Burnham Overy


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Burnham Overy tower mill was worked in conjunction with the nearby Burnham_Overy_lower_watermill and was built in 1816 by Edmund Savory. The mill was six storeys high, with a ground floor diameter of 24 feet and had a stage set around the first floor. The horizontally boarded Ogee cap had a ball finial on top and held a 6 bladed fan. The 4 double shuttered sails with a span of 81 feet, each had 12 bays of 3 shutters and drove 3 pairs of stones.

Edward Savory 1816 datestone
Edward Savory 1816 datestone set above the first floor

Re Act for establishing an uniformity of Weights & Measures (1825)
(5th Geo, 5th (error for 4th) c. 74) as from 1 January 1826

Old Measure
Corn Bushel 2150.42
Cubic ins
New Measure
cubic ins.

cubic ins.

1 quart more
Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd December 1825

We the undersigned Merchants & Millers do hereby give notice that on & from the first day of January next all Corn taken in by us will be by the New Imperial Bushel as by Law established.
… John Savory …
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th December 1825

To Journeymen Millers
Wanted Immediately
A steady, active & industrious SINGLEMAN who perfectly understands his business & can be recommended from his last position.
Apply personally (or by letter post paid) to Mr. Savory, Burnham Overy Mills
Norfolk Chronicle - 18th & 25th November 1826

To Journeymen Millers
A Steady Active SINGLE MAN to take the entire charge of a Windmill working three pair of stones etc.
None need apply that have not had considerable experience & can give respectable references.
Apply personally or by Letter (post paid) to Mr. Savory, Burnham Overy Mills.

Norfolk Chronicle - 19th November 1831

To Journeymen Millers
A Steady Active SINGLE Man, who thoroughly understands his business.
Apply personally to Mr. Savory, Burnham Overy Mills.

Norfolk Chronicle - 15th December 1842 

A steady active Person as FOREMAN & STONEMAN who can have good recommendation.
A married man will be preferred & a comfortable Cottage provided near the Mills.
Apply to Mr. Savory, Burnham Overy Mills.
Jan. 27, 1846

Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 31st January 1846

To Engine Drivers
Wanted, as ENGINE DRIVER & to ASSIST in the MILL, a Young Man who thoroughly understands the working of a condensing Engine.
Apply by letter to John Savory, Burnham Overy Mills.

Norfolk News - 9th November 1861

On Saturday before H. E. Blyth Esq. & Major Holloway, a considerable time was occupied by the Bench with charges laid by the Officers of Excise under the Act of 1869. John Savory of Burnham Overy, miller & farmer was charged with keeping eight horses for trade purposes on the 30 th April last having only taken licenses for seven.
Defendant pleaded not guilty. After hearing all the evidence the magistrates said they had no option to do otherwise than convict & were unable to reduce the fine to less than one fourth; they must therefore convict Mr. Savory in £5. They would have been glad to mitigate the fine to nothing for they were sure Mr. Savory had acted from error in judgement & with no intent of evading the law …
Mr. Savory at once consented to take the additional necessary licenses & to pay the fine inflicted on hearing the result of the decision of the Bench.

Norfolk News - 4th June 1870

Situations Vacant
Wanted, an Experienced STONEMAN. None need apply that cannot bring satisfactory character.
Apply John Savory, Burnham Overy, Lynn.

Norfolk News - 24th August 1872

Situations Vacant
Wanted a Young Man as SPOUTMAN at watermill & to assist in Dressing STONES when required.
Apply to John Savory, Burnham Overy.

Norfolk News - 21st September 1872

Burnham. Petty Sessions. Saturday
(Before H.E. Blyth, Esq., & Major Holloway)
Mr. John Savory, miller, farmer etc. of Burnham Overy was summoned on the information of Robert Fagor, Inland Revenue Officer, for having one horse liable to duty in excess of the number for which he paid, by which he rendered himself liable to a penalty of £30. It appeared from the evidence that Mr. Savory had nine horses subject to duty & paid for only eight. Mr. Savory said he was led to suppose from a conversation he had had with Mr. Galbraith, Mr. Fagor’s predecessor, that he should have received notice of his liability before any proceedings were taken. Mr. Galbraith who was examined said he had never said anything that could have led to such an impression. The Bench said it was no doubt a misapprehension & inflicted the mitigated penalty of £5.

