Snettisham Mill
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Snettisham Millers

Robert Chapman, miller 1800 - 1836

When Robert Chapman started as the first miller of the new mill in 1800 he was paid the very high wage of
£1 per week. However agricultural wages were linked to the price of wheat and by 1810 Robert's wages were cut to 15/- per week and then further reduced to 7/- per week on 9th May 1818. This was despite the fact that the mill was still earning 8/- per bushel for floor sweepings. Robert was miller both before and after the time
T. Horner ran the mill. It is possible Robert was ill during this period. It is unclear when Robert died but his wife Elizabeth died on 29th December 1848, in Docking Union workhouse.

T. Horner, miller December 1816 - February 1817

T. Horner was only miller for twelve weeks and was paid the at the same rate of 15/- per week as Robert Chapman had been. It is quite possible that this newcomer was acting as a caretaker miller in Robert's absence. It was noted in the cash book that T. Horner received a rent of 3s 9d rent - possibly from Robert Chapman for use of his cottage. T. Horner also received a one off payment of 5s 3½d, possibly severance pay.

John Chapman, miller 1836 - 1844

John was Robert Chapman's son and was born in 1814. John married Elizabeth Susannah Butcher (Sarah) from Anmer on 22nd December 1817 when he was 23. John had taken over the mill at the age of 22 on the death of his father in 1836 but he died on 7th June 1845 at the age of 31.

Sarah Chapman, miller 1844 - 1850

When John died Sarah became a widow at the age of 30. She continued to run the mill for five years, employing one man to help her and during that time never remarried. In 1850 she allowed her father to take over the running of the mill.
On 15th November 1852 she had an illegitimate daughter, Emma who went on to become a dressmaker. Emma had three illegitimate children of her own and they all continued to live with Sarah until just after Emma's third child was born in 1880, after which she moved into lodging with the Snell family in 1881. Emma eventually married Adolphus Reeves with whom she had a son. On 10th January 1857, Sarah married William Wright, who was almost certainly the man whom she had employed during her time as miller - the 1851 census showed William Wright as a 30 year old bachelor miller whilst lodging with one George Drew. Sarah then had two daughters with William - Mary and Ellen, one of whom later had an illegitimate daughter of her own.
Elizabeth Sarah Wright died in Docking Union Workhouse in January 1901 and was buried in Snettisham on 12th January that year.

Emma Chapman Elizabeth Susannah Wright
Emma Chapman Elizabeth Susannah Wright (Sarah Chapman) née Butcher (probably)

Stephen Butcher, miller 1850 - 1863

Stephen Butcher was the farm bailiff to the Coldham family at nearby Anmer Hall until he took over the running of the mill from his daughter Sarah in 1850. He continued until his death on 6th December 1863 aged 78. Stephen Butcher was buried beside his late wife in Anmer.

Edwin Butcher, miller 1863

Edwin Butcher was Stephen's 48 year old son and thus Sarah's brother. He took over the mill on the death of his father but almost immediately handed it over to Sarah's second husband William Wright. Edwin had no previous knowledge of milling, having previously been in the Royal Marines in Portsmouth 1830 - 1852. The 1871 census shows Edwin living as a lodger with Sarah and William whilst drawing a navy pension. He died in 1895 and was buried in Snettisham on 15th February in that year.

William Wright, miller 1863 - 1892

William Wright was born in Castle Rising and at some point moved to Snettisham and was employed at the mill in 1851 by Stephen Butcher and almost certainly prior to that by Sarah Chapman. He married John Chapman's widow Sarah in 1857 and took over the day to day running of the mill on the death of Sarah's father Stephen in 1863. Stephen's son Edwin whom it appears inherited the title of miller was more than happy to hand the job over to William who then became miller at the age of 42. In 1868 the machinery was improved and a new granary and waggon store was built, the design mirroring the existing building but it is unclear who financed these improvements - probably the Syleham Le Strange family as mill owners. William finally retired at the age of 72 and ended his days in Docking Union workhouse, where he died during the September quarter of 1902.

William Wright (probably)
William Wright (probably)

John Whitrod, miller 1892 - 1912

John Whitrod was the miller at Dersingham postmill (demolished Feb 1907) for the two years prior to moving to Snettisham.

