Keswick Mill
River Yare

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c.1911
c.1911

Keswick watermill is another Domesday mill, although not on the present site until the 13th century. The river flowed through 4 arches and the mill above was built entirely of white weatherboard with a grey pantile roof. The mill house stands close by along with several outbuildings including a large dovecote. Keswick mill was built c.1760 and used to be known as the old mill but there exists a painting of an even older mill with a thatched roof. During the 20th century the mill became a listed building.

The mill probably started life as a corn mill but during the 1700's it was also operating as a full mill. This activity later ceased and it once more reverted to flour milling before converting to grist milling in the 1900s century. A postmill was built just to the east and for many years the two mills were worked together until the windmill was finally demolished in the 1800s.



September 1967
September 1967

In the year 1220, Julian de Vaux of the Manor of Keswick surrendered his rights to the watermill to the Prior of Norwich. Parts of the present mill apparently existed back in 1550 when Queen Elizabeth l visited Norwich.


May 1967 11th April 1988
May 1967
11th April 1988

February 2003
February 2003

When first built the mill operated with two waterwheels, which were later supplemented by a steam engine. The mill ground flour for some 130 years before changing to cattle feed production around 1890. At the same time one wheel and the steam engine were taken out. This must have cut the mill's potential production capacity quite dramatically. Electricity was not connected until as late as 1947, this allowed for the installation of a modern hammer mill, although the water powered stones were still used on occasions. In 1966 the water rights were sold to the River Board who instigated on the removal of the second wheel, this was done by smashing the cast iron frame with 14lb hammers before lifting out the bits.


Geoffrey Brock at work c.1960
Geoffrey Brock at work c.1960

During the 19th century the western end of the mill was demolished along with much of the main structure, the whole thing was then rebuilt to the design seen today. However, the distinction between old and new is clearly visible inside the mill as the newer section uses cast iron supporting columns and the older section timber columns.


1967
1967

Towards the middle of the twentieth century, the Gurneys owned the mill and the Brock family were millers, although by this time electric power was being used. According to an (unnamed) magazine article on 25th October 1940, Keswick mill was also used for chaff cutting and pumping water to higher land. Milling operations ceased in 1976 and by the end of the 1970s the mill was just being used for storage.


The dovecote with the cowshed and stable block in 1940 The dovecote March in 1967
The dovecote with the cowshed and stable block in 1940
The dovecote March in 1967

To be Disposed of by public AUCTION.

On Saturday the 28th Day of March Instant, between the Hours of 3 & 5 o'c in the Afternoon at the Kings Head in the Market Place, Norwich (for the Remainder of the Term in the Lease, wherin about 19 years are yet unexpired).
The Dwelling House & Water-Mill for the grinding of Corn & fulling & about 20 Acres of Land & also convenient Buildings thereto belonging, situate in Keswick in the county of Norfolk, about Two Miles from Norwich, late in the Occupation of Mr. Edward Nethercoat Miller & Merchant deceased.
And likewise all that Windmill now standing upon the said Lands near the said Dwelling House.
For Particulars enquire of Mr. William DEWING at Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 7th March 1772

To be Disposed of by public AUCTION.

By Jonathan Gleed, Auctioneer On Saturday the 28th Day of March Instant, between the Hours of 3 & 5 o'c in the Afternoon at the Kings Head in the Market Place, Norwich (for the Remainder of the Term in the Lease, wherin about 19 years are yet unexpired).
The Dwelling House & Water-Mill for the grinding of Corn & fulling & about 20 Acres of Land & also convenient Buildings thereto belonging, situate in Keswick in the county of Norfolk, about Two Miles from Norwich, late in the Occupation of Mr. Edward Nethercoat Miller & Merchant deceased.
And likewise all that Windmill now standing upon the said Lands near the said Dwelling House.
For Particulars enquire of Mr. William DEWING at Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 21st & 28th March 1772

