Forncett End
black postmill


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Forncett End postmill c.1914
Black mill c.1914

Forncett End had two postmills within a few hundred yards of each other. One was the Black mill, known as Spratt's Mill and the other the White_mill that stood just to the southwest of the crossroads. The black mill had a roundhouse with dormer windows. In 1853, power was provided by 2 common sails and 2 patent sails but these were later upgraded to 2 pairs of patent sails, each with 9 bays of 3 shutters in 2 rows, that were struck by rack & pinion. The fantail on the ladder held a 6 bladed fan that turned anticlockwise. The sails powered two pairs of French burr stones and two flour mills.

The mill had been moved a short distance to the southeast and the other side of the road, to its last working position in 1824. having been recorded as an open trestle mill at its earlier position where it was built some 39 years earlier in 1785, where although at Forncett End, it was known as Tacolneston Mill.

The inside of the mill was plastered and the outside was black tarred, which provided its distinctive appearance. The mill post was grown in a field adjoining the site.

The 9ft 10ins diameter brakewheel on an iron windshaft, had 2 rows of cogs, the outer ones drove the stones and the inner ones drove the sack hoist and other machinery. The great spur wheel was made of wood with a clasp arm and the stone nuts were also wooden. Curiously, the stones were not fed by hoppers, instead the grain was fed via an extension of the bins below the top floor level.

The boulter and wire machines faced each other on either side of the tail of the mill, just below the first floor ceiling and were driven from the sack hoist drive.

The mill once ground and dressed 99 sacks of flour in 6 working days, using just 2 pairs of stones.

Forncett End postmills c.1914
Black Mill with the White Mill to its left - c.1914

Tithe Award 1841
Map 1839
Owner: William Bloomfield
Occupier: James Bloomfield

No. 66

Mill & Pightle
(also maltings)


1a. 0r. 7p.

Pt. of £44.16.0

Tithe map 1839
Tithe map 1839 - as redrawn by Harry Apling

When Wiliam Lent died intestate in March 1842, his son George Lent swears on a bond that his father is his lawful father and a widower. In 1843, administration is then given to George Lent, miller of Forncett St. Peter, together with Joseph Lent & Timothy Lent, respectively, milllers of Tibbenham. George and Joseph signed the administration and Timothy made his mark.

Forncett End post c.1920
Black mill c.1920

Geo. W. Salter is favoured with instructions to Submit to Public Competition at the Rampant Horse Inn, Norwich on Saturday 23 July 1853 at 3 o'c.
The following desirable Estates late the property of Mr. William Blomfield deceased.
In Forncett St. Peter
All that capital Post Windmill (well sitiuated for trade) driving 2 pairs of French Stones, with brick roundhouse & corn floors in the occupation of Mr. James Blomfield.
Apply to Messrs. Mitchell & Clarke, Solrs. Wymondham or the Auctioneer, Attleborough.

Norfolk Chronicle - 9th July 1853

Geo. W. Salter is favoured with instructions to Submit to Public Competition at the Rampant Horse Inn, Norwich on Saturday 23 July 1853 at 3 o'c.
The following desirable Estates late the property of Mr. William Blomfield deceased.
In Forncett St. Peter.
Lot 3. All that capital & substantially built POST WINDMILL with brick roundhouse & corn floors, fitted with 2 patent & 2 common sails, iron wind shaft, head wheel & wallower, spur wheel with iron segments & driving 2 pairs of French stones & 2 flour mills all in perfect order, with a pightle of Land containing with the site of the said mill 1a.0r.7p. now in the occupation of Mr. James Blomfield.G.W.S. begs respectfully to draw the attention of Millers, Merchants & others to the sale of this highly desirable lot which possesses many local advantages being well situated for trade in a populous & fine corn district & within easy access of the Forncett Station on the Eastern Union Railway & abutting upon the turnpike leading from New Buckenham to Norwich.Possession of … Mill … may be had at Old Michaelmas next.Apply to Messrs. Mitchell & Clarke, Wymondham or the Auctioneer, Attleborough.
Norfolk Chronicle - 16th & 23rd July 1853

Forncett St. Peter
Messrs. Butcher are instructed by the Proprietor to offer for Sale by Auction at the Royal Hotel, Norwich on Saturday 24 September 1864 at 3 for 4 o’c in 8 lots.
Lot 5.
A capital POST WINDMILL with brick Roundhouse & driving two pairs of French stones, with 1a. 0r. 7p. of Land adjoining in Forncett St. Peter in the occupation of Mr. James Spratt. Also a Double Cottage & Gardens containing 0a. 0r. 34p. in the occupation of Bilham & Tann, a well planted Orchard containing 2a. 2r. 0p. in the occupation of James Spratt & a Cottage & Garden containing 0a.0r.7p in the occupation of James Land.
Apply to Mitchell & Clarke, Solrs. Wymondham or Messrs. Butcher, Auctioneers, Norwich & 21 Bedford Row, London.

