Wighton Mill
River Stiffkey


March 2003
March 2003


Wighton watermill was sadly one of the early casualties in the demise of watermilling and was demolished in May 1866. Prior to this and by 1860 the mill's water power was being supplemented by a condensing steam engine.


Part of the brick floor 23rd March 2003
Part of the brick floor 23rd March 2003

Thomas Priest, who died and was then buried on 9th September 1793, had a daughter, Judith Ladle, born out of wedlock to Mary Ladle and she was baptised on 16th May 1784. Both Wighton watermill and windmill were taken over by Robert Beeston upon the death of Thomas Priest and Robert continued to take care of Judith Ladle, who was 9 years old at the death of her father. It was later mentioned in the will of Samuel Priest, miller at Newton_by_Castle_Acre_watermill, that one of his executors, Robert Beeston was keeping the mill at Wighton along with Judith Ladle.


Faden's map of 1797 also shows a New W. Mill to the southwest of the watermill.
This was Wighton_towermill that had been built a few years earlier.


Walter Thurtell was born on 15th June 1796, in Hopton, Suffolk (now Norfolk), as one of the children of John Thurtell and Anne Browne. Walter married Honor Clarke on 21st July 1819 at Great Yarmouth and they had ten children.
At the time of the 1851 census Walter and Honor were both 54 and at Walsingham, along with daughters Honor (30) and Clare (24). Walter was listed as a miller and farmer with 170 acres, employing five men and two boys.

Walter was a cousin of the Brownes of the Lowestoft porcelain factory (his mother was a Browne) and there were a number of millers in various parts of East Anglia called Chaston who were also their cousins of the Brownes. Robert Burtsal, miller at Ellingham watermill, was also connected to the Browne family by marriage, as was William Shearing who became miller at Ellingham_watermill when Robert Burtsal died on 7th November 1856.


Walter Thurtell c.1875
Walter Thurtell c.1875

Walter Thurtell went on to collect much information on the origin of the Thurtell name. Three of Walter's younger children later changed their surname to Turner, presumably to avoid embarrassing questions related to the scandal pertaining to Walter's first cousin, John Thurtell, who was hanged for a brutal murder in 1824. Although Walter and his wife had a total of 10 children, their only grandchildren were the family of their second son, Horace, who emigrated to South Africa. In fact, such was the notoriety of the name Thurtell in the 19th century that, although in 1823 Walter was one of 16 male Thurtell cousins, by the time of the 1901 census their only Thurtell descendant in England seems to have been one elderly unmarried lady.

Walter Thurtell left Wighton in the 1850s and moved to Newcastle where he became a flour factor. Whilst travelling from Newcastle to Yarmouth, William was suddenly taken ill and died on 1st November 1880 in Lynn Haven at the age of 84. He was subsequently buried at Highgate in London.


John Thurtell 1824 (waxwork)
John Thurtell 1824 (waxwork)
http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/thurtell.html

The 1841 census records the following as living in Church Lane, Wighton:
Francis Drake (45) journeyman miller;Elizabeth Drake (45); Elizabeth Drake (17); Sarah Drake (11);
Maria Drake (7); all born outside Norfolk
William Lane (40) journeyman miller; Mary Lane (40), wife; Susan Lane (80), mother; all born i
n Norfolk and
Robert Temple (24) miller, living with parents James Temple, agricultural labourer and Sarah Temple
b.Norfolk
Robert Thurston (35) miller; Sarah Thurston (35); Mary Thurston (9); Elizabeth Thurston (7);
Sarah Thurston (3), all born in Norfolk


Miscellaneous
To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a married Man, a good STONEMAN.
Apply to Mr. Coleman, Wighton Mills, near Walsingham.
Reference as to character will be required.

Norfolk News - 31st Octonber 1857

Situations Vacant
WANTED, a Married Man as GROOM and GARDENER
Also a good JOURNEYMAN MILLER who understands the Management and Working of a Steam Engine.
Apply to Mr. EVERITT, Wighton Mills, near Walsingham.
References as to character will be required.

Norfolk News - 7th July 1860

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a Man who thoroughly understands the Business and is also capable of driving Condensing Steam Engine.
Apply to Mr. George EVERITT, Wighton Mills, Walsingham, Norfolk.

