Strumpshaw
smockmill


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Norfolk Windmills


c.1909
c.1909

Strumpshaw smockmill stood on a hill to the south of the village. The 10 sided mill had a Norfolk boat shaped cap with a straight ridge that held a chain pole. Power to the machinery was supplied by 4 double shuttered sails, each with 8 bays of 3 shutters and 1 bay of 2 shutters.


A violent storm of wind and rain, such as had not been remembered since 1741. Happisburgh, Postwick and Strumpshaw windmills were blown down ...
Unknown newspaper re storm of 19th December 1770


There is a remarkable Windmill in this town supposed to stand upon the highest ground in Norfolk; it is seen at a vast distance and overlooks most of the neighbouring hundreds; from it Yarmouth and Lowestoft in Suffolk are easily distinguished and it has full command of the city of Norwich, not being distant above seven miles. Being situated near Buckenham Ferry, there is a delightful view of the river Yare meandering through the country till it falls into Breydon Broad near Yarmouth. The prospect from this windmill is the finest COUP D'OEIL in the county of Norfolk and the mill itself when the sails are going is a beautiful object as far as it can be seen.
Armstrong - 1781)


At this place is a remarkable Windmill supposed to stand on the highest ground in the county; for hence Yarmouth and Lowestoffe on the coast of Suffolk are easily distinguishable and it commands a full view over the adjacent hundreds and the city of Norwich and the meanderings of the river till it falls into Braydon Broad. The prospect from this eminence is justly esteemed the finest coup d'oeil in Norfolk; and the windmill, when the sails are going forms a conspicuous landmark to distant parts of the county.
The Beauties of England & Wales - J. Evans & J. Britton - 1810 (derived from Armstrong - 1781)


To be Let
For a term of years from Michaelmas next
STRUMPSHAW MILL
Enquire of A. L. Womack, Mettingham, Bungay.

Norfolk Chronicle - 6th January 1827


Situations Vacant
WANTED, a strong active LAD as an APPRENTICE to the MILLING Business.
Apply at Strumpshaw Mill, Norfolk.

Norfolk News - 6th February 1869


Frederick William Kemp was born in 1841 and was master miller at Elsing_watermill when he married in 1868. He ran Witton_(Blofield_postmill from 1879 - 1879, then Croxton_postmill and towermill from 1883 - 1890 and was at Strumpshaw smockmill in 1896.


Smithdale's Day Book 1882

May 22 STRUMPSHAW MILL Mr. HOLMES
 
Cwt.
qrs.
lbs.
   
Stone spindle  
3
0
9s.
 
.
June 2 STRUMPSHAW MILL
1 stone box
1
15
4s.
7½d
1 ring for ditto
4
6d.
 
June 5 STRUMPSHAW MILL
2 wall plates    
Tye bars & plates
 
June 8 STRUMPSHAW MILL
1 chimney ring        


c.1916
c.1916

The smock mill was demolished in 1916 having closed in 1908.  It was left, unstable, on a pinnacle of high ground while the surrounding area of some 30 acres was quarried for sand and gravel. The pit was worked to extinction by 1973, including the mill site, and the whole area became a NCC landfill site.
The other 'mill' often crops up and refers to a wind pump on the marshes by the River Yare. It was usurped by steam power and is marked on some maps as 'Strumpshaw Mill' (obviously recalled from the days of turning sails). The main quarry was operating by 1881 but there had been pockets of excavations nearby, in various fields around the site on what is Strumpshaw Hill, an eminence of minerals left by the Ice Age. Geologists refer to it as part of The Lowestoft Till and being 130ft above sea level, was the ideal mill site.
The mill, according to living memories noted in 1981, definitely succumbed to the the quarry.  The workings became so close that the foundations were undermined.  After the mills demolition the timbers were taken away for reuse at Salhouse, not too distant.
Timber from the demolished mill went to some "building" - according the reliable old chap who gave me the story.  He would have been a teenager at the time, pre 1916, and had witnessed the sails turning during the end of its working life, from the neighbouring village of Blofield. Another Strumpshaw man, a fisherman at the end of the 19th cent, had often said that he could spot the sails turning as he entered Gt Yarmouth harbour, if the the sun was glinting at the right angle.  Even today, we can see Gt Yarmouth from the top of the hill although the ground has not been returned to its original contours.

Stephen Peart - 15th June 2010


Emanuel Bowen's map of 1749 showed a total of 8 corn mills:

Briningham postmill,
East Wretham postmill
Fincham postmill
Poringland postmill
South Creake Common postmill
St. Benet's Abbey towermill
Strumpshaw smockmill
Tacolneston postmill


Emanuel Bowen's map 1749: Windmill (along with 7 other mills)

19th December 1770: Mill blown down along with mills at Happisburgh and Postwick

Armstrong's History of Norfolk 1781: Strumpshaw Mill

Faden's map 1797: Strumpshaw windmill

Poll Book 1806: Edward Smith, miller

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

January 1827: Mill advertised to be let

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

White's 1836: Thomas Welch & Son, cornmillers & c.

Index of Will 1840: Thomas Welch, miller

White's 1845: George Welch, cornmiller & c.

1853: John Chapman, miller & merchant

White's 1854: John Chapman, miller

1858: John Chapman, miller & merchant

1863: William Greenacre, miller

White's 1864: William Greenacre, corn miller

1865: Samuel Greenacre, miller

1868: William Grapes, miller

1875: Richard Knight, miller

1878: Richard Knight, miller

Kelly's 1879: Richard Knight, miller

White's 1883: William Littleproud, miller, baker & beer retailer

1888: Frederick Johnson Goff, miller

White's 1890: Frederick Goff, miller & baker

Kelly's 1892: Frederick Johnson Goff, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: Frederick William Kemp, miller (wind & steam) - left Ovington Old postmill in 1892

Kelly's 1900: Frank Neave, farmer & miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1904: Frank Neave, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1908: Frank Neave, miller (wind & steam)

1908: Mill ceased working

O.S. map 1910: Windmill

1916: Mill 'pulled down'

1926: Mill derelict

1949: Mill demolished

1973: Gravel pit of 30 acres under mill site finally worked out

1980: Mill site Norfolk County Council landfill refuse dump  


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 2009