Hoxne Mill
River Waveney


Hoxne watermill was built in 1846 to replace the earlier building of 1749, which in turn replaced an earlier building on the same site. Somewhere just prior to rebuilding, the 1749 building had been converted from corn milling to flax and linen manufacture. Eventually the mill was converted back to corn milling and it may be that this change of use occurred several times throughout its life.

The building is of three storeys, built of brick up to the first storey and then timber framed and weatherboarded with a slate roof. A stone in the mill house garden reads


Originally there were 4 pairs of stones, although only two pairs remained by 1968. The 15' 9" iron undershot wheel was 6' 8" wide and was made by Knights of Harleston. Eventually the wheel was supplemented by steam with a steam shed being attached to the rear of the mill along with its distinctive tall chimney that stood above the ridge of the mill.

March 1968 March 1968
Steam shed March 1968
Mill and steam shed March 1968

On 16th November 1784, William Cook insured his dwelling house brick and tiled for £150, his Water Corn Mill and going gears belonging, timber and tiled for £300 and Utensils and Stock therein for £200

May 1972
May 1972

In 1838 Henry Warne had a factory in Mere Street, Diss where he employed 40 men, 3 women and 20 boys making drabbets, huckabacks, sheeting and shirting. Some of the men worked for up to 16 hours a day in their own homes for about 16s a week. Around 1840 Henry Warne closed the Diss factory and moved to Hoxne Mill. In 1844, White's directory listed Henry Warne as also running nearby Syleham mill.

In 1841
Henry Warne was granted an 8 year lease by Sir Edward Kerrison of Oakley Park, Suffolk. The lease describes Sir Edward as owner or proprietor of a certain dwelling house Water Mill Steam Engine Machinery and Buildings with appurtenances situated and being in Hoxne. The mill is described as having an undershot waterwheel, pit wheel, bevelled nut on an upright shaft with a large crown wheel.
Later the mill used a Tattersall Midget Roller Plant that apparently was always problematic.

28th May 1974 March 1968
28th May 1974
March 1968

Lot 70 of Dame Mary Kerrison's Trust Estate put up for auction on Wednesday 14th July 1897

The Highly Valuable Property
situate in the Parish of Hoxne, Suffolk, and Thorpe Abbots, Norfolk, and consisting of
A substantially Brick-Built and Slated Residence known as Waveney House which contains Hall and 2 Reception Rooms, Kitchen and Scullery, Dairy, Pantry, 5 Bedrooms, and Box Room, also Cottage adjoining containing 4 rooms, Wood-barn, Coal House, and 2 W.C.'s, together with
and Premises with Water wheel and 2 Main wheels, Boiler house, Engine room, Office, 2 Bay Cart-shed, 3 Bay Open shed, Lean-to Open shed, Gig house, Calves' place, stabling for 4 horses with Granary over, and 4 bay open shed, and Cow-house &c., also
The Whole Comprising 12A. 0R. 17P. No. 650 is let (with other property) to Mr. J.R. Neeve at an entire rent of £389 2s. 0d., of which £2 15s.0d. is apportioned to this Lot. The remainder is let to Mr. E.C. Pike at a rent of £15 0s 0d.
Lot 70 was purchased by John Chase jnr. for £500

In the 1920s George Bridges who lived in the cottage behind the mill was the miller under John Chase's ownership. George would net many eels and these were frequently sent to Billingsgate market in London.
He would also hire out rowing boats for John Chase who was living at the mill house.

In 1929 Alfred Dyball sold the mill, the mill house, cottage, farm buildings, the farmhouse, a fine old barn and about 50 acres of land to Leonard Walker R.I., artist, for £1500. Leonard Walker's son Renton, ran the mill and farm. He would take in corn from nearby farms for grinding and charged 6d per coomb.

Meanwhile, Leonard Walker converted the barn to a studio where he held art classes.


March 1968 March 1968
Mill house and mill March 1968
March 1968

Mill interior 1988
Mill interior 1988

Towards the end of its working life the mill was using a ½ sack Tattersall Midget Roller plant, although this proved to be a constant source of trouble.

