Horsford
St Helena
towermill


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Drainage Windpumps
Steam Mills


c.1901
c.1901


Horsford towermill in Mill Lane at St Helena was built of red brick between 1860-1865 by Elijah Punt replacing Horsford_smockmill that had been built by Ezekiel Lock 1819-1820. Some knew the mill as St Helen's Mill.
In the 1860s a flour shop was being run on the premises.


c.1905 with Brickmakers pub centre under the trees
c.1905 with Brickmakers pub centre under the trees

The mill was 5 storeys and around 36 feet high, working with 4 double shuttered sails, each with 7 bays of 3 shutters, powering 2 pairs of stones, at least one pair being French burr stones. The Norfolk boat shaped cap with a petticoat held a fantail and gallery. A wooden brakewheel was set on on a cast iron windshaft. A wooden crown wheel with wooden teeth meshed with a wooden cogged wheel to allow auxiliary external drive when required. The crown wheel was of cast iron.


Tall, thin, red brick tower
5 storeys intact
No cap. sails or fantail
Now used as hay store
Machinery intact from 2nd floor
All iron great spur wheel with 4 tee arms. Iron cogs
One pair governors driven from upright shaft directly above
Octagonal wooden upright shaft begins at 3rd floor level

Supplementary wooden wallower clasp arm with wood cogs driving wooden geared apparatus for auxiliary power
Iron windshaft
Wooden boarded cap

Philip Unwin - 1972


c.1910
In production c.1910

Edward Woodrow, who had previously run Billingford towermill and Scole towermill, took over the mill in 1883. His son Charles Edward Woodrow, became the owner and miller at Lakenham Peafield towermill.



To be Sold by Private Contract, a Brick-tower WINDMILL, with Three Cottages, Stables etc. & an Acre of Land adjoining.
Apply to Mr. Point, Horsford.

Norfolk News - 22nd June 1867

Sketch by A. E. Cook c.1925
Sketch by A. E. Cook c.1925

HORSFORD
Brick Tower Windmill, Double Dwelling House, Flour Shop, Garden, Outbuildings & about 1 acre of Arable Land, with possession on the 11th October next.
A Portion of the purchase money may remain on mortgage if required.
Fras. Clowes is favoured with directions to Sell by Auction at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich on Saturday 26 September 1868 at 3 for 4 o'c the above well situated Freehold Property now in the occupation of Charles Punt.
Apply to Mr. Culley, Solr. Bank St. or the Auctioneer's offices Bank Chambers, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 12th, 19th & 26th September & Norfolk News - 5th & 26th September 1868

c.1930
c.1930

HORSFORD MILL
The above MILL with DOUBLE DWELLING HOUSE, LAND & Premises TO BE LET with Possession on 11th October next.
Apply to Mr. Culley, Solicitor, Bank Street or to Fras. Clowes, Auctioneer, Land Agent & Valuer, Bank Chambers, Norwich.

Norfolk News - 3rd October 1868

c.1935 Karl Wood painting c.1935
c.1935
Karl Wood painting c.1935

William Howe bought the mill for £280 and took out a mortgage to the Loyal Faithful Lodge of Oddfellows, although he later transferred the debt to Thomas Hanworth Rackham, solicitor in Norwich. On Thomas Rackham's death, ownership of the mill passed to Thomas Rackham's widow, Mrs. Laura Catherine Rackham as William Howe had defaulted on mortgage payments. In April 1889 Laura Rackham sold the mill to the mill's tenant miller, Edward Woodrow. Edward Woodrow had prevously worked at Billingford_towermill and Scole towermill.


Dwelling House with Gardens, Tower Windmill, Cottages & Land HORSFORD near Norwich. Messrs. Spelman have received instructions to Sell by Auction on Saturday May 23, 1874 at 2 for 3 o'c at the Rampant Horse Hotel, Norwich the following desirable small estates.
Lot 1. A pleasantly situated Dwelling house, Stable, Sheds, Outbuildings, Yard, large Gardens, containing 0a. 2r. 7p. situate next the high road in Horsford in the occupation of Mr. Davey who is under notice to quit at Michaelmas next.
Lot 2. A capital Brick Tower Windmill, Stables, Sheds, two Cottages, Garden & Inclosure of ARABLE LAND containing about an acre & a quarter situate to the rear of the Brickmakers Arms Inn, next the road to St Faiths in Horsford in the occupation of Hugh King & . Punt at rents amounting to £21. 15s. per annum.