All persons who are in any Ways indebted to the Estate and Effects of EDWARD NETHERCOAT, late of Kestwick, in the County of Norfolk, Miller, deceased, are desired to pay their respective Debts unto Mr. WILLIAM DEWING, of Norwich, who is authorised to receive the same under the Direction of the Court of Chancery; and such Persons who have any legal Demands on the Estate of the said Edward Nethercoat are requested to send in the same forthwith to the said Mr. Dewing.
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th March 1772


Norwich, 2nd April, 1772
Whereas a great number of Flour Sacks, the property of the late Mr. EDWARD NETHERCOAT still remain in the Hands of the Bakers and other Persons who dealt with him; it is requested that all persons who have any such Sacks marked + E N + will send the same forthwith to Keswick Mills, or give Notice thereof to Mr. WILLIAM DEWING at Norwich, and they shall be sent for.

Norfolk Chronicle - 4th April 1772


Mill and house in 1901 Mill and house in the 1930s
Mill and house in 1901
Mill and house in the 1930s

A report having been propagated that the Fulling Business would no longer be carried on at the said Mills; the Proprietors of the said Mills think it right to acquaint the Duffield Makers that the same will be carried on as usual; &n in order to accommodate the Trade, other Fulling Stock will shortly be put up.
The Flour Trade will also continue to be carried on & the Favour of the Old Customers to the said Mills, & all others, will be gratefully acknowledged by the said proprietors.
N.B. Attendance will be given at the Angel Inn in the Market every Wednesday & Saturday for the buying of Corn for the said Mills.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th & 18th April 1772


Sunday died in an advanced age, Mrs Nethercoat, relict of the late Mr. Nethercoat of Keswick Mills.
Norfolk Chronicle - 19th November 1772


Sept 22, 1791
J. A. PARKINSON having engaged to take Kestwick Mills on the 10th of October next, begs leave to inform the Gentleman Farmers in general, that he shall attend at the Angel inn, Market Place, Norwich, on Saturdays, for the purpose of buying wheat.

Norfolk Chronicle - 24th September 1791

Sunday last died, aged 22, sincerely lamented by his family and friends, Mr. Parkinson, of Keswick Mill, only son of Mr. Parkinson, an eminent miller and merchant, of Hellesdon, near this city.
Norfolk Chronicle - 8th September 1792


Joseph Ames Parkinson was the son of William Parkinson of Hellesdon_Water_mill and Mary Ames the daughter of Joseph Ames the late miller and business partner of William Parkinson at Hellesdon Water mill.

Lately was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, John Buck, servant at Keswick Mills, with a broken leg in two places, being caught by the millrope, whilst at work.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th November 1792

Thursday night last some persons broke open Keswick Mills and stole thereout a quantity of flour in sacks, which they carried away in a cart with two horses, which they had taken from the premises of Mr. Denew; the cart however broke down on the road, and the thieves were obliged to leave a part of their booty behind them; they moved the other part upon the horses and left it in a ploughed field near Hargham, to which place they were traced; the next morning the whole of the stolen property was recovered, and the robbers had their labours for their pains.
Norfolk Chronicle - 16th March 1821

September, 3rd, 1812
WHEREAS the Partnership between WILLIAM TOLL and WILLIAM BURT, Millers, Keswick, Norfolk, was his day dissolved. - All persons having any demands, are desired to send in their accounts that they may be discharged; and all persons indebted to the said partnership to pay the same immediately to Mr. William Toll.

Norfolk Chronicle - 12th September 1812.

FIFTY POUNDS REWARD
WHEREAS early this morning KESWICK MILLS, in the occupation of Mr. W. Toll, were broken into and a quantity of FLOUR stolen thereout, Whoever apprehends the persons who committed the said robbery shall receive a reward of TEN POUNDS, and on Conviction the further sum of FORTY POUNDS, to be paid by me,
W. TOLL
Keswick, 9th of March, 1821.

