Burnham Overy Union towermill


Drainage Windpumps
Steam Mills


Burnham Overy Union mill is one of only two mills in Norfolk to use both water and wind power from the same site, the other being Little_Cressingham. During parts of the 20th century the mill was sometimes known as Roy's Mill. However, it was more often called the Union Mill because unlike Little_Cressingham and possibly Thurning the tower windmill on this site was actually linked to the machinery within the watermill ...being completely connected & the floors are parallel to each other... and was capable of driving the stones in both buildings. The watermill section had 3 pairs of stones and the windmill had a further 2 pairs. The windmill could also work the flour mill within the watermill when requird. Both mills were built in 1737, being constructed of brick, the watermill having two storeys under a Norfolk pantiled roof, with a third storey being added later. The windmill was originally built with five floors but a sixth was subsequently added. In 1825 the sails had copper vanes.

Burnham Overy Union towermill had five floors in 1825 although there possibly two additional floors in earlier times. The mill had an ogee cap that was low pitched and horizontally boarded with a vertically bparded petticoat and a gallery. A stage was set around the third floor. The four double shuttered patent sails each had 7 bays of 3 shutters with copper vanes being recorded in 1825.

The windmill machinery was advertised for sale in April 1893, including 5 pairs of French burr stones, three pairs being 4ft in diameter and the remaining two pairs being 3ft 6ins. The sale was possibly instigated by the acquisition of a roller mill.

Delightful Residence,
Superior Water Mill & Tower Windmill
at Burnham Overy
in the county of Norfolk

On Wednesday August 3rd 1825. At the Norfolk Hotel in Norwich at 3 o'c. In one Lot
A most valuable compact ESTATE in the occupation of Mr. Thomas BEESTON, the proprietor comprising an excellent Family House... A superior WATER CORN MILL standing on a fine stream, driving three pair of stones, with store rooms, flour chambers, counting room etc. Adjoining& communicating with it is a most valuable & substantial TOWER WINDMILL with patent sails and copper vanes, five floors, arch for waggons unloading corn & drives two pair of stones. The Mills are called the Union Mills, being completely connected and the floors are parallel to each other. The Windmill is by improved machinery rendered capable of working the flour machine in the water mill when required, by which much manual labour is dispensed with. The other buildings... large brick & tiled barn with carpenter's shop, waggon lodges & granary over, a long range of stabling capable of holding 10 or 12 horses, chaise & harness rooms, with an excellent granary or corn room 96 feet long. At the back of the buildings are two enclosed bullock yards with sheds, stabling, piggeries & pump house, with walled-in stack yard.
Adjoining the premises is an Inclosure of rich Pasture Land... Adjoining the Mills... Meadow Land...
The Premises are in perfect repair, considerable sums of money having been expended to render the Estate what it is universally allowed to be, the most compact & ornamental of its kind in the county of Norfolk. Burnham is distant from the Market Town of Fakenham 10 miles, from Wells & Walsingham 5 miles & from Lynn 20 miles. The Estate is situated in a remarkably good corn country & only one mile distant from the Harbour, which, combined with the powers of the Mills & the present very respectable trade carried on in them, renders the concern an object of peculiar interest to enterprising Capitalists.
The Estate may be viewed on application the the Proprietor on the premises & further particulars may be had on applying (personally or by letters post paid) to the Auctioneer, Norwich or to
Mr. WATSON at Fakenham.

By J. Culley
Norfolk Chronicle - 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th July 1825

To Parents & Guardians
At lady-day next
A STEADY ACTIVE YOUNG MAN as an Apprentice to a Miller.
Apply personally to Mr. Read, Burnham Overy Mills.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th March 1838

Mr. J. Beck begs to announce that he is favoured with instructions to Sell by Auction on Friday September 30, 1864 all the valuable Live & Dead FARMING STOCK, Miller’s Waggons, Cart etc. the property of the late Mr. Reed.
Further particulars will appear in future papers.
Norfolk News - 20th & 27th August & 3rd September 1864