Particulars of T. H. Rackham, Esq. Solr. Norwich & Messrs. Spelman Norwich & Yarmouth
Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 2nd, 9th & 16th May 1874
Preliminary Notice in Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 11th April 1874

1957
1957 with Brickmakers pub in foreground

This Day, HORSFORD
Messrs. Spelman will Sell by Auction This Day at 2 for 3 o'c at the Rampant Horse Hotel
The HOUSES, WINDMILL & LAND as previously advertised
T. H. Rackham, Norwich
Vendors Solicitor
Norfolk News - 23rd May 1874

Horsford tower 23Oct1970
23rd October 1970

Windshaft with no brakewheel or wallower
Upright shaft, crown wheel, spur wheel but no stone nuts
1 pair French burr stones
Tentering gear
Sack hoist
Dust floor leaded over as roof

C. Seago - 10th January 1979


HORSFORD MILL
Structural inspection, 8th March 1979

Externally
The brick tower of the mill is complete and the first and second floors are accessible. As far as can be seen all of the original machinery is intact and according to the owner, in a workable condition.
Doors and windows are missing and although the frames and cills are still in position they are in poor condition.
The cap has gone but most of the timber supporting ring is in position but looks suspect. The windshaft is still there but the sails are missing.


Ground floor
The surrounding area is part soft grassed area and part gravelled drive. Offset foundations are visible at ground level but to determine the extent and depth a trial hole will be necessary.
The brickwork appears in reasonably good condition considering the age of the mill. Some weathering has taken place but is concerned mainly with the neck of the tower below the cap. About a quarter of the top twelve courses are missing and most of the rest is as bad as to warrant complete replacement.
There is a large and penetrating crack above the main entrance and the reveals of the lower door are cracking and disintegrating. There are external cracks below first and second floor windows on both sides of the tower, which carry down to ground level. Two original doors have been bricked up on the east side and there is evidence of bulging of the brickwork here. Two of the first floor beams are visible in the wall above the bricked up ground floor door.

Internally

Ground floor

The floor is concreted and patch but in good condition. The face brickwork is in good condition possibly because of the many years of limewashing which has taken place. There is one large crack in the north segment of the wall from the underside of first floor level down to ground level. Minor cracking is apparent in window opening. Small crack on line of bricked up door opening.
Visible timberwork in the floor above is in good condition and structurally sound.

First floor

The face of the internal brickwork is in poor condition, most bricks have spalled faces. Pointing of mortar is still intact which leads me to believe that ‘blue lias’ lime was used. This is a hard lime and was used structurally before the advent of Portland cement.
All openings in the brickwork are in poor condition and quoins will require re-making. There is vertical cracking above each of the three openings which appear quite deep. It was not possible to measure the depth but there was no daylight visible through these.
There are also large cracks below the windows.
The floor appears sound and has suffered some beetle attack. This does not look very extensive and treatment with the appropriate fluid will eradicate this. Some boards are missing. The working parts are complete and it is understood that they are still operable.

Second floor

Brickwork is in poor condition as the first floor. There is no evidence of cracking above this level.
Floor is in good condition with about 25% of the floorboards missing. As an indication of the strength of the floor there are two millstones, which I estimate to weigh 10 cwts each, laying side by side and there appears to be no deflection of the floor structure.


Conclusions

Left to its own devices the mill tower will stand for many years yet but will benefit from remedial repairs.
I could not recommend complete restoration as I consider that the cost will be enormous and until several tests have been carried out on the brickwork it is not possible to say whether the tower is capable of carrying sails again. As the machinery is in good condition it would seem appropriate to carry out repairs to the cracks, make good the brickwork, rehabilitate doors and windows and keep the mill as a museum piece for the machinery inside.

