Toftwood
postmill

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Steam Mills

Toftwood postmill on the outskirts of Dereham was rebuilt on at least one occasion. The earliest known mill had a two storey roundhouse, 4 common sails, a tailpole with a wheel and a gable porch. A later build had four double shuttered patent sails, each with 8 bays of 3 shutters driving 2 pairs of French burr stones and there was a fantail on a ladder.


Mill Pightle on Toftwood Comon by Grant from Lord & Tenants 1a. 0r. 29p.
Map of the Commons & Waste Lands in the Parish of East Dereham - 1781


JOHN POULTER, of East Dereham, MILLER, begs Leave to Inform all Persons whom it may concern, that he has entered upon TOFTWOOD MILL in East Dereham from Old Lady Day last & proposes to grind Corn & dress & sell the different Sorts of Flour & also Meal on the very lowest Terms; he will also use the greatest Expedition in grinding & Delivery of all Bag Work intrusted to his Care.
Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd May 1778


John Poulter, of Toftwood Mill, East Dereham, Norfolk, gives public Notice to whom it may concern, that the Mill, which is esteemed one of the best in the County for Situation, Convenience, and Trade, will be Lett at Michaelmas next. Any Quantity of Land from one Acre to forty may be hired with it.
Note. For further Particulars enquire of John Poulter, at the Mill.

Norfolk Chronicle - 11th August 1781


To be SOLD or LETT
And entered upon immediately or at Michaelmas next
A well accustomed and substantial WIND MILL called TOFT WOOD MILL in East Dereham, with a large Roundhouse under it, two Floors, two Pair of French Stones, a Flour Mill and the going Gears in good Repair; a Dwelling house, Stable and Cow-house and other Conveniences thereto belonging, with a Garden and Orchard well planted and about an Acre of Land inclosed, against a good common and near the great Road to Shipdham.
For further Particulars enquire of Mr. Abraham WIFFEN of Shipdham or Mr. Edmund GOWER, Miller at Wramplingham.
Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd & 9th September 1786


...to one acre of Land late of the common pasture called Toftwood Common in East Dereham, parcel of the waste of this manor upon which a windmill for Grinding Corn hath lately been erected, which premises the said Abraham Wiffen had and took up to him and his heirs from the Surrender of Samuel Rash Esq., as by the rolls of a Court here held for this manor the 30th day of May 1782 to which the said James Sparke the Lord of this Manor by the hands of the said Steward delivered seizin by the rod...
Court Rolls of the Manor of East Dereham of the Queen - October 1772 - May 1788


Re enclosures:
In 1792 R. Norton held 1 acre, parcel of of the waste of the manor, upon which a windmill for grinding corn had lately been erected.
Boston & Puddy - 1952


One day last week [26 October] as a poor old woman was going past the windmill on Toftwood Common her hat blew off and in attempting to recover it she approached too near the sails, by which her skull was dreadfully fractured. She lingered two days in the greatest agony, when death ended her suffering.
Norfolk Chronicle - October 1816


Sale by Auction
Toft Wood Mill Farm
By Henry Catton, on Monday September 29, 1823
Farming Stock, Household Goods etc. of
late Robert Norton, deceased.

Norfolk Chronicle - 20th September 1823


Sale by Auction

ToftWood Mill Farm, E. Dereham, by Henry Catton on Monday September 29th, 1823. All the valuable Farming Stock, Implements in Husbandry, Dairy and Brewing Utensils, Household Furniture and other effects of the late Mr. Robert Norton, deceased, as expressed in Catalogues to be had on Friday, the 26th instant, at the principal Inns in the neighborhood and the Auctioneer, East Dereham. There being upward of 200 lots, the Sale will commence precisely at 11 o'clock.
Norfolk Chronicle - September 1823


PLAN of an Estate, the property of Mr. R. Norton, lying in the Parishes of East Dereham & Westfield in the County of Norfolk.
Norfolk Record Office

Plan dated 23 March 1830 by James Middleton, East Dereham. Includes a water colour drawing of a Windmill & Cottage. Mill is on Enclosure No. 10, uncultivated, 1a. 1r. 18p. part of 89 acrss extending to Yaxham to Westfield Road.