Burnham Overy
Mr. Robert Spicer will Sell by Auction on Monday 3 October, 1854 all the Excellent HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE & other Effects late the Property of Mr. James Reed, deceased, particulars of which will appear in future papers.
Norfolk News - 3rd & 10th September 1864

Burnham Overy Mills
Mr. J. Beck is favoured with instructions to Sell by Auction on Friday September 30, 1864 all the valuable Live & Dead FARMING STOCK, Miller’s Waggons, Carts etc. the property of the late Mr. Reed. … (17th - READ)
Particulars of which will described in Catalogues to be obtained at the place of sale, of the Auctioneer & posted free of charge.
Sale to commence at 12 o’c precisely.
Norfolk News - 10th & 17th September 1864

The Bankruptcy Act 1861
Notice is hereby given that by an Indenture dated 20th June 1866 John Jarrett of Ringstead in the county of Norfolk, Baker, assigned all his Estate & effects to Alfred Lewis of Heacham in the said County, Miller & William Love Porritt of Burnham Westgate in the said County, Miller … for the benefit of the Creditors of the said John Jarrett … in like manner as if he had been adjudged Bankrupt.
Alfred Spanton,
Solicitor, Hunstanton.
Lynn Advertiser - 21st July 1866

To Millers
Wanted at Michaelmas as CLERK & MANAGER in a Water & Wind Mill, a thoroughly practical man, married (one without a family preferred) & who can be well recommended for ability & integrity.
Apply to Mr. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser & Norfolk News - 25th August 1866

Situations Vacant
To Millers
WANTED, in a Wind & Water Mill, a Young Man as an IMPROVER.
Apply to Mr. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Norfolk News - 24th November 1866

Wanted in a Wind & Water Mill, a good MILLER (Married) Well recommended.
Apply to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham or at the ADVERTISER’S office at 12 o’c on February 4th.
Lynn Advertiser - 1st February 1868


Burnham Overy
The FLOUR MILLS, HOUSE & LAND in the occupation of Mr. W.L. Porritt & the DWELLING HOUSES & LAND in the occupation of Rev. G.G. Hayter & Mr. Geo. Tweedy will by Order of the Trustees of the late Mr. Thos. Beeston’s Will, be offered for Sale by Auction in the month of July next.
Partridge & Edwards, Kings Lynn. 26 May 1870.
Lynn Advertiser - 28th May, 4th & 11th June & Norfolk Chronicle 28th May & 4th June 1870

Burnham Overy, Sutton & Norton
To be Sold by Auction by
Messrs. Cruso & Hawkins at the Hoste Arms Inn, Burnham Market on Wednesday 13 July 1870 at 3 for 4 o’c by Order of the Trustee of the Will of the late Mr. Thomas Beeston in the following or other lots as may be determined at the Auction
Lot 1. An excellent Double MESSUAGE or DWELLING HOUSE & PREMISES situate at Burnham Overy, Norfolk with the Plantation, Shrubbery, Gardens, Yards, Barns, Coach-house, Stables, Offices & convenient Farm Buildings belonging thereto & all that Brick TOWER WINDMILL & Brick built WATERMILL adjoining thereto & for many years post occupied therewith, with the Going Gear, Fixtures & Appurtenances; & also several pieces of Land … the whole containing together by Tithe Survey 55a.2r.5p. more or less …
This Lot & Lot 2 (30 perches of land at Burnham Sutton) are in the occupation of Mr. W.L. Porritt as yearly tenant. Rent £225.
Norfolk Chronicle, Norfolk News & Lynn Advertiser - 18th & 25th June & 2nd July 1870

Situations Vacant
WANTED, a thoroughly good MILLER. Cottage found.
Apply stating age, reference & salary required to W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Norfolk News - 2nd December 1871

Situations Vacant
WANTED, a good MILLER (Married) Cottage found.
Apply stating wages & references to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Norfolk News - 13th July 1872

WANTED, a MILLER (Married), cottage found.
Apply stating wages & references to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 27th July 1872