C.S. Memess
Architect


9 March 1979


Horsford towermill 1977
1977

Horsford towermill windshaft 3Apr2004
The windshaft 3rd April 2004

The mill had ceased working by 1922 and became derelict. The windshaft remained in place for many years along with a large Hovis sign that was still visible in the 1950s and into the 1960s. The windshaft was finally removed on 13th September 1982 but remained on the premises.


Dangerous windmill shaft moved

A cast iron shaft hanging precariously over the edge of an old windmill at Horsford was yesterday lowered to safety by a crane
The windmill, at the back of the home of Mr. Horace Bowman, had deteriorated over the years, exposing the wind shaft, which originally held the sails.
Yesterday Mr. Bowman, who has lived at the Mill House since 1938, finally had it removed. "It was in a dangerous condition. It had fallen over sideways, and it was in danger of coming off," he said.
Mr. Stephen East, a conservation officer with the county planning office - that runs the Norfolk Windmill Trust - said that over the years the cap of the mill had completely disintegrated.
"We went up there a few days ago, and you could move it with your index finger," said Mr. Earl.

REPLACED

But, despite the windmill being derelict, the machinery inside was still in very good condition, thanks to some lead pieces that had been laid on the top floor, virtually acting as a new roof, he said.
Mr. Earl said the windmill was built in the early 1860s, when it replaced an earlier timber mill. It was used as a corn mill at Horsford until it ceased to work in the 1920s.
The Windmill Trust was established in 1963 to continue and expand on work, started by the county council, of preserving and restoring windmills, wind pumps and water mills in Norfolk.

Eastern Daily Press - 14th September 1982

Windshaft removal Horace & Kathleen Bowman
Windshaft removal - Monday 13th September 1982
Horace & Kathleen Bowman - 13th September 1982

Horsford towermill 3Apr2004
3rd April 2004

Crownwheel 4th November 2005 Sackhoist gear 4th November 2005
Crownwheel 4th November 2005
Sackhoist gear 4th November 2005

Tentering gear 4th November 2005 Great spur wheel 4th November 2005
Tentering gear 4th November 2005
Great spur wheel 4th November 2005

Stones 4th November 2005 Underside of stones and spurwheel 4th November 2005
Stones 4th November 2005
Underside of stones and spurwheel 4th November 2005

Top of upright shaft 4th November 2005
Top of upright shaft 4th November 2005

Windshaft with no brakewheel or wallower
Upright shaft, crown wheel, spur wheel but no stone nuts
1 pair French burr stones
Tentering gear
Sack hoist
Dust floor leaded over as roof

C. Seago - 10th January 1979


In August 1979, the Friends of Norfolk Windmills newsletter reported that Peter Dolman of Ipswich hoped to buy the mill with a view to restoration. By November 1980, Peter Dolman had relinquished the project.


Horsford St Helena Mill windmill cap

Horsford St Helena Mill having its new windmill cap craned on by R. J. CRANE HIRE LTD. In sweltering heat the team worked for five hours to lift the cap into position. The cap has been built around the original shaft that was removed from the tower 33 years ago. The mill which was built in 1860 by Elijah Punt ceased working in 1922 and became derelict. The last ten years we have been restoring the mill and it is currently being converted into a family home so that it will be preserved for future generations. From the top of the mill which is five miles north of Norwich you can see the Cathedral Spire, Heartsease towers and City Hall Clock.
iwitness24 - 2nd July 2015


I am a grand daughter of Horace Bowman, who owned the mill and lived at Mill House from 1938. He lived there with my grandmother, Norah Bowman. My mother was Suzanne Bowman, one of Horace and Norah's two daughters. Horace was a Master Baker who used the mill to store his flour in. 
Kathleen Bowman who is pictured at the mill in 1982 is in fact his second wife who he married in 1977.

