebridge buildings 12Jan2003 27th July 2006
Loading bay 12th January 2003
Loading bay 27th July 2006

12Jan2003 12Jan2003
12th January 2003
Missing lucum 12th January 2003

Memories of Ebridge Mill
Taken from a conversation between Anne Grand and Michael Willis - 31st January 2008

Michael Willis was born in 1939 at Briggate. He worked full-time at Briggate_mill for a few years around 1958/9 but his memories of the mill go back to his early childhood. Later Michael went on to work at Ebridge mill.

Ebridge
I worked at Ebridge for a while, it was shift work. I didn’t like it very much. 6 till 2 wasn’t too bad. It was boring just watching the chute, waiting for the bags to fill and tying it up - it didn’t run that quick. The corn goes in and goes through the 1st break, 2nd break, 3rd break, 4th break and comes out as flour. In between you tie up supers, which is the rough offal, bran which is even rougher offal, semolina which was hardly anything and the rest goes as flour to fill 10st bags, which were then tied up.
All the supers and the bran were thrown out on to a lorry that stood there all the time. Roly Belson, who was the foreman there, came up to me and said “You can drive a lorry can’t you, you goin’ Briggate aren’t you, when you knock off at two you can take the ole lorry, put yer bike on top.” I went outside, it was a terrible load as all the sacks were just slung on there. I roped it down as best I could with my bike on the top. I drove the old Ford 4 D series through Corner Common to Briggate, reversed in the yard like all the other drivers, never hit the wall or nothing. My ole chap in the office looked up over his glasses surprised, and said “ What you doin’ driving thar bloody thing? Well - you’d better unload the bloody thing.”
I liked the driving, I’d never driven a lorry on the road before. I’d got a car licence but not a lorry one. I’d driven old lorries on a farm since I was 12 but that wasn’t the same, they were ex army trucks.
That next week Sid Blyth, who usually did the deliveries at Briggate was off sick and as I knew the round, I did the deliveries. I never looked back and from then on became the full-time driver at Briggate.


27th July 2006 27th July 2006
27th July 2006
Missing lucum 27th July 2006

2nd March 2007 2nd March 2007
2nd March 2007
2nd March 2007

 Ebridge aerial 30Jun2004 5th April 2007
30th June 2004
5th April 2007

5th April 2007 27th September 2009
5th April 2007
27th September 2009

George Youngman was listed as a journeyman miller on the 1841 census. He was the son of Isaac Youngman who ran the Yarmouth Road towermill in North Walsham. George Youngman later moved on to run Witton postmill.


Radio Norfolk Treasure Quest Radio Norfolk Treasure Quest
Radio Norfolk Treasure Quest - Beckie Betts with driver Ian Forster talking to David Revill
work party leader of the East Anglian Waterways Association and North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust.

7th March 2011 13th December 2012
7th March 2011
13th December 2012

Mill rear with WWII camouflage c.1955 Mill rear 9th September 2012
Mill rear with WWII camouflage c.1955
Mill rear 9th September 2012

Mill interior 9th September 2012 Mill interior 9th September 2012
Mill interior 9th September 2012

Plans for Ebridge Mill

A planning application asking for Ebridge Mill to be converted into mostly residential accommodation has been submitted to North Norfolk District Council.
Farmer Tim Briscoe wants to convert and extend the mill into nine permanent residential units and three holiday units.
The mill lies on the North Walsham to Dilham Canal just outside North Walsham, on the Happisburgh Road.
Mr Briscoe, of Dudwick House, Buxton, has asked the council to vary permission it had earlier granted allowing 12 units of holiday accommodation on the site.
In January 2003 an application to convert the mill into residential accommodation was refused on the grounds that it was located in the countryside, outside any area designated by the council for development.
The five-storey mill, built of red brick with a slate roof, was owned by the Cubitt and Walker family from 1869-1998 when it was sold to WL Duffield and Son and later closed.
The milling machinery was broken up in 1966 and the wheel removed in 1972.
Mr Briscoe declined to comment on his application.

Eastern Daily Press - 20th September 2013


August 2014 August 2014
August 2014

Historic waterside mill near North Walsham being converted into homes
The renovation of an iconic mill building has begun after years of it standing empty

Ebridge Mill which is on Happisburgh Road, White Horse Common near North Walsham, is being renovated.
The building lies on the North Walsham to Dilham Canal, and comprises a number of buildings including the original mill and the granary.
The work is being undertaken by Barn Owl Conversions who own the site after taking it over from farmer Tim Briscoe.
The company, which is based in Hoveton, has been in operation for 15 years converting different types of rural buildings into homes.
Workmen started clearing the Ebridge site in August last year and this month have started work in earnest, restoring the granary building and taking down the asbestos end of the mill.
The 1950’s grain store addition is also being removed to expose the original mill building.
Plans also include restoration of the mill race, the stream of water that turns a water wheel.
The project sees the granary building housing a trio of three-storey houses while the five-storey water mill will be converted into three homes, keeping as many of the original features as possible.
Adrian Jones, managing director of Barn Owl Conversions, said the original plan was to have holiday apartments in the mill building, but that would have meant losing the structure of the mill - so the company is currently working with North Norfolk District Council to allow it to be converted into three permanent homes.
He said: “We are more about restoration than development. The site has been such a mess for so many years. I have been driving past for the last 10 years thinking it would be lovely to do something with it.”
He said the aim is to have the granary conversion finished by March 2015 when the first homes will go on sale.
The North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust was formed in 2008 and aims to restore the structures and waterway of about 7.5 miles of the almost nine-mile canal which ran from near Wayford Bridge, to Antingham ponds.
David Revill from the trust said work starting at Ebridge Mill was good news. He added; “They are not dramatically changing the outside of the buildings, therefore when it is completed it will be almost like it was 60 years ago.