Norfolk News - 6th September 1873

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, an experienced Miller as Stoneman to assist in the grinds.
Apply to Mr. John Savory, Burnham Overy Mills.

Lyn Advertiser - 19th January 1878

There are two vaults outside the eastern end of Burnham Overy church

Northern end:
John Savory, died 27th September 1863 aged 62
John Savory, died 17th June 1921 aged 91

Southern end:
Edmund Savory, died 9th February MDCCCXXVII aged LXIII years

Preliminary Notice
Burnham Overy
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions from the Trustee of the late Mr. John Savory to sell by Auction during June the valuable ESTATE comprising Mills, Residence & about 45 acres of Land, situate in the above Parish, in the occupation of Mr. John Savory.
Particulars will appear in future papers & with Conditions may be had in due time of Mr. E. M. Beloe, Solr. Lynn or of Messrs. Spelman, Norwich & Yarmouth.

Norfolk Chronicle - 7th & 14th April 1888

Preliminary Notice
Burnham Overy
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions from the Trustee of the late Mr. John Savory to Sell by Auction on Saturday June 23 at 12 for 1 o’c at the Norfolk hotel, Norwich, the valuable ESTATE comprising the Steam, water & Tower Wind Mills, Malthouse & Granaries in which an extensive business has been carried on for many years; also Residence, Cottages & about 45 acres of Land, situate in the above Parish, in the occupation of Mr. John Savory, in One Lot.
Particulars will appear in next week’s papers & with conditions may be had in due time of Mr. E.M. Beloe, Solr. Kings Lynn & of Messrs. Spelman, Norwich & Yarmouth.

Norfolk Chronicle - 26th May 1888

Burnham Overy
One Mile from Burnham Market Railway Station & half a Mile from Burnham Overy Staithe
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions from the Trustee of the late Mr. John Savory to sell by Auction on Saturday June 23, 1888 at 12 for 1 o’c at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, the following valuable.


Situate about Five Miles from the town of Wells & in which an extensive business has been carried on for many years, comprising Excellent RESIDENCE with Garden, Orchard & Stabling, STEAM MILL driving four pairs of stones with 16 horse power condensing Engine & Cornish Boiler, Water MILL driving three pairs of stones; Brick Tower MILL standing well for wind & driving three pairs of Stones, 25 coomb steel Malting, large & convenient Granaries, Blacksmith’s Shop, Waggon Lodges, Wheat & Meal Chambers. The Farmary comprising Cart Horse Stables, Cowhouses & Yards, Bullock Sheds & Yards, Cart & Implement Sheds etc. Three COTTAGES & several Enclosures of
The whole containing
now in the occupation of Mr. Savory, who gives possession at Michaelmas next.
Principally Freehold.
Particulars & Conditions of Sale with Plans may be had of the Auctioneers at Norwich & Yarmouth; at the Estate Exchange, Tokenhouse Yard, E.C. & of
Mr. E.M. Beloe,
Solr. Kings Lynn………..

Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd, 9th & 16th June 1888


Death of Mr. J. Savory
On Thursday … there were laid to rest in the parish churchyard the remains of the oldest inhabitant in the parish. Mr. John Savory, who was for many years a highly successful man of business, as a miller, merchant and farmer. He had reached his 91st birthday and retired from business some twenty years ago …
His wife died in 1905 …
Born 2 September 1829, died June 19, 1921.

Dereham & Fakenham Times - 25th June 1921
The vault in the churchyard is inscribed with a date of 17th June


John Joseph was working at the mill in the 1870s and 1880s, possibly running the mill on behalf of the Savory family, before moving on to work at a mill in Sporle.
Known details:

John Joseph Smith b.9th March 1847 at Garvestone, died c.1925
Elizabeth Smith b. c.1840 at Fring, died c.1925
Ernest Smith b.Burnham Overy in 1876
Louisa Smith b.Burnham Overy c.1878
Jessie Smith b.10th July 1880 at Burnham Overy
James Smith b. 9th February 1882 at Burnham Overy
Minnie Smith b. c.1884 at Burnham Overy

Robert Haines snr was born in 1821 at Hindringham and moved to Burnham Overy Staithe in 1857 to work as a mill labourer for the Savory family. Roberet snr, died on 21 December 1877 aged 56 and was buried at St. Clements Church, Burnham Overy.

