East Dereham


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


East Dereham towermill was built in 1836 by Michael Hardy, a miller & baker and James Hardy, a millwright. The mill was shown on the O.S. map of 1838 as standing on Cherry Drift, later to become Cherry Lane, just off the Norwich Road. The 42ft five storey red brick tower was 24ft in diameter at the base and topped with a Norfolk boat shaped cap with a petticoat, an iron railed gallery and a 6 bladed fantail. The two pairs of patent sails on an iron windshaft, drove 2 pairs of stones, a flour mill and jumper.

A third pair of stones were later added on the stone floor. Auxiliary power came from a steam engine, followed by a paraffin engine c.1922 via a shaft through the east window on the second floor, connecting to the underside of a wooden crown wheel on the upright shaft.

The tower external wall was constructed of Flemish bond brickwork, while the inside was of English bond rendered with plaster. The outer brick face appeared to be only half a brick in thickness and was not bonded properly to the interior of the wall, giving rise to the question of whether the mill tower had been refaced. The wall at the base of the tower was 2ft 6in thick and a cambered arch was above each of the windows and doors. Carved on the bridge beam above the southwest pair of stones was the inscription:

When the sails were removed in 1922 an additional pair of stones were installed on the first floor. These were powered by the paraffin engine via a shaft through the ground floor east window that drove bevel gears.

Michael Hardy had been involved with milling for some years by the time he built Dereham mill in 1836. In 1819 he owned and ran Mattishall_Norwich_Rd_smockmill and in 1829 he started to run the newly built Gressenhall smockmill and in 1836 he was also running Ovington old postmill.

The cast iron bridgetree on the ground floor and the engine drive to the stones on the meal floor bore the
inscription: R. HAMBLING DEREHAM from the 1850s - 1860s and came from another mill c.1922
White's 1836: Robert Hambling, Ironfounder, millwright, manufacturer of steam engines, implements and machines for agricultural purposeds, etc. Norwich Road.

In the 1980s, a pair of French burr stones stood on the first floor and the runner stone was inscribed

Harry Apling also noted that another runner stone was inscribed around the eye half of a cast iron ring with
This related to George Marris, Millstone Maker, New George Street, Hull from c.1834.
The stone was dressed with 28 master furrows only and could have been one of the original stones.

Red brick tower mill
‘Newly erected’ 1836
Tower 42 ft. high, 25 ft diam. At base, 20 ft. inside, wall 2 ft.6ins. thick at base.
Brickwork Flemish bond outside, English bond inside.
5 floors
Boat-shaped cap
Gallery with iron railings
4 double-shuttered patent sails
6-bladed fantail
Built with 2 pairs of French burr stones. 3rd pair on stone floor added by Fendick. 4 th pair on 1 st floor driven by engine (c. 1922)

Ground floor:-
Door to north, window and ladder to west.
Drive through east window from paraffin engine (concrete base still in place). All iron bevel wheel on shaft drove iron mortice bevel wheel on stone spindle to one pair of stones on first floor. Wooden block pulley on stone spindle for belt drive governors in window opening. HAMBLING, DEREHAM on cast iron bridge tree, second hand. Dates from 1950/60s.
Sack trap opposite door, to south.

Meal floor (1st):-
Door to north, windows east and west
1 pair of 4 ft. French burr stones on east side underdriven by paraffin engine. Base of octagonal vat.
On the runner stone - W.R. Dell & Son, Mark Lane, London. (c. 1922?)
8-armed iron mortice great spur wheel on 15 in. square upright shaft. Wheel in two parts bolted together, about 106 ins. overall diameter. 120+ cogs (1 of 8 segments 15-16 cogs) all intact.
Original sprattle beams S.E. and S.W. bored for stone spindles at 5 ft. from centre of mill.
On east side of S.W. beam is carved:-
E. Saul 22 Septr ‘46 (Roman Capitals, initial letters 1½ ins. high, others 1⅛ ins. overall length 23½ ins.) the name Saul has been well known in the Norfolk timber trade from William Saul of Norwich, 1802 to the late Arthur Saul and the present firm of Saul & Ransons of Fifers Lane, Norwich, but any connection here has not been found)
Later beam to west of door for 3 rd pair of stones.
Sites for 3 sets of governors driven off stone spindles.
Ceiling beams east to west.

