Kings Lynn
South Lynn
smockmill



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Kings Lynn South Lynn smockmill was an oilmill that crushed linseed that was used for lighting and was working at the same time as the oilmill at Millfleet. The mill had a stage and was possibly turned to the wind using a winch inside the mill - the only one of its type recorded on this website.


Re. engraving of the West Prospect of Lyn Regis, which dates from before 1700; two oil mills are shown and described in the index as such, one outside the South Gates and the other near the Grey Friars Tower. These mills probably crushed rapeseed grown in the Fens and produced colza oil, which was used for lighting purposes. Nothing more is known of the South Gates Mill, but the other one belonged to Henry Bell the father of the architect and engraver and Mr. Bradfer Lawrence tells me that he has the original lease of the mill dated about 1680.
In the Greenland Fishery Museum there is a rare print engraved by Henry Bell the younger, of his father's mill showing the Grey Friars Tower and the surrounding premises.

A Lynn Record - Walter Leake
Lynn Advertiser - 7th December 1928


There was also an oil mill in South Lynn which resembled a warehouse attached to a lofty windmill. This building, the framework of which was brought in from Holland (1638) was destroyed by fire (30 July 1737). In 1668 it belonged to Mr. Southery of London and was let to Alderman Henry Bell and Mr. Robert Bell at an annual rent of £20 ... Robert died in 1681, Henry in 1686.
History of Kings Lynn - Henry J. Hillen

The mill stood about 300 yards S.S.W. of the South Gate, on a hill west of the River Nar.
Harry Apling - c.1984

The Mill at the South End of Town

At the South-End of the Town very lately stood an Engine or Oyl-Mill, which was framed in Holland, brought over hither near an Hundred Years ago and erected here, with convenient Habitations for the Workmen. This afforded a pleasant and agreeable Prospect to every View of the Town, notwithstanding it had weather'd many a Storm and Hurricane, as that in the month of Nov. 1703. At last it was unfortunately Burnt down on the 30th of July 1737, about Twelve o'Clock at Night. The Owner of it was Mr. Timothy Fysh, Merchant, my Quondam Friend and Aquaintance. I wish him better Success in his Merchandizing.
Norfolk Archaeological Unit (ex Kings Lynn Museum) - 8th June 1984

At this mill, like that on Millfleet, was occupied in the late 17th century by Henry Bell's business, it is reasonable to suppose that his depiction of it on his large view from the west was fairly reliable. Unlike the Millfleet_mill it did not have the large braced tail-piece, and may have been therefore an "inside winder", a north Holland type, which was winched round from inside.
Rex Wauiles - c.1980


1638: Mill framework brought in from Holland

1668: Mill owned by Mr. Southery, London and let to Alderman Henry Bell and Robert Bell for £20 per annum

Ogilby's Britannia 1675, Plate 75 King's Lynn to Harwich: Windmill

Ogilby's Britannia 1675, Plate 76 King's Lynn to Norwich & Yarmouth: Windmill


1681: Robert Bell died

Bell's Lyn Regis, Prospect from the West map c.1683: An Oyle Mill

Rastrick's plan of King's Lynn 1725: Inset West Prospect

1686: Henry Bell died

1737: Timothy Fysh, mill owner & merchant

30th July 1737: Mill destroyed by fire



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 2007