Gressenhall Mill
River Whitewater
(trib of River Wensum)


15th February 1905
15th February 1905


Gressenhall Mill was also known as Chapel 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 millenium. 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 Magdalen_Road_postmill in Norwich. The new building was mainly of rendered brick with a Norfolk pantiled roof.



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

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


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.


In 1894 Robert Stammers jnr's son Herbert Chapman Stammers obtained the freehold of the property. He then added an additional floor taking the total to 4 storeys and installed a 3 sack/hour roller plant, making the mill one of the most up to date in the area.


Tailrace c.1910
Tailrace c.1910

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

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.


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


After the fire October 1914 The mill dam and building shell in October 1914
After the fire October 1914
The mill dam and building shell in October 1914

Internal remains including the steam boiler October 1914 Internal remains including the steam boiler October 1914
Internal remains including the steam boiler in October 1914

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, over 200 sacks of flour were destroyed along with a large quantity of wheat, reported to be a bout 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.
It was never rebuilt.


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

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


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


To be Sold at Auction
Sometime in August next unless disposed of in the meantime by private contract.
All those WATER CORN MILLS called CHAPPLE MILLS 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, contained about 17 acres.
These premises are well situated for trade and are now in full business, part of the purchase money may remain thereon for several 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 an account thereof to Mr. Henry BLYTH immediately..
Norfolk Chronicle - 11 & 18th July 1795


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 Wymondhem, Browick Road mill (to be confirmed) and Joseph at Mendham.
Mike Stammers - 12th June 2008


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

Domesday 1086:

1759 - 1768: William Mussett

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

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


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

1847: New mill built by Robert Stammers jnr

White's 1854: Robert Stammers, Chapel Mills

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

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

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: Freehold acquired by the Stammers family and additional floor added along with roller mills

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

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

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

16th October 1914: Mill destroyed by fire



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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003