Harpley towermill


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Norfolk Windmills

c.1920
c.1920

Harpley towermill was built in 1832 to replace the earlier postmill on the same site. The 6 storey tarred red brick tower stood adjacent to the mill house and a selection of outbuildings. As late as 1889 the mill was still using common sails to power 3 pairs of stones. The mill had an Ogee cap with a gallery, stage and fan. The sails revolved in a closckwise direction with the stones thus being driven anticlockwise.


By 1858 wind power was being supplemented by steam power.


Red brick tower
No sails, cap, fantail, windshaft or wallower
6 floors
Doors face south-east

GROUND FLOOR
2 leaf door, window opposite
9 tread ladder left of door
Back trap above foot of ladder at doorway

MEAL FLOOR (1st)
Loading door. 2 windows. Door north-east bricked up
16 tread ladder, ‘twisted’
Wooden bridge trees for two pairs of stones
Iron bridge tree for missing third pair of stones
2 meal spouts
No governors, but bracket and its support
Forked end of steelyard

STONE FLOOR (2nd)
Door to stage. 3 windows
14 tread ‘twisted’ ladder
2 pairs of French burr stones, left-handed, in circular galvanised iron vats with no covers, horses or hoppers
Right-hand pair – 4 ft. 6 ins. diameter 11 ins. deep
Left-hand pair – 4 ft. diam 15 ins. deep. Around eye a cast iron ring:- W.J. & T. Child Makers, Hull & Leeds. (c.1862)
8 arm iron mortice great spur wheel about 7 ft. 6 ins. diameter on iron upright shaft. All cogs, 170+, worn on left side indicating driving stones anticlockwise. (Clockwise sails)
2 7 ft. quants in stones, have nuts on flange jointed extensions.
Stone nuts 18 ins. diameter, all iron, 32 cogs.
3rd quant up against wall, stone spindle on floor. No base for stones.
Another shaft similar to quant but without damsel, behind right-hand stones. Pinion same as stone nuts, but just below it an iron mortice spur wheel, 3 ft. diameter, 6 arms, 71 cogs. Shaft appears to have driven to governors on meal floor, but there is no indication as to what this spur wheel drove.
4 glut boxes.
Bell alarm.
An all iron dog ring (crown wheel) attached to underneath of great spur wheel, about 6 ft. diameter drove two iron mortice pinions on two lay shafts at right angles. Each shaft has wooden belt pulley; larger one, 2 ft. 4 ins. diam. Appears to have driven upwards to sack hoist, other one 1 ft. 6 ins. diameter probably drove downwards.
A wooden roller (as at Wicklewood High St towermill) used when stones lifted, by ladder.

CORN FLOOR (3rd)
2 windows
10 tread ladder
Iron section of upright shaft
Sections of wooden cladding to wall
Top wooden pulley for sack hoist, 2 ft. 4 ins. diam. on floor.

INTERMEDIATE FLOOR (4th)
2 windows
10 tread ladder
Iron section of upright shaft
Ceiling reinforced with concrete etc.

DUST FLOOR (5th)
Only 3 ft. of original wall plus 2 ft. modern brickwork set in from outer edge. Window blocked up. No roof.
Full of brambles. No upright shaft though a piece of an iron shaft is visible through brambles.
Used by Home Guard during 1939/45 War. Access by outside iron ladder. (M.B.)
Later grist grinding done on 4 ft. right-handed Peak stones in outbuildings, by engine power, steam later oil.
4 ft. Peak runner stone in garden by gate, another outside fence.

Some stones given away and others in kennel floor (M.B.)
Survey undertaken with the assistance of Mary Birkbeck, Mill House, Harpley - August 1979


1975
1975

William Norman snr inherited the mill at the age of 26, from his father Thomas Norman of Little Cressingham in 1816 and William's brother Robert inherited the Cressingham mills at the same time. As Harpley towermill was built c.1832, it seems likely that William inherited an earlier postmill on the same site.


Notice to Debtors & Creditors
All Persons indebted to the Estate & Effects of William Norman, late of Harpley in the county of Norfolk, Miller & Baker, deceased, are requested forthwith to pay the amount of their respective debts to Mr. William Norman of Harpley or Mr. Robert Ashley of East Walton.
And all Persons having any claim or demand upon the Estate of the said deceased are requested to deliver the same to the said William Norman or Robert Ashley an account thereof that the same may be forthwith examined & discharged.