Norfolk News - 23rd November 1861

The 1861 census recorded:
George Everitt (24) b. Quarles, unmarried, (of James Everitt & Co) miller and farmer of 160 acres, employing 5 millers, 7 labourers & 1 boy; Harriet Seaman (28) b.Gt. Dunham; Elizabeth Nicholls, b.Gt. Dunham, cook
Living near the mill:
John Barker (25) b.Shipdham, journeyman miller; Mary Barker (23) b.Wighton, wife and dressmaker;
Hungate St.  Robert Grief (55) b. Stradsett, journeyman miller; Charlotte Grief (40) b.Litcham; Elizabeth Grief (12) b.Litcham; Alfred Grief (5) b.Siderstrand - all living in Hungate Street.

James Buck (44) b.Gt. Ellingham, journeyman miller; Maria Buck (43); Sarah Buck (12)
b.Gt. Ellingham; Frances Buck (11) b.Gt. Ellingham; James Buck (7) b.Gt. Ellingham; Maria Buck (4) b.Holt

Robert Thurstone (57) journeyman miller; Sarah Thurston (55) dressmaker


Old brickwork March 2003 23rd March 2003
Old brickwork March 2003
23rd March 2003

WIGHTON
Notice re:-
Water Mill, about to be pulled down
James EVERITT, farmer
Norfolk News - 7th October 1865


Notice re:-
Wighton Water Mill
Discontinued and Premises removed
Norfolk News - 26th May
1866


James Everitt, the mill's last owner was a farmer, maltster and merchant of some substance as he was able to employ a gardener cum groom.


O.S. Map 2003
O.S. Map 2003
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

Faden's map 1797: Watermill

1799: Robert Beeston, miller appointed executor to the will of Samuel Priest of Newton by Castle Acre mill

1797: Robert Beeston also Wighton windmill

Wighton poll book 1802: Robert Beeston

1805: Robert Beeston died

1819: Beeston Wright (probably grandson) & windmill

1824: Walter Thurtell leased Mill Farm, along with Wighton watermill and Wighton windmill from the Holkham Estate for 19 yrs at £225 p.a.

Pigot's 1830: Walter Thurtell (1830 - 1850)

White's 1836: Walter Thurtell

Pigot's 1839: Walter Thurtell

Census 1841: Walter Thurtell, miller

Francis Drake (45) journeyman miller
Elizabeth Drake (45)
Elizabeth Drake (17)
Sarah Drake (11)
Maria Drake (7) (all born outside Norfolk)

William Lane (40) journeyman miller
Mary Lane (40), wife
Susan Lane (80), mother; all born i
n Norfolk

Robert Temple (24) miller, living with parents
James Temple, agricultural labourer
Sarah Temple b.Norfolk

Robert Thurston (35) miller
Sarah Thurston (35)
Mary Thurston (9); Elizabeth Thurston (7); Sarah Thurston (3), all born in Norfolk
Address: Church Lane

White's 1845: Walter Thurtell

1850: Walter Thurtell, maltster and merchant & windmill


1857: ? Coleman, miller

1860: Water power being supplemented by a condensing steam engine

1860: George Everitt miller & windmill

Census 1861:

George Everitt (24) b. Quarles, unmarried, (of James Everitt & Co) miller and farmer of 160 acres, employing 5 millers, 7 labourers & 1 boy
Harriet Seaman (28) b.Gt. Dunham
Elizabeth Nicholls, b.Gt. Dunham, cook
Living near the mill:

J ohn Barker (25) b.Shipdham, journeyman miller
Mary Barker (23) b.Wighton, wife and dressmaker;
Address: Hungate St. 

Robert Grief (55) b. Stradsett, journeyman miller
Charlotte Grief (40) b.Litcham
Elizabeth Grief (12) b.Litcham
Alfred Grief (5) b.Siderstrand
Address: Hungate Street.

James Buck (44) b.Gt. Ellingham, journeyman miller
Maria Buck (43)
Sarah Buck (12)
b.Gt. Ellingham
Frances Buck (11) b.Gt. Ellingham
James Buck (7) b.Gt. Ellingham
Maria Buck (4) b.Holt

Robert Thurstone (57) journeyman miller
Sarah Thurston (55) dressmaker

White's 1864: James Everitt & Co. corn millers, merchants & maltsters also at Wells (1853 - 1865)

May 1866: Mill demolished

2003: Only one low wall, some broken brickwork and part of the brick floor of the watercourse remain



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 TF94173953
Top of Page
Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003