Tracey Gray, Eastern Daily Press - 22nd January 2015


O. S. Map 1885

O. S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images


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

1537: Everbupe's watermill let to William Hogan for £4.13s.4d. by the Bishop of Norwich also Swafield mill

North Walsham index of wills 1602: Leonard Skift

North Walsham index of wills 1709: Francis Brereton

Faden's map 1797: Eastgate Mill

1815: William Partridge snr., miller

1822: William Partridge snr., miller

Bryant's map 1826: Walsham Mill

1830: William Partridge snr., miller

O.S. Map 1st Edition 1834: Ebridge Mill

White's 1836: William Partridge, corn miller Ebridge Mill

1839: William Partridge snr., miller

Census 1841:
William Partridge snr (75) miller.
Ann Partridge (60)
Hannah Partridge (48)
Mary Cutting (18) servant
Charlotte Howell (or Harwell) (17) servant
William Hancock (22) journeyman miller
George Youngman (20) journeyman miller

William Partridge jnr (45) miller.
Mary Partridge (40)

Richard Pygall (35) journeyman miller
Elizabeth Pygall (30)
Elizabeth Pygall (7)
John Pygall (4)
Mary Pygall (1)

1841: William Partridge snr died

September 1841:
Mill advertised for sale by auction with windmill due to the death of William Partridge

Tithe Award 1842: William Partridge jnr (surveyed in 1841)

September 1844: Mill advertised for sale by private contract with windmill due to death of William Partridge

White's 1845: William Partridge
, corn miller Ebridge Mill

1847: William Partridge jnr. miller

May 1847: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1850: William Partridge jnr., miller

White's 1854: William Partridge
, corn miller Ebridge mills

Kelly's 1854: William Partridge, miller & corn dealer, Ebridge Mill

Craven's 1856: Beevor & Press
, millers

1858: William Beevor & Edward Press, millers

Census 1861:
Edward Press (31) b.Yarmouth, miller, corn & coal merchant
Elizabeth Press (23) b.Yarmouth
Kate Press (2) b.Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland.
Arthur Beevor (19) b.Yarmouth, miller's assistant (brother in law)
Matilda Duff (17) b.Witton, servant

White's 1864: Beevor & Press, corn millers & flour dealers (and merchants) Ebridge mills

1874: Edward Press, miller established
a boatyard and acquired 5 wherries including some for passengers

Census 1881: Henry Wallage (39) b.Bunstead, Essex, engine driver at mill
Frances Wallage (43) b.Kenninghall, drivers wife
Harry Wallage (12) b.Yarmouth, scholar
William Wallage (11) b.North Walsham, scholar
Fanny Wallage (9) b. North Walsham, scholar
Tabithy Wallage (6) b.North Walsham, scholar
Frederick Wallage (5) b. North Walsham, scholar
Edith Wallage (3) b. North Walsham
Edward Wallage (2) b. North Walsham

Kelly's 1883: Cubitt & Walker

Kelly's 1900:
Cubbitt & Walker, coal & corn, cake, seed & manure merchants & millers (steam & water); at Briggate mills, Worstead, Swafield & M.&G.N. station; & at Cromer

Kelly's 1904:
Cubbitt & Walker, coal & corn, cake, seed & manure merchants & millers (steam & water); at Ebridge mills, Briggate mills, Worstead, Swafield & M.&G.N. station; & at Cromer

Kelly's 1912:

Cubbitt & Walker, coal & corn, cake, seed & manure merchants & millers (steam & water); at Ebridge mills, & M.&G.N. station, North Walsham; Briggate_mills, Worstead, Swafield & at Cromer

Kelly's 1929: Cubitt & Walker

Kelly's 1937: Cubitt & Walker Ltd., oil & water

Pippa Miller 1968: Mill working and powered by electricity

1969:
Ebridge took over the business of Briggate Mill, which was also owned by Cubitt & Walker

Tel. directory 1970: Cubitt & Walker

1972: Wheel removed

March 1998:
Mill for sale after Cubitt & Walker Ltd who had been trading for 127 years, was taken over by W. L. Duffield & Son Ltd who then transferred the business to Saxlingham Thorpe

2003: TR Transport

27th February 2003: A planning application to convert the mill to 10 flats was rejected by North Norfolk DC

28th August 2003: Amazingly, NNDC gave consent to convert the mill to 12 holiday units

November 2005: Planning application for 12 holiday homes by Tritec Synergy. NNDC does not allow residential

February 2006: NNDC still unable agree to Tritec Synergy's scheme for conversion to holiday homes

March 2006: Tritec Synergy's scheme for conversion to holiday homes passed by NNDC after much debate

August 2014: Work began on clearing the site ready for conversion to residential building

January 2015: Work began on coverting mill to 3 homes and granary to a trio of 3 storey houses


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

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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004