Norfolk Chronicle - 10th & 17th September & Norfolk News -10th, 17th & 24th September 1864

In 1867, Miles Blomfield sold the mill and land at Forncett St Peter to James Spratt with the transaction being handled by Standley & Co., Solicitors of Norwich & Wymondham.

When the mill was dismantled in 1932, carvings were found on a vertical beam and on some smaller pieces of wood. These first went to the Bridewell Museum in Norwich and were later transferred to Gressenhall Rural Life Museum.

came to
Novr 13 1821
Bound apprentice
to Thos Roper
Novr 5 1817





T. Birton came
Forncett July

Black mill - c.1925
Black mill - c.1925

Maddison, Miles & Maddison will Sell by Auction at the Trowel & Hammer Inn, Forncett St. Peter on Tuesday 20 June 1899 at 3 o'c for 4 in 7 Lots the following valuable PROPERTIES
Lot 5.
A brick and tiled FREEHOLD DOUBLE COTTAGE and self-winding POST WINDMILL on brick roundhouse.
Tenants Briggs, Took & Farrow
Rental £15. 12s.
Particulars of the Auctioneers, Great Yarmouth, Harleston & Stand No. 51, Corn Hall, Norwich; of Messrs. Sadd & Bracey, Solrs. Norwich & of J. Wilson Gilbert & Co, Upper King Street, Norwich, Vendor's Solicitors.

Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd, 10th & 17th June 1899

Mr. J. C. Miles of Yarmouth offered for sale at the Trowel & Hammer Inn, Forncett on Tuesday the following properties:-
A freehold double cottage and self-winding post mill, gross rental £15. 12s. rent charges & tithe 25/4 was knocked down to Mr. G. Blake for £260.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th June 1899

On June 20 at Forncett was offered under the hammer a freehold self-winding post mill and a double cottage and the lot was purchased by Mr. G. Blake for £260.
The Miller - 3rd July 1899

Mill and cottage c.1926 Mill working c.1926
Mill and cottage c.1926
Mill working c.1926

Black mill - 1930
Black mill - 1930

One of two old mills survives at Forncett End, a decrepit old postmill, with new sails & fantail, much too heavy for it ...
In Search of English Windmills - Hopkins & Freese, 1931

Post mill being demolished.
Bears date 1805, but originally built 1775.
East Anglian Daily Times - 17th September 1932

When the mill was dismantled in 1932, Rex Wailes presented 2 sails and a sound stock to Outwood Mill in Surrey and the other 2 sails to Herne Mill in Kent. Rex Wailes described the mill as Square, squat body at Forncett End Mill.

O. S. Map 1882
O. S. Map 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images
Black mill to the east and White mill to the west

1824: Mill moved to this site from Tacolneston

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

White's 1836: James Bloomfield, miller & maltster

Census 1841:

James Bloomfield (43) farmer
Sarah Bloomfield (49)
Hannah Bloomfield (6)
Isaac Hunt (25) journeyman miller
William Collins (25) journeyman miller ?
Charles Leighton (19) apprentice miller
William Burrell (45) servant
Hannah Pease (24) servant
Ann Grey (16) servant

Tithe Award 1841: Owner: William Bloomfield; Occupier: James Bloomfield

White's 1845: James Bloomfield, miller & maltster

Census 1851:

James Bloomfield (30) b.Forncett St Peter, miller & malster employing 4 men
Mary Stubbs (51) b.Wymondham, housekeeper
Eliza Humphreys (15) b.Forncett St Peter, general servant

1853: William Bloomfield died

July 1853: Mill advertised for sale by auction

White's 1854: James Bloomfield, corn miller & maltster

1856: James Bloomfield, miller

1858: Robert Greenacre, miller & maltster

1863: James Spratt, miller

Whites 1864: James Spratt, miller & farmer

September 1864: Mill advertised for sale by auction with 1a. 0r. 7p.of land adjoining

1867: Miles Blomfield conveyed the mill and land to James Spratt

Kelly's 1879: James Spratt, miller, farmer & landowner

Kelly's 1892: James Spratt, miller (wind), farmer & landowner

Kelly's 1896: James Spratt, miller (wind)

1899: Briggs, Took & Farrow, tenants at mill & cottage at a rent of £15. 12s. per annum

June 1899: Mill advertised for sale by auction

June 1899: Mill bought by G. Blake for £260

1926: Mill working

September 1932: Mill demolished

1946: Mill remains still visible

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 07836 675369 or

Nat Grid Ref TM13979396
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2007