Weybourne
towermill



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Norfolk Windmills


Mill working in 1910
Mill working in 1910

Weybourne towermill was built in 1850 on the north side of the Sheringham Road. Weybourne was originally spelt Wabourne. The five storey red brick tower stood at about 42 ft. to its curb. The Norfolk boat shaped cap had a wooden gallery with a petticoat and an eight bladed fan. A stage was set around the second floor accessed by a south facing door. On the second floor were three pairs of overdriven stones powered by four double shuttered sails, each with 7 bays of 3 shutters, although at one time the two outer bays of each sail had no shutters. There were two doors at ground level, the southern door having a porch and there was a further inner door leading to the granary (later a residence) that abutted the tower.

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

Situations Vacant
To Journeymen Millers
Wanted immediately, a steady active Man.
Apply to Mr. D. Brett, Waybourne, Holt.
Norfolk News - 7th February 1857

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a middle aged MAN, who fully understands the Business, to work a Tower Windmill; none need apply without a reference from his last Employer.
Apply to John Dawson, Weybourne, near Holt, Norfolk.
A personal application will be preferred.
Norfolk News - 24th December 1859

Miscellaneous
To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a steady industrious Married Man, to take the Management of a Tower Mill, one who understands the Business in all its branches. None need apply who cannot have a character from his last employer. A personal application will be preferred.
Apply to John Dawson, Weybourne Mills, Holt, Norfolk.
Norfolk News - 6th December 1862

Situations Vacant
To Millers
WANTED, an honest and industrious man to work a Tower Wind Mill and to make himself generally useful. He must write a good hand and have a good character from his last employer. A personal application would be preferred.
Apply to J. Dawson, Weybourne, Holt, Norfolk.
Norfolk News - 23rd September 1865

TO LET
AT WEYBOURNE NEAR HOLT
A FIRST-CLASS TOWER WINDMILL driving three pairs of Stones, with Miller's House attached; also Five Acres of good LAND with it, with a prospect of hiring forty or fifty acres more to parties that can give good reference as to character and capital. Immediate possession may be had of the Mill; the Land at Michaelmas next.
For particulars apply to Mr. S. Bird, Bodham near Holt, Norfolk.

Norfolk News & Norwich Mercury - 28th May & 4th June 1870

Houses etc.
TO MILLERS TO LET WEYBOURN MILL driving three pairs of Stones, 2 Flour Mills and Jumper, Good Residence, large Garden, Miller's Cottage, 5 acres of excellent Land. Doing a good Retail and Grist Trade.
Apply on the premises. Rent £35.
Norfolk News - 20th September 1873

Winter of 1947
Winter of 1947

In the 1920s the mill underwent restoration and all the machinery was removed except the windshaft.
At the same time the centre post from Weybourne_postmill was incorporated into the Mill house alongside the towermill. The lower half without the basal horns, up to and including the quarter-bar mortises, about 7-8 ft. held up the longitudinal beam at the mill end on the ground floor. The upper half was immediately above on the first floor, where a miller's cash box had been cut into it with an 8" square cover.

In some of the old main posts are found 'miller's cash boxes' made by scooping out a hole in the oak and covering it with an iron lid fastened by clasp, staple and padlock - a cash box which successfully baffled the sneak-thief.
Old Watermills & Windmills - R. Thurston Hopkins

In 1929, the mill was owned by J. Sydney Brocklesby, who contemplated replacing the sails to generate electricity to supply the Mill House. As a boy, George Read did odd jobs for the Brocklesby's.

1951
1951

During the restoration in the 1920s, the roof of the granary that butted up against the tower was raised. This meant that the new sails installed in 1969 were considerably lower than the roof line. The four new skeleton double sails each had eight bays and were fixed to a black boat shaped cap facing east with an eight bladed skeleton fan to the rear. The gallery and stage had been removed and the stage door glazed to match the windows.

... Weybourne, where there is a brick-built five-storied tower mill with rotating cupola, now converted into private house. In a picture of it done ten years ago it had four sweeps, a fantail and two galleries. In a picture of it taken two years ago it had no sweeps, galleries or fantail, but the owner. Mr. J. Sydney Brocklesby, was asking how to put the sails back and whether they could be used to generate electric power for heating, lighting and cooking.
England of the Windmills - S.P.B. Mais - 1931

During the 1980s Harry Apling noted that five French burr stones were in still in the front garden along with part of the octagonal upright shaft, one glut box also still remained - they could well still be there to this day (2012).

