Mill Road


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Catfield postmill was built in 1774, possibly on the site of an earlier mill and continued working for 148 years, finally ceasing in 1922.

The mill was built on two storey brick and flint roundhouse that had a boarded roof with battens over the joints. In later years, power for 2 pairs of stones was provided by 4 double shuttered sails, each with 9 bays of 3 shutters that were struck by rack and pinion with a chain wheel on the outside. The left handed, 8 bladed fantail was mounted on the ladder, the tailpole having been cut off. A boulting mill was also installed.

Other facts provided by Rex Wailes were:
Quarterbars 10ins x 12ins deep
Two pairs of stones were over driven via iron stone nuts with a glut box
One pair of stones was in the breast and the other in the tail, which were driven via a tail wheel
A third pair of stones were engine driven in the roundhouse
The sack hoist was driven via a double slack chain drive


The mill had a very good example of a full width porch at the top of the steps where there was an inscription on the crown tree that read:

John Bygrave possibly also owned mills at Burgh St Margaret and Witton as he was mentioned in adverts of mills for sale in both places.

Bygrave, John the Elder
Norwich Consistory Court 1782/3
Dated April 1782
Proved at Norwich 17 August 1782
Sole Executor:- Son, Richard
Freehold &Copyhold Messuages, Land, Tenements & Hereditaments & the Windmill being in Catfield
aforesaid unto Richard Bygrave my son ...
Richard Bygrave to pay Eight Pounds yearly to Sarah my said Wife ...


Post Windmill, Granary, Dwelling House, Garden & 3 pieces of Arable Land (about 10 acres) of the finest quality
Wm. SPELMAN & SONS are instructed by Mr. Christopher Vincent, the Proprietor to Sell by Auction on Monday 20 August instant at 4 o’c at the Crown Inn at Catfield, Norfolk
With Brick Round House & Chamber over. The Mill drives two pairs of stones & bolting mill, her sails & going gear in excellent condition & she is now in full trade. A good brick & tiled Dwelling House … 2 barns, 2 stables, bullock lodge & granary over, convenient sheds, cart lodges, garden, yards & 3 pieces of Productive Arable Land containing with the site of the Buildings 9a.3r.24p. the whole being admirably situated for Trade near the Street at Catfield & within half a mile of the navigable River to Yarmouth.
This desirable small Estate is in the occupation of the Proprietor who will give possession at Michaelmas next. Mr. Vincent has conducted the trade of the Mill (which is considerable) most advantageously for a long period.
Of the above the Mill & 6a.1r.0p. are Copyhold of the Manor of Sutton Outsoken, fine certain & the remainder is freehold.
Land Tax £1.16s. per annum.

Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 4th, 11th & 18th August 1849


Particulars & Conditions of Sale of a Capital POST WIND-MILL, Granary, Dwelling House, Garden & Three pieces of ARABLE LAND (about 10 acres of the first quality)
Situate at Catfield, Norfolk, which Will be Sold by Auction by WM. SPELMAN & SONS
At the Crown Inn, Catfield, Norfolk On Monday the Twentieth day of August 1849
At 4 O’clock in the Afternoon, in one Lot.
For particulars & conditions of sale apply to Messrs. BLAKE, KEITH & BLAKE, Solicitors, Norwich or to Messrs. SPELMAN, Norwich & Yarmouth.
A CAPITAL POST WIND-MILL With Brick Roundhouse & chamber over.
The Mill drives two pairs of Stones & Bolting Mill; her Sails & going Gears are in excellent condition & she is now in full trade. Also a good Brick & Tiled DWELLING HOUSE, containing Parlour, Keeping Room, Kitchen & five Sleeping Rooms, Wash house, Pantry, Dairy, Cheese Room & Cellar, two Barns, two Stables, Bullock Lodge & Granary over; convenient Sheds, Cart Lodges, Garden, Yards & three pieces of most PRODUCTIVE ARABLE LAND. Containing with the site of the Buildings 9a.3r.24p. the whole being admirably situated for Trade near the Street, Catfield & within half a mile of the Navigable River to Yarmouth.
This desirable small Estate is in the occupation of the proprietor who will give possession at Michaelmas next. Mr. VINCENT has conducted the Trade of the Mill (which is considerable) most advantageously for a long period.
Of the above, the Mill & 6a.1r.0p. are Copyhold of the Manor of Sutton Outsoken. Fine certain & the remainder is Freehold.
Apportioned Rent Charge £4. 6s (struck out)

