Gressenhall
Chappell Mill
River Whitewater
(trib of River Wensum)



15th February 1905
15th February 1905

Gressenhall Mill was also known as Chappell Mill, taking its name from the nearby Chapel of St Nicholas. The mill was built on an ancient site that has been traced back to the time of Edward the Confessor. After the Norman conquest it became part of William de Warren's estate, when in 1088 he was created Earl of Surrey and given lands in 13 counties (though curiously none in Surrey). These lands comprised of 233 parishes of which 116 were in Norfolk. In modern money his holdings would be worth some £57 billion - a record in Britain during the last millennium. He died in the same year of 1088, shot by an arrow.


In 1847, the final mill to be erected on the site was built by Robert Stammers jnr whose father Robert Stammers snr had previously run the Pockthorpe_Magdalen_Road_postmill in Norwich. The new building was mainly of rendered brick with a Norfolk pantiled roof.


The parish boundary between Gressenhall and Hoe runs down the centre of the river as it does in many parishes. The boundary takes the line through the centre of the wheelrace and in the early days, this put the mill machinery and therefore the mill, in the parish of Gressenhall. By the time of William Mussett's will in 1759, the building had been extended over the Hoe side with additional millstones and possibly a second wheel being added. Thus there was a mill in each parish under one roof.


Chappell mill had a breastshot 18 ft. wheel that was 7 ft. 6 ins. wide with iron buckets set 21 ins. apart. The wheel was set in the river between the Gressenhall mill (later the Mill House) and the Hoe mill (later burnt down). The 5 ft. head of water provided approx. 16 h.p. in normal winter conditions but 40 h.p. could have been possible in flood conditions were it not for the resulting rise of water in the mill pool impeding the wheel.



Carts leaving the mill 15th February 1905
Carts leaving the mill 15th February 1905

William Wilson of Gressenhall, miller, to be discharged of Catherine Troyddy, his apprentice, and to take Ann Doro instead. To repay to Gressenhall 30/-, part of the moneys received with Troyddy who is to be sent home to her parents.
Fakenham Quarter Sessions - 1651


Robert (de Stutevill) married Joan daughter & heir of William Talbot of Gainesburgh in Lincolnshire & died seized of this town held of the Earl Warren by 2 knights fees in the first year of King Edward I viz. a capital messuage, a water mill, a windmill, 200 acres of pasture, a KAR etc. all valued at £19. 3. 4d.
Blomefield's History of Norfolk - Launditch Hundred


Tailrace c.1910
Tailrace c.1910

WILLS proved in NORWICH CONSISTORY COURT
Mussett, William 1768
To Margaret my dear wife
All that and those my Water Mill and Mills being two Grist Mills under one roof commonly called or known by the name or names of CHAPEL MILL or CHAPEL MILLS ... and also all that Messuage or Dwelling House ...
All which premises are situate lying and being in Hoe next East Dereham and Gressenhall aforesaid. And also all that Messuage or Tenement commonly called or known by the name of Gorgate House ... in Hoe ...
Executrix - Wife Margaret
Will dated 21st May 1759
Proved 19th December 1768


To be Sold by Auction,

On Friday the 11th Day of October, 1782, between the Hours of Three and Five o'Clock in the Afternoon, at the King's Arms Inn, in East Dereham, in Norfolk, by Order of the Assignees of the Estate of John Curties, the Younger, a Bankrupt, if not before disposed of by private contract.
Lot 1. An Estate in Gressenhall, in Norfolk; consisting of a Messuage, large Farm-yards, Gardens well planted with Fruit Trees, two Bark Barns, one Corn Barn, large Drying-shed, with Granary over it, Leather-house, Mill-house, Kiln-house, Scouring-house, Turf and Tan-houses, Cart and Waggon-shed, and other Buildings, all in good Repair, and several Closes of rich Arable and Pasture Land contiguous to the said Messuage, containing by Estimation thirty Acres, more or less.
The tanning-office is very conveniently situated for several Market Towns, being only two Miles from East Dereham, the Centre of Norfolk, ten from Fakenham, and eleven from Swaffham.
Also a Messuage in Gressenhall aforesaid, wherein William Darby and Thomas Cropley live, with Outhouses, Yard, and Garden thereto belonging.

