Irstead
Turf Fen
drainage mill
River Ant



May 1973
May 1973

Irstead Turf Fen drainage mill was built by Yarmouth millwright, William Rust c.1875 to drain Horning marshes into the River Ant and is thus similar in design to High's_mill at Potter Heigham. Although the tower only had two floors, it was 31' high with a Norfolk style boat shaped cap, four double shuttered sails of seven bays and a six bladed fantail. This mill, very unusually, has two scoop wheels that could be worked independantly, with a choice of high or low gears. Stalham Hunsett is the other known example.


c.1985
c.1985

c.1986
c.1986

1st August 1999
1st August 1999

18th November 2012
18th November 2012

3rd August 2018
3rd August 2018

The mill ceased working around the 1920s when cattle no longer grazed the marshes.


This mill is on the river Ant in Irstead. The water levels around the mill are now kept very high and there is no footpath or land access to the mill. The mill can be seen by boat from the river Ant or from How Hill on the Ludham side of the river. 
Alison Yardy - 6th November 2008


O. S. Map 1884
O. S. Map 1884
Turf Fen windpump lower left; How Hill corn mill top right
Courtesy of NLS map images

1860s-1870s: Mill built

O.S. map 1884:
Draining Pump (Wind)

c.1944: Mill ceased working

1955: Mill with sections of cap missing and without sails and fantail

1973: Cap gone but sail stocks, fan frame and machinery in situ

1976: Norfolk Windmills Trust took over responsibility for the mill and set about major restoration project

1984-87: Mill restored by millwright John Lawn

1986: Mill returned to pristine condition and fitted with a new cap and new sails

1986: Turf Fen drainage pump given Grade ll listing

1999: Mill appearing intact with sails

February 2007: New wood paddles fitted to the scoop wheel by trainee millwrights

2012: Mill appearing intact with sails

2018: Mill appearing intact except for sails


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 TG 36961882
Top of Page

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004