Louise Smalley - 21st February 2017


Preparing cap and windshaft for lifting Preparing cap and windshaft for lifting
Preparing cap and windshaft for lifting - 2nd July 2015

Cap and windshaft ready to be placed on mill tower curb Cap and windshaft ready to be placed on mill tower curb
Cap and windshaft ready to be placed on mill tower curb - 2nd July 2015

Cap and windshaft in place on mill towe Cap and windshaft in place on mill towe
Cap and windshaft in place on mill tower - 2nd July 2015

Upright shaft and windshaft Upright shaft and crownwheel
Upright shaft and windshaft - 3rd July 2015
Upright shaft and crownwheel - 3rd July 2015

23rd September 2015
23rd September 2015

10th April 2016 10th April 2016
10th April 2016
Mill cap - 10th April 2016

O.S. Map 1882
O.S. Map 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

Kelly's 1922: Benjamin Punt, farmer
Kelly's 1922: William Punt, beer retailer
Kelly's 1922: Hedley Woodrow, baker & corn merchant

Kelly's 1925: Benjamin Punt, farmer
Kelly's 1925: William Punt, beer retailer
Kelly's 1925: Hedley Woodrow, baker & corn merchant

Kelly's 1929: Benjamin Punt, smallholder
Kelly's 1929: William Punt, beer retailer
Kelly's 1929: Hedley Woodrow, baker

Kelly's 1933: Percy Punt, smallholder
Kelly's 1933: Herbert Punt, beer retailer
Kelly's 1933: Hedley Woodrow, baker

Kelly's 1937: Percyn Punt, smallholder
Kelly's 1937: Hedley Woodrow, baker


1860-1865: Mill built by Elijah Punt, farmer, replacing Horsford smockmill

1855-1868: Charles Punt, miller (previously miller at Horsford smockmill on same site)

White's 1864: Jeremiah Punt, corn miller

1865: Jeremiah Punt, miller

June 1867: Mill advertised for sale and recorded as being built of brick

1868: Elijah Punt, miller

26th September 1868: Mill sold by auction, occupied by Charles Punt and bought by William Howe for £280

October 1868: Mill advertised to be let

1872: Hugh King, tenant miller

May 1874: Mill advertised for sale by auction, with Hugh King & ? Punt as tenant millers

1878: Hugh King, tenant miller

Kelly's 1879: William Neve, miller (tenant)

White's 1883: Robert Morley, corn miller, h. Hevingham (tenant)

1883: Edward Woodrow, miller & baker, took over the running of the mill

O.S. map 1887: Windmill

1888: Mill passes to estate of late L. C. Rackham due to default of mortgage

April 1889: Mill sold by Mrs. Laura Catherine Rackham to tenant miller, Edward Woodrow

Census 1891: Edward Woodrow (48) b.Felthorpe, miller and master baker
Susanna Woodrow (46) b.London
Charles E. Woodrow (22) b.Billingford, miller;
Frederick G. Woodrow (19) b.Billingford, miller's assistant;
Minnie L. Woodrow (17) b.Scole, school teacher;
Florence E. Woodrow (14) b.Scole, dressmaker
Sidney T. Woodrow (11) b.Scole, scholar
Hedley Woodrow (9) b.Scole scholar
Address: 155 Mill Lane


Kelly's 1892: Edward Woodrow, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1896: Edward Woodrow, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1900: Edward Woodrow, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1904: Edward Woodrow, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1908: Edward Woodrow, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1912: Edward Woodrow, miller

Kelly's 1916: Hedley Woodrow, miller (wind)

February 1920: Hedley Woodrow, tenant miller

1922: Mill had ceased working and was becoming derelict. Hedley Woodrow, baker

1933: Mill acquired by S. W. Bowman

1938: Horace & Norah Bowman moved into Mill House

Karl Wood painting 1935: Mill without cap but with windshaft still in place and
Hovis written on side of tower

1949: Mill acquired by Horace Bowman, master baker to use as a flour store

1977: Horace Bowman married his second wife, Kathleen

October 1978: John Lawn, millwright, removed cap and leaded overf dust floor to preserve machinery

1980: Mill derelict

13th September 1982: Windshaft removed by crane

April 2004: Mill was advertised for sale

January 2005: Mill unsold but still for sale with top of tower open to the elements

November 2005: Mill under new ownership

2007: Renovations in progress

3rd February 2009: Planning application lodged to alter mill to part accommodation and construct a new cap

July 2015: Windshaft replaced into situ along with a new cap



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

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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005