Bill from Miles Blomfield - 25th November 1843 Bill from Miles Blomfield - 30th January 1844
Bill from Miles Blomfield - 25th November 1843
Bill from Miles Blomfield - 30th January 1844

Candler Family
Edward Candler, 1811 - 1888 was recorded as miller at Bawburgh in 1836 and 1845. His family were Quakers and several of his relatives were also millers. Lawrence Candler 1747 - 1820 was recorded at at Cringleford in 1806 (either the watermill or the postmill). His son Lawrence jnr. 1773 - 1824 was recorded at Cringleford_watermill in 1836 and again in 1845 with Horatio (his brother?). Horatio was again recorded there in 1864 and his son Horace Robert from 1883 - 1908. Lawrence and Horatio were recorded at Saxlingham_Thorpe_watermill from 1845 - 1863. In 1879 and 1883 Horace was also recorded at East_Harling_watermill, where he lived and from at least 1890 - 1896 he was also running Keswick watermill.

Walter King was listed as a journeyman miller in the census of 1861 and was the son of Hugh King, journeyman miller at Heigham_Crook's_Place_towermill in Norwich. Walter King had moved to Sculthorpe_mill by 1871.


Looking north east in 1947 Looking north east 4th February 2004
Looking north east in 1947
Looking north east 4th February 2004

Tithe map 1847
Tithe map 1847 - as redrawn by Harry Apling

Tithe Award 1847
Map.
Owner: Hudson Gurney
Occupier: Miles Blomfield

No. 5
No. 7

House & Mill etc.
Mill Hill

Part of

2a. 0r. 18p.
33p.
19a. 1r. 25p.

 


Walter King was listed as a journeyman miller in the census of 1861 and was the son of Hugh King, journeyman miller at Heigham_Crook's_Place_towermill in Norwich. Walter King had moved to Sculthorpe_mill by 1871.


Locum in 1977 Locum in January 2004
lucum in 1977
lucum in January 2004

The mill was built on this site about 1760 for the purpose of milling flour. Power was provided by two waterwheels; later a steam engine was added. We believe this is the second Keswick Mill; the first was sited about a mile downstream at what is known as Harford Bridge. Flour-making continued until 1890, when a change from wholemeal bread to white became popular. New roller mills with modern means of power had been built in the towns which were more suited to the production of white flour. Many of the old mills like this one carried on grinding grain for cattle food, also grinding for farmers, and in the manufacture and sale of animal food. Also at this time, one waterwheel and the steam engine were removed, and the west end of the mill was demolished and rebuilt to half its original length. About 1930 this mill, like others, began making mixed rations for pigs, poultry and cattle. In 1947 we in the mill community were connected to mains electricity, and a hammer mill grinder was obtained for the mill. This increased the grinding capacity tenfold, the millstones still being used on occasion. About 1966 the then owner sold the water rights to the River Board, when the waterwheel and millstones were removed to leave the mill totally dependent on electricity. The mill stopped production in 1976.

My family has been connected with the mill since 1908, when my grandfather first leased the building, followed by my father and an uncle in 1920. My connection with the mill began in the 1920s as a child, when with cousins we were allowed to play with sack barrows inside on wet weekends. In 1935 an employee left because he did not wish to change from driving horses to a motor lorry, and I was asked to temporarily fill the gap, which lasted until 1976, my uncle having left many years before, and my father died in 1969.

Geoffrey Charles Brock - July 1986


Mill dam c.1950 looking south west Mill dam in 1977
Mill dam c.1950 looking south west
Mill dam in 1977

1969 Mill dam 3rd January 2004
1969
Mill dam 3rd January 2004

1977 - with the newer section on the right 15th February 2003
1977 - with the newer section on the right
15th February 2003

From the west in the snow of 1964
From the west in the snow of 1964

South Norfolk's Keswick Mill Conservation Area Plan July 1975
South Norfolk's Keswick Mill Conservation Area Plan July 1975

South Norfolk District Council
Renewal of outline planning permission for change of use of Water Mill to residential, Keswick Mill, Keswick (07/82/2593/CU).

