Sheringham Mill
Beeston Beck


Mill site 25th January 2003
Mill site 25th January 2003


Sheringham watermill was mainly known as a papermill that operated from c.1750 - c.1865, although it quite possibly started life as a corn mill. A notice in the Norfolk Chronicle on 30th August 1781 refers to a mill with an overshot wheel. In the early 1860s the owner, Mr. Critoph appoached the Norwich millwright company of Thomas Smithdale with a view to convert the papermill to a corn mill. It is not known if this conversion actually took place. This was one of the few mills in Norfolk with an overshot wheel, which seems quite remarkable when considering the surrounding terrain and the fact that the mill was only supplied by a small beck. A substantial dam was constructed above the mill to provide the necessary head of water to power the overshot wheel.

The mill would have been quite small, as in its proposed corn milling days of the 1860s, the designs only allowed for the refurbished mill to drive two pairs of small stones, one 3' 6" and the other 3' 8".


Tithe map 1838 Tithe map 1838
Tithe map of 1838 showing the mill dam with the position of the overshot mill top left of the ponds

The mill was situated in Paper Mill Road, however the name was later changed to Mill Road and then in 1901 it was changed once more to Beeston Road.


Joseph Priest was miller during the early 1700s. He owned the watermill and a nearby windmill as well as other property all of which he left to his son Robert when he died, probably in 1748. He also made a number of money bequests to his wife and family and must have been a very successful man. Robert Priest died in May 1771. One of Joseph's other sons was John and he was probably the John Priest, who bought Letheringsett-watermill and built Letheringsett_postmill. John Priest, was less fortunate than his father, as he later became bankrupt due to his extravagant lifestyle..


Joseph Priest was a miller in the eighteenth century. He owned not only a windmill but also a watermill (Note: There was a watermill at Sheringham at least until 1791 in which year Mr. Bond was assessed at £15 to the poor rate) as well as other property all of which he left at his death, probably early in 1748 to his son Robert who died in May 1771. He made a number of money bequests to his wife and family and he must have been a very successful man. One of his sons was John and he was probably the John Priest who bought a mill at Letheringsett, but he was less fortunate; indeed he later became bankrupt. (Note: Details of this John Priest and his activities are to be found in Basil Cozens-Hardy's History of Letheringsett. For the suit of tithes brought against Joseph Priest see under list of Sheringham vicars (1741) in chapter V, or R. W. Ketton-Cremer's Country Neighbourhood, p.216, from which the account is taken)
History of Sheringham & Beeston Regis - Campbell A. Erroll - 1970


re. Vicars of Upper Sheringham:-
1741 ... Rice occurs. He commenced a suit against Joseph Priest the miller for tithes, although Priest said that he never paid any. The Rev. Patrick St. Clair interested himself on behalf of Priest and Mr. Rice agreed that the matter should be settled by Mr. St. Clair and another clergyman.
History of Sheringham & Beeston Regis - Campbell A. Erroll - 1970


Sherringham

To be Sold by Auction, On Saturday the 15th of September, between the Hours of three and five in the Afternoon, at the Sign of the Feathers in Holt. An Overshot Water-Mill, the Works entirely new and upon an improved Plan, now in full Trade, in the Occupation of Mr Clarke Miller, of Lower Sherringham, the Owner, who leaves it for no other Reason than that of taking larger Business; also a good House, two small Pightles of Land adjoining to the Mill, very contiguous to an extensive Common; not less than a Hundred Pounds has been laid out upon the Premisses this Summer, and though the Mill is not perfectly finished, the Owner will either compleat it, or allow for it in the Purchase Money. The household furniture, Carts, Horses, etc may be had with the above, if required. All Persons having any Demands upon the above Mr Clarke Miller, are forthwith desired to send in their Accounts; and such Persons as stand indebted to him are requested to discharge the same within fourteen Days from the Date hereof, or they will be sued without further Notice.
N.B. The above Premisses, if sold by private Contract, (of which timely Notice will be given in this Paper) may be entered upon immediately. For further Particulars enquire of Mr John Miller, of Burgh Mills, or the Owner, at Sherringham.

Norfolk Chronicle - 30th August 1781

It would appear that the mill remained unsold as Clarke Miller was bankrupt by 1784. It could be that the mill had not yet been converted to a paper mill as no mention is made of it in the above advert.


Notice re: Sheringham Water Mill
...Clarke, Miller, bankrupt.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th April 1784


A Rate made by Henry Pegg & John Pegg Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Sheringham for the relief of the said Poor from April 17 to July 17, being 14 weeks at 2/3 on the Pound. 1808.