Stone floor (2nd):-
Windows north, east and west.
2 pairs of French burr stones underdriven, with 3rd pair added later.
One runner stone at mill has around the eye half of a cast iron ring with:-
… Ris Maker Hull
(George Marris, Millstone Maker, New George St., Hull, c. 1834)
This is dressed with 28 master furrows only.
Drive through east window from steam engine (1863) and later paraffin engine via outside pulley. Iron shaft with all iron bevel wheel, 20 cogs, to underside of inverted wooden clasp arm crown wheel, about 80 cogs (part rotted away), fixed drive.
Crown wheel drove through a similar bevel wheel on south side an iron shaft with 18 ins. diameter wooden pulley for a 4 inch belt to sack hoist. Could be lowered out of gear.
On upright shaft above crown wheel a double ratchet and pawl device to allow engine to drive lower part of shaft free from upper section and sails.
Beams north to south.

Corn or bin floor (3rd)
Windows north, east and west.
No further sections of upright shaft.
Lower half of wall boarded.
Beams east to west.

Dust floor (4th):-
Windows north and west
Sack hoist to south
External cogs to curb

Boat-shaped cap
Gallery with iron railings
17 ft. iron windshaft, canisters 12 ins. by 15 ins. (length) neck 12 ins. diameter.
Wooden clasp arm brake wheel with iron rim and wooden cogs.
6-bladed fantail

Probably 4 double-shuttered patents, but no photograph showing them has been found.

Other stones on premises:-
French burr runners - 1 @ 4 ft. 3 ins. diameter
2 @ 4 ft.
Peak runner 4 ft. 2 ins. diameter, 5 ins. thick

Composition stone 4 ft. 4 ins. diameter on first floor.

Philip Unwin 1972

To be sold by Auction by Mann & Clarke at the George Inn, East Dereham on Friday 10th June next at 6 o'c.
All that newly erected and substantially built Brick Tower windmill eligibly situate within ten minutes walk of the Market Place of East Dereham comprising five floors and driving two pair of stones, with capability of adding a third pair, with patent sails, winding herself, iron shaft, flour mill, jumper, sack tackling and all other necessary machinery on the latest and most improved principles, with stable and cart lodge and about one acre and three quarters of excellent Freehold land adjoining, of all of which Immediate Possession may be had.
Apply to Mr Wm. Drake, Solicitor. East Dereham, to Messrs Beckwith and Dye, Solicitors, Norwich, to Mr Michael or James Hardy, the Proprietors on the Premises or to the Auctioneers, East Dereham or at their offices 73 St Stephens Street, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 14th, 21st & 26th May & 4th June 1836

TOWER WINDMILL To be Let for a term of years.
A good new built Brick TOWER WINDMILL driving two pair of Stones, with Flour Mill etc. situate at East Dereham & now in the occupation of the Proprietor, Mr. Michael Hardy.
Possession may be had at Midsummer.
Apply to Mr. Hardy or to Mr. Goldson, Solr. East Dereham.

Norfolk Chronicle - 17th & 24th June 1837

By auction by Mann & Clarke at the Kings Arms Dereham Thursday 14th December 1837 at 6. o’clock in the afternoon. Sale of newly erected and substantially built brick TOWER windmill eligibly situate near the Turnpike Road leading from Dereham to Norwich and within ten minutes walk of the Market Place of East Dereham. Comprising five floors, driving two pairs of stones, flour mill and damper, with patent sails, winding herself, iron shaft and other requisitine machinery, together with brick and tiled stable and cart lodge and one Acre and Three Roods (more or less) of excellent Land, adjoining, now in the occupation of Mr. John Arms.
For further particulars apply to Mr. Wm. Drake, Solicitor, East Dereham, or to the Auctioneers, Saint Michael at Plea, Norfolk.
Same auction:
Sale of Capital Smock Mill, Messuage and outbuildings ‘recently erected smock_windmill driving two pairs of stones with flour mill and all requisite machinery situate at Beetley near Gressenhall Fairstead and now in the occupation of George Bayfield.
Norwich Mercury - 7th December 1837