Norfolk Chronicle - 21st September 1782

Whereas a Commission of Bankrupt has been awarded and issued against William Hoogan MILLS and John ADAMS late of Gressenhall, Corn Millers, Dealers and Chapman and Partners, and having been declared Bankrupts they are hereby required to surrender ... 21 Day of September instant ...
Norfolk Chronicle - 18th September 1784


When the owner, Rvd. Cuthbert Beacon died, his wife inherited his estate and when she later married Edmund Jermy, he became the mill owner in right of his wife.


To be Sold by Auction.
Sometime in August next unless disposed of in the meantime by private contract.
All those WATER CORN MILLS called CHAPPLE MILS near East Dereham in the county of Norfolk & a Dwelling house, Barn, Stables & other buildings in good repair, with a good Windmill near the same and several pieces & parcels of Land, containing about 17 acres.
These premises are well situated for trade & are now in full business; part of the purchase money may remain thereon for some years and immediate possession may be had.
Enquire of Mr. Henry Blyth of Burnham Market in Norfolk.
All persons indebted to Mr. Nathaniel Blyth, late of Chapple Mills, are requested to pay the same to Mr. Henry Blyth & any person having demands upon the said Nathaniel Blyth are requested to send account thereof to Mr. Henry Blyth immediately.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th & 18th July 1795


In 1795, Gressenhall Mill was worked in conjunction with 'a good windmill near the same' and in later years with a smockmill.


The Directors & Guardians of the workhouse leased the Union Farm to Henry Hastings and in 1825 they leased him the Workhouse windmill along with 51 acres of land for £100 per annum.


John Whiteman sold the Hoe side of the mill to Henry Hastings some time before 1844, when in the Tithe Award, he was listed as owner and occupier. Henry Hastings also leased the Gressenhall side and was thus running the whole enterprise a the time of his death.


After the 16th century the mill house was added along with barns, stables and cottages.

In 1847 Robert Stammers installed a steam engine. In those early days of steam the engines were not reliable enough to be allowed to continually drive machinery so it was connected to a pump and used to return water to the mill dam in order to prolong the working day before the water level became too low to power the wheel.

The wheel was 17ft 6in in diameter and ran all the mill machinery until steam became efficient enough to take over.


On 14th September 1869, Robert Stammers jnr's daughter Harriet Rivett Elizabeth married Arthur Massingham, by license, there being 87 witnesses to the marriage. Arthur was the son of Davey Massingham, bank clerk. Harriet had been baptised in 1827.


To JOURNEYMEN MILLERS
Wanted, a respectable Married Man as STONEMAN and GENERAL MILLER.
Satisfactory references required.
Apply to Gressenhall Mills near East Dereham.

Norfolk News- 28th December 1872


In 1894 Robert Stammers jnr's executors added an additional floor taking the total to 4 storeys, heightened the chimney and installed a 3 sack/hour roller plant, making the mill one of the most up to date in the country.