Situations Vacant
Apply stating wages & references to Mr. William L. Porritt.
Norfolk News - 8th November 1873

Wanted at Michaelmas, a good Miller. Also a Carter for Mill van.
Well recommended. Cottages found.
Apply to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Norfolk News & Lynn Advertiser - 11th September 1875

Wanted, a good General Miller especially as flour dresser.
Cottage found. Apply stating wages required & references to Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser - 2nd October 1875

Situations Vacant
WANTED, a good GENERAL MILLER, especially as Flour dresser.
Cottage found.
Apply stating wages required & references, to Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Norfolk News - 2nd October 1875

WANTED, a Miller as foreman. Trustworthy &: well recommended, without family preferred. House found.
Apply stating age, salary & reference to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 6th October 1877

Wanted for a Miller’s Van, a steady man well recommended.
Apply to Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser - 16th February 1878

Wanted for a Miller’s Van, a steady man well recommended.
Apply to Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser - 8th June 1878

WANTED Carter for mill van. Married man who can read & write.
Well recommended. Good wages.
Apply Mr. W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 7th September 1878

WANTED as Foreman & Manager in Wind & Water Mills & to help in keeping accounts. If with knowledge of merchandising & malting preferred.
Apply stating age, wages required, if with family & references to Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 2nd September 1882

WANTED, thorough good general Miller who well understands new processes.
Well recommended.
Address, Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, stating terms required & references.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd February 1884

WANTED by a Miller & Merchant for office work, soliciting orders & making himself generally useful, a sharp active man well recommended. House found. Apply stating wages (moderate) & references to Mr. W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser - 24th December 1887

Sale Friday September 19, 1890 of
Live & Dead Farming Stock
For Mr. W.L. Porritt who is declining farming.
Norfolk Chronicle - 30th August 1890

For Sale, iron mill shafts, backs, clamps, sails & everything complete, windlass with suitable gearing & tackle, 3 pairs of capital French burr mill stones 4 ft. & 2 pairs ditto 3 ft. 6 ins, one pair very close middlings, all driving with sun, a “HUNTERS’ Purifier” & 2 long silks. To be sold cheaply.
Apply W.L. Porritt, Burnham Overy.
Lynn Advertiser - 29th April 1893

Wanted General Miller; Knowledge of stonedressing required.
State age & reference.
Apply W. L. Porritt, Burnham Overy, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd April 1897

… at his residence on Tuesday (17th) evening of Mr. William Love Porritt … age of 85 …
… carried on a successful business as a miller and merchant for about 40 years, retiring in 1900. He was also a most successful farmer, having farmed the Crow Hall Farm for a number of years and in his earlier years resided there. Leaving there about the year 1870 he came to Overy and resided at the Mill House until the time of his retirement. He was the son of the late Mr. David Porritt, Maltster and merchant at Burnham Sutton …
Dereham & Fakenham Times - Saturday 21st September 1912

6th April 1970
6th April 1970

3rd May 2003
3rd May 2003

Burnham Overy Union Mills for sale

A Grade II listed Georgian watermill with enchanting and quintessentially English views over the mill-pond.Description
The Watermill forms part of a range of most attractive Georgian Mill buildings in a stunning setting overlooking the mill-race and mill-pond yet within a mile of Burnham Market's village centre.
The current owners oversaw the restoration of The Watermill following its purchase in 2001. Their aim was to create a spacious, comfortable family home whilst also preserving the building's heritage. Original and complementary materials have been used wherever possible; linseed paints, lime wash, pitch pine and York stone are all in evidence and the waterwheel has been fully restored. The workmanship was highly commended by the UK Federation of Master Builders upon completion.

The Mill at Burnham Overy Town was constructed c. 1737 on the River Burn and was notable as one of only two mills in Norfolk to be powered by both wind and water from the same site. Called the Union Mill as a result of this, the Mill remained in use for over 200 years adding an engine in the 20th century (as was common practice) to complement the wheel and the sails.