Robert Haines jnr was an employee of the Savory family and probably worked at both the watermill and the windmill as had his father. He was born on 23rd December 1858. He married Esther at Burnham Overy on 28th December 1881. The birth certificates of three of his children give his occupation as journeyman miller and in 1913 the marriage certificate of his son Abraham gives his occupation as stone dresser. In 1914 Robert Haines jnr emigrated to Canada, possibly after the mill tailwinded that year.

Esther Haines 1901 Robert Haines 1913
Esther Haines 1901
Robert Haines jnr 1913

Esther Haines is pictured outside her cottage on the Creake Road, Burnham Overy Staithe in 1901.
Robert Haines jnr was posing for the photo at the event of his son Abraham's wedding on 1913.

Robert Haines snr and jnr are my Great Great and Great Grandfathers. My father, who was ex Royal Marine, working for a local builder, painted the outside of the cap including the top, which he did with a rope tied around his waist. 
Brian Dew - 4th February 2006


My name is Maggie Bennett (formerly Pannell) and I have many fond memories of the fabulous holidays we had at the mill with the Locke family, when I was a child. I remember the huge round table on the ground floor and how about 20 of us used to sit round and play a card game called  Racing Demon, after dinner. Cows used to graze in the field outside and we called it the 'cows snack bar' as we used to enjoy feeding them grass. I also remember the wonderful walks along the unspoilt strand, the dyke out to sea and picnics in the pine forest. My father always used to sing a song ' Away we go to the mill, the mill just over the hill. The miller will grind the wheat to flour, it only costs a penny an hour. Away we go to the mill, away we go the mill.  Slice, slice, the bread looks nice. Spread, spread butter on the bread. On top put honey so sweet, now we are ready to eat!'  I don't know the author but it's engrained in my memory.
Maggie Bennett - 5th September 2006

6th April 1970
6th April 1970

By the time Mr. H.C. Hughes of Granchester bought the mill in 1926, all the machinery had been removed. Mr. Hughes converted the mill for use as holiday lets and added the single storey extensions. In 1957, a fixed cap, new 62ft stocks weighing a ton each, skeleton sails, stage and fan were installed by the specialist millwrights R. Thompson & Son of Alford, Lincs. Mr. Hughes donated the mill to the National Trust in 1958 and soon after the sails were again replaced having deteriorated badly. The National Trust then rented the towermill out as a holiday home.


On 8th February 1972, the Eastern Daily Press published an article re re Miss Bridget Everitt who was born in the Mill House next to the watermill. Her grandfather, Sidney Everett was a Maltster at Wells and moved to Burnham Overy in 1910 taking over both the wind & water mills.

3rd May 2003
3rd May 2003

The National Trust Atlas of 1981 twice inaccurately described the mill as a wooden windmill instead of a brick tower mill.

July 17:- Two 62-ft stocks of Jamaican long leaf pitch pine erected by crane. Also restored fantail using Canadian Douglas fir. Sails to follow 18 July.
Cost to National Trust about £26,500.
Eastern Daily Press - 18th July 1986

Wooden brake and brakewheel 10th November 2007 Brakewheel and windshaft 10th November 2007
Wooden brake and brakewheel 10th November 2007
Brakewheel and windshaft 10th November 2007

Key obtained from Mrs. Philip Scoles of
Brancaster Staithe.
Interior woodwork of mill was renovated in 1981 to requirements of current fire regulations; fireproofing of concreted ground floor and upper storeys included fire resistant timber in first and second floors, fire precaution doors and partitions and a fire escape. Steel shoes were fitted to rotting ends of some beams. Exterior was retarred. Cost £25,000.
In January 1983 the four sails (and later the two stocks) were removed as having dangerously deteriorated. Replacements are envisaged, at about £2000 per sail and £3000 per stock.
The mill is now let out all the year round to families and other groups; rent in ‘High Season’ £180 per week with a maximum of 20 persons at a time.
Only interior machinery windshaft, head wheel and brake