Eastern Daily Press - 29th September 1982


The consortium that bought the mill from the Gurney family applied for planning permission to convert the mill into 12 residential units. This was refused and a new application was then made for 7 units, which was duly passed. In the end yet another planning application was passed to convert the mill into a single dwelling. This latter conversion was sypathetically carried out over a number of years.


South Norfolk District Council
Conversion to seven residential units, Keswick Mill, Keswick being a Listed Building within the Keswick Conservation Area
(07/82/3162/CU).
Eastern Daily Press - 2nd December 1982


Mill and mill house February 2003 Tailrace 15th February 2003
Mill and mill house February 2003
Tailrace 15th February 2003

Tailrace 3rd January 2004 Tailrace 4th February 2004
Tailrace 3rd January 2004
Tailrace 4th February 2004

Wheel axle and wheelrace 3rd January 2004 Pitwheel and wallower 3rd January 2004
Wheel axle and wheelrace 3rd January 2004
Pitwheel and wallower 3rd January 2004

Wallower with the spur wheel above 3rd January 2004 Wheelhouse 3rd January 2004
Wallower with the spur wheel above 3rd January 2004
Wheelhouse 3rd January 2004

The sackhoist 3rd January 2004 The grain chute 3rd January 2004
The sackhoist 3rd January 2004
The grain chute 3rd January 2004

The original wallsafe   The toilet above the millrace
The original wallsafe
 
The toilet above the millrace

The original thunderbox toilet above the millrace still remained in situ in 2004 and could legally be used.
The miller's fireproof document wallsafe also remained in it's original position in the old part of the mill.
A pair of French burr millstones lay outside one of the nearby cottages and white doves were still living and thriving in the dovecote.


In 1991 the mill was advertised for sale as an 8 bedroomed house along with a further annexe, double river frontage and three acres at an asking price of £300,000.


A second watermill of Anglo-saxon origin used to stand nearby at Harford Bridge near a ford. This mill vanished in the 14th century


French burr stones near the mill 4th February 2004
French burr stones near the mill 4th February 2004

28th April 2007
28th April 2007

I used to live at the railway crossing at Eaton from 1951 till I left and came to Australia in 1976, although my mother and father still lived in the cottage till my father died and my mother was rehoused into a unit at Lakenham around 1996, my sister had all so passed away and mum felt too old and frightened to stay there on her own.
I knew Mr. Brock very well and when I had my pony he would deliver the pony nuts and hay etc on the back of his Ute, he never charged me for delivery as I was only a 2 minute drive away.
As a small child I would wallow away many hours hanging of the mill wall and staring down into the water, I found if you stared long enough It made you feel as though the water was still and you were the one that was moving.There were quite a few artists that would gather if the weather was good and paint the mill, I remember as I walked by riding my pony would get a look at the work in progress and think to myself if it was good or not so good.
I also remember when I was about 10 years old my Aunt and Uncle came to visit us from London and one day we decided to go over to the mill so as my Uncle could have a look at the mill in operation, there was a very heavy gate just leaning in the wall near where the you could see the water underneath, of course being 10 I climbed the gate to get a better look and that was fine but when I went to climb off the gate came with me and I put out my arm to catch the gate but it was so heavy it fell on my arm and broke it. As luck would have it my uncle had a car and I was rushed to the Jenny Lyn Hospital and they plasted my arm which took about 6weeks to heel.
Mr and Mrs Brock had a tennis court and so did we so we would take it in turns on a Sunday to play tennis, one week we would go to the Brock's and the next week they would come to us and it was a very social afternoon.
Also there was a dyke that ran along the path from our place to the mill and I would often go there in the spring time to see how many tadpoles I could catch and brought them home in a jam jar much to mums horror. Hope you enjoy my stories 

Amanda Taunton, née Starling - 28th February 2011


O. S. Map 1881

O. S. Map 1881
Courtesy of NLS map images


O. S. Map 1880

O. S. Map 1880
Courtesy of NLS map images


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

1220: Julian de Vaux of the Manor of Keswick surrendered his rights to the watermill to the Prior of Norwich

