Tharston Mill
River Tas




1953
1953

Tharston watermill was built to the west of Low Thartston on the River Tas just to the west of the Great Eastern Railway line to Norwich. The mill was primarily constructed of weatherboard under a Norfolk pantiled roof and was not a large mill. However additional warehouse space greatly added to its capacity in later years. In the early 1800s the wheel was driving 3 pairs of French burr stones that meant the mill was primarily producing flour. The deeds of Tharston Mill house date back to 1825.

In its heyday it was a successful mill and when it was remodelled in 1952, its capacity was doubled. It was finally taken over by Duffields who ran it up until closure in October 1970. Its biscuit flour milling, along with the business from Buxton Mill was then moved to the bigger site at Saxlingham Thorpe.


March 1969
March 1969

According to a newspaper sale advert in 1896 the mill was using an overshot wheel with a 9 foot fall. This type of wheel is comparatively rare in Norfolk due to the mainly gentle terrain. The only other mills to use this system that I have found so far were at Brandiston, Buxton (one of the two wheels) Foulden, Hingham, Mundesley and Weybourne.


Headrace March 1969
Headrace March 1969

By 1867 the wheel had been supplemented by a steam engine. The boiler house contained a 10hp boiler by Riches & Watts and an 8hp vertical high pressure engine, also by Riches & Watts.


Tailrace March 1967 Tailrace 3rd August 1989
Tailrace March 1967
Tailrace 3rd August 1989

In the early 1800s and possibly for several years before, the mill was worked in conjunction with a nearby post mill. It appears that this was later replaced by a brick tower mill. This new mill was in place and running with 2 pairs of stones by the 1890s.


Joseph Parsley made a will 5th April 1806 and when he died in 1809, his executors followed his instructions to sell all my messuages, lands, tenements, windmills, watermills, outhouses, granaries and all other real estate whatsoever, in Tharston. Every week to pay brother William Parsley, the sum of four shillings until the interest is exhausted.
Bequests were also made to his sisters Ann and Edith, his nephew Robert Parsley and several nieces.
The value of Joseph Parsley's estate was under £600 and stamp duty was £11.

THARSTON MILLS With immediate possession
To be Sold by Auction By Wm. Burt On Thursday March 8, 1810 At the Swan Inn, Long Stratton at 3 o'c.
A desirable ESTATE, lately occupied by the proprietor, Mr. Parslee deceased of Tharston near Long Stratton, Norfolk, comprising a Water Corn Mill with three pair of French Stones, Overshot Wheel, 9 foot fall, Post_Windmill, comfortable Dwelling house, granary, stables & useful offices, with upwards of eight acres of meadow land of the first quality adjoining the mill.
The premises may be viewed at any time.
Apply to Mr. James Todd, Forncett, Mr. John Fox or the Auctioneer, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th, 17th & 24th February & 3rd March 1810


Notice to Debtors & Creditors
All persons indebted to the late Mr. JOS. PARSLEE, Miller of Tharston are desired to pay the same immediately to the Executors Mr. James Todd of Forncett or Mr. James Fox, St, Andrews, Norwich and all persons having any claims are requested to deliver the same that they may be discharged.
Norfolk Chronicle - 17th March 1810


Notice to Debtors & Creditors
All persons indebted to the late Mr. JOS. PARSLEE, Miller of Tharston are desired to pay the same immediately to the Executors Mr. James Todd of Forncett or Mr. James Fox, St, Andrews, Norwich and all persons having any claims are requested to deliver the same that they may be discharged.
N.B. The Mills are to be Sold by Private Contract.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th March 1810


Mr. J. Harley respectfully begs leave to inform the inhabitants of Tharston and its vicinity that he has entered upon the above Mills and solicits a continuance of their favours conferred on his predecessors hoping by a strict and punctual attendance to their commands to give general satisfaction to those respectable connexions who have honoured the concern with their support.
Norfolk Chronicle - 28th July 1810


Notice to Debtors
Many debts are now standing due to the estate of the late Mr. James Parsley, Miller & flour merchant of Forncett in Norfolk.
Notice is hereby given to such debtors that unless their respective debts are discharged to his Executors Mr. J. Fox, St. Andrews, Norwich or to Mr. J. Todd of Forncett on or before the 1st day of October next, legal steps will be taken to enforce payment of the same.
Norfolk Chronicle - 15th September 1810


