Thurning Mill
Craymere Beck



c.1910
c.1910

One of the smaller mills in the county, Thurning mill was built of brick, weatherboard and pantiles. Back in the 1970s it was one on the most magical and mystical places imaginable. However, as it had not worked since before the second word war the whole building had become severely dilapidated.


Thurning watermill was technically the first mill on the River Bure, being only two miles from the source of Craymere Beck that flows into the Black Water to the north east of Thurning, which in turn flows northeast to join the River Bure just West of Town Close.


... the Hall ... is beautifully situated on a well-wooded slope towards the river Thurne, which bounds the parish to the south, and passes through an ornamental sheet of water in the grounds. CRIMES BECK gives name to a hamlet on the north side of the parish.
White's 1864


Jack Wheatley and daughter on the millpool c.1910
Jack Wheatley and daughter on the millpool c.1910

The mill took its water from a large almost lake-like mill pond covering several acres, which by the 1970s was almost completely grown over. As there was relatively little water available, best use of the resource was made by channeling the water through a narrow gap into the maximum drop available for a breastshot wheel. As a result Thurning Mill had the largest diameter waterwheel in the county - 30 feet, although it was only 2 feet wide. In times of excessive water or when any bypass was required, this was effected via a small underground tunnel that emptied into the beck below the mill.


Thurning c.1912
Thurning c.1912
c.1912 with the same two workers in both photos

Thurning watermill was worked as a Union Mill during the 1800s, whereby a small windmill (possibly but not definitely a composite postmill) was erected on top of the watermill and the two were run together. From the 1826 auction details it would appear that each the mill was powering two sets of stones and ran independantly, although it's also feasible that that both could be geared to run as one if desired. Bryant's map of 1826 shows shows both mills and marks them as Union Mills, which also would infer that they were either both powering the same machinery or that they worked as a pair.


I was interested in the reference to Thurning Mill (East Anglian Magazine Nov. 1957), as at one time I was working with a man whose father had helped to run it. He told me that there used to be a small windmill on top of the watermill but that, as it was not very satisfactory it was later removed.
I see that in Kelly's Directory for 1883 there is the following entry under Thurning regarding the man in question:
Commercial - Sexton, John, Miller (wind).
B. F. Marriage, The Watermill, Pakenham, Bury St. Edmunds
East Anglian Magazine - January 1958


The story goes that...
Originally two brothers built the mill as a windmill and watermill combined -
Union Mills but they then argued and fell out. One remained a miller and the other took to farming and he planted all the nearby trees in order to take the wind out of the mill's sails. Thus eventually the miller had to rebuild the mill as a watermill.


It would appear the windmill was erected c.1825 and was removed some time after 1861.

Thurning Union mill was of only three mills in Norfolk to use both water and wind power from the same site, the others being Burnham Overy Union and Little_Cressingham .


Bryant's map 1826
Bryant's map 1826
showing the windmill set above the watermill
Image reproduced with permission of Larks Press

c.1935
May 1967
c.1935
May 1967

By 1935 the single storey extension nearest the dam had been removed.


1957
1957

May 1967 May 1968
May 1967
May 1968

Bryant's map names the stream leading to the mill as Crainers.
It is said that in the early part of the 20th century the mill was known as Crymer's Mill, after Crymer's Beck (White's 1836).
However it was known as Thurning Mill both before and after that time.


c.1970 1972
c.1970
1972

In 1972, the majority of the machinery was still intact, including part of the waterwheel along with the pit wheel, wooden lineshaft, numerous wooden cog wheels, iron pulleys, two sets of stones and a flour dresser. A wooden lineshaft transmission system (as opposed to a spurwheel) was still intact. This was an extremely rare configuration and is so far the only one recorded in the county. This could well be the left over from when the machinery was powered either by water or wind.


Millpond c.1970 Wheelrace 1972
Millpond c.1970
Wheelrace 1972

Estate at THURNING
To be Sold by Auction By Mr. B. Barcham
At the Black Boys Inn, Aylsham On Monday 14 August 1826 at 3 o'c
Unless before disposed of by Private Contract

Lot 1. Messuage... in the occupation of Mr. Samuel Johnson, the proprietor.

Lot 2. A Water Corn Mill & Wind Mill, lately erected on the most improved construction & containing four pairs of stones & two flour dressers, with stable, cowhouse & other outhouses & 27 acres or thereabouts of Arable land, meadow, wood & ozier ground adjoining. Also a Messuage & garden at a short distance from the Mill. The buildings & part of the lands in this Lot are in the occupation of William Reynolds, tenant from year to year & Possession of the remainder may be had at Michaelmas next.
Apply to Mr. J. B. Jackson, of Cley near Holt, the Auctioneer at Sherringham or Copeman & Parmeter of Aylsham of whose office Maps of the Property may be inspected.
N.B. Purchasers may be accommodated with considerable portions of the purchase monies.
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th July, 5th & 12th August 1826


Estate at THURNING
To be Sold by Private Contract

Lot 1. Messuage... in the occupation of Mr. Samuel Johnson, the proprietor.