My name is Oliver Robin Charlton normally called Bob. I am the son of Oliver Charlton who owned the Hoxne mill from 1935 to 1951. I lived there for 6 years of my youth (1945-1951). They moved back in after WWll, during which time the property was rented.            

My father refurbished some of the old mill wooden (apple wood) cogs and teeth so that the water wheel could drive an electrical generator that provided power to the house and buildings. This backed up by an internal combustion engine and there was also a large battery bank to store power. I believe it was also possible to drive 1 pair of stones for show.
Bob Charlton, Ontario, Canada - 12th February 2007

5th April 2007
5th April 2007

I've been tracing my distant relatives in Norfolk & Suffolk.
Henry Warne, of Hoxne and Syleham_Mills was my GGG Grandfather, his daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Coleby at Diss in 1841, so it is more than likely Henry & Thomas were in partnership. Thomas & Elizabeth (Both Born 1820) lived in Hoxne for a few years & in the 1841 census are listed as living at the 'Factory', Hoxne.  They moved to Northenden, about 7 miles south of Manchester some time in the late 1800s (Thomas was listed as a Cotton Yarn Merchant and had a business in Manchester). They went on to have 12 children!!! One of their sons, Thomas Henry Coleby B.1844 (My G Grandfather) is listed in the 1851 census at Syleham House. I actually have a photo taken 1880 of the house with several family members.

Ian Warburton - 8th August 2014

O. S. Map 1884

O. S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

Kirby's map 1736

1749: New mill built. Stone in the mill house garden reads

1769: William Clarke, miller, farmer and baker. Son Thomas took over Earsham Mill in 1793 at the age of 24

1784: William Cook

Faden's map 1797

1816: John Roper renting the mill from the Manor of Hoxne Hall with the Priory

December 1816: Mill for sale by auction subject to John Roper's eleven years of unexpired lease

14th December 1831: John Roper executed an indenture assigning all his estate over to his creditors

1836: John Roper the Elder made bankrupt

O.S. map 1837: Flax mill

1840: Henry Warne moved from Diss factory (possibly in partnership with Thomas Coleby)

January 1840: Two factory girls aged 9 and 11 were drowned in the river while returning home from the mill

1841: Henry Warne, manufacturer, granted new 8 year lease by Sir Edward Kerrison at £125 per annum

Whites 1844: Corn mill recently converted to flax and linen manufacturing

1844: Thomas Coleby, linen manufacturer and spinner

1844: Mill reverted to corn milling

1844-1846: Henry Sharman, corn miller

1855: Daniel Boyes miller

July 1855: George Chase, miller and George Gobold, farmer leased the mill for 11 years from Sir Edward Clarence Kerrison for £70 per annum

1855-1892: John Chase, corn miller

1883: John Chase took his two sons into partnership, operating at Hoxne and Diss

24th June 1892: John Chase died

1897: E.C. Pike

Wednesday 14th July 1897: Dame Mary Kerrison's Trust Estate put up for auction

Wednesday 14th July 1897: Mill and house bought by John Chase jnr for £500

1900-1908: Chase Brothers, steam, wind and water, also at Diss

O.S. map 1904: Corn mill

Friday 4th September 1909: George Chase found drowned at Diss at the age of 59

1916-1922: Chase Brothers, steam, wind and water, Victoria Road smockmill, Diss and Hoxne

1920s: George Bridges miller to John Chase

1929: Alfred Dyball, farmer, (Low Farm), miller, steam and water

Michaelmas 1929: Alfred Dyball sold the mill to Leonard Walker R.I., artist, for £1500

c.1930: Mill ceased to operate

1932: Leonard Walker sold the mill complex with approx 45 acres to Ruth Shann for around £1500

1933: Low Farm and 5 acres sold to Capt. Backhouse (army)

c.1935: Mill house sold to Capt. Charlton, RFC (served in WWI)

c.1937: Mill ceased milling but carried on generating electricity, using the wheel to power a generator

1965: Mill used as a factory

Friday 14th June 1968: Mill offered for sale by auction with its machinery intact but did not sell

1968: Mill sold by private treaty for around £13,500

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

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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003