By order of the Executor,

L. W. JARVIS & SON.

Lynn, 4 July, 1844.
Norfolk Chronicle - 6th & 13th July 1844

Mill and house in 1975
Mill and house in 1975

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a good WORKING MILLER, a Single Man, who is equal to the duty of occasionally Driving a Steam Engine.
Apply to W. Norman, Harpley.

Norfolk News - 7th August 1858


To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a good WORKING MILLER, a Single Man, who is equal to the duty of occasionally Driving a Steam Engine. Also a Man to Dress Stones.
Application must be made personally to W. Norman, Harpley, Norfolk.

Norfolk News - 21st August 1858


To Millers
WANTED, a Man who thoroughly understands his Business & who is a good Stoneman.
Apply personally to W. Norman, Harpley Mills.

Norfolk News - 11th & 18th December 1858


To Millers
WANTED, a Married Man to take charge of an off mill. Cottage & Garden near the mill.
First rate references as to character required.
Apply personally to W. Norman, Harpley Mill.

Norfolk News - 15th October 1859


THE HURRICANE OF TUESDAY
... at HARPLEY a mill was much damaged.

Norfolk News - 3rd March 1860


To Journeymen Millers
WANTED immediately, two Single Men; they must be good STONEMEN, to work Wind or Steam. Testimonials of good character will be required.
Apply personally to William Norman, Harpley Mills, Norfolk.

Norfolk News - 2nd November 1861


Situations Vacant
To Journeymen Millers

WANTED, a steady active Single Man; must be competent at the Stone Dressing.
Apply personally to W. Norman, Corn Exchange, Lynn on the Tuesday or at Harpley Mills, Norfolk.

Norfolk News - 26th November 1864


Situations Vacant
To Journeymen Millers

WANTED, a Single Man who thoroughly understands his business & to drive a Steam Engine.
Apply personally to W. Norman, Harpley Mills, Rougham,
Norfolk.
Norfolk News - 28th October 1865


Situations Vacant
To Journeymen Millers

WANTED, Two Men who thoroughly understand their Business & to drive a Steam Engine.
Apply personally to W. Norman, Harpley Mills, Rougham,
Norfolk.
Norfolk News - 11th & 18th November 1865


18th May 1979
18th May 1979

Situations Vacant
TO MILLERS

Wanted, a single Young Man as IMPROVER.
Apply personally. Mr. W. Norman, Harpley Mills, N
orfolk.
Norfolk News - 16th March 1872


FOR SALE
Twenty acres of White Turnips to be fed off the land.

Apply to Mr. Wm. Norman, Harpley Mills
.
Lynn Advertiser - 7th December 1872


Wanted, a Young Man as IMPROVER; one of temperate habits preferred.
Apply to Wm. Norman, Harpley Mill, Rougham
.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd August 1873


To Millers
WANTED, a steady industrious young man as Miller. None need apply without first class references.
William Norman, Harpley Mills, Rougham
.
Norfolk News - 29th July & 5th August 1876


WANTED, by a Young Man, a situation as Miller. Can be highly recommended by his last employer.
Apply to William Norman, Harpley Mills, Rougham
.
Lynn Advertiser - 29th July & 5th August 1876


£2 REWARD
Anyone giving information which shall lead to the conviction of peresons cutting, destroying or illegally using Sacks belonging to & marked "WILLIAM NORMAN. HARPLEY MILLS" shall receive the above reward.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd March 1878


Wheat Straw
From 16 to 20 Loads of Wheat Straw to be sold.
Apply to W. Norman, Harpley Mills
.
Lynn Advertiser - 12th April 1879


DOG CART for Sale.
Apply to J. Norman, Harpley Mills, Swaffham
.
Lynn Advertiser - 6th December 1884


9th March 2007
9th March 2007

TERRIFIC THUNDER & HAIL STORM
Much damage was done here to the residence of ...
At Mr. Norman's Mill the canvas of one of the sails was cut to pieces by the hail stones ...
On Monday morning about 3 or 4 o'c Mr. Norman found large quantities of hail stones some three inches deep in the ground - one measures 4 inches in circumference ... at 8.30 there were scores of hail stones still lying around the mill yard ...
Lynn Advertiser - 6th June 1889


The mill was becoming derelict by 1979 by which time the tar had mostly worn off and the stage that was half way up the tower had long gone. However, at that time some of the machinery was intact and the stones remained.