East Dereham
To be Sold by Auction by Mann & Clarke at the Kings Arms Inn, East Dereham on Thursday 14 December 1837 at 6 o’c
All that Freehold newly erected & substantially built brick TOWER WINDMILL eligibly situate near the Turnpike Road leading from Dereham to Norwich within ten minutes walk of the Market Place of East Dereham, comprising Five Floors, driving two pairs of stones, Flour Mill & Dumper (sic), with Patent Sails, winding herself, Iron Shaft & all other requisite machinery together with a brick & tiled Stable & Cart Lodge & One Acre & Three Roods (more or less) of excellent Land adjoining, now in the occupation of Mr. John Arms.
Apply to Mr. Wm. Drake, Solr. East Dereham or the Auctioneers, St. Michael at Plea, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 9th December 1837

c.1945 1948

Tithe Award 1840
Map Pratt & Son, Surveyors, Norwich. 1839
Owner: Michael Hardy
Occupier: John Armes
No. 937 Mill & land Arable 1a. 1r. 19p. £1.11.3

Mr. Spelman
Respectfully informs the Public that he is instructed to Sell by Auction on Friday 16 February 1844 at 4 o’c at the Kings Arms Inn, East Dereham the following valuable Property
Lot 1.
A substantial Brick TOWER_WINDMILL, Dwelling house, Cottage, Stable, Yards and Gardens in the occupation of Mr. Michael Hardy and John Button. The Mill stands remarkably well for wind within equal distances of Wymondham and Hingham, has three floors, Patent Sails, winds herself, dries two pairs of stones, with Flour Mill and Jumpeer and all her going Gears complete and in full Trade.
Lot 2. Cottage ...
Lot 3.
A POST_WINDMILL with two pairs of Stones, Flour Mill and going Gears now in full Trade; a Dwelling house and Outbuildings and about 4 acres of Land of good quality, in the occupation of Mr. William Rose.
Mr. Spelman respectively invites the attention of Merchants & Millers to the above valuable Property. The Mills are situate in good Corn districts, within short distances of considerable Market Towns, are surrounded by a large population & present an advantageous opportunity for either Investment or Occupation.
Early Possession of the Whole may be had.
Lot 4.
A SMOCK_WINDMILL with DWELLING-HOUSE, Baking Office, Stable, Garden & piece of Land adjoining, situate at Great Bittering, adjoining the public road & near Gressenhall Fairstead, in the occupation of Mr. John Hannant, whose tenancy expires at Midsummer next.
The Mill winds herself, drives 2 pairs of stonmes, with flour mill, jumper & all her going gears complete.
The Dwelling-House contains ...
The Baking Officce is adapted for carrying on a considerable business & is in full trade.
FREEHOLD. No outgoings.
Lot 5.
A most substantially-built BRICK TOWER WINDMILL, with 5 floors, patent sails, winding herself, driving 2 pairs of stones, flour mill, jumper and most complete machinery; together with a brick and tiled Stable and Cart lodge and a piece of productive Arable LAND adjoining, containing 1a. 3r. 0p. or thereabouts; most eligibly situated, within a short distance of the town and near the turnpike road, now in full trade, and in the occupation of Mr John Ives, Tenant from year to year.
FREEHOLD. No outgoings.
Vendors are Mortgagees with power of Sale.
Mr. Spelman respectively invites the attention of Merchants & Millers to the above valuable Property. The Mills are situate in good Corn districts, within short distances of considerable Market Towns, are surrounded by a large population & present an advantageous opportunity for either Investment or Occupation.
Early Possession of the Whole may be had.
Particulars of Messrs. Goldson, Browne & Carthew, Solrs. Dereham & of Mr. Spelman, St. Giles Street, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th January 1844

A Man that well understands the Business of a MILLER & a BAKER.
Apply to Mr Fendick, Miller, East Dereham

Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 8th November 1845

26th May 1970
26th May 1970

To Millers & Bakers
To be Let with Early Possession
A Capital Tower WINDMILL with fixed Steam power attached, Granaries Dwelling house, well situated & accustomed Baking office & several pieces of Land, in a small town in a good wheat district & populous neighborhood in the County of Norfolk.
Apply with statement of capital at command to William Drake, Esq., Solicitor, East Dereham.
Norfolk News - 24th & 31st January & 8th February 1863

To Millwrights, Machinists etc.
High Street, DEREHAM
Sale of Stock in Trade of James Hardy (who is declining busoiness in consequence of ill health) on Thursday 13 May 1969.
Norfolk Chronicle & Lynn Advertiser - 6th May 1869

Situations Vacant
WANTED, a steady Man to work a Tower Windmill & make himself generally useful.
Apply to William Fendick, East Dereham.
Norfolk News - 21st October 1871

Red brick tower, tarred, derelict
5 storeys
No cap, sails or fan, but fan-stage almost intact
Had wooden boarded domed cap
Remains of cap gallery at base of tower
Ground floor – one mill stone (burr) standing up by wall, one embedded in floor, another outside with (circular) wooden vat
Auxiliary power (oil engine) in nearby shed drove through iron wheel on horizontal shaft, through horizontal wheel with wooden cogs.
Drove two pairs stones on first floor.
One set of governors.
Iron great spur wheel, tee arm, wooden cogs, attached to wooden upright shaft, square at this point.
Cut into beam on first floor – E. Saul 22nd Sept. ‘46
Second floor – shaft becomes round
Supplementary wooden wallower with wooden cogs driving two iron stone nuts for auxiliary power above second floor level.
Circular upright shaft removed.
Iron windshaft still in place
Wooden clasp arm brake wheel with iron rim & wooden cogs
Worked by wind till c. 1930, then by oil engine till 1937/8

Closed for economic reasons. Left complete, but has gradually deteriorated through disregard.
Philip Unwin - 1972

I have been told that the paraffin engine had been a gas engine which had been removed from a Dereham maltings. It would have been no problem for Charles Rix to convert it to paraffin.
Hugh Dawson - 3rd July 2005

The mill's sails were removed by Percy Bensley (Jack) Fysh of Portland House, Norwich Road, Yaxham

The derelict mill was Grade II listed in 1972 and then bought by Breckland District Council in 1979 with the view of restoring it as a landscape feature over a period of three years. By 1985 the kerb ring had been repaired and the cap and fantail were completed in 1986. New sails were fitted in 1987 and the mill was formally reopened by council chairman J. O. C. Birkbeck, Esq. on 14th September 1987.
The area adjacent to the mill was then landscaped with the inclusion of a picnic area and a car park. Dereham Town Council took over the running of the scheme in 2002.

17th May 1982
17th May 1982

Dereham cemetary:
Gravestone of Mrs. Sarah Fendick, who died in 1886 aged 68 and whose stone records that her husband, William Fendick (l) was buried in Brompton Cemetary, London.
Gravestone of Mrs. Rachel Fendick, who died on 15th October 1936 aged 92, wife of William Fendick (ll) who was born on 2nd August 1841 and died on 12th March 1904.

Sarah Fendick, the widow of Wiliam Fendick (l) made a will on 4th April 1870 and appointed her sons Robert and William (ll) as executors. The mill was left to William (ll) and Mill House, which she had purchased from Charles Bennett was left to Robert.
On 25th August 1887, Robert Fendick conveyed Mill House and 3r. 11p of land to William Fendick (ll).

The Mill House later became 158, Norwich Road and William Fendick (lll) lived at 160, Norwich Road

Death of Mr. C. R. Gray
Notable Dereham Merchant
It is with sincere regret that we record the death of Mr. Charles Robert Gray, which occurred at his residence in Norwich Street, East Dereham early on Thursday morning. The deceased gentleman, who was in his 59 th year, was the head of the well known firm of corn and coal merchants, which was established by his father, the late Mr. Robert Gray, about half a century ago, with establishments at Dereham, North Elmham and Wendling.
Dereham & Fakenham Times - Saturday 4th February 1922

Charles Robert Gray was buried in Dereham Cemetery on 6th February 1922.