The mill employed a number of hands among whom were the late Cyril Norton of Hoe. When he was eighty seven he told me what he remembered of the old mill with its water wheel and stones and mentioned some of the old-time characters who worked there in Mr. Herbert Stammers' day.
There was Martin Butters, who ,lived in Pear Tree Cottage, by the three crossways. He was the first to arrive at the mill of a morning and used to walk over to the house and holler out:-
"Master Harbert, thaa's time to git up!"
The mill at this date lay entirely on the Hoe side of the river and embraced both stone and roller mills and had four storeys. On the top floor were stored the sacks of corn, Bob Rallison being the 'in-taker' and 'shooter' of wheat. On the third floor were the chests and bins. Below this was the 'stone' floor with three sets of stones, one pair for barley and two pairs of French burr for grinding wheat, The miller's name was Thorn who earned twenty-five shillings a week, though his father was a master at Wellington College, and left him two thousand pounds, no inconsiderable sum in those days.
On the ground floor was the machinery for driving the stones and sack hoists worked by the great water wheel in its wheel pit.
Next to the stone mill worked by the water wheel was the roller mill
worked by a steam plant in charge of Engine-driver George Eglen, who lived at Hermitage Cottage after the fire. There were two packers, Jack Skinner and Bob Faircloth, who was quite a character. Mr. Stammers used to knock a shilling off his wages every time Bob came home "market merry". The old horse used to bring the cart safely home with Bob lying in the bottom.
Across the way were the stables for a dozen or more horses looked after by the firm's carters, including drivers "Haggie" Butters, Percy Purple and Alfred Ward. The last mentioned left to look after the Octagon Chapel in Norwich. The tally was completed by two outside workers, Doy and Fred Watt.
Cyril Norton was himself an employee. Born in 1872 he went to Chapel Mill as a lad at the age of fourteen, two years before Queen Victoria's Jubilee. Thereafter he served his seven years' apprenticeship at the Hovis mills in London, later returning to work at Gressenhall mill.
The History of Gressenhall Mill and Mill House - Eric Puddy, 1966


At 11.20pm on Friday 16th October 1914, the mill caught fire. An hour and a half later Dereham Fire Brigade arrived. During the four hours that the fire lasted, 200 to 300 sacks of flour were destroyed along with a large quantity of wheat, reported to be about 1,500 sacks. The glow from the terrific sheets of flame could be seen in Norwich some 18 miles away. The building was totally gutted with damage estimated at between £6,000 - £7.000..
It was never rebuilt.


+

The insurance covered the building of a new 5 sack roller mill at Dereham beside the railway near Lynn Hill, which traded as H. C. Stammers & Co. As directors, Ernest Pallett, Philip Sayer and Robert Sayer won the Gold Medal at the London Exhibition for the Millers' Cup in 1930 for flour quality. By 1965 flour milling had been replaced by animal feed milling after another fire.


After the fire October 1914 After the fire October 1914
After the fire October 1914

Loading area gable 1914 The mill dam and building shell in October 1914
Loading area gable 1914
The mill dam and building shell in October 1914

Internal remains including the steam boiler October 1914 Internal remains including the steam boiler 17th October 1914
Internal remains including the steam boiler 17th October 1914

George Eglan - engine man c.1928
George Eglan - engine man c.1928

George Eglan went on to work in Dereham after the Gressenhall fire.


March 1967 The wheel sluice in March 1967
March 1967
The wheel sluice in March 1967

French burr millstone March 1967
French burr millstone March 1967

Robert Stammers (1818-1885) born Norwich and died at Gressenhall as a miller, seems to have occupied the mill from sometime after 1845 - previous tenant or owner John Hannent. Third son Herbert Chapman Stammers (1859-1928) took over the mill and at some date built a large steam mill near Dereham railway station which was later run by John Chapman Stammers (1897-1947).  Robert Stammers' younger brother William (1820-1869) became a grocer and draper at Hempnall from whom I have descended. There were two other brothers John (1832 -?) and Joseph (1823-1862) both became millers. John probably at Wymondham, Browick Road mill (to be confirmed) and Joseph at Mendham.
Mike Stammers - 12th June 2008


O. S. Map 1883

O. S. 6" Map 1883 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images


O.S. map 1883

O. S. 25" Map 1883 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images


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

c.1060: Toke, Anglo Saxon thane and freeman of Gressenhall

c.1070: Frederic, a Norman

c.1074: William de Warren, Earl of Surrey

c.1085: Wirmer, steward to William de Warren

Domesday 1086: Mill

1250: Chapel of St. Nicholas the Bishop founded

1250:
William de Lyng, became chaplain and acquired concessions of land including the mill, which then became known as Chappell Mill

1299: Jordan Foliat, Lord of the Manor; Simon, miller

Hastings family Lords of the Manor for 211 years until Elizabeth Hastings married Sir Hamon Lestrange