Notice to Debtors
Many debts are now standing due to the estate of the late Mr. Joseph Parsley, Miller & flour merchant of Tharston in Norfolk.
Notice is hereby given to such debtors that unless their respective debts are discharged to his Executors Mr. J. Fox, St. Andrews, Norwich or to Mr. J. Todd of Forncett on or before the 1st day of October next, legal steps will be taken to enforce payment of the same.
Norfolk Chronicle - 22nd September 1810


Commission of Bankruptcy against
Henry Spratt of Tharston, Miller
To surrender 27 January next

Norfolk Chronicle - 13th January 1827

SALE of WATER MILL in occupation of Henry Spratt, and Land
Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd February 1827

Henry Spratt
Commission of Bankrupt dated 5 January 1827

Norfolk Chronicle - 29th December 1827

Most Valuable CORN MILLS & ESTATE at THARSTON within nine miles of Norwich.
To be Sold by Auction by William Butcher on Saturday February 2, 1828
At the Rampant Horse Inn, St. Stephens, Norwich at 3 o'c.
A most desirable ESTATE situate in Tharston near Long Stratton in the county of Norfolk in the occupation of Mr. Henry Spratt in two Lots.
Lot 1.
A Superior and Valuable WATER MILL ...
Also a comfortable Dwelling house and Garden ... and about ten acres of excellent arable and meadow land adjoining.
Lot 2.
A very superior newly erected Brick_Tower_Windmill with five floors, patent sails, two pair of French stones and going geers complete, with about 40 rods freehold land on a part of which the Mill is built. This lot is situated within a short distance of the Water Mill.
The whole of the above desirable Property is Freehold subject to a trifling land tax and is situated in an excellent Corn country within 9 miles of Norwich, 12 of Bungay and Harleston, 3 of Long Stratton, 6 of Wymondham and 9 of Attleburgh, all capital corn markets.

Apply to Messrs. Francis & Turner or to Mr. Matthew Rackham, Solrs. Norwich or to the Auctioneer.

Norfolk Chronicle - 26th January & 2nd February 1828

Grain delivery July 1970 just before closure Hand loading July 1970
Grain delivery July 1970 just before closure
Hand loading July 1970

THARSTON
Messrs. Butcher respectfully announce they are instructed by the Executors of the late Mr. Bensley to Sell by Auction at the Royal Hotel, Norwich early in June
Lot 1.
Water & Steam Mills at Tasburgh
(Tharston)
Lot 2.
All that substantial Freehold Lofty Brick
TOWER_WINDMILL with five floors and Patent Sails driving two pairs of stones at Tharston in the occupation of Mr. Stephen Millett. Possession of this lot may be had at Michaelmas next.
Apply to W. T. Bensley, Solr. The Close, or to the Auctioineers, Theatre Street, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 4th, 11th & 25th May & 1st June 1867
Norfolk News - 18th & 25th May & 1st June 1867

THARSTON
To be Let with possession at Michaelmas next

A Water and Steam Mill (with newly erected Steam Engine), Dwelling House, Outbuildings and about 8 acres of Meadow Land adjoining. Also a BRICK_TOWER_WINDMILL, all situate at THARSTON in Norfolk and in the occupation of Mr. Stephen Millett.
Apply to W. T. Bensley, Solr. The Close, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 24th & 31st August & September & October 1867 & July & August 1868
Norfolk News - 24th August & 21st September 1867

To Millers and others
To be Let
On advantageous terms and with immediate possession

A WATER and STEAM CORN MILL (with newly erected Steam Engine), Dwelling house, convenient Outbuildings and about 8 Acres of Meadow Land.
Also a BRICK_TOWER_WINDMILL. All situate at Tharston in Norfolk about 10 miles from Norwich, 2 miles from the Flordon and Forncett Railway Stations and in the occupation of Mr. Stephen Millett.
An old established Trade is carried on at the Mills which are situate in a good wheat growing district.
Apply to W. T. Bensley, Solicitor, The Close, Norwich.

Norfolk News - 12th October 1867

To Millers and Others
TO BE LET
On advantageous Terms, with possession at Michaelmas next
A VALUABLE WATER & STEAM CORN MILL with Dwelling house and Offices and about 8 acres of Meadow Land.
Also to be let or sold, a lofty Brick TOWER_WINDMILL with five floors and patent sails, driving two pair of stones.
All situate at Tharston near Long Stratton, Norfolk, in an excellent corn growing district.
A good Old-established Trade has hitherto been carried on at the Mills. .
Apply to W. T. Bensly, Solicitor, The Close, Norwich.