The accommodation is arranged over four floors and capitalises on The Watermill's charming setting above the mill-stream. The ground floor provides a well-appointed kitchen with an electric AGA and a dining room looking across the mill-pond, along with a wet room, cloakroom and mill-room in which the waterwheel is located. The first floor provides two generous reception rooms, each with windows overlooking the water on two sides. The second floor consists of three bedroom suites whilst a fourth bedroom and a further substantial reception room with a partially-glazed roof section are found on the top floor.
The dining room opens to a good-sized hardwood deck with glorious views across the mill-pond. Situated to the east of the mill buildings there is a further area of garden planted with saplings in which an old railway carriage stands, now restored to use as a summerhouse. The garden amounts to 0.6 acre (S.T.S.). Adjoining the garden is a Garage Block providing three secure bays with floored storage above one along with a log store.
Mill Farm is a small community which consists of twelve separate residential dwellings who jointly own a further 4.75 acres of amenity land consisting of water meadows and woodland. A nominal annual charge is levied by a Management Company for the upkeep of the shared land.

Bedfords Sale Details - August 2015

O. S. Map 1886

O. S. Map 1886
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

1737: Mill built along with reconstructed watermill. Date on watermill

1798: French fleet seen from the top of the towermill

Poll Book 1802: Thomas Beeston, miller

1814: Thomas Beeston, miller

1825: Thomas Beeston, miller

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

Wednesday 3rd August 1825: Mills offered for sale at auction but were not sold. Rented by James Read

Pigot's 1830: James Read, miller

White's 1836: James Read, corn miller

Census 1841:

James Read (50) b.Wighton, miller
Mary H. Evitts (16) visitor
Caroline Warren (or Warnes) (17) female servant
Mary Buston (55) independent
Elizabeth Lunn (or Dunn) (55) female servant
Elizabeth Lunn (or Dunn) (30) female servant

White's 1845: James Read, corn miller

Census 1851:

James Read (60) b.Wighton, miller
Ann Read (20) b.Burnham Overy (daughter)
Kate Read (18) b.Burnham Overy
Elizabeth Powell (33) b.Walsingham (visitor)
Sarah Ayers (20) b.Burnham Thorpe, house servant
Address: Town

White's 1854: James Read, corn miller & farmer

Harrod's 1863: James Read, miller

1864: James Read died

White's 1864: Executors of James Read (was living near the church)

August 1864: Business effect of James Read advertised for sale by auction

Kelly's 1865: William Love Porrit, farmer, maltster & merchant (son in law of James Read) renting at £225 pa

1866: William Love Porritt

1870: Mill put up for auction by trustees of Thomas Beeston

Kelly's 1879: William Love Porritt, farmer, miller, maltster & merchant; & at Burnham Market & Burnhm Sutton

Kelly's 1883: William Love Porrit

Kelly's 1892: William Love Porritt, farmer, miller (wind & water) maltster & merchant; & at Burnham Sutton

1893: Windmill dismantled and machinery sold

April 1893: Windmill machinery advertised for sale

Kelly's 1896: William Love Porritt, miller, roller mills (steam & water) merchant & farmer

Kelly's 1900: William Love Porritt

1900: William Love Porritt retired

Kelly's 1904: Philip Roy, miller

Tuesday 17th September 1912: William Love Porritt died aged 86

Kelly's 1922: Philip Roy, miller

Kelly's 1925: Philip Roy & Sons Ltd - Gas

1926: Windmill derelict

May 1935: Windmill tower burnt out

Kelly's 1937: Philip Roy & Sons Ltd - Oil

1926: Windmill derelict

31st January 1953: Mill flooded to a depth of 7 feet

1953: Sidney Roy - wheel still used to crush oats etc

Norfolk County Council Report 1969: Mill used for storage only

1999: Mill bought by David Barrows

2003: Mill being renovated under the ownership of David Barrows

May 2006: Mills advertised for sale by Bedfords for c.£1,250,000

August 2015: Mills advertised for sale by Bedfords for c.£1,850,000

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 TF 84224262
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004