Lot 2. A Water Corn Mill & Wind Mill, lately erected on the most improved construction & containing four pairs of stones & two flour dressers, with stable, cowhouse & other outhouses & 27 acres or thereabouts of Arable land, meadow, wood & ozier ground adjoining. Also a Messuage & garden at a short distance from the Mill. The buildings & part of the lands in this Lot are in the occupation of William Reynolds, tenant from year to year & Possession of the remainder may be had at Michaelmas next.
Apply to Mr. J. B. Jackson, of Cley near Holt or Copeman & Parmeter of Aylsham of whose office Maps of the Property may be inspected.
N.B. Purchasers may be accommodated with considerable portions of the purchase monies.
Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd & 9th September 1826


Estate at THURNING
To be Sold by Private Contract
A Capital Messuage etc. ...
This Estate was in the possession of the late Mr. Samuel Johnson, the Proprietor. for many years ...

Also a WATER CORN MILL & WINDMILL, lately erected on the most improved construction & containing four pair of Stones, two Flour Dressers, with stable, cowhouse & other outhouses & 27 acres or thereabouts of Arable land, Meadow, Wood & Ozier Ground adjoining. Also a Messuage & Garden at a short distance from the Mill.
The Buildings & part of the Lands in this Lot are in the occupation of William Reynolds & possession of the remainder may be had at Michaelmas next.
N.B. The above Estates are in Thurning which is in an adjoining parish to Melton Constable (except for about four acres being in Briston) & all the Tenants hold from year to year.
Apply to Mr. J. B. Jackson, of Cley near Holt or Copeman & Parmeter of Aylsham of whose office Maps of the Property may be inspected.
N.B. Purchasers may be accommodated with considerable portions of the purchase monies.
Norfolk Chronicle - 28th April, 12th May, 21st & 28th July & 4th August 1827


Estates at THURNING
To be Sold by Private Contract on very reasonable terms
A Capital Messuage etc. ...
This Estate was in the possession of the late Mr. Samuel Johnson, the Proprietor ...

Also a Water Corn Mill & Windmill, lately erected on the most improved construction & containing four pair of Stones, two Flour Dressers, with Stable, Cow house & other Outbuildings & 27 acres or thereabouts of Arable land, Meadow, Wood & Ozier Ground adjoining.
Also a Messuage & Garden at a short distance from the Mill. The Buildings & part of the Lands in this Lot are in the occupation of William Reynolds & possession of the remainder may be had at Michaelmas next ...
Apply to Mr. J. B. Jackson, of Cley near Holt or Copeman & Parmeter of Aylsham of whose office Maps of the Property may be inspected.
N.B. Purchasers may be accommodated with considerable portions of the purchase monies.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th August 1828


Estates in THURNING etc.
To be Sold by Auction by B. Barcham At the Black Boys, Aylsham, on Monday 1st June 1829 at 3 o'c (Unless sooner Disposed of by Private Contract)
Lot. A Capital MESSUAGE ...
This Estate was in the possession of the late Mr. Samuel Johnson, the Proprietor for many years previous to his decease ...

Lot 2. A Water Corn Mill & Windmill, lately erected on the most improved construction & containing four pair of stones, two flour dressers, with stable, cow house & other outhouses & 27 acres or thereabouts of Arable land, Meadow, Wood & Ozier Ground adjoining.
Also the Messuage & Garden at a short distance from the Mill.
The Buildings & part of the Lands in this Lot are in the occupation of William Reynolds & possession of the remainder may be had at Michaelmas next.
N.B. The above Lots (1 - 4) are in Thurning which is an adjoining parish to Melton Constable (except about 4 four acres lying in Briston).
N.B. Purchasers may be accommodated with considerable portions of the purchase monies.
Norfolk Chronicle - 30th May
1829


It would appear that in 1841 William Reynolds jnr who was then 17, was learning the trade of milling from Joseph Baker, miller at East_Runton_towermill, as the 1841 census shows him living with the Baker family in the mill house.


Tithe Award 1845
Map, C. Burcham, Surveyor, Lynn 1843
Owner: Thomas Armes
Occupier: William Reynolds


 
No. 525: Water & Wind Mills & Premises
Pasture
0a. 0r. 21p .
Part of
7a. 3r. 23p.
9s. 3d. Vicar
4s. 7d. Impr.

Wiliam & Robert Reynolds. Thurning, millers.
Deed of Assignment 13 October 1856 for benefit of Creditors.