Norfolk News - 25th July, 1st & 8th August 1868

Preliminary Notice
THE THARSTON WATER, STEAM & WIND MILLS ESTATE.
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions to Sell by Auction on Saturday July 18, 1896 at
2 for 3 o'c at the Agricultural Hall, Norwich, the Water & Steam Four & Grist Mills, with Dwelling house, Stables, Cart Lodge, Bullock Shed and Pasture Land and also the Tower_Wind Mill and Land, now in the occupation of Mr. Alfred Thomas Phillippo.

LEATHES PRIOR,
Norwich, Vendors' Solicitor.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th June 1896

Preliminary Notice
THE THARSTON WATER, STEAM & WIND MILLS ESTATE.
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions to Sell by Auction on Saturday July 18, 1896 at
2 for 3 o'c at the Agricultural Hall, Norwich, the Water & Steam Four & Grist Mills, with Dwelling house, Stables, Cart Lodge, Bullock Shed and Pasture Land and also the Tower_Wind Mill and Land, now in the occupation of Mr. Alfred Thomas Phillippo at a Rental of £105 per annum.

LEATHES PRIOR,
Norwich, Vendors' Solicitor.
Norfolk Chronicle - 4th July 1896

THE THARSTON WATER, STEAM & WIND MILLS ESTATE.
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions to Sell by Auction on Saturday July 18, 1896 at
2 for 3 o'c at the Agricultural Hall, Norwich, the Freehold ESTATE known as Tharston Mills, situate on the road from Hapton to Tasburgh, about two miles from Flordon, Forncett & Ashwellthorpe Stations on the G.E.R., in the County of Norfolk, in the occupation of Mr. Alfred Phillipo, at the yearly rent of £105 comprising the Water & Steam Power Mills with Engine & Boiler house & fitted with a 10 horse power Boiler by Riches_&_Watts & 8 horse power Vertical High Pressure Engine by Riches_&_Watts, with all Steam Pipes & Fittings, a Centrifugal Scalper put up six years since by Riches_&_Watts, a Centrifugal Silk Flour Mill nearly new, a No. 1 Flour Mill & Sifter, three pairs of 4 ft. Stones etc.
The House contains... also adjoining are good Gardens. The Outbuildings comprise a Brick & Tile Cart-shed, 2 Open Sheds, Loose Box, Hay House, Harness House & Stable with 3 Stalls & Box; also adjoining are several Valuable Pastures of good quality & another Pasture next the road. At a short distance, standing at a considerable elevation is a Brick_Tower_Windmill with Two Pairs of Stones & other machinery, the whole containing about 9a. 0r. 13p.
Particulars of Messrs. Spelman, Norwich & Yarmouth; at the Estate Exchange, Tokenhouse Yard, E.C. & of Leathes Prior, Esq., Vendor's Solr. Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th July 1896



January 1973
January 1973

On 3rd July 1970, the Mill, along with the Mill House, an adjoining cottage, modernised house and six acres of pasture beside the Tas were sold at auction in Norwich for £14,000 on the instructions of Duffields. It was bought by David and Joan Langridge of Coltishall who used builder J.N. Howard of Sprowston to convert the mill into a five bedroom house and the adjoining granary into a three bedroom house.

Some years later the modernised mill was advertised by Alan Ebbage & Partners for sale with offers expected to be in excess of £30,000. It came with 4 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, full central heating, double garage and car ports along with 4 acres of land and a long river frontage.

The granary was sold at the Central Hall, Wymondham by auctioneers Alan Ebbage & Partners in May 1976 to a Mr. Brock for £13,800.


I lived in Tharston Mill as a boy, my father bought the Mill for £28,000 in 1976 and we lived there until 1983, when he sold it to a John Bee for £85,000. We think that Mr Bee sold it in 1986 to a doctor, and I was informed by a neighbour who worked for Savilles that the Mill was for sale again I think in 2000/2001 for a price of approx. £330,000.
My father made some conversions to the Mill during his time there, mainly by extending the lounge (which was on the first floor) into the mill chase that housed the old mill wheel that had sadly been removed earlier although some of the old machinery still remained, and I think that the Doctor converted the old 2 storey grain store (you can see it in the pictures of the back of the mill from the Mill Pond, it is the windowless extension above 2 or 3 windows of the kitchen) into a dressing room, a bedroom and a bathroom.
As a point of interest in either 1979 or 1980 the Mill was used by Anglia TV to film an episode of Tales of the Unexpected, the episode was called "Edward the Conqueror".
Greg Perks - 6th November 2009


The Tharston mill was run by Harry (HTS) Duffield and was a little gem, 4 sacks/hour beautifully maintained and run by a water turbine and 40 HP Ruston oil engine. These days it would have been kept as a working museum, it was sold for very little money about £7000 comes to mind and Buxton didn't make much. Some of the Tharston machinery went to the Strangers Museum in Norwich. I still have the large wooden pulley wheel from the Buxton turbine shaft,mounted on its side with a glass top makes an excellent coffee table,and an old wooden sack trolley.
Simon Cauthery, Australia - 29th September 2011


O. S. Map 1882

O. S. Map 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

The above map clearly shows the dotted line of the parish boundary tracing the original path of the River Tas that ran to the west of the mill rejoining the main river course to the north of the mill. The river course was altered to accommodate the mill and the mill dam.