1762: Edward Nethercoat, miller

Poll Book 1768: Jeremiah Partridge, miller

1771: Edward Nethercoat, miller

1772: Mill working as a fulling mill and a flour mill

c.1772: Edward Nethercoat died

March 1772: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with Keswick postmill

1772: William Dewing, miller

Poll Book 1780: Jeremiah Partridge, also Keswick postmill

Poll Book 1784: Jeremiah Partridge, also Keswick postmill

Poll Book 1786: Jeremiah Partridge, also Keswick postmill

1791: Joseph Ames Parkinson, miller took over running the mills

1791: Parkinson family, also at Hellesdon watermill and Mousehold Black postmill

2nd September 1792: Joseph Parkison died and was buried at Hellesdon on 7th September

Faden's map 1797: Mill

Poll Book 1806: James Toll, miller

Poll Book 1806: William Toll, miller

September 1812: William Toll & William Burt partnership terminated

Poll Book 1818: William Toll, miller

White's 1836: John Toll, miller

1836: Myles (later Miles) Blomfield (also worked nearby postmill)

1843: Miles Blomfield, miller

1844: Miles Blomfield, miller

1850: Miles Blomfield, miller. Also took on Crook's Place towermill in Heigham in this year

Census 1851: Miles Blomfield (49) b.Forncett St Peter, miller etc 20 acres employing 11 men,
1 apprentice and 3 boys;
Jamima  Blomfield (53) b.Monk Soham, Suffolk
Elizabeth  Brown (23) b. Old Walsingham, farmer's daughter
Dennis  Blomfield (18) b.Forncett St Peter, nephew, farmer's son
Henry  Buck (31) b.Tasburgh, servant, carter
Ellen Thorpe (22) b.Hapton, house servant; Mary Leggett (20) b.Hempnall, house servant
Address: Keswick Mills,

Census 1861: Walter King, journeyman miller, boarder at Keswick (son of Hugh King working at Heigham)
Edward Cross b.Worstead, journeyman miller, boarding at Keswick in same house

September 1867: Mill equipment advertised for sale by auction due to retirement of Miles Bloomfield

1876: Miles Blomfield (retired Sept 1867)

Kelly's 1883: Robert W. Fiddy (moved to Lakenham Peafield towermill)

White's 1890: Horace Robert Candler, miller, Keswick mills; and at Cringleford mills
White's 1890: Mr. George Bird Hylton, Mill house

Kelly's 1892: Horace Robert Candler

Kelly's 1896: Horace Robert Candler, also Cringleford

Kelly's 1900: William Mirrington

Kelly's 1904: Arthur Henry Chapman

1908: Henry Benjamin Brock moved from Sprowston steam & wind sawmills (before that at Mousehold tower mill) leaving eldest son Henry (Garfield) at Sprowston

Kelly's 1912: Henry Benjamin Brock

1920: Henry Benjamin Brock retired

1920: Charles Edward and William Frederick Brock (2nd & 3rd sons) took over

Kelly's 1922: Charles & William Brock

Kelly's 1929: Charles & William Brock

c.1935: Geoffrey Charles Brock (son of Charles Edward) started work at the mill. Motor transport began

1936: William Frederick Brock left to take over Stoke Holy Cross Mill. Firm now known as C.E. Brock & Son

Kelly's 1937: Charles Edward Brock

1969: Charles Edward Brock died

1969: Geoffrey Charles Brock (name C.E. Brock & Son retained)

Tel. directory 1970: C.E. Brock & Son

December 1976: Mill closed

c.1978: Workshop and display area for reproduction furniture  

c.1981: Mill bought from the owning London consortium by Mr & Mrs Roger Haywood and converted to a residence over 4 years

1982: First residential use

1986: Weatherboarding renewed

1991: Mill advertised for sale as an 8 bedroomed house

1992: Mr & Mrs Pearson - Mrs Pearson ran needlework courses and the mill featured in several TV programs

June 2000: Mill advertised for Sale by FPD Savills for a guide price of £575,000

2001: Mill owned by a Dutch family
 

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 TG 21170514
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004