Blakeney towermill


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Norfolk Windmills

c.1905
c.1905

Blakeney towermill stood at Friarage Farm just to the east of the village and was built of brick and flint, its 32ft tower being 4 storeys high. The mill would originally have been fitted with common sails and a tailpole to drive 2 pairs of stones. The gothic doors and windows were probably put in during reconstruction in the 1800s when the 4 patent double shuttered sails were installed. These were struck by rack & pinion via a chain pole and drove 3 pairs of stones. One pair of sails had 7 bays of 3 shutters and the other pair had 8 bays of 3 shutters. The dome shaped cap with a finial was horizontally boarded with a 16 sided petticoat and had a gallery and an 8 bladed fan. The spur gear was made of solid wood.


c.1925
c.1925

In 1982 Harry Apling described Blakeny towermill as the oldest tower corn windmill standing in Norfolk.


Edward Seago painting 1936
Edward Seago painting 1936

The Blakeney - Wiveton parish boundary runs north to south through Friarage Farm. The farmhouse was also the mill house and stood in Blakeney, while the mill was built just within the Wiveton side of the border.


Tower of flint & brick.
Windows moulded red brick. Gothic.
Dome-shaped cap.
Wallower, solid wood, a trundle wheel, 4ft. 10ins. diameter.
Upright shaft a "graft" shaft of wood & iron with a 3-jaw dog clutch.
Great spur wheel all wood, smallest wooden one seen, 7ft. 3ins.
(N.B. Lt Cressingham 6ft & Wicklewood High St 7ft)
Cogs pinned with wooden pegs.
Stones:- Had Peak runner on French burr bedstone.

Rex Wailes


c.1950
c.1950

Tower about 32 ft. high to curb. Four floors.
27 ft. 6 ins. diameter at base, wall 2 ft. 6 ins thick.
Coursed flint cobbles with brick quoining to ‘Gothic’ doors and windows. Flints to above 2nd floor windows, remainder brick.

Ground floor:-
Two double doors north-west and south-east in brick ‘Gothic' arches.
Square windows (later) north and south.
All wood clasp arm (?) great spur wheel, diameter 7ft., … cogs on … in. square wooden upright shaft.
3 stone nuts, all wood,
(A) … ins. Diameter, … cogs
(B) … …
(C) … …
3 sets of governors.

1st (Stone) floor
‘Gothic’ arched windows east and west.
3 pairs underdriven stones

  • Ahead of ladder, 1 pair Peak runner, 4 ft. 6 ins. Diameter. Runner stone 12 ins. thick.
  • To left, 1 pair French burr stones, 3 ft. 9 ins. diameter with iron ring round eye – W.J. & T. Child, Hull & Leeds, 1850
  • Further left, 1 pair French burr stones, 4 ft. 2 ins. diam. Wooden upright shaft 16 sided.

4 ft. 6 in. wooden crown wheel with iron ring of cogs underneath … cogs, drove sack hoist via lay shaft to east. All iron pinion with … cogs left out of gear. Wooden lever for engaging.
Lay shaft to north with wooden pulley, driven from crown wheel by another all iron pinion, … cogs.

2nd (Corn) floor
‘Gothic’ windows south-east and north-east.

3rd (Dust) floor
Square windows north and south in later brickwork.
Replacement section of upright shaft
No wallower
No brakewheel
Windshaft removed 1980.
On ground outside:-
15 ft. iron windshaft
Neck bearing 12 ins. diameter
Canisters, inside, 14 ins. long 10 ½ ins. wide.
Square flanges for brake wheel
6-armed Y wheel, 4 ft. 6 ins. diameter
On one pair opposite arms:- England, Millwright Yarmouth 1899

William Thomas England,
1896 – 181 Northgates Street
1900 – 135 Northgate Street, Yarmouth
Harry Apling - c.1982


Blakeney 26th May 1980
26th May 1970

To be LETT
And entered upon at Michaelmas next
At Blakeney in the county of Norfolk
A TOUR WINDMILL, now in the Occupation of Francis Narbrough, with two pair of Stones and a full size FLOUR MILL
For further Particulars apply to Mr. Francis Narbrough or to Mr. John Mitchell of Weybourn in the county of Norfolk.

Norwich Mercury - 12th August 1769


To be LETT
And entered upon at Michaelmas next
At Blakeney in the county of Norfolk
A TOUR WINDMILL, now in the Occupation of Francis Narbrough, with two pair of Stones & a full size FLOUR MILL
N.B. It is convenient either for a single or married Man & well situated for Trade both at home & abroad, it being a Sea port Town.
For further Particulars apply to Mr. Francis Narbrough or to Mr. John Mitchell of Weybourn in the county of Norfolk.

