Tottenhill
postmill


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Drainage Windpumps
Steam Mills

1909
1909

Tottenhill post mill was built in 1760 and worked for some 100 years before being modernised and fitted with patent sails that allowed it to continue working until 1922. The mill buck was set on a carrstone roundhouse. The sails powered 2 pairs of overdriven French burr stones and a flour dresser. The later double shuttered patent sails each had 7 bays of 3 shutters. A horse mill was used to power the flour mill and a baking office was run from the premises.


c.1920
c.1920

Unusually for a postmill a gallery ran around the mill at eaves level. The 6 bladed fantail was mounted on a tailpole with an upright carriage on two tandem iron wheels driven by worm gears. The four patent sails were operated by a rocking lever mounted inside the buck and were set on an iron windshaft. Two pairs of ‘overdrift’ French burr millstones were driven via a clasp-arm wooden brake wheel and a solid wooden wallower in the head of the mill. The stones were controlled by lag governors. The pintle locating the top of the main post was attached to a metal plate mounted on the underside of the crown tree instead of to the post.
An additional two pairs of stones were driven by an oil engine in later years.


The mill post was encased in a cast iron corset of plates 9 ins. deep and 20 ins. wide and had a large iron collar in the crowntree, all of which weighed ¾ of a ton.
The striking gear was a rocking lever operated from inside the mill and with a swinging catch similar to a brake catch to hold it with the shutters open if the mill was not working.
The brake lever was of iron.
The wallower was of solid wood mounted on top of the great spur wheel.
The stone nuts were iron mortise, the stones were overdriven and there was a glutbox.
A wooden crane was used to lift the runner stones.
The governors controlling the speed of the stones were of the lag type and driven from the upright shaft.

Carved of the crowntree: John Bird 1823
R. Holme 1816
Data supplied by Rex Wailes c.1980

Drawing by J.P. Chaplin c.1920
Drawing by J.P. Chaplin c.1920

BUTTER, William

WILL dated 29 June 1808
Proved 12 November 1808
Executors:- Son, William Butter of Shouldham and George Aylmer and John Hebgin, both of Fincham.
William Butter of Shouldham, Miller ...
To my Son William
All that my messuage or tenement in Shouldham with the Barn, Stables, Outhouses and appurtenances thereto belonging together with the Corn_Windmill standing near thereto with the going Gears and appurtenances to the said mill appertaining ...
Also Flower sacks, scales, Beam and weights belonging to my mill at Shouldham and three carts called the Mill Carts ...

To my son Henry
... Messuage or Tenement and Corn Windmill in Tottenhill ...
Also Flower sacks, scales, Beam and weights belonging to my mill at Tottenhill ...

c.1921
c.1921

TOTTENHILL MILL near Lynn.
To be Let and entered upon at Old Michaelmas.
A Good Dwelling House with Yards, Gardens, Stables, three large Granaries, Piggeries and all requisite Outbuildings, a Baking Office complete, with a capital POST WINDMILL having 2 pair of French Stones and Roundhouse capable of holding 15 Lasts of Corn, a Flour Mill and Jumper; also a good HORSE MILL form dressing Flour and Chamber over it which will hold 150 sacks of Flour, and about One acre of Pasture Land adjoining, situate in Tottenhill in the county of Norfolk adjoining the Turnpike road leading from Lynn to Downham and distant from each place by about 5 miles.
The above Premises form one of the most desirable Situations for Trade in this county and have been held for many years by Mr. Thomas Butter, the Proprietor, where he has carried on a very extensive business as Miller and Baker, making up 30 sacks of Flour weekly, who retires from business on account of ill health.
The Premises may be viewed and further particulars had on application to Mr. Butter or to Messrs. Jarvis & Son, Attorneys, Lynn.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 29th September, 6th & 13th October 1849