1548: John Lestrange, aged 18, having been installed as incumbent was living from the profits

1550: Chappell of St. Nicholas of Rougholm dissolved

1551: Edward VI gave the lands to Nicholas Lestrange, Lord of the Manor

1553: Sir Nicholas Lestrange sold the Manor to Thomas Warner

1596: Robert Curson, farmer & miller fined 3d. for not having sufficient bridge next the aforesaid mill

1616: Jacob Warner took on mill lease for £13 per annum

Accounts 1619: Jacobi Warner, Bailiff to Hamon Lestrange, Knight

1628: Jacob Warner died

1651: William Wilson, miller

1669: William Wilson died with sons George & William inheriting t
he copyhold, William releasing to George

1678: George Wilson, farmer & miller, died

1678: Roger Levington, farmer & miller

1699: John Mussett, miller, took over the mill

1721: John Mussett, died and William Mussett inherited

1768: William Mussett died

1632: Manor of Rougholme, including the mill conveyed to Revd. Cuthbert Beacon for £600

1773: Mill leased to Mr. Rice and from him to the guardians of Mitford & Launditch - Gressenhall Union

c.1784: William Hoogan Mills & John Adams

1795: Nathaniel Blyth, miller at Chapple Mills, died

July 1795: Mill advertised for sale by auction

Faden's map 1797: Mill

21st May 1803: William Spratt, miller of Chapel Mill in Hoe, buried aged 56

1803: John Whiteman snr of Raynham took over the mill

1813: John Whiteman snr, miller & farmer

25th October 1827: Henry Hastings, miller. Harriet Hastings baptised, daughter of Henry and Susannah

Bryant's map 1826: Chapel Mill

21st October 1824: Henry Hastings, miller. Ann Walker Hastings baptised, daughter of Henry and Susannah

1825: Henry Hastings took on the lease for Gressenhall Workhouse postmill and 51 acres for £100 p.a.

O. S. map 1838: Chapel Mill


Gressenhall Tithe Award 1844: Owner: John Whiteman; Occupier: Executors to Henry Hastings
Hoe Tithe Award 1844: Owner & Occupiers: Executors to Henry Hastings

White's 1845: Executors to Henry Hastings, under Hoe (Owner - John Whiteman). Tithes commuted in 1842

1847: Robert Stammers jnr became miller and soon took over both halves, then enlarged the mill

White's 1854: Robert Stammers, Chapel Mills

1866: Robert Stammers enfranchised the mill thus freeing it from all fines, rents and dues etc.

14th September 1869: Robert Stammers jnr's daughter Harriet Rivett Elizabeth married Arthur Massingham

Kelly's 1879: Robert Stammers, miller, Chapel mills

1881: Mill powering 3 pairs of stones by water and a steel roller mill by steam

1882: John Whiteman jnr died

White's 1883: Robert Stammers, farmer, miller, and landowner
White's 1883: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller and corn and cake merchant merchant, Gressenhall mill

19th April 1885: Robert Stammers jnr died

Kelly's 1892: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller (wind, water & steam)

1894: Executors added additional floor, heightened chimney and installed a Turner 3 sack/hr roller plant

Kelly's 1896: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller (wind, water & steam), Chapel mills

1899: Harriet Stammers, widow of Robert, died

1900: Herbert Chapman Stammers, son, exercised his right to buy the mill, which he did for £3,400

Kelly's 1900: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller (wind, water & steam), Chapel mills

Kelly's 1904: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller (water & steam), Chapel mills

Kelly's 1908: Herbert Chapman Stammers, miller (water & steam), Chapel mills

1911:
Herbert Stammers became ill and Walter W. Pallett of Aylsham_mill along with Robert Farrow Sayer and Capt. James A. Sayer of Lenwade mill came in as partners to form H. C. Stammers & Co.

Kelly's 1912: H. C. Stammers & Co. millers, (water & steam)

Friday 16th October 1914: Mill destroyed by fire

May 2016: Grade II Mill house advertised for sale for a guide price of £1,250,000


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 2003