Mendham Mill
River Waveney

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Mendham Mill and house c.1910
Mendham Mill and house c.1910

Mendham Mill was built in 1820 of weatherboard with a pantiled roof. The adjoining mill house did not appear to line up with the mill's window configuration, which was quite unusual. The wheel was believed to have been the largest of all the mills in the Waveney valley.

The mill ceased production in 1938 and was eventually turned into a showpiece residence and by 2000 the building had been Grade ll listed.


Mill dam c.1904
Mill dam c.1904

A new iron waterwheel was installed in 1861 having been cast at Harleston Foundry, the original one having at one time driven 9 pairs of stones.

At one point a 25hp compound Holmes & Sons steam engine was used.


A 3 sack/hour roller plant was installed in 1905.

Flour was taken by cart to Bungay where it was loaded onto wherries bound for Yarmouth.


c.1914 c.1915
c.1914
c.1915

John Stammers, born 1822, second son of Robert Stammers of Magdalen_Gates_post_mill, Pockthorpe, Norwich.
At Wymondham 1850 - 1858.
Went to Dilham watermill by 1861 and to Mendham watermill 1864.

Letter from David Cubitt, Norwich, to Harry Apling - December 1982
N.B. John's brother Joseph Stammers, was miller at Mendham

Joseph Stammers was the miller in 1861, he was also a farmer owning 260 acres and employing 10 men. His daughter Rosa married Thomas Pratt, a well known Harleston Solicitor and they lived at The Beeches in London Road. In 1881 Rosa's mother, Harriett, then a widow lived with her son in law and daughter. 


The mill dam c.1910 May 1972
The mill dam c.1910
May 1972

The artist Alfred Munnings, son of the miller was born in the Mill House in 1878 and was brought up in the village.


Mill and house May 1972 May 1972
Mill and house May 1972
May 1972

On 22nd November 2002 the Eastern Daily Press reported that the mill was on the market for £1.2 million.


Race far away from the daily grind

Equestrian and war artist Sir Alfred Munnings was born at Mendham Watermill, Norfolk, in 1878 and drew inspiration from the setting for many of his early paintings. The present building, surrounded by the water meadows of the Waveney valley, dates from 1807, although a mill is recorded on this site in the Domesday Book.

The mill is split into four parts. The casually elegant main home is over the top two floors in the centre of the building, with fabulous views. The first floor includes a sitting room, large drawing room and dining room, all with panelled walls and elm flooring. Upstairs there are four bedrooms and two bathrooms, one en suite.

Munnings' family lived in the Miller's House on the eastern end of the mill, which is now run as one of four possible holiday lets attached to the property. This has four bedrooms, a sitting room and two shower rooms.

The Mill Race Cottage, with two bedrooms, is at the other end of the building, and the one-bedroom Miller's Nest is on the ground floor of the main mill. A holiday let - the detached Miller's Lodge - has french doors opening from the sitting room on to a terrace and walled garden.

Anyone who fancies embellishing the Munnings theme by reintroducing horses could fence off some of the seven acres that come with the property to form paddocks.

In 1938 the mill sold for £1,600. Agents Jackson-Stops & Staff (01473 218218) is now asking for £1.2 million.
Jill Insley - The Observer - Sunday 26th October 2003


I lived in Mendham Mill in 1953 when I was six years old.

My Mother worked as a cook for Brigadier Scott and Mrs Scott who owned the Mill (I presumed) and farmed in the area.

We had moved from London after my Mother’s previous employer, a doctor, was one of the 4000 people who had died in the 1952 December smog.

Obviously, moving from Knightsbridge (alright Brompton!) literally just round the corner from Harrods, to Mendham with one shop was a bit of a change, but for a young boy playing games undetected alongside the river Waveney was preferable to the Serpentine, where even in those days, some busybody was telling you to go and play somewhere else.

I must admit that 51 years later I remember the dogs of the mill better than the people who worked or lived there.