15
Widow Critoph
Water Mill
£01/13/09

Town Book for Sheringham - 1808

   

Samuel Critph at Sheringham Water Mill
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th June 1823


To be Sold or Let
All those PAPER MILLS at Sheringham...
Also a small TOWER CORN WINDMILL situate at Salthouse...
Apply to Mr. Ransom, Solicitor, Holt.

Norfolk Chronicle - 11th January 1840


The beck to the rear of the buildings Beeston Road (Paper Mill Road) 25th January 2003
The beck to the rear of the buildings
Beeston Road (Paper Mill Road) 25th January 2003

In 1863 there was a proposal to convert the paper mill into a corn mill:
St. Ann's Iron Works,
King Street, Norwich, 18 July 1863.

Mr. Critoph,
Dear Sir, Having duly considered the matter respecting the converting your Mill at Sheringham from Paper to a Flour Mill. In the first place I find your new Pit Wheel will not be sufficiently large to get the proper speed for driving Mill Stones, it will therefore require a New Cast Iron Pit Wheel of not less than 12ft. Diameter, one New Cast Iron Wallower to gear with the New Pit Wheel. I am therefore willing to supply all the undermentioned Articles for the Working of 2 Pairs of Stones, Flour Mill, sifter and Sack Tackle viz.
New Cast Iron Pit Wheel and Wallower, 2 Pairs Cast Iron counter Wheels, Gear'd, pitched and trimmed, one 6" Counter Shaft, with Plumr. Blocks, Brasses and Bolts complete. One Cast Iron Foundation plate and bolts for end of counter shaft. One 4ft. Drum, One 3ft. Drum, Two 2ft. Drums, Turned and bored, for driving Flour Mill, sifter and Sack Tackle, One Pair of 3ft. 6" Peak Stones, fitted with Vats and Hoppers. Two Stone Spindles, Stone Box's and Brasses, turned and fitted complete. Four Cast Iron Columns, Two Bridge Trees, fitted with Bridgen Pots and Brasses. One New Flour Mill, One New Sifter, New Sack Tackle complete. Wrought Iron Shaft for driving Sack Tackle, Sifter, &c. with Cast Iron Brackets & Bolts, all the New Leather Straps for driving Flour Mill, Sack Tackle &c. with mens time at Mill. All the above Work to be delivered, fixed and put to Work for the sum of one hundred and ninety five pounds.
£195. -. -.
Waiting your reply,
I have the honor to be,
Dear Sir,
Your Obt. Servt,
Thos. Smithdale.

N.B. As I consider the repairing of the Water Wheel is a carpenters job I think that it would be advisable for you to get your Carpenter to do it and we should be willing to give him any instruction while we are fixg. the work in the Mill.

Mr. Critoph obviously considered that French buhr stones would be preferable to Derby Peak stones and that the water wheel was either not worth repairing or was not powerful enough...
St. Ann's Iron Works,
King Street, Norwich, 11 Mar. 1864.

Mr. Critoph,
Dear Sir,
Having duly considered the matter relative to the Water Wheel and mill gearing for driving two pairs of stones in your mill at Sheringham viz
To take out the old Water Wheel and refix a new one with cast Iron Rings of Metal not less than one foot deep to form the Bucket sides with New Wood Buckets and new arms to the wheel and all wrt. Iron Bolts for the same. One new Cast Iron Pit Wheel and Wallower. Two New Counter Wheels and Stone nuts geared, pitched and trimmed. One 6" Counter Shaft with plumr. Blocks, Brasses and Bolts, turned, bored and fitted. Cast Iron foundation plate and Bolts for End of counter shaft. 4 Cast Iron Drum Riggers, Cast, turned and bored, for driving flour mill, Sifter and sack Tackle. Two pair of French Burr Stones, 3ft. 8" and 3ft. 6" diameter, fitted with Vats and hopper. Two stone spindles. Two stone Boxes and two Box's and two Damsels, turned and fitted complete. 4 Cast Iron Columns, 2 Bridge Trees & Bridgin Pots, fitted with Brasses. One New Flour Mill, sifter and sack Tackle. Wrought Iron Shaft and Plumr. Blocks, fitted with Brasses and Bolts. 2 Cast Iron Brackets and Bolts, 4 New Leather Bands. All the above to be made of first-rate materials, delivered and fixed at Sheringham including Carting with mens time for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds.
£250. -. -.
Waiting your reply,
I am, Dear Sir,
Your Obt. Servt,
Thos. Smithdale.

