Cringleford Mill
River Yare


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Cringleford c.1910

A mill was mentioned in Cringleford during the reign of Edward the Confessor in 1042, then again in Domesday and also in 1275.
The final structure was quite large and probably involved the addition of an extra storey as it was normal for a mill and adjoining house to share the same roof line when built. Mills that were renovated (often as a result of fire damage) during the 1700 - 1800s were often taken up at least one level. Cringleford mill was built of white weatherboard over a brick base with a pantiled roof. It was 120 feet long and 48 feet deep.

Cringleford c.1913 Cringleford c.1915
c.1913 with the new steam chimney
c.1915 with the steam engine running



In 1790 the mill and mill house were owned by the Norwich charity the Great Hospital Trust, who in fact still own the mill house. When the miller of the time needed new machinery, the the trust, having been approached, refused to pay for any of it. The miller was then forced to pay for everything himself. The Trust then increased his rent from £60 per annum to £100 per annum.

Candler Family
Edward Candler, 1811 - 1888 was recorded as miller at Bawburgh in 1836 and 1845. His family were Quakers and several of his relatives were also millers. Lawrence Candler 1747 - 1820 was recorded at at Cringleford in 1806 (either the watermill or the postmill). His son Lawrence jnr. 1773 - 1824 was recorded at Cringleford watermill in 1836 and again in 1845 with Horatio (his brother?) c.1814 - 1888, who was married to Martha Elizabeth née Blake. Horatio was again recorded there in 1864 and his son Horace Robert from 1883 - 1908. Lawrence and Horatio were recorded at Saxlingham_Thorpe_watermill from 1845 - 1863; they were also running Saxlingham_towermill in 1847. In 1879 and 1883 Horace was also recorded at East_Harling_watermill, where he lived and from at least 1890 - 1896 he was also running Keswick_watermill.

Cringleford mill cart 1904 Cringleford old toll house c.1978
Robert Watling's cart c.1914
The old toll house where the carter lived c.1978

Robert Watling's carter lived in the old toll house near the mill. When the above photograph of the house was taken the two ground floor windows had recently been bricked up.

During the great flood of August 1912 the water reached hitherto unknown levels and flooded both the mill and the mill house. Robert Watling's daughter remembered being lifted out of a first floor window into a boat.

After the 1912 flood Robert Watling installed new machinery, including a new steam engine that became responsible for the majority of the mill's motive power. The concrete plinth where the steam engine stood inside its own shed still remains along with the 4 studs that secured the engine. The Great Hospital Trust also records a an auxiliary gas engine, this was probably used to power a wheat cleaner.

My father owned a large water mill, which joined our house at right angles, with its huge water-wheel churning tirelessly around, day and night. Its sheer size and power mesmerised me whenever I stood gazing at its dripping mass but I didn't have much time to watch that particular wheel. When I was nearly five, the mill caught fire one night in March 1916 and was completely destroyed although the firemen managed to save the house.
Mrs. Eileen Green, daughter of Robert J. Watling the last miller
N.B. Eileen was carried to safety by Boy Scouts shown in the photograph below.

Cringleford after fire 12Mar1916
Firemen and Boy Scouts 12th March 1916

There were suspicious mutterings in the village. 'Moight a'bin them Germans 'as done it,' for this was during the First World War and I remember seeing Zeppelins dropping bombs on Mousehold Heath and watching in awed fascination as one Zeppelin sank down in flames.
Mrs. Eileen Green

It was a... brick and timber building of three floors with two water-wheels being worked from a sluice running out of and into the River Yare. The property is tenanted by Mr. R.J. Watling who in the last two years has introduced much expensive machinery into the mill.
Eastern Daily Press - Monday 13th March 1916