His gravestone gives the date of his death as 1st February (Wednesday) but the Register of Deaths gives the date of his death and its registration as 2nd February 1922.

Around the time of the 2nd World War, plans were passed by the Urban District Council to turn the mill into a house. However, these were later turned down by the War Agricultural Committee as chickens were kept on the land round about and there was a lack of proper access.

On 6th December 1977, Lennard & Lawn removed the cap frame and windshaft from Dereham towermill and brought the windshaft back to Caston towermill, owned by John Lawn.
The windshaft was 17ft long and the canisters 15ins long and 12ins wide. The flanges were at 5ft and 7ft 6ins behind the inside canister, the neck was 12ins in diameter and it was 6ft from the rear flange to the tail flange.

Dereham's delapitated windmill has been bought for £1 by the district council, who will renovate it. ...
Eastern Daily Press - 2nd August 1978


Machinery open to the elements - 1982 Broken crownwheel - 1982
Machinery open to the elements - 1982
Broken crownwheel - 1982

Auxiliary drive - 1982
Auxiliary drive - 1982

Renovation - 1982 21st April 1984
Renovation - 1982
21st April 1984

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
Agenda Monday 7 March 1983
9. Dereham Windmill – Use by Voluntary Groups
Members recently agreed in considering the future of the Dereham Windmill that ‘work necessary to preserve the structure of the Dereham Windmill be carried out but the question of complete restoration be deferred for the time being’.
The Recreation & Leisure Services Officer reports that since its renovation under the Manpower Services scheme three years ago, a number of requests have been received from voluntary groups to use the mill as a meeting place etc., but as yet these have not been conceded to because of the uncertainty over its future management.
A request has recently been received from the ‘Central Division Norfolk Girl Guides’ to tend the mill by keeping it tidy etc. and using it as a meeting place during the summer months.
In view of this latest request and other groups that it is known are interested, members are asked whether they would wish to pursue the principle of such use by voluntary groups. If members are agreeable to this proposal, it is suggested that a general meeting beheld of those groups who have expressed an interest in the past.

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
Agenda 25 April 1983
13. Dereham Windmill: Use by Voluntary Groups
At its meeting on 7 th March 1983 the Committee asked the Recreation & Leisure Services Officer to arrange a meeting of voluntary groups which had expressed interest in using Dereham Windmill before giving further consideration to the principle of the use of the premises by such organisations. (Minute No. 54/83)
The Recreation & Leisure Services Officer reports that a meeting has taken place at which representatives of the Central Division Norfolk girl Guides, Toc H, Society of Friends and Mid-Norfolk Scouts were in attendance. The Chairman of the Council was also present. It had become apparent that some organisations were under the impression that services were available and, once the reality of the situation had been explained, only the Toc H and Girl Guides retained their interest.
The Recreation & Leisure Services Officer has established that any use would be throughout the summer months only and on no more than a weekly basis. At this stage details of usage are unavailable although this would involve keeping the windmill clean and tidy as well as using it as a meeting place. Insurance and legal aspects are being examined, but would appear to present no problems. Formal leases are not expected to be necessary and conditions of use will make it clear that the Council would have no liability in the event of accident or claims by the user.
If the Committee accepts the principle of the use, the Toc H and Girl Guides will be given permission to make use of the windmill, both groups liaising as necessary over time-taking etc.
The Committee’s instructions are requested.