The Brigadier had a black labrador gun dog called Sailor, the was spaniel called Prue. Mrs Scott had a nasty black poodle - Lady and my favourite was Jess a greyhound.

David Halliwell or I would hold her back while the other would run up the lane from the mill to the house by the stream where he lived and then gasp as she shot off when set free.

There were two families on the farm; the Halliwell’s and the Seamen’s. David, Jennifer Seamen and I were in the same class at school.

If you want a picture of them and the others in our class of nine!–go to Friends Reunited - Mendham School and look at the photograph.

The farm was a mixed farm with cattle, pigs, and poultry and, at Christmas, geese.

I collected eggs from the battery houses to the right and opposite the mill; I helped feed the dozens of cats who lived under the sheds. The area under the mill was where the poultry and the geese were killed and had their feathers stripped. It was busy at Christmas with extra ladies from the village taken on to help.

There was a large electrically powered watermill that could on the press of a button be sent into reverse.  This created a counter flow to the water flowing through the mill (as you know the main current goes past the boathouse and round the mill) and drove the accumulated debris that blocked the grating under the road back upstream.  The debris was then pulled onto the bank.  This did two things, it stopped a build up of water level in front of the mill and reduced the risk of bits of wood and flotsam getting into the waterworks -so to speak.
We lived in the part of the mill facing up the lane.

I was passing Mendham, coming back from holiday with my family a few years ago and dropped by. Luckily the new owners were there and invited me in to have a look around.

The watermill that shook the place when running was rusted away, and the stone steps that ran up to the kitchen from the walled garden had gone.

The chicken houses were I think a holiday home! I wonder if the residents know!

It was obviously in need of renovation, but although it seemed smaller than when I was a lad I wasn’t sorry I had gone back, so often fond memories are trick of the mind and you are disappointed… but no so with Mendham Mill

I had no idea then that Alfred Munnings had been born there and I do not recall it ever being mentioned.

My Mother had Saturdays off and we would go into Harleston to the pictures.

I was in Harleston with a friend from my office (who had holidays there with his Grandparents) en route to a meeting a few years ago. We stopped for a quick look around and called in at the ‘museum’ I asked where the cinema was-or used to be. Can you believe neither of the two worthies there knew!?

Perhaps it just dates me.

I said we moved to Mendham following the death of my Mother’s previous employer.

Unfortunately, we had to move again when Brigadier Scott developed cancer and died.

I have real affection for Mendham Mill.
Tom Sedman-Smith, Kidderminster - 17th March 2005


Charlotte, my wife, remembered her step-father telling her that Grace Philcox, from whom he bought the mill, had run off with her chauffeur. Apparently he paid £14,000 for it and, given the amount of money that she spent refurbishing it, was a bargain. Charlotte thinks that he sold it for £18,000, four years later.

My wife’s mother was Jane Carr, star of stage, screen and radio. Robert Stent, who she married in 1955, was MD of Trust House Hotels. Shortly before the wedding Jane was diagnosed with a terminal illness and Robert bought the mill as a weekend and holiday home. My wife loved spending time there and she and her best friend, Nina Campbell, now the celebrity interior designer, painted the punt red and white. I noticed in Sir Alfred Munnings’ book, that he writes about the one that he and his brother used.

Many of Jane’s show-biz friends spent time there, although we can only find one picture of Michael Denison and Dulci Grey. Jane had sponsored their application to study at the Central School of Language and Drama, and they in turn, ten years later did the same for Charlotte.

As I also mentioned, Jane died in London in 1957, but had insisted on being buried at Mendham. For some reason, best known to himself, Robert Stent had the grave identified by a marker, rather than a gravestone. Maybe, as Charlotte thinks, that was why he was so wealthy.

