Norfolk Mills


Watermills


Itteringham Itteringham Shotesham Stoke Holy Cross




All the names of Norfolk watermills in the lists below have a direct link to a separate page many of which contain at least one photograph.


At the time of Domesday, in the 11th century, there were some 580 recorded watermills in Norfolk, but no windmills.

By the 19th century only 80 or 90 watermills were still functioning but there were still 300 - 400 windmills in the county. By the late 1800s the water and windmilled stone ground flour was fast giving way to roller mill produced flour. The taste of the people was changing and the new technology was capable of producing flour far more efficiently and faster.

In 1939 Claude Messent recorded that there were only 60 watermills still standing and by 2004 the number had gone down to 52 with only around 20 still containing any remnants of machinery and many have now disappeared completely. Forever.


Watermills operating at the time of Domesday were mostly very small, some set over small streams and only capable of working during times of winter rain. Small mills of this type were almost certainly constructed entirely of wood and used a horizontal wheel to power a single set of stones set directly above. Mills of this type have survived the centuries in the Shetland Isles.
Early horizontal wheels were eventually superceded by larger undershot wheels with a horizontal geared axle.
These in turn were often replaced by more efficient breastshot wheels. Unusually the wheel sluices of Letheringsett_mill were designed and built with a dual irrigation system whereby it normally ran as breastshot but could be changed to undershot if water levels fell in times of dry weather.
Overshot wheels are comparatively rare in Norfolk due to the mainly gentle terrain, thus the less efficient breast or undershot wheels were mainly used. The only mills to use overshot wheels that I have found so far were at Buxton (one of the two wheels) Foulden, Hingham, Mundesley, Tharston and Weybourne.


Sadly over the future years, in many water mill, I would be involved with removing the mill stones and installing modern hammer mills. These involved high speeds and it was impossible to gear the water wheels up to this speed (3,000rpm). So, we installed diesel engines and later electric motors to drive them leaving the water wheel to drive the hoist, oat crusher, maize cutter and other machinery. The introduction of roller mills for producing flour, the cost of dressing mill stones, heavy maintenance, lack of demand for stone ground flour and only small amounts of meal for animal feed saw the end of most of the water mills. In Norfolk only one water mill remains working today as it did years ago, it is at Letheringsett near Holt. It is well worth a visit and you can even buy stone ground flour there which is produced at the mill. As for the others, they were knocked down, burnt down or turned into flats, this was their fate. In the Domesday Book (1086) there were 500 water mills listed in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Peter Gowing, retired millwright, F. Flowerdew & Son, NIAS Journal - 5th December 2008


Norfolk Watermills
Aldborough
Antingham Lower
Antingham Upper
Aylsham

Bacton Wood
Barnham Broom
Bawburgh
Bintry
Blickling
Bolwick
(Marsham)
Brandiston
Bridgham Town
Bridgham West

Briggate
Buckenham Tofts
Bungay
Burgh
Burnham Overy lower
Burnham Overy Union
Buxton

Caistor St Edmund
Calthorpe
Castle Rising
Carbrooke
Cockley Cley
Congham
Corpusty
Costessey
Cranworth
Cringleford
Dilham
Ditchingham
Earsham
East Dereham
East Harling
East Wretham
Eaton
Ebridge
Edgefield
Ellingham
Ellingham early
Elsing

Erpingham

Fakenham
Felmingham

Felthorpe
Feltwell
Flitcham
Flordon
Foulden

Geldeston
Gimingham
Glandford
Gooderstone
Great Ryburgh
Great Snoring
Great Witchingham
Gresham
Gressenhall
Guist
Gunton
Gunton Sawmill
Hardingham
Heacham
Hellesdon
Hempnall
Hempstead
Hempton
Hindolveston
Hilborough
Hingham
Hockering
Homersfield
Honingham
Horsford
Horsham St Faith
Horstead
Hoxne
Hunworth
Ingworth
Itteringham
Itteringham Cirk
Keswick
Kings Lynn - Kettle

Kings Lynn - Oyle
Kings Lynn - Town Mill
Lakenham
Lenwade
Letheringsett
Letheringsett Brewery
Loddon
Lt Barningham
Lt Cressingham
Lt Walsingham
Luck's
Lyng
Marlingford
Marsham - see Bolwick
Mendham
Middleton
Morningthorpe
Mundesley
Narborough
Narborough Bone Mill
Needham
New Mills
Newton by Castle Acre
Newton Flotman
North Elmham
Northwold

Oxborough
Oxnead




Pensthorpe
Pentney


Quidenham

Raynham Park
Saxlingham Thorpe
Saxthorpe Fullmill
Sculthorpe
Shereford
Sheringham
Shotesham
Sisland
Snettisham
Stoke Holy Cross
Swafield
Swanton Morley
Syleham
Tasburgh
Taverham
Tharston
Thetford
Thetford Bishop's
Thornage
Thurning
Trowse

Wainford
Wereham
West Acre
West Newton
Weybourne
Weybread

Wicklewood
Wighton
Wood Dalling
Wormegay
Worthing
Wortwell
Wramplingham



Working Watermills
1967-8
2004
Aldborough
Aylsham

Bawburgh

Bintry
Burgh
Buxton
Earsham
Ebridge
Elsing
Fakenham
Gimingham
Great Witchingham
Keswick

Lenwade
Letheringsett
North Elmham
Saxlingham Thorpe

Tharston


Letheringsett
Saxlingham Thorpe

 
Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2007
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