Norwich Mercury - 26th August & 7th September 1769


To be SOLD by AUCTION
Some Time in the Month of February next6, unless disposed of before by Private Contract
At the sign of the Feathers in Holt in the county of Norfolk A FARM at Blakeney, otherwise Snitterly, in the said County, consisting of a Farm House & convenient Outhouses with several Inclosures of Land to the same adjoining, with several Pieces of Field Land, containing together by Estimation Fifty Four Acres, more or less, with a good Tower Wind Mill standing in one of the Inclosures near the Farm House, lett at the Yearly Rent of Seventy Pounds.
Also a Baking Office in Blakeney aforesaid, lett at Twelve Pounds per Annum.
For further particulars Enquire of Mr. Francis Narbrough at Wiveton near Blakeney or of Mr. G. Hunt Holley at Aylsham in the said county.
Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd & 10th December 1774


To be SOLD, a FARM at Blakeney otherwise Snetterly in the county of Norfolk, consisting of a Farm house & convenient Outbuildings with several Inclosures of Land to the same adjoining, with several Pieces of Field Land containing together by Estimation fifty four Acres (more or less) with a good Tower Wind-Mill standing in one of the Inclosures near the Farm house, lett at the yearly Rent of Seventy Pounds.
Also a Baking Office in Blakeney aforesaid, lett at £12 per ann.
For further Particulars enquire of Mr. Christopher Brettingham of Blakeney aforesaid or Mr. George Hunt Holley at Aylsham in the said county.
Norfolk Chronicle - 20th & 26th December 1777


To be Sold by Auction By Mr. Barcham
On Monday 4 August next at 3 o’c At the Kings Arms, Blakeney
Lot 1. Farmhouse … 27 acres … at Blakeney in the occupation of Wm. Marsh or his undertenants
Also a Brick Tower Windmill, with sails & going gears, in the occupation of Mr. Marsh
Apply to Sewell & Blake, Solrs. Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 26th July & 2nd August 1806


To be Sold by Auction by Mr. Barcham At the Feathers Inn, Holt
On Saturday 18 July next at 4 o’c
The following Desirable Estates
All the Farm House … situate at Blakeney in the occupation of William Mash or his undertenants …
Also a Brick Tower Wind Mill with the sails & going gears in the occupation of Mr. Mash.
These premises have a right of commonage in the common of Blakeney which they adjoin & Possession will be given at Michaelmas next.
Apply to Sewell & Blake, Solrs. Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th June & 11th & 18th July 1812


Daniel Easter of Casle Rising married Mary Dix of Salthouse at Salthouse on 22nd November 1803. Daniel subsequently became miller at Blakeney. Daniel and Mary Easter had their daughter Mary Ann baptised on Christmas Day, 25th December 1814 at, St. Nicholas' church, Blakeney.


Commission of Bankruptcy against
Thomas Drosier of Blakeney, Miller, dealer & chapman.
To surrender 5 February next.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th January 1827


Notice re Bankruptcy of
Thomas Drosier of Blakeney, Miller, dealer & chapman.
Commission of Bankrupt dated 17 January 1827.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th May 1828


Blakeney
Mysterious disappearance & death of a Farmer’s Daughter

(Summary)
Georgina Starling, aged 22, daughter of William Starling of Mill house, Blakeney
“Found drowned & washed ashore by the tide, but how & by what means she came into the water there was no evidence to show”.

Norfolk News - 1st May 1869

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

Death of Lord Calthorpe
Saturday 16th aged 81. Born 1831.

Dereham & Fakenham Times - 23rd November 1912


It belonged to late Lord Calthorpe ...
Now in perfect order & has had about £400 spent on it during the last twenty years.
It is now proposed to remove all the sails & machinery & transform it into a residential house.
J. Charles Cox - letter to Country Life - 18th October 1913


After milling ceased in 1912, the mill lay derelict with its machinery mostly intact. However, by 1980 the machinery had been removed and the mill capped pending possible later restoration.


c.1960 c.1960
Mill derelict c.1960

The windshaft was lowered by the owners this year ...
Later this summer we will be constructing the temporary cap. The remains of the cap and upper section of the upright shaft will be craned off and the new cap lifted into place.

Friends of Norfolk Windmills Newsletter - July 1980


Court says farm goes to Trust

Friary Farm, Blakeney, together with its caravan site, will become the property of the National Trust after the death of the present owner, Mr. Ronald Wiliams, it was decided in the High Court London yesterday.
Mr. Williams, who inherited the farm on the death of his wife Vera in 1977, had asked Mr. Justice Warner to rule invalid her October, 1975, will which left the property to him for his lifetime and thereafter to the National Trust.
He sought probate for a July, 1975, will which left him the property absolutely. He claimed that the later will was not properly executed.
Mr. Wiliams was "hostile" to the idea of the National Trust inheriting Friary Farm said the judge. But were insufficiaent grounds for invalidating the later will.