Harry Apling re visit with William Scoles - 20th January 1983

27th January 2007
27th January 2007

My husband has many ancestors born around and in the Burnham area of Norfolk.  In particular his grandmother Jessie, was born at Burnham Overy in 1880.  She has further older siblings also born at Burnham.  Her father John Joseph Smith was a miller at Burnham and I am in possession of the East Anglian Magazine for December 1960 (25th Anniversary issue) which has a large black and white picture of the mill covering  its middle pages. This magazine was purchased by Jessie's older sister Louise (Cissie) and she has written at the side of the page -
"Daddy's" mill where we used to play when we were very young - we had a swing on the tree on the right.
I have read through your information online regarding the mills history and think that John Joseph probably worked at the mill maybe for Mr Savory.
Later, John Joseph went to work a mill at Sporle.
Jeanette Horn - 4th August 2007

2nd August 2007
2nd August 2007

I just wanted to share a memory of Burnham Overy windmill.
As a member of a school group from Watford Boys Grammar, we were taken to stay at the mill in 1976 (I think!), we were ostensibly there for a weekend of birdwatching.
However, I had just completed a school project on windmills (which won a prize!), and the leader of our group was none other than Michael Harverson.
At the time the trap doors were still in the floors from the sack hoist and we were bedding down on the third floor as I recall. One time I cam back up to our room I topped the staircase and went to walk over to my bed, only to fall straight through the trap door which someone had, rather stupidly, opened.
I have little recollection other than finding myself on the floor below, I did not suffer any injury.
Whether this had any bearing on my becoming a mill fanatic I don't know, but I have!
I alao retain a very keen interest in birding.
Ralph Darville - 15th August 2008

1st November 2007
1st November 2007

When I was an undergraduate at Cambridge (1969-72) I became a member of "Young Friends", through attending weekly meetings of the Society of Friends (Quakers).  Each year, the group used to book an early summer weekend in the mill, two hours drive away.
The tradition was to leave Cambridge about 4pm on a Friday, putting watches forward by two hours to 'Mill Time' so making the journey four hours (by our reckoning) and arriving in time for supper at about 8pm.
We'd then spend the whole weekend two hours ahead of everyone else, which meant that Quaker meeting in Wells-next-the-Sea on Sunday morning was from 1-2pm (on our watches) instead of 11am-12noon (Norfolk time), but otherwise made no difference to us.
For students it didn't seem too bad getting up at a "reasonable" time like 8am for breakfast on the Monday morning. THAT'S when the reason for 'Mill Time' became clear, as we would leave at 8.40am for 9am lectures. And we would arrive in Cambridge in time for 9am lectures, despite the two-hour journey !
At that time the accommodation was very basic.  I can't remember beds.  I recall using sleeping bags on the bare boards.  The trap-doors were there and working and access to the cap for taking photos was easy too (all far too dangerous by today's standards).
Paul Kirkley, Upper Wolvercote - 13th March 2012

Watermill and windmill 14th February 2016 14th February 2016
Watermill and windmill 14th February 2016
14th February 2016

O. S. Map 1886

O. S. Map 1886
Towermill top right and Burnham Overy lower watermill to southwest
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

1816: Mill built by Edmund Savory

Poll book 1818: Edmund Savory, miller

Walpole estate documents 1819: Edmund Savory

1825: John Savory, miller

9th February 1827: Edmund Savory died aged 63

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

White's 1836: John Savory, miller & maltster

Census 1841:
John Savory (40) miller
Sarah Savory (40)
Sarah Savory (14); Eliza Savory (7); Robert Savory (6); Mary Savory (4); Albert Savory (1)  Harrison Savory (6 wks)
Mary Ramson (25) governess
William Betts (20) miller's apprentice
Robert Yaxley (18) miller's apprentice
Robert Farrow (44) millwright
Elizabeth Youngs (30) female servant
Maria ? Rutlings (20) female servant
Sarah Johnson (14) female servant
Ann Howse (45) female servant
Address: Overy Mill