26th May 1970
26th May 1970

A windmill at Weybourne was also struck by lightning but the only damage was a burst water pipe. ...
The lightning struck one of the sails, travelled along the windshaft and burned a small hole in a brass water pipe. The sails appeared to be undamaged ...
Eastern Daily Press - 4th January 1978

Eastern Daily Press advert for Turnbull & Co. - 8th May 1981
Eastern Daily Press advert for Turnbull & Co. - 8th & 23rd May 1981

Offers in the region of £138,000
Eastern Daily Press - 22nd July 1981

SOLD APRIL £125,000
Eastern Daily Press - 7th May 1982

Part of sail damaged in recent gale and removed by John Lawn.
Eastern Daily Press - 5th September 1986

12th October 2003
12th October 2003

Spies in Weybourne

The following account was supplied by Jim Baker whose cousin Rosemary Read related it to him in 2005. She was the daughter of William Read (better known as Billy) and would have been 8 or 9 years old at the time.
We're looking at 1942 or 1943. Rosemary’s father, Billy Read and the local policeman were walking down the lane from the old coastguard cottages towards the mill at night when they both saw a light flashing from the top of the mill out towards the sea. Apparently nothing was done (which seems odd, given the war time conditions) but seemingly it bothered Billy and he went back out a couple of nights later and saw this again.
My cousin recalls two nights later sitting on the stairs eavesdropping on her parents' conversation and hearing Billy say that he was suspicious of the wife of the man living in the mill.
The man living in the mill was a Mr. Dodds and his wife apparently had a strong foreign accent which my cousin remembers as "like German or Austrian". I have also had a letter from another lady who remembers Mrs. Dodds as having a strong foreign accent.
Mrs. Dodds made a great effort to establish herself as part of the local community and showed much interest in the military camp in Weybourne. She also took a lot of interest in the local children and gave some of them tennis lessons. She rode around the village on a bicycle, as many did at that time, and always had a very large bag (described by my cousin as a carpet-bag) in the basket in the front of the bicycle, which she was always careful to keep close to her when not on the bike.
The story goes that she left it unattended outside the tennis court one day, and the bicycle fell over. Uncle Billy picked the bicycle up and then the bag, which had fallen out of the basket. He took a look inside and found a radio transmitter! He told the police and a day or two later the authorities arrived and took the lady and her husband away.
She was not seen again but the husband came back some weeks later, cleared out his possessions and also vanished. Their daughter was in the Red Cross during the war years and their son fought for us against the Germans. He was badly shot up and was being brought home by ship when it received a direct hit from the Germans.
Many years later in about 1997, a woman turned up in Weybourne claiming to be Mrs. Dodds daughter and asked whether any of the people that she knew and had lived in the village during the war were still there. Unfortunately I was out when she called round.
Jim Baker - March 2005


There must have been about 100 German prisoners of war arrived in this part of the world in August or September 1946. They came here to work on the beach and clear all the mines from Blakeney to Mundesley, and they took over the old army-camp which used to be where Catriona Court now stands, (in Salthouse, near the pub) and before that Myngs Terrace. The RAF had it first, then the army. I think the POWs were in between the two. They were there for 15 months from August ‘46 to November ‘47, and the first winter they were there, the prisoners gave a party for all the younger children of Kelling School. They took them up to the camp here and every child had a toy—I know my sister Jasmine had a doll’s pram - and all the toys were made by the prisoners. They were very clever, they had wheels that went round and dolls’ houses and I remember a big round board with chickens on it pecking. That Christmas, there was an appeal over the radio and in the press: ‘If you have a Prisoner of War camp near you, invite a POW into your house for Christmas’ and my mother - although we were six of us home at that time - she said, ‘We’ll invite somebody.'
Salthouse Local History website

The winter of 1947 was very harsh and Mr. Gasche of Gasche's Restaurant came up to the mill on his skis and brought us some eggs and milk. The snow was six feet deep and he was walking over hedges, not that he could see them.
A train was stuck on the line between Weybourne and Sheringham and the people had to stay on it all night.
They brought in some German prisoners of war from Salthouse to dig the roads out. Up near the woods they found a coal lorry that had been stuck there for three days and they brought us all some coal.
Rosemary Read - 31st March 2005