Apparently there was a large eel, affectionately called Ernie, that lived below the wheel and was fed on soft shelled eggs, through a trap door. Charlotte was also able to carry on the Munnings’ tradition by having her own horse. It was named Marcus and had been retired from service with the army, in London. We still have one of his hooves, mounted in silver and used as a doorstep.
Derek Southon - 6th March 2007

Jane Carr c.1955 Robert Stent & Jane Carr c.1955
Actress Jane Carr c.1955
Robert Stent & Jane Carr c.1955

Jane Carr died in September 1957 after a two year illness.


Dulcie Gray & Michael Dennison 1955 Charlotte Southon 1990
Dulcie Gray & Michael Dennison 1955
Charlotte Southon 1990

Rear of mill 1956
Rear of mill 1956

Aerial 5th April 2007
5th April 2007

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 and Joseph at Mendham.
Mike Stammers - 12th June 2008


Apparently there used to be a paper mill in the village on the left side of the bridge near the church but no trace has so far been found.


My father John Moody was born at the mill cottage in 1919 - I believe my great grandfather whose name was Sillette was the miller at the time he had two daughter s Henrietta Ernestina and Ada - Henrietta married Sam Moody who was a printer in Mexborough Yorkshire and Ada married Albert Adams who was a printer in London .
Unfortunately my father is now dead and I never really asked him much about his grandfather - I remember my grandmother telling me that at some point there was a fire at Mendham Church and a lot of records were destroyed including the records related to her birth.

Eric Moody - 14th February 2009


Years ago when a Navigating Officer with Trinity House Harwich I was tinkering  with my 1930 Morris Oxford car when a lady approached me, carrying a stuffed black pekinese dog. She called  out to a gentleman and said "Alfred I am giving your car away." She said I should call this car "Black night."  On towing this 1920 Buick away I  understand  it was their honeymoon car and cost one thousand pounds at that time. It  was yellow and black. I spent some time renovating it and drove it around. I dont have it any more and the last I heard it was parked in London, England.  Also have the book "Black Night" written by the dog.
John Burrough - 19th May 2010


3rd January 2010 3rd January 2010
3rd January 2010
3rd January 2010 showing the channel cut from the main river

Will Saxby of Mendham
Will Saxby of Mendham
painted and signed by
A. J. Munnings 1896

Memo written by John Munnings 4th March 190
Memo written by John Munnings 4th March 1903
The script reads:
William Saxby is the son of my groom who has been in my employment 20 years they are a respectable family, and I believe the boy to be honest and sober.
John Munnings
(father of Sir John Munnings)

My Saxby family all lived in or around Mendham in the 18th century until the upset in the agriculture mechanisation when they moved to seek other employment. My grand father went to Bethnal Green in London and eventually became a brewer at Trumans where he remained for forty years.
I joined the Royal Navy in 1949 and was fortunate to serve 10 years on the Royal yacht Britannia before my retirement from the R.N. Wills father was my grandads brother
.
Charles Saxby - 16th June 2014


1820: Mill rebuilt

Pigot's 1839: Christopher Johnson

1861: New iron wheel installed

Census 1861: Joseph Stammers (37) b.Starston, miller & farmer of 260 acres employing 10 men

1864: Joseph Stammers, miller

1872: John Munnings took over the mill

1878: Sir Alfred Munnings born in the mill house

Census 1891: Frank Arthur Crisp b.Norwich, maltster, miller, corn & coal merchant
Mrs Crisp, b.Bradford, Yorks
son, b.Redenhall
servant, b.E. Dereham
servant b. Woodbridge, Suffolk
Address: The Gables, Mendham Lane

1905: 3 sack/hour roller plant installed

1919: ? Sillette, miller

1938: Mill ceased production

1938: Mill sold for £1,600

2002: Mill on the market for £1.2 million

2004: Mill and cottages used for residential and holiday accommodation

April 2006: Mill with 2 cottages and 7 acres advertised for sale by Strutt & Parker c.£1,500,000

2008: James Johnston

Saturday 19th September 2015: Mill Open Day in aid of the Munnings Art Museum


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