The metal ladder that used to be up the side of Harpley mill was almost certainly added in the War. A few other tower mills used as observation posts, such as Ingham, and Newton Aycliffe, Durham have these.
Sue Burden - 4th March 2016


I gather that this mill is being turned into a holiday home. A picture "pinned" on Pinterest shows a 2 storey building being built against the tower; this is presently bright blue, but should look quite traditional when it gets its cladding.
The tower was reduced by 3 feet 2 years ago; the curb anchoring bolts which were sticking up in the air have been removed, and I assume that the tower won't be returned to its original height.

Sue Burden -
23rd February 2016


1832: Mill built to replace earlier postmill

White's 1836: William Norman, corn miller & baker

Census 1841: John Miller (80) miller
Alice Miller (60)

Census 1841: William Norman (51) miller
Ann Norman (40)
William Norman (20) miller
Marsa ? Norman (18)
Robert Norman (15)
Thomas Norman (11)
Elizabeth Norman (10)
John Norman (8)
James Norman (6)
Hannah Norman (4)
Mary Norman (1)
Joseph Bevely (23) journeyman baker;
Mary Reeve (18) servant

Index of Wills 1844: William Norman snr

White's 1845: William Norman, corn miller, & c.

Census 1851: William Norman (30) b.Harpley, master miller employing 3 men
Robert Norman (25) b.Harpley, journeyman miller
Elizabeth Norman (19) b.Harpley, housekeeper
Robert Dunger (25) b.Dunham, journeyman miller
Alice Howard (17) b.Flitcham, servant
Address: Mill House

White's 1854: William Norman, corn miller

Tuesday 28th February 1860: Mill badly damaged in a gale

Census 1861: William Norman (41) b.Harpley, master miller employing 4 men and 2 boys
Fanney Norman (40) b.Lynn
Mary Cushion (60) b.Cawston, widow servant
Philip Bushell (26) b.Foulsham, journeyman miller
Address: Church Lane

White's 1864: William Norman, corn miller; Ann & Mrs. Norman bakers

Census 1871: William Norman (50) b.Harpley, miller
Frances Norman (58) b.Hingham
William Norman (25) b.Harpley
Mary Cushion (73) b.Cawston, widow servant
Address: Buck Street

Kelly's 1879: William Norman, miller

Census 1881: William John Norman jnr (35) b.Harpley, miller & coal merchant
Priscilla Norman (32) b.Middleton
William Edward Norman (3) b.Harpley
Fanny Dunn Norman (8mths) b.Harpley
Maria Lock (16) b.Attleborough, domestic servant
Fanny Sabina Whitby (12) b.Harpley, nursemaid
Alfred Lewis (18) b.Kelling, miller
Address: Back Street

Census 1881: Robert Lewis (50) b.Thursford, miller (employee of William Norman having moved from Kelling)
Maria Lewis (46) b.Weybourne
Harry Lewis (12) b.Kelling
Address: Back Street

White's 1883: William John Norman, corn miller, corn, cake and seed merchant & farmer

Sunday 2nd June 1889: An evening thunder & hail storm ripped one of the common sail canvasses to pieces

Kelly's 1892: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1896: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1900: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam) & corn merchant

Kelly's 1904: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam) & corn merchant

Kelly's 1908: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam) & corn merchant

Kelly's 1912: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1916: William John Norman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1922: Harry Howes, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1925: Harry Howes, miller (wind & oil). T N Great Massingham 6

Kelly's 1929: Harry Howes, miller (wind & oil). T N Great Massingham 6

Kelly's 1933: Harry Howes, miller (oil). T N Great Massingham 6

Kelly's 1937: Harry Howes, miller (oil). T N Great Massingham 6

Karl Wood painting 1937: Tower capped, two broken sails, fanstage but no fan

c.1940: Mill owned by a Mr. Howes of Back Street, Harpley

c.1944: Mill used as observer post by Royal Observer Corps

1979: Mill derelict

1979: Miss Mary Birkbeck, Mill House

17th May 1980: Sackhoist drive fitted to Gt Bircham towermill by millwright John Lawn of Caston towermill

2014: Mill tower reduced in height by 3 feet

2016: Mill tower with abutting new building to be opened as a holiday home

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 TF79912532
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005