River Bure

26th May 2010
26th May 2010

Saxthorpe fullmill is another of Norfolk's lost mills. It was referred to in a 13th century manuscript and was claimed by the Lord of the Manor who prevented any other similar mills from being built as it was a prosperous concern.

The fulling mill lay where the road crosses the river via a ford about a mile above Corpusty water cornmill. It also lay about a quarter mile south west (downstream) of the Tan Office. The fulling mill would have predated the tanning mill as clean water is essential for fulling cloth and the tanning mill produced considerable quantiities of filthy and polluted water.

30th April 1977 31st December 2002
31st December 2002

Diagram of fulling drive system drawn by Barré Funnell
Diagram of fulling drive system drawn by Barré Funnell

A few mills in the county were adapted to become involved with fulling cloth. The hammering system was noisy and relentless.
Watermills that were at one time used for fulling cloth included Costessey, Hellesdon, Horstead, New_Mills, West Newton and of course Saxthorpe Fullmill.

Newly woven cloth was washed, pressed and kneaded. Originally it was put in a trough and trodden. Later it was mechanically beaten by wooden hammers, geared to a wheel, which clobbered the cloth. Fuller's earth was used to mat the cloth and give it body and at the same time remove the grease from the newly woven cloth.
The Heritage of Corpusty & Saxthorpe - Janet Wilson c.1975

I well remember many a summer afternoon spent playing in the pipes under the road and tickling trout that lay under the down stream ends.
Dr. George James Carman - 22nd December 2003
(son of George Edward Carman)

Summer floods 25th June 2007
Summer floods 25th June 2007

This attached picture was taken on 25th June 2007.  The cottage “The Fullmill” in the background.  
Dr. George J. Carman - 26th August 2007

After torrential rain on 16th September 1968, the whole of the Tas valley flooded and covered a vast area including the area around the mill. While the Anglian Water Authority were realigning the river course on both sides of the new road bridge, Duffields took the opportunity to fill in the watercourse cut from the river Tas that was originally used to provide water to power the mill. It took six thousand cubic yards of hardcore to block the old waterway.

During the summer of 1980 ten new grain silos were erected on the site of the old filled in waterway at a cost of £370,000. These silos had a storage capacity of 5.000 tonnes - six silos held 680 tonnes each and the other four 250 tonnes.

O.S. map 1885
O. S. 6" Map 1885 (not to scale)
Image produced with permission of NLS Map Images

O.S. map 1885
O. S. 25" Map 1885 (not to scale)
Image produced with permission of NLS Map Images

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

Faden's map 1797: Fulling Mill Bridge + Mill House

Bryant's map 1826: Old Tanning Office

Deed 1830: 3 cottages and land referred to as the Fullingmill

Census 1851: William Bateman (65) b.Saxthorpe, Chelsea Pensioner
Ann Bateman (54) b.Saxthorpe
Charlotte Bateman (16) b.Saxthorpe
James Bateman (15) b.Corpusty, agricultural laborer
George Bateman (11) b.Saxthorpe, agricultural laborer
Thomas Potter (21) b.Saxthorpe, agricultural laborer (son in law)
Thomas Fox (67) b.Saxthorpe agricultural laborer (lodger)
Address: Fulling Mill

OS map 1890-1891: Fulling Mill

c.1920: George John Carman's paerents rented two of the three original cottages on the site

c. 1923: George John Carman married and moved to Brinton leaving his parents in the cottages

c.1940: Jack & Annie Laurie (née Hill) Keeler

August 1953: George Edward Carman bought the property from Henry Wright

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 TG10053105
Top of Page
Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003