c.1925 c.1926
c.1925
c.1926

TOTTENHILL MILL near Lynn.
To be Let and entered upon at Old Michaelmas.
A Good Dwelling House with Yards, Gardens, Stables, three large Granaries, Piggeries and all requisite Outbuildings, a Baking Office complete, with a capital POST WINDMILL having 2 pair of French Stones and Roundhouse capable of holding 15 Lasts of Corn, a Flour Mill and Jumper; also a good HORSE MILL form dressing Flour and Chamber over it which will hold 150 sacks of Flour, and about One acre of Pasture Land adjoining, situate in Tottenhill in the county of Norfolk adjoining the Turnpike road leading from Lynn to Downham and distant from each place by about 5 miles.
The above Premises form one of the most desirable Situations for Trade in this county and have been held for many years by Mr. Thomas Butter, the Proprietor, where he has carried on a very extensive business as Miller and Baker, who wishes to retire business on account of ill health.
The Premises may be viewed and further particulars had on application to Mr. Butter or to Messrs. Jarvis & Son, Attorneys, Lynn.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 14th September 1850


Fantail trolley June 1936 Fantail trolley June 1936
Fantail trolley June 1936

A Windmill to be Let
TOTTENHILL, Norfolk
An excellent CORN WINDMILL driving two pairs of French Stones, with Fixtures, going Gear and apparatus complete and a commodious Roundhouse together with an excellent Horse Mill for dressing flour having a large stowage; also a good Bake Office with Oven capable of baking 40 stone of bread.
Also a capital DWELLING HOUSE ...
Also 3 ares of OLD PASTURE LAND ...
The above premises are all in good repair and are lying together next the Turnpike road leading from Lynn to Downham and within a bout one mile of Watlington Station on the railway leading from Lynn to Ely and from Lynn to Wisbech and Peterborough.
The Mill is well situated and commands an extensive trade.
The property is Tithe free and the Rates and Taxes are very moderate.
Possession will be given at Michaelmas next.
For Rent and further particulars apply to Mr. J. O. Smetham, Solicitor, Kings Lynn.
Norfolk News - 31st May 1862


c.1951
c.1951

WANTED immediately, a Strong Active Man as Journeyman Baker. None but a first class tradesman will be engaged. Married preferred.
Apply to Jas. Crowe, Tottenhill Mill.
Lynn Advertiser & Norfolk News - 29th September 1866


Situations Vacant
WANTED, a respectable Single Man as MILLER & BAKER. He must thoroughly understand his business and may meet with a permanent situation.
Apply stating wages and references to J. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mill, Kings Lynn.
Norfolk News - 8th December 1866


Situations Vacant
WANTED immediately, a Respectable Man as MILLER & BAKER. One who thoroughly understands his business may meet with a permanent situation.
Apply stating wages and references to J. E. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mill, Kings Lynn.
Norfolk News - 8th December 1866


Mill machinery c.1952
Mill machinery c.1952

To Millers and others Valuable Mill, Dwelling House and Cottages at Tottenhill and Magdalen.
To be Sold by Auction by Messrs. Casebow & Son on Tuesday 24 March 1868 at the Globe Hotel, Kinks Lynn at 4 for 5 o'c By Order of the Trustees under the Will of Thomas Butter late of Tottenhill aforesaid, deceased
In Tottenhill
Lot 1 All that well built WINDMILL with machinery, Going Gear, Tackle, Two pairs of French Stones, Patent Sails, Apparatus and Appurtenances, Roundhouse, Flour Mill and Sifter, Horse Ill driving the Flour Mill. Also stone built Dwelling House and an excellent Baking Office with Outbuildings, extensive Paved Yard, large walled-in Garden and excellent Greenhouse with heating pipes and stove house, together with three large Granaries, two Stables, Hay Lofts and Piggeries; and also a valuable Piece of Old PASTURE Land containing 2a. 2r. (more or less).
All the above premises lie contiguous and are situate in Tottenhill aforesaid next the Turnpike leading from Kings Lynn to Downham Market in Norfolk and are tithe free. The Buildings are in good repair, the Premises are well situate and the Mill commands a good and lucrative trade.
Possession can be given at Michaelmas next.
Apply to the Auctioneers, Downham Market or to Mr. I. O. Smetham, Solr. Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 7th & 14th March 1868 - Norfolk Chronicle & Lynn Advertiser - 21st March 1868