Cringleford fire 12Mar1916 Cringleford 12Mar1916
Sunday 12th March 1916

Cringleford fire engine 12Mar1916
fire engine from photo above left

Mill remains cleared 1916
Mill remains cleared 1916

It was not known how the fire was started. When the postman called shortly before 7 a.m.,
(Sunday 12th March 1916) he noticed nothing wrong, but shortly afterwards when the milkman came he observed a fire at the back of the mill and promptly gave the alarm. The Fire Brigade received the call at 7.17 a.m. and were at once away with the motor engine and, being quickly followed by the Chief Constable, found that the mill was a mass of flames up to the roof. So serious was the situation, that the steam engine was summoned to give further help. Despite this, since there was no hope of saving the mill, the firemen directed their attention to the mill house which was in great peril. All morning the two fire engines worked side by side, throwing 6000 gallons a minute onto the burning mass and the steamer was used all afternoon to quell spasmodic outbreaks before being withdrawn at 6 p.m.
Happily, the mill house was saved with much furniture, together with a new motor lorry, which had only recently been purchased but the fire resulted in the total destruction of a picturesque riverside building.
Cringleford within living memory - published by Cringleford Historical Society

Cringleford May1965
May 1965

After the 1912 flood Robert Watling installed new machinery, including a steam engine that became responsible for the majority of the mill's motive power.

20th September 2005 20th September 2005
20th September 2005
20th September 2005

20th September 2005 20th September 2005
20th September 2005
20th September 2005

20th September 2005 20th September 2005
20th September 2005
20th September 2005

A charming period Mill House on the edge of Norwich standing on the banks of the River Yare with delightful gardens, mill pool, and river frontage. Hall, 3 Receptions Rooms, Study, Conservatory, Kitchen/Breakfast Room, 6 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms (2 En Suite). Garage. Gardens. Nearly 3 Acres.
Guide Price £975,000

Eastern Daily Press - 25th May 2007

O. S. Map 1880

O. S. Map 1880
Courtesy of NLS map images

O.S. Map 2005
O.S. Map 2005
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

1042: Mill mentioned in survey commissioned by Edward the Confessor

1085-1087: Domesday refers to the mill as one of the oldest in the country

1275: Alan the Miller, tenant

1380: Importance of millers to the community evidenced by an order that millers should wear the Livery of the Lord of the Manor

1560: John Naylor, tenant paying a rent of £6 13s 4d per annum

Index of Wills 1572: Thomas Welde (possibly at postmill)

1580: The mill, along with the whole village destroyed by fire. Act of Parliament passed to cover rebuilding

May 1633: John Butler, miller, died. See inventory of his
Goodes & Chattles

1805: Lawrence Candler jnr. miller of Eaton, appointed an executor to estate of Duncan Fulcher, brushmaker

Poll Book 1806: Laurence Candler, miller (possibly at postmill)

Index of Wills 1820: Charles King, tenant miller

26th January 1825: Will of Lawrence Candler proved

Pigot's 1830:
Candler & Gardiner, millers, Cringleford

Index of Wills 1835: John Robinson, tenant miller

1836: William Thorold, millwright, carried out work on the steam engines

White's 1836: Lawrence Candler

White's 1845: Lawrence & Horatio Candler

White's 1864: Horatio Candler

Kelly's 1883: Horace Robert Candler & East Harling

White's 1890: Horace Robert Candler, corn, coal, seed and hop merchants, Cringleford Mills & Keswick_Mills

Kelly's 1896: Horace Robert Candler & Keswick

Kelly's 1908: Horace Robert Candler

Kelly's 1912: Robert John Watling - roller mills

Kelly's 1916:
Robert John Watling, miller (steam & water) & corn & flour merchant, Cringleford & Saxlingham roller mills.T A "Watling, Cringleford;" T N 61 Eaton.

Sunday 12th March 1916: Mill destroyed by fire

Kelly's 1922:
Robert John Watling, miller (steam & water) & corn & flour merchant, Cringleford, Tasburgh (water) & Saxlingham roller mills.T A "Watling, Cringleford;" T N 61 Eaton. N.B. Not possible as mill never rebuilt after 1916 fire

1984: David Ralphs bought mill

January 1989: David Ralphs & family moved in after renovating mill

September 2005: Mill house advertised for for sale

May 2007: Mill house advertised for for sale at a guide price of £975,000

January 2008: Mill sold to Mr. & Mrs. T. L. Hay who moved in later same year after additional alterations

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 07836 675369 or

Nat Grid Ref TG19900594
Top of Page
Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003