East DerehamTo be Sold by Auction by MANN & CLARKE on Thursday 30 March 1837 All the HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Mill Cart, useful Black Mare & other effects upon the Premises of Mr. John Tallent, Miller, East Dereham, particulars of which are expressed in Catalogues to be had upon the Premises & at the Auctioneers’ Offices, Norwich & Dereham.
Norfolk Chronicle - 25th March 1837


Situations Vacant
WANTED, a good GENERAL MILLER. Good character indispensable.
R. Smith, Toftwood Mills, Dereham.
Norfolk News - 27th February 1875


Situations Vacant
WANTED, a Young Man with good character as GENERAL MILLER.
Apply R. Smith, Toftwood Mills, Dereham.
Norfolk News - 31st July 1875


Situations Vacant
TO MILLERS
Wanted, a steady Young Man as GENERAL MILLER.
Apply R. Smith, Toftwood Mills, Dereham.
Norfolk News - 28th August 1875


Mary, widow of Edgar Smith, died 5 May 1861, aged 60. Her gravestone is in Dereham churchyard .


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

(en route from Dereham to Watton) ... the way beyond Watton led us through a very desolate and wild country the little traversed road being hilly and rough... The only structure we observed for some time was a windmill and miller's house by the wayside. The miller was manifestly proud of his mill and had an eye for colour, for he had painted his sails a bright red and the fan sail behind red, yellow and blue and the colours were really a relief to the monotony of the grey sky and brown fields... The country kept much of the same character to Shipdham.
A Tour in a Phaeton through Eastern Counties - James John Hissey 1889


The miller in the above extract would have been Richard George Edward Smith, who lived at Daffy Green, Scarning. The mill had probably been painted as part of the celebrations of Queen Victoria's Silver Jubilee in 1887.


Delivery note
Delivery note

Death of Mr. G.R. Smith
The death occurred in a nursing home at Norwich on Sunday (6 th) of Mr. George Richard Smith who resided at Toftwood Mills, East Dereham. Mr. Smith had been ailing for some time before he entered the nursing home. He was born at Toftwood and was 57 years of age. For many years he carried on the business of a miller and farmer, but closed the mill when war restrictions came into operation and continued farming only. He took an active interest in public affairs. A widow and one daughter are left to mourn their loss.
Dereham & Fakenham Timnes - Saturday 12th June 1920


A plan of an Estate, the property of Mr. R. Norton, lying in the Parishes of East Dereham & Westfield in the County of Norfolk.
Plan dated 23rd March 1830 by James Middleton, East Dereham. Includes a water colour drawing of Windmill & Cottage. Mill is on Enclosure No. 10, uncultivated, 1a.1r.18p. part of 89 acres extending to Yaxham to Westfield Road.
Norfolk Record Office Ref. BRADFORD LAWRENCE 26 pt 3


25th March 1778: John Poulter took over the mill business

1780: John Poulter, miller

1781: John Poulter advertised the mill to be let

1781 map: mill shown

September 1786: Mill advertised for sale or let

1823: Robert Norton, miller died

September 1823: Mill advertised for sale by auction

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

Plan 1830: Mill shown as property of Robert Norton

White's 1836: John Tallent, corn miller

March 1837: Possessions of John Tallent, miller, advertised for sale by auction

White's 1845: William Thompson, corn miller

White's 1854: Mary Smith & Sons, corn millers, Toftwood

White's 1864: Richard Smith, corn miller

Kelly's 1879: Richard Smith, miller

White's 1883: Richard George Edward Smith, miller, corn merchant & farmer, Toftwood mill.
Hm: Daffy Green, Scarning

O.S. map 1887: Windmill (corn)

Kelly's 1892: George Richard Smith, miller (wind & steam), merchant & farmer, Toftwood

Kelly's 1896: George Richard Smith, miller (wind & steam) & farmer, Toftwood

Kelly's 1900: George Richard Smith, miller (steam & wind) & farmer, Toftwood

Kelly's 1904: George Richard Smith, miller (steam & wind) & farmer, Toftwood

Kelly's 1908: George Richard Smith, miller (steam & wind) & farmer, Toftwood

Kelly's 1912: George Richard Smith, miller (steam & wind) & farmer, Toftwood

c. 1914: Mil closed due to war restrictions

Sunday 6th June 1920: George Richard Smith, died at around 57 years of age

c.1921: Mill bought by H.C. Stammers & Co Ltd

c.1928: Mill demolished by H.C. Stammers & Co Ltd

1970: Parched grass showed foundations of roundhouse & piers

c.1982: Mill house named The Old Mill and site of mill put down to lawn


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 TF98821094
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004