Lynne Advertiser - 19th July 1862
Lynne Advertiser - 19th July 1862

Wanted, a young man as UNDER MILLER. To go out with the cart occasionally.
Apply stating references and wages to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills.
Kings Lynn Advertiser - 5th October 1872


Wanted, a young man to drive a Miller's cart and attend to two horses. One with knowledge of milling and baking preferred.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Wind & Steam Mills, Tottenhill.
Lynn Advertiser - 24th October 1874


To Millers and Bakers
WANTED, as above, a man who thoroughly understands the business; none but steady and trustworthy men need apply, with references and wages required to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 9th August 1879


To Millers and Bakers
WANTED, a steady active Man as above.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills.
Lynn Advertiser - 8th November 1879


To Millers and Bakers
WANTED, a steady active young man as Improver.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 9th October 1880


To Millers and Bakers
WANTED, a steady active man as above; one accustomed to a mixed country trade. Must thoroughly understand the business.
Apply with references to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 17th September 1881


To Millers
WANTED immediately, a steady active single man, one with a knowledge of baking.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 30th December 1882


To Farmers & Thatchers
For Sale. Broaches in small or large quantities.
For prices and particulars apply to F. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn, Norfolk.
Lynn Advertiser - 5th July 1884


Notice re
William Smith, Deceased, late of Beechamwell, farmer and Mary Smith, Deceased, his widow and executrix ...
particulars of claims on estates to John Panton Rodwell, of Tottenhill, one of the executors of the deceased Mary Smith ...

L. W. Jarvis & Son,
Kings Lynn,
Solrs. to the Executors.
Lynn Advertiser - 21st February 1885

To Millers and Bakers
WANTED at once, a married man as above.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd October 1886


Bread baker wanted.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 3rd October 1891


Miller and Baker
Wanted at once, a steady respectable man.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 4th April 1896


Single man wanted at once to take entire management of Baking.
One with knowledge of Milling preferred.
Apply to F. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 11th May 1896


MILLERS & BAKERS
Wanted at once, a married man, also a single man to live in.
Apply J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 5th February 1897


Man wanted to look after horses and drive miller's cart. One who has had a similar situation or has some knowledge of the business preferred.
Apply to J. P. Rodwell, Tottenhill Mills, Kings Lynn.
Lynn Advertiser - 23rd September 1898


Mill interior c.1952 Mill interior c.1952
Mill interior c.1952

Mill interior c.1952 Mill interior c.1952
Mill interior c.1952

Mill interior c.1952 Mill interior c.1952
Mill interior c.1952

The restoration of the mill was actively considered in the early 1950's. However, a freak whirlwind damaged the mill, causing two millstones to crash to the ground. In 1961, the mill was dismantled with the aid of a crane and the roundhouse taken down to just 5 courses of brick.


Post and trestle 18th May 1979
Post and trestle 18th May 1979

The exposed substructure was eventually given a coat of paint and the mortise joints were jacketed in concrete but this only accelerated the deterioration of the timbers.


On 16th April 1973, Mrs. Olive Youngs (née Rodwell) wrote to Harry Apling and supplied the following facts:
Her grandfather John Panton Rodwell took over the mill from James Crowe in 1866 and it remained in her family until 1948.
In 1919 the mill was struck by lightning, causing extensive damage and the loss of two sails.
In 1957 the mill was damaged by a freak whirlwind and two stones became dislodged and crashed to the ground.
The inscription Rob Holmes 1816 was carved on a beam in the mill.


Sale 1969

By 1979 only lower courses of roundhouse bricks remained although the centre post and trestle were intact and the Sporle cap had been incorporated into the domestic structure. The miller's offices were still in the mill house along with the original desks and other fittings.