The Critoph milling family of Sheringham and Upper Sheringham were probably related to Robert Critoph of Gresham who in turn was probably related to William Critoph, who built Yaxham towermill.


The plaque on the building said to occupy the site
The plaque on the building said to occupy the site

It is almost certainly the case that Sheringham Preservation Society's plaque is on the wrong building and it should actually be further down the road to coincide with the position of the mill at the foot of the ponds forming the mill dam.


Tithe map of 1838 Tithe map of 1838
Tithe map of 1838
Lower arrow shows mill site according to Sheringham Preservation Society. Upper arrow shows likely site of mill according to map evidence
Blue marker between the ponds shows present day road - The Avenue

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

1656-1669: Watermill and 20p. and 2a. 1r., all copyhold of Manor of Sheringham Morley Hall

1719: Joseph Priest, also a windmill

c.1747: Joseph Priest died leaving the mill to son Robert. Also made money bequests to his wife and family

Will proved 1747: Joseph Priest, miller of Sheringham

N. Erpingham Hundred, Militia Ballot Lists 18th May 1765: Robt. Prist (34), miller; Adam Carrison (20) (assume Kerrison), miller; Richard Jacksin (35), miller; Richard Sidney (42), miller

May 1771: Robert Priest died aged 40

1781: Clarke Miller

24th April 1784: Clarke Miller, miller, bankrupt

c.1789: John Critoph, miller took Robert Leman on as apprentice

1791: Mr. Bond assessed at £15 to the poor rate

Faden's map 1797: Mill

Sheringham Town Book 1808: Widow Critoph, watermill

Will proved 1814: John Critoph, miller of Sheringham

Norfolk Chronicle 14th June 1823: Notice re. Water Corn Mill, Samuel Critoph

1826: Lewis Betts - married to Mary Ann Ling and had 3 children between 1826 - 1829

1832: Charles Townshend - married to Sarah Betts (sister of Lewis?)
John England - married Elizabeth Hogg in 1832 and had 2 children. John died in 1836 aged 30

London Gazette 26th June 1829:
James Betts (Bungay_mill) and Lewis Betts (also of Upper and Lower Sheringham) papermakers and stationers, bankrupt

White's 1836: Joseph Nightingale, paper manufacturer also landlord of the Crown Inn

O.S. map 1838: Paper mill

Tithe map survey 1838: Samuel Critoph (b.1783) owner, also windmiller at Upper_Sheringham and possibly owner of Salthouse smockmill

1841: Joseph Nightingale died aged 57

1841: John Skipper employing Charles Clarke aged 20 and Robert Jackson aged 65

Census 1841: John Skipper (45) pauper
Sarah Skipper (45)
Martin Skipper (20)
Harriot Skipper (15)
George Skipper (13)
Laura Skipper (1 month)

1842: John Skipper died

1842: Sarah Jackson (widow)

White's 1845: Sarah Skipper, paper manufacturer (Upper Sherringham)

Census 1851: Sarah Skipper (59) b.Thwaite, widow, paper maker employing 2 journeymen:
Charles Clarke (33) b.Taverham (son in law) married, paper maker and Zedekiah Clarke
Also at same address:
George Skipper (23) b.Halstead, Essex, son, unmarried, blind
Ann Clarke (34) b.Bungay, Suffolk (married to Charles Clarke)
William Clarke (12) b.Taverham,  grandson
John Clarke (9) b.Sheringham, grandson
Caroline Clarke (5) b.Sheringham, granddaughter

1852: Sarah Jackson (widow), Charles Clarke & Zedekiah Clarke aged 25, married Maria Sunman Kerrison

Kelly's 1854: On the banks of the rivulet is a small paper mill. Sarah Skipper (Mrs.) paper maker
White's 1854: Sarah Skipper, paper manufacturer

1861: Charles Clarke

Census 1861: Charles Clarke (43) b.Taverham, master paper maker + 2 journeymen
Ann Clarke (44) b.Bungay, Suffolk
William Clarke (23) b.Taverham
John Clarke (19) b.Sheringham
Caroline Clarke (15) b.Sheringham
Sarah Skipper (69) b.Halstead, Essex (mother in law)
George Skipper (33) b.Taverham, papermaker (blind, deaf & dumb)
Address: Mill House, Lower Sheringham

1862: Charles Clarke, William Clarke (son?) married Amelia

July 1863: Mr. Critoph considered converting the papermill to a corn mill with two pairs of stones

1860s: Production ceased


Register of voters 1874: John Robert Critoph -
Freehold paper-mill cottage & land near the Methodist Chapel



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