White's 1845: John Savory, miller & maltster

Census 1851:
John Savory (50) b.Burnham Overy, master miller & malster employing 6 men & 2 boys
Sarah Savory (50) b.Winfarthing, Suffolk
Edmund Savory (22) b.Burnham Overy, Partners In Trade
John Savory (21) b.Burnham Overy, Partners In Trade 
Thomas Savory (19) b.Burnham Overy, farming pupil
Eliza Savory (16) b.Burnham Overy
Albert Savory (11) b.Burnham Overy
Harrison Savory (9) b.Burnham Overy
Edward Savory (8) b.Burnham Overy
Hubert Sheringham (4) b.Thornage (grandson)
Mary Hagon (41) b.Harpley, servant
Sarah Jackson (25) b.Warham, servant
Sarah Youngs (31) b.Burnham Overy, servant
Martha Mason (16) b.Burnham Overy, servant
Philip C. Parker (19) b.Wissonsett, apprentice miller
Address: Staith

White's 1854: John Savory, miller, maltster & corn merchant

1856: John Savory snr, miller

Census 1861:
John Savory (31) b.Burnham Overy, miller & farmer of 35 acres
Susanna Savory (26) b. Burnham Thorpe
Marion Savory (3) b.Burnham Overy
Kathleen Savory (died aged 1)  b.Burnham Overy
Edward Savory (c.18) b.Burnham Overy, miller (brother)
Ann Rush (24) b.Creak, house servant

John Raven (77) b.Burnham Overy, retired miller (widower)

Philip Parker (29) b.Whissonsett, miller
Martha Parker (28) b.Burnham Overy
Ann Parker (2) b.Burnham Overy
Mary Parker (3 mnths) b.Burnham Overy

Charles Case (47) b.Burnham Overy, miller
Sarah Case (45) b.Mulbarton
Hannah Case (22) b.Aylsham, housemaid
Sarah Case (14) b.Mulbarton

Arthur T. Case (7) b.Mulbarton

27th September 1863: John Savory snr died aged 62

1863: John Savory jnr, miller

White's 1864: John Savory, miller, maltster & merchant

June 1870: John Savory convicted of only having 7 licences for 8 trade horses - fined £5

September 1873: John Savory convicted of only having 8 licences for 9 trade horses - fined £5

Kelly's 1879: John Savory, miller, corn merchant & maltster

White's 1883: John Savory, corn miller, maltster, corn, coal, cake & manure merchant & farmer

1887: Sarah Savory died (widow of John snr) forcing auction the freehold. Subsequently bought by John jnr

April 1888: Mill & estate advertised for sale by auction

Census 1891: John Savory jnr; Sidney F. Dewing (22), assistant miller, lodging with John & Susanne Savory

Kelly's 1892: John Savory jnr - miller (wind, water & steam), corn merchant, maltster & farmer

Kelly's 1896: John Savory jnr - miller (wind, water & steam), corn merchant, maltster & farmer

Kelly's 1900: John Savory jnr - miller (wind, water & steam), corn merchant, maltster & farmer

Census 1901:
Robert Haines jnr (42) b.Burnham Overy, miller
Esther Haines
Charles Haines; Sarah Haines; Abraham Haines; William Haines; Henry Haines
Ezekial Haines (52) b.Holt (brother)

Kelly's 1904: Sidney F. Dewing, miller (wind, water & steam), corn merchant, maltster & farmer

1905: Susanna Savory (wife of John Savory jnr) died

Kelly's 1908: Sidney F. Dewing, miller

1910: Sidney F. Dewing, miller
1910: Sidney Everitt, miller

Kelly's 1912: Sidney Everitt, miller (wind, water & steam)

1914: Mill tailwinded

Kelly's 1916: Sidney Everitt, miller (wind, water & steam)
Kelly's 1916: John Savory jnr, Mill House

1916: Sidney Everitt bought the freehold from John Savory jnr

1919: Mill ceased working

17th June 1921: John Savory jnr died aged 91 leaving 2 married daughters - born 2nd September 1829

1925: Mill sold to Mr. Hugh Hughes, architect who converted Ringstead towermill to residential in 1927

1926: Mill converted to residential use by Thompsons of Alford, Lincs

1957: Mill being restored with new fixed cap along with skeleton sails

1958: Mill presented to the National Trust

2nd April 1973: The skeleton sails revolved in a gale

1981: Mill tower retarred

1983: Stocks and sails removed

July 1985: Stocks and sails replaced

2006: Mill used for holiday self catering accommodation - see Mill accommodation page

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 TF83784376
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004