O. S. Map 1884
O. S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

Sporle towermill ogee cap at Tottenhill 18th June 1936
Sporle towermill ogee cap at Tottenhill 18th June 1976

Sporle cap at Tottenhill June 1936
Sporle cap at Tottenhill June 1976

ogee cap from Sporle towermill 18th May 1979
The ogee cap from Sporle towermill 18th May 1979

The ogee cap from Sporle_towermill was moved to Tottenhill in the 1970's and used as a store, although it soon started to deteriorate badly. Harry Apling recorded that the iron windshaft was with millwright John Lawn at Caston in 1977-78 before being taken to Thrigby_postmill in 1982. The windshaft appeared to have been cast in the same mould as the one at West Winch towermill with the brake wheel flanges further forward.
The windshaft had the following dimensions:
Overall length: 17 ft. 11 ins.
Canisters: 13
½ ins x 10 ins.
Neck: 12 ins. diameter
Flanges 2 ft. 3 ins. and 4 ft. behind the rear canister
Length to tail flange 17 ft. 1
½ ins.


A photo of Tottenhill in the Mills Archive shows it after the 1957 storm, extremely headsick - leaning forwards at a crazy angle - and with the roundhouse roof missing. One of the pictures on the website appears to be upside down as the thick metal collar at the top of the post is at the bottom of the picture.
Sue Burden - 23rd February 2017


Kelly's 1916:
Frederick Panton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes
Kelly's 1922:
Frederick Panton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes
Kelly's 1925:
Frederick Panton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes

1760: Mill built

1807: William Butter snr, miller also at Shouldham postmill

1808: Henry Butter, miller

O.S. map 1824: windmill

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

White's 1836: Thomas Butter, miller & baker

White's 1845: Thomas Butter, miller & baker

1849: Thomas Butter, miller & baker

September 1849: Mill advertised to be let

1850: Thomas Butter, miller & baker

September 1850: Mill advertised to be let

White's 1854: Thomas Butter, miller & farmer

c.1860: Mill renovated and common sails replaced by patent sails

May 1862: Mill advertised to be let

White's 1864: James Crow, miller

September 1866: James Crowe, miller & baker

1866: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker took over from James Crowe

March 1868: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1872: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

1874: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

Kelly's 1879: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

1881: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

1882: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

White's 1883: John Panton Rodwell, corn miller, corn merchant, baker, assistant overseer and tax collector

1885: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

White's 1890: John Panton Rodwell, corn miller, corn merchant, baker, assistant overseer and tax collector

1891: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

O.S. map 1891: Windmill

Kelly's 1892: John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker

Kelly's 1896:
John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the parish council

1897: John Panton Rodwell, miller & baker

Kelly's 1900:
John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the parish council & assessor & collector of taxes

Kelly's 1904:
John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes

Kelly's 1908:
John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes

Kelly's 1912:
John Paton Rodwell, miller (wind & steam) & baker, assistant overseer & clerk to the Parish Council & assessor & collector of taxes

Kelly's 1916: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & steam)

1919: One pair of sails lost due to a lightning strike

Kelly's 1922: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & oil)

Kelly's 1925: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & oil)

1926: Mill working

Kelly's 1929: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & oil) T N Watlington 8

March 1929: Mill ceased working

Kelly's 1933: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & oil) T N Watlington 8

Karl Wood painting 1933: Mill buck leaning with two shutterless sails

Kelly's 1937: Rodwell & Co., millers (wind & oil) & bakers. T N Watlington 258

1948: Mill sold out of the Rodwell family

1949: Mill derelict

1957: Freak whirlwind severely damaged structure, 2 stones dislodged and crashed to ground

1961: Mill dismantled and roundhouse taken down to 5 courses of brick

1979: George E. Garfoot, Mill House

September 1979: MIll House advertised for sale with 3 acres by Bedfords at £69,500


Approx 1986-1991: John & Carys Waugh - mill used as childrens' home

January 2008: Mill house and site advertised for sale by Belton Duffy at c.£770,000


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 TF 63741093
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005