A local lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Ainsworth, remembers visiting the mill in 1912 when she was 8 years old. She used to take buckets of wheat to the mill on little cart to have the wheat ground by Mr. Whitrod. Her name then was Betty Daniels and her mother prepared the wheat for milling into wholemeal flour for her to bake bread for the family. Mrs. Ainsworth remembers the miller turning the handle which lowered the water shutter to set the wheel in motion but as a little girl she used to think that he actually turned the mill-wheel with this handle! She remembers Mrs. Whitrod as "A dirty old woman with an apron made from sack." Mrs. Whitrod made toffee which she used to give to the little girls but Betty didn't fancy it and threw it into the hedge.
Mrs. Ainsworth was our guest of honour when we re-started the mill in 1984.
Robin Nott - c.1986

William Morley, miller 1912 - 1925

Little is known about William Morley apart from a memory of him by a visitor to the mill in the 1980s. The gentleman would sometimes watch Mr. Morley at work in 1923 and as a small boy could not understand why Mr. Morley was so kind and friendly outside the mill but so stern and gruff when working. (Machinery was unguarded in those days)

Ralph Hodge, miller 1925 - 1936

It was Ralph Hodge's father Capt. Thomas Elliott Hodge DSC, a retired sea captain, who actually took on the mill tenancy when he moved to Snettisham in 1925. Although Ralph was just a teenager, he was the one who took over the milling business. Ralph married Helen Masson, a farmer's daughter from Manor Farm Snettisham and they lived in the nearby village of Ingoldisthorpe.
By this time the large roller mills were taking over flour milling, which meant that the smaller rural mills increasingly moved over to animal feed production. Snettisham moved out of flour production c.1936 and concentrated on producing rolled oats for livestock feed and cracked oats for game reared by the local shooting estates.
Having lost two fingers in an accident with a horse, Ralph purchased a lorry for delivering to local farms and estates. Thomas and Ralph then developed the transport side of the business and ran it as a separate haulage company until it was nationalised and became British Road Services in 1948.
Thomas Hodge bought the mill and mill house in 1938. He then demolished the old m
ill house and built a new one. However he moved to Scotland in 1949 after the nationalisation of BRS.
Ralph stayed in the area as a manager for BRS but he too moved to Scotland in 1951.


Charlie Taylor, miller 1936 - 1941

Charlie Taylor lived in Ingoldisthorpe and worked for Ralph Hodge. He helped in the garden and with the transport business but eventually spent much of his time running the mill during its latter days before it finally ceased work in about 1941.

Robin Nott, miller 1981 - c.1992

The Nott family left London after the great fire of 1666 and moved to Hertfordshire where they worked on or close to the land for many generations. In 1940 Robin Nott joined ICI as an research assistant in their laboratories and became involved with the development of plastics. Here he earned the same wage as Robert Chapman did 140 years before in 1800 - £1 per week. After serving in the Royal Navy during the war, Robin achieved a B.Sc. university degree and went on to travel the world as a technical consultant in polypropylene and other plastics. At this time he was living with his wife Audrey and family in Welwyn Garden City and it was from there that they moved to Snettisham in 1981 and set about restoring the mill.

The mill was first opened to the public as a working museum in 1984.

1626: Thomas Stonne

1800: Present mill built

1800 - 1836: Robert Chapman

December 1816 - February 1817: T. Horner

Pigot's 1830: Robert Chapman

White's 1836: Robert Chapman

Pigot's 1839: John Chapman

Census 1841: John Chapman

7th June 1844: John Chapman died

White's 1845: Sarah Chapman (John's widow)

1850: Stephen Butcher (Sarah's father)

Census 1851: Elizabeth Sarah Chapman (34), miller employing 1 (Sarah had 3 sons and 2 daughters)

1857: Elizabeth Sarah Chapman married William Wright

1863: Edwin Butcher, Greenwich Pensioner - Royal Marines Portsmouth 1830 - 1852 (Sarah's brother)

Tuesday 2nd June 1863: Mill sold at auction

6th December 1863: Stephen Butcher died

Census 1863: William Wright

1868: Mill machinery improved and granary and waggon store built

1871: Mill sold by Styleham le Strange family to William T. Brown of Gedney

1877: Mill sold to Edward Green (later Sir Edward) - industrialist from Yorkshire

Census 1881: William Wright

Kelly's 1883: William Wright married Elizabeth Chapman (John's widow) 2 daughter's + 1 between marriages

Kelly's 1892: William Wright

1895: Edwin Butcher died aged 83, buried 15th February

Kelly's 1896: John Whitrod

January 1901: Elizabeth Wright (Chapman) died aged 86 in Docking Workhouse, buried 12th January 1901

1902: William Wright died Docking Union Workhouse aged 85

Kelly's 1912: John Whitrod

Kelly's 1922: William Morley

Kelly's 1925: Thomas Elliott Hodge

Kelly's 1937: Thomas Elliott Hodge

1949: Thomas Hodge sold the mill and moved to Scotland

L.D. Barnes - various alterations including garden landscaping

Mrs. Dixon-Spain - later married Dr. Parrymore. Gardener's cottage built adjoining the mill house

Norfolk CC report 1969: Storage use. Original machinery survives

1978: Mrs.Parrymore died

F.R. Easton

1979: Mill bought by Robin and Audrey Nott for restoration

1984: Mill back in operational order

1995: Mill sold

April 2003: Mill advertised for sale by Belton Duffey of Kings Lynn at a guide price of £200,000


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 TF68083346
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003