Quit Rent 2s. 1d
Land Tax £1. 16s
£1. 18s. 1d

SPELMAN Sale Catalogue - August 1849


Catfield near Stalham
Windmill, Dwelling house, Granary & Premises with about 10 acres of excellent Arable Land
CLOWES & FLOWERDEW are favoured with instructions to Sell by Auction at the Crown Inn, Catfield on Monday June 22, 1863 at 4 for 5 o’c in one lot.
Apply to Mr. Fred FOX, Solr. Or the Auctioneers, Bank Chambers, Norwich.
Norfolk News - 6th June 1863 & Norfolk Chronicle - 13th & 20th June 1863


Catfield, Norfolk
Samuel Aldred will sell by Auction at the Crown Inn, Catfield, in July next, by the directions of the Trustees for Sale under the Will of the late Mr. Wm. Osborn, in One Lot
A desirable Freehold POST WINDMILL with capital Freehold DWELLING HOUSE, Garden, Yard, Barns, Stables, Granary & suitable buildings & two Pieces of productive Freehold Arable LAND containing 9a.3r.24p. all in Catfield & in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Beck.
Particulars of Mr. Fred Fox, Solr. Norwich or of the Acutioneers, Great Yarmouth.
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th & 28th June & 5th 12th & 19th July 1879

11th September 1934
11th September 1934

Local Bankruptcies
BECK, Edward, Catfield, miller
Norfolk Chronicle - 8th June 1889


By 1934 it was noted that the majority of the tail gearing had been removed, weatherboard was falling off and the mill was generally becoming derelict.

September 1937
September 1937

O.S. Map 1884
O.S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

… a section of the sail of Catfield Mill, comprising twelve vanes with their working gear, may be seen at the Bridewell Museum, Norwich ... The sail of Catfield Mill has a blade area of 27 feet by 7 feet 6 inches.
Old Watermills & Windmills - R. T. Hopkins, 1930

There were distinct physical similiarities between Catfield mill and Happisburgh_mill that had been built in 1773.

1774: Mill built by millwright John Bowen for John Bygrave, miller

Index of wills 1782: John Bygrave snr

Faden's map 1797: Mill

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

White's 1836: Joseph Vincent, corn miller

White's 1845: Christopher Vincent, miller

1849: Christopher Vincent, miller

August 1849: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1849: Mill bought by William Crow for £1,600 (handwritten note)

1850: George Ward, miller

White's 1854: George Ward, corn miller & farmer

June 1863: Mill advertised for sale by auction

White's 1864: George Ward, corn miller & farmer

1865: William Beck, miller

c.1879: William Osborn, owner, died

Kelly's 1879: William Beck, miller & farmer

June 1879: Mill advertised for sale by auction

White's 1883: Wiliam Beck, miller & farmer

1888: Edward Beck, miller

June 1889: Edward Beck, miller, bankrupt

1890: William Barber, miller

O.S. Map 1891: Windmill (Corn)

Kelly's 1900: William Barber (Mrs.) miller & farmer

Kelly's 1904: George Hudson Barber, miller & farmer

Kelly's 1916: George Hudson Barber, farmer & miller (wind) & manager for Sewers Commissioners (Eastern division) for the county of Norfolk

1922: Mill ceased working

1926: Mill lost sails in a gale

1934: Mill lying derelict with 2 stocks and no fantail

28th March 1937: Mill standing with one stock remaining - painting by Karl Wood

September 1937: Mill demolished

21st August 1979:

Mill mound at corner of roads
Roundhouse floor
Raised concrete track for fantail carriage 30 yards diameter
Iron mortice bevel pinion on shaft sticking up in ground

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 TG38732094
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2006