Gt Witchingham Mill
River Aisne (Eyn)
(tributary of Wensum)


24th April 1977


Gt Witchingham Mill was also known as Eade's Mill and has even appeared on Ordnance Survey and other maps under that name, although no one appears to know who Eade was. It was apparently built in 1666 although it was probably enlarged later with an additional storey being added. This split the roof line away from that of the mill house. It was built of brick under a roof of black glazed tiles.



Rear of mill c.1972 Front of mill c.1972
Rear of mill c.1972
Front of mill c.1972

As we did not dine at the Kings Arms we gave the Landlord, Bell, by way of compensation one Shilling [on blotting paper] s1/d0 each, with which he was very well satisfied -
We got home safe & well, thank God for it before seven o’clock - The Rain that fell Yesterday rose
the Water at Foxford & at Eads Mill quite high, Nancy very much alarmed & frightened therewith as it came almost into our little Cart -

Parson Woodforde's diary - 7th October 1794
Parson James Woodford and his niece Nancy, had been to Reepham for a Confirmation


24th April 1977
24th April 1977

24th April 1977
24th April 1977

The waterwheel was used up until about 1948. In 1972 the mill was being used as a hammer mill to grind pig meal and was powered by electricity. In later years two pairs of stones were used along with a Tattersall dresser plated: Alfred R. Tattershall & Co., Milling Engineers, 75 Mark Lane, London, E.C.


13th May 1988
Prior to reinstatement of 1st floor window 13th May 1988

High on the gable end wall is the inscription: M. Copeman 1800


O.S. Map 1891
O.S. Map 1891
Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey

The building, which is part of a farm complex, is listed and should thus be preserved but at the expense of the owner. It was advertised for sale on March 17th 1984 by Irelands Hall & Palmer of Aylsham for £87,500 along with 4 acres of grounds and river frontage.


My wife and I bought it as a total ruin in 1992…and got planning permission/listed building consent to restore it and convert it to residential use. By the time we got it, every door and window had rotted…the roof had gaping holes and water was running down the inside walls.
I don’t think it would have lasted many more years without major intervention.
Barney Jones - December 2003



31st December 2002 17th May 2003
31st December 2002
Rear of mill 17th May 2003

18th April 2007
18th April 2007

My mother was the eldest daughter of Robert Breeze Howes the last miller to use it as a water mill.  I spent many happy hours there as a child (1940's) and have several of my mothers photographs. Reading about Letheringsett's new millstones sparked my interest and led me to the Website.
Mrs. O.K. (Toby) Howes - 15th April 2008


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

Firefighters praised for saving historic Great Witchingham watermill

Norfolk firefighters who battled successfully to save a historic watermill from destruction earned praise this evening from senior officers.
Some 50 crew members drawn from a wide area of the county were sent to the isolated Eade's Mill complex of buildings close to the boundary between Great Witchingham and Whitwell this afternoon.
At the scene, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service group manager Richard Herrell said the blaze was very severe and could easily have engulfed the properties but for the skill of the crewmen, especially the first ones there.
He added: “I'm not just saying this because they are our lads, but they did a magnificent job in very difficult circumstances.
“When you get a fire of this severity in a property such as this, you need a very high degree of skill to stop it spreading very, very quickly.
“What they have done is avoided the total loss of the structure.”
The alarm was raised at about 1.40pm at Eade's Mill House, one of two adjoining homes overlooking the old mill pond on a tributary of the River Wensum.
Fire service watch manager David Peacock said the first crews to arrive - from Dereham and Earlham, in Norwich - found a ground-floor workshop area attached to the main house well alight. Three people who had been at the house were safely outside by the time the firefighters had got there.
He added: “It was a very difficult fire to fight because of the traditional structure and because it has got a lot of hidden voids.
“It could have taken the whole of the house; it could have taken the adjoining properties. I would say the majority of the building has been saved from major fire damage.
“Because of its rural location, the Dereham and Earlham crews had an awful lot to do to contain it. They had to work really hard to fight, and to contain, it before we could get in further resources.”
Other crews were drafted in from Sprowston and Carrow in the city, Reepham, Watton and Fakenham.
Some of the firefighters were expected to remain at the scene well into the evening, painstakingly taking down the roof tiles from the worst-affected part of Eade's Mill House and removing bitumen to make sure the fire was completely out.Mr Herrell said: “It is a laborious task but it has got to be done.”One of the people who was at the house when the fire broke out was treated at the scene by the East of England Ambulance Service for the effects of breathing in smoke.
The householders were being comforted by neighbours and were too distressed to comment.
An investigation into the cause was under way, said Mr Peacock.
The Eade's Mill complex is thought to date from about 1666 and is mentioned in the celebrated 18th-century diaries of Parson Woodforde, of Weston Longville.

In the mid-19th century, the then corn miller in charge is said to have employed 15 men and boys. After the second world war it was converted from water power to electricity, but by 1992 if was reported to be semi-derelict. Since then it has been renovated and lived in for several years.
Mark Tweede, Norwich Evening News - Sunday 1st July 2012

1666: Mill built

Parson Woodforde's diary 7th October 1794

Faden's map 1797: Mill

Bryant's map 1826: Eades Mill

White's 1836: William Riches

White's 1845: John Wilden, miller
Eade's Mill

Hunt's 1850: Henry Dutt

Census 1851: Henry Dutt (52) corn miller employing 15 men and boys
Thomas Brown (49) miller
William Bush (42) miller's labourer
Henry Gaylord (25), miller;
James Filby (30) miller
Joseph Rudd, journeyman miller
John Kent (14) miller;
Ambrose Winter (33) clerk to a miller
Stephen Andrews (17) miller;
William Atherston (23) miller
Daniel Fickling (50) miller's labourer
William Critoph (22) journeyman miller
Frederick English (20) journeyman miller
Robert Barrett (50) master miller
William Boice (22) journeyman miller

White's 1864: Frederick William English

Kelly's 1779: Samuel Sharpin, miller & farmer, Eade's mill (moved to Lenwade mill by 1883)

White's 1883: Robert Howes, miller & merchant, Eade's mill

Kelly's 1896: Robert Howes

Kelly's 1900: Robert Howes

Kelly's 1904: Robert Breese Howes

Kelly's 1929: Robert Breese Howes

Kelly's 1937: Howes & Son

c.1948: Waterwheel ceased to be used in favour of electricity

c.1952: Wheel removed

c.1970: Machinery removed and floor concreted prior to occupation by farm animals and machinery storage

1972: Mill being used as a hammer mill to grind pig meal powered by electricity

May 1983: Advertised for sale by Irelands, Hall & Palmer of Aylsham for £65,000

March 17th 1984: Advertised for sale by Irelands, Hall & Palmer of Aylsham for £87,500

18th January 1985: Howes family sold mill to Colin Craig

9th February 1987: Colin Craig sold the mill house and retained the mill

1987: Boundary disputed with Norfolk County Council due to road layout changes within last 100 years

1992: Mill sold semi derelict for conversion to residential use

2003: Residential use

Sunday 1st July 2012: Fire in the complex controlled in time by up to 50 firefighters, saving the mill



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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