Eastern Daily Press - 29th May 1982

21st May 1995 21st May 1995
21st May 1995

WILLIAMS - January 6th. peacefully at his home, Friary Farm, Blakeney, after a short illness, Capt. RONALD JAMES BASIL WILIAMS, aged 74 years, devoted husband of Olive and stepfather of Reginald. (Funeral, Blakeney Parish Church, Wednesday, January 12th, at 11 a.m. Flowers to Lloyd Durham, High Kelling, by 9.30 a.m., please)
Eastern Daily Press - 7th January 1983


The late owner of Friary Farm, Mrs. Vera Williams, the wife of Capt. Ronald James Basil Williams, made two wills before she died in 1977. In the first will of July 1975 she left the property to her husband absolutely. However, in the second will of October 1975 it was left to him only as life-tenant, to pass to the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty on his death. In May 1982 Mr. Williams disputed the validity of the execution of the second will in the High Court in London, but the judge said that there were insufficient grounds for invalidating it.

Capt. Ronald Williams died 6 January 1983. Therefore, when the legal Assent has been obtained later this year (the time of writing June 1983) the property, Friary Farm with the mill and caravan site will be vested in the National Trust.
National Trust, Blickling - 10th June 1983


Mill interior 12th September 2009
Mill interior 12th September 2009

12th September 2009 12th September 2009
12th September 2009

The Blakeny parish registers provide the name of a miller, Daniel EASTER in 1814.
This appears the only baptism in this family where the father's occupation is given.
Information from other transcriptions shows that Daniel EASTER of Castle Rising had married Mary DIX of Salthouse,  at Salthouse, on 22 November 1803, both being single.
Before Mary Ann they had at least three other children:
John, son of Daniel EASTER and Mary DIX bapt Castle Rising 18 August 1805
William, son of Daniel EASTER and Mary DIX bapt Worthing 5 November 1809
Mary, dau of Daniel EASTOE and Mary DICKS bapt Cley-Next-The-Sea 6 March 1812
Mary, dau of Daniel and Mary EASTER was bur at Cley-Next-The-Sea 31 March 1812
Daniel EASTO was a 69 year old Ju (?) miller in the 1851 census ( HO107/1810 F58 3 ) recorded as a single man, lodging at the home of John FOX, in Lamas with Hautbois. His birthplace was shown as Salters (Salthouse I presume). However it is most likely that he is the Daniel ESTOE baptised at Weybourne c1783, the son of John ESTOE and Amy (nee EMERY) According to transcripts the family appears in Weybourne registers as ESTHER, ESTERS, ESTOE, ESTER and EASTER.

Bill Eastoe - 8th April 2010


Starling family tree
Mark Abel, Denver towermill - 26th February 2011

Aerial 28th October 2009
28th October 2009

1769: Francis Narbrough, miller

August 1769: Mill advertised to be let

December 1774: Mill advertised for sale by auction, listing Francis Narbrough as owner

December 1777: Mill & farm advertised for sale by private contract with the mill let at £12 per annum

Poll book 1786: Samuel Fromow, miller

24th February 1790: George Turner, master miller, employing apprentice Frances Whitley of Attleborough

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

1806: William Marsh (or Mash), tenant miller

July 1806: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1812: William Marsh (or Mash), miller

June 1812: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1814: Daniel Easter, miller

January 1827: Thomas Drosier, miller, dealer & chapman, bankrupt

1827: Thomas Drosier, miller

White's 1836: John Starling, merchant & miller

Wiveton Tithe Award 1842: Mill and yard - owner: Lord Calthorpe; Occupier: S. Starling.
Tithe paid to vicar of Wiveton

White's 1845: John Starling, merchant & miller

White's 1854: John Starling, merchant & miller

White's 1864: John Starling, miller, merchant & ship owner

1865: John Starling, miller

1869: William Starling, miller

White's 1883: William Savage, corn miller

Kelly's 1892: William Savage, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: William Savage, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1900: William Bean, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1904: William Bean, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1908: William Bean, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1912: William Bean, miller (wind)

Saturday 16th November 1912: Lord Calthorpe, owner, died at the age of 81

1912: Calthorpe Estate for sale

1912: Mill ceased working

1913: Although in perfect working order, plans mentioned in the press to convert the mill to residential use

1926: Mill lying derelict

1949: Mill lying derelict

1980: Harry Apling recorded the machinery had gone and the mill was capped

6th January 1983: Capt. Ronald Williams died and the mill left to National Trust



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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004