I used to live in the Coast Guard Cottages further on down the lane from about 1948 to 1953.  My mother, Heather Beckerson's family came from Weybourne and she was born there.
I remember going into the Windmill because we must have known the family - I do recognise the name Billy Read from my mother's memory, I went to Kelling School - may be with the daughter, I can't remember, but I used to think even when I was so young that it must be great to live in a Windmill!
Thanks for your history of the place - it brought back childhood memories.
Once I started searching for names, I even found pictures of my mother's brother and sister at Kelling School in the 1930s, and this may kick start me to tracing the family history which I have been trying to do for years.
Jacqui Henness - 11th September 2008

4th May 2009
4th May 2009

28th August 2012
28th August 2012

White's 1890: Mr. William Thomas Bird

Kelly's 1925: Thomas John Youngman, assistant overseer & clerk to Parish Council

Kelly's 1929: Thomas John Youngman, local registration officer & clerk to Weybourne & Kelling Parish Councils

1850: Mill built

1850: Daniel Brett, miller

1853: Daniel Brett, miller

White's 1854: Daniel Brett, corn miller

1857: Daniel Brett, miller

1858: Daniel Brett, miller

1859: John Dawson (also Weybourne watermill and Weybourne postmill) advertised the mill to be let

1862: John Dawson (also Weybourne watermill and Weybourne postmill) advertised the mill to be let

1865: John Dawson, miller

c.1869: John Dawson bankrupt

1872: James Buckenham, miller

September 1873: Mill to advertised to be let at a rent of £35 per annum

1875: Adam Aldridge, miller

1878: Adam Aldridge, miller

O.S. map 1886: Windmill

Kelly's 1879: William Thomas Bird, miller & farmer

White's 1883: William Thomas Bird, farmer and miller

1888: William Thomas Bird, miller and farmer

Kelly's 1892: James Youngman, farmer & miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: Thomas John Youngman, farmer, corn & flour dealer, wind miller & farmer


Kelly's 1900: Thomas John Youngman, farmer, corn & flour dealer, wind miller & farmer & assistant overseer


Census 1901: Thomas Youngman (42) b.Honing, corn miller
Jane Youngman (41) b.Bacton
Arabella Youngman (11) b.Honing
Edgar Youngman (10) b.Honing
Leonard Youngman (7) b.Weybourne
Ernest Youngman (4) b.Weybourne
Gladys Youngman (3) b.Weybourne
Ellie Youngman (4 mths) b.Weybourne

  Kelly's 1904: Thomas John Youngman, corn & flour dealer, wind miller & farmer & clerk to Parish Council  

Kelly's 1908: Thomas John Youngman, corn & flour dealer, wind miller & farmer & clerk to Parish Council   

Kelly's 1912: Thomas John Youngman, miller (wind) & clerk to Parish Council

Kelly's 1916: Thomas John Youngman, miller (wind) & Clerk to Parish Council

c.1916: Mill ceased to work

c.1925: Mill restored but machinery removed except windshaft

1929: J. Sydney Brocklesby. Mill with no sails, fantail or gallery

Karl Wood painting 1937: Tower with cap, gallery, fanstage and windshaft but no sails

c.1942: Mr & Mrs Dodds

c:1945 - 1952: William Read, Sarahann Read and daughter Rosemary Read

O.S. map 1956: Windmill

1956: Mill cap and fan frame still in situ but no sails or stocks

1967: Mill bought by Mr. W.M.T. Boby of Watford.

1968 New cap made and installed by William Bird & Son, Contractors Ltd. of North Walsham

O.S. map 1969: Windmill

Spring 1969: Skeleton sails installed by Thompson & Son of Alford, Lincs. No brakewheel, so sails were fixed

August 1970: Woodwork painted with a grant from Norfolk Windmills Trust

1973: Grant from Norfolk Windmills Trust for further work

3rd January 1978: Mill sails struck by lightning bursting a water pipe

8th May 1981: Mill advertised for sale for £150,000

January May 1982: Mill sold for £125,000

1986: Dr. & Mrs. Nicholas Godlee

September 1986: Part of a sail damaged in a gale removed by millwright, John 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 TG11524314
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004