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
Agenda Monday 25 May 1983
Minutes of Meeting 25 April 1983
Dereham Windmill Use by voluntary Groups (Agenda Item 13)
Resolved that

  • the use of the Dereham Windmill by the Central Division Norfolk Guides and Toc H be approved
  • the Recreation & Leisure Services Officer agree conditions of such use with the two groups concerned

On a warm summer evening a considerably lower temperature would probably be noticeable in the windmill!!
Harry Apling - 1983

Mill meeting
Voluntary groups are to be allowed to use Dereham windmill:- Breckland council planners have decided, and a meeting is to be called for all those interested. An offer by Norfolk Guides to help keep it tidy in return for using it has been accepted.
Dereham & Fakenham Times - 11th March 1983

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee 23 January 1984
Minutes of meeting 4 January 1984
Dereham Windmill (Agenda Item 6)
Mr. J.D. Johnson reported that a considerable amount of vandalism had occurred to the Dereham Windmill which undid much of the good repair work carried out by the Council. He stated that as many as 30 window panes had been broken and asked whether funds were available to repair the damage.
The Chief Planning Officer advised the Committee that the Surveyor had a scheme already in hand and that discussions were also taking place with Norfolk County Council with a view to the eventual complete restoration to working use of the windmill. A report on the matter would be available for consideration at the next meeting.
Resolved that consideration of this matter be deferred to the next meeting.

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
Agenda Monday 3 December 1984
Minutes of Meeting 12 November 1984
336/84 Dereham Windmill Agenda item 8.
The Committee felt unable to approve a complete restoration project for the windmill at the present time in view of the high costs which were likely to be involved.
However, it was considered that if the windmill could be provided with electricity and other services, it might be possible to bring it into greater use and thus substantially reduce the likelihood of its being vandalised.
Resolved that

  • repair works be carried out to the windmill to make it watertight, replace the glass to the windows and fix new locks to the doors, the cost to be met from the Conservation fund.
  • The Chief Planning Officer investigate the possibility of providing electricity and other services to the windmill and report back to a future meeting.

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
AGENDA Monday 17 December 1984
Dereham Windmill
Report of the Chief Planning Officer

At the 12 th November meeting of the Committee it was agreed that immediate repairs should be carried out to make the Mill watertight, to repair the windows and doors; the cost to be met from the Conservation fund.

Notwithstanding that the Committee felt unable to agree to the cost of full restoration at the present time, the M.S.C. has agreed to undertake the repair work and work has already commenced to make the roof watertight.

The R.L.S.O. * has been informed that as the tower is likely to be scaffolded for several months and the dangerous condition of some machinery, the mill should be closed to all members of the public until further notice.

The Committee also requested an investigation into the cost of providing services to the site. A year ago, Eastern Electricity Board estimated the cost of providing electricity to be approximately £1100. Mains water can be laid on along Cherry Drift by the M.S.C. team at relatively little cost for materials and the Water Authority’s connection fee. It would be of greater immediate benefit to the M.S.C. team to have the water laid on first.

Although the Committee has decided for the time being, against expenditure on full restoration, the Council is committed to this ultimate aim by the terms of the original purchase agreement. It is essential therefore to obtain a detailed schedule of works and costings from a millwright at some stage. Mr. Lawn, the Caston millwright, has estimated his fee would be approximately £250 to produce such a report during the next few months.

* Recreation and Leisure Services Officer

Breckland District Council
Planning & Development Committee
Agenda Monday 5 August 1985
For proposed Report on the mill by the Chief Planning Officer which was not considered.

Agenda Monday 2 September 1985
New Report on the Mill by Chief Planning Officer with John Lawn’s costs for restoring mill as a landscape feature, with or without Manpower Services Commission. Cost over 3 years £25,000. with MSC.


  • Additional expenditure of £2000 be approved from the Conservation fund to provide water and electricity to the site.
  • The services of Mr. Lawn be engaged to prepare a detailed schedule of works including working drawings and costs and that his fee of £250 be met from the Conservation fund.

December 1984.
(Chief Planning Officer’s Report)

AGENDA for Monday January 1985:-
Above recommendation resolved.

30 April 1986
New curb ereccted. Other work completed included new windows and repairs to brickwork and floors.
27April 1987
New cap and fantail erected. New steel stocks on site.
40 otherwise unemployed workers have been involved.
15 July 1987
Socks & sails, brakewheel & brake and fangears erected.
14 September 1987
Official opening of mill by Mr. J. O. C. Birkbeck, Chairman of Breckland District Council.
Cost £30,000

1989 1989