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

Kelly's 1900: Alfred Thomas Phillippo, farmer

Kelly's 1912: Alfred Thomas Phillippo, farmer, Mill farm

Kelly's 1916: Alfred Thomas Phillippo, farmer & landowner, Mill farm


Tharston index of wills 1729: William Bridges

Faden's map 1797: Tharston Mills

Tharston Poll Book 1802: J. Parslee, also post windmill

1809: Joseph Parsley died

February 1810: Watermill advertised for sale by auction along with postmill

1810: J. Harley, miller

1826: Henry Spratt, miller

1827: Henry Spratt, miller, bankrupt

1827: Thomas Spratt, miller

February 1827: Mill advertised for sale

1828: Henry Spratt, miller - had moved to Lakenham Peafield towermill by 1830

January 1828: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with towermill

White's 1836: William Brown, corn miller

Tharston index of wills 1837: Benjamin Ringer

White's 1845: Henry Hart, corn miller

Census 1851:

Henry Hart (38) b.Tharston, master miller employing 3 men
Margaret Hart (44) b.Ashwellthorpe
Henry Hart (10) b.Hapton, scholar
Rhoda Hart (8) b.Tharston, scholar
Henrietta Browne (19) b.Tharston, daughter in law

White's 1854: Charles Cremer, corn miller

White's 1864: Stephen Millett, corn miller

1867: Stephen Millett, miller & at steam mill and towermill

May 1867: Mill & steam mill advertised for sale by auction along with towermill

August 1867: Mill & steam mill advertised to be let along with towermill

July 1868: Mill & steam mill advertised to be let along with towermill to be sold or let

Harrod's 1868: Stephen Millett, miller

Harrod's 1872: Robert Palmer

September 1875: Live & dead farming stock of Stephen Millett advertised for sale by auction

Harrod's 1878: Robert Palmer

Kelly's 1879: Alfred Phillippo, farmer & miller

White's 1883: Alfred Phillipo, farmer, miller & merchant

1888: Alfred Phillipo, farmer, miller & merchant

White's 1890: Alfred Phillipo, farmer, miller & merchant

Kelly's 1892: Alfred Phillippo, farmer & miller (wind & water)

Kelly's 1896: Alfred Thomas Phillippo, farmer & miller (wind & water)

June 1896: Watermill and towermill advertised for sale by auction

Kelly's 1900: Francis Pearse & Son, millers (steam & water)

Kelly's 1904: Francis Pearse & Son, millers (steam & water)

Kelly's 1908: Francis Pearse & Son, millers (steam & water)

Kelly's 1912: Francis Pearse & Son, millers (steam & water)

Kelly's 1916: Francis Pearse & Son, millers (steam & water)

1919: Duffields bought Tharston mill and sold Saxlingham Thorpe and Tasburgh mills

Kelly's 1922: William Lant Duffield, miller

Kelly's 1925: William L. Duffield, corn & flour merchant. TA "Duffield, Tacolneston"

Kelly's 1929: William Lant Duffield, flour miller (oil & water) & corn merchant, Tharston roller mill (TA "Duffield, Tacolneston" ) ; & at Saxlingham Thorpe

Kelly's 1937: Wm. L. Duffield & Sons Ltd. flour millers, Tharston roller mill. Fundenhall 206

1952: Mill remodelled by Duffields thereby doubling its capacity

October 1970: Mill closed

Friday 3rd July 1970: Mill along with the Mill house, other property and six acres sold at auction for £14,000

1976: Mill bought by Mr. Perks for £28,000

1979 - 1980: Mill used by Anglia TV to film an episode of Tales of the Unexpected -
Edward the Conqueror.

1981: Mill sold to John Bee for £75,000

June 1986: Savills advertised the mill for sale with 4½ acres for a guide price of £145,000

1986: Mill bought by local G.P., Dr. Andrew Gibson for £150,000

c.2000: Mill advertised for sale for approx £330,000

c.2000: Mill bought as holiday second home


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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