Norfolk Chronicle - 18th October 1856


To be Sold by Auction by Mr. J. J. Darken on Friday 26 July 1861 at the Feathers Hotel in Holt at 4 o'c. Lots 2 to 8
In BRISTON & THURNING
Lot 2. A Messuage or Dwelling House with productive Garden adjoining,
Watermill driving two pairs of stones, with large waterwheel in good repair & plentiful supply of water, Windmill, Cart Lodge, & other Outbuildings together with 30a. 1r. 19p. of Arable & Pasture LAND adjoining in the occupation of Chester Leman. This lot abuts upon Briston Common & land of James Gay, Esq. The Mills are capable of doing an extensive & lucrative business.
Freehold.
The above described property is offered for sale by the directions of the Trustees under the Will of Thomas Armes, decd.
Apply to Messrs. Wilkinson & Slann, Solrs. or the Auctioneers, Holt.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 13th July 1861



Looking down the original track in 1977 The locum in danger of collapse in 1977
Looking down the original track in 1977
The lucum in danger of collapse in 1977

In 1972 owner retiled the roof but the tiles soon come off again in a gale. He had also removed the nearby sheds as he considered them dangerous.


Thurning Mill was bought by a speculative builder in the 1980s, the machinery and maybe much of the magic was removed as it was converted into residential accommodation before being sold on.


1977 1977
1977
1977

1982 1982
1982
1982

September 1983 1984
September 1983
1984

For Sale c.1986
For Sale c.1986

Painting by Jeffrey Clark, April 2008
Painting by Jeffrey Clark, April 2008

O. S. Map 1885

O. S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images


O. S. Map 1904

O. S. Map 1904
Courtesy of NLS map images


Bryant's map 1826: Union Mills (wind & water)

1826: Samuel Johnson owner; William Reynolds, tenant miller

July 1826: Mill advertised for sale by auction

September 1826: Mill advertised for sale by private contract in the occupation of William Reynolds

1827: Samuel Johnson died

April 1827: Mill advertised for sale by private contract in the occupation of William Reynolds

August 1828: Mill advertised for sale by private contract in the occupation of William Reynolds

May 1829: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with windmill

Cary's atlas 1832: Union Mills

White's 1836: William Reynolds, miller

O.S. map 1838: Watermill

Census 1841:
William Reynolds  snr (50) b.Hindolveston, miller
Ann Reynolds (40) b.Weybourne
Mary Ann Reynolds (20) b.Thurning
Margaret Reynolds (18)
Jane Reynolds (16) b.Thurning
Robert Reynolds (15)
Edward Reynolds (12)
Samuel Reynolds (8)
Charlotte Reynolds (3) b.Thurning

Census 1841:
Thomas Paul (35) journeyman miller
Mary Paul (40)
Margaret Paul (10)

Tithe Award 1845: Owner: Thomas Armes; Occupier: William Reynolds

White's 1845: William Reynolds, miller

1846: William Reynolds

Census 1851:
William Reynolds snr (60) b.Hindolveston, miller & farmer 40 acres empl 1 jrnyman & 1 labr
Ann Reynolds (55) b.Weybourne
Mary Ann Reynolds (34) b.Thurning
Samuel Reynolds (20) b.Thurning
Henry Reynolds (17) b.Thurning, journeyman miller
Charlotte Reynolds (12) b.Thurning

Census 1851:
William Reynolds jnr (33) b.Thurning, miller
Elizabeth Reynolds (55) b.Wood Dalling
Esther Ann Reynolds (8) b.Briston, scholar
William Reynolds (6) b.Briston, scholar
Joseph Reynolds (6) b.Briston, scholar
Address: Near the Great Common

Norwich index of wills 1852: William Reynolds, miller

1853: William & Robert Reynolds

White's 1854: William Reynolds, corn miller

Craven's 1856: William & Robert Reynolds, millers

13th October 1856: William & Robert Reynolds - Deed of Assignment for the benefit of creditors

Census 1861:
William Reynolds jnr (42) b.Thurning, miller
Joseph Reynolds (14) b.Briston
Robert Reynolds (9) b.Briston

1861: Chester Leman, miller

July 1861: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with windmill by Trustees of Thomas Armes

Edgefield Register of Electors 1874:
William Pegg of Hindolveston (to vote in Reepham) Copyhold land, mill and buildings - Near Thurning Road 

Kelly's 1879: John Sexton, miller

White's 1890: William Pegg, corn miller; h Hindolveston

Kelly's 1892:
John Sexton,foreman miller to William Pegg of Hindolveston, Thurning mill (letters via Briston)
also Hindolveston windmill and Hunworth watermill

Kelly's 1896:
John Sexton,foreman miller to William Pegg of Hindolveston, Thurning mill (letters via Briston)
also Hindolveston windmill and Hunworth watermill

Kelly's 1904:
John Sexton,foreman miller to William Pegg of Hindolveston, Thurning mill (letters via Briston)
also Hindolveston windmill and Hunworth watermill

Kelly's 1908: William Pye, miller to Henry Slaughter of Hindolveston, Thurning mill (letters via Briston)

1939: Wheel paddles removed as mill no longer in use

Norfolk CC Report 1969: Disused, dilapidated and beyond economical repair

1983: Machinery (and soul) removed by speculative builder during conversion to residential use

c.1986: Mill along with 2½ acres offered for sale by Savills with a guide price of £170,000

2003: Family residence

2003: Edward Beckett


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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Jack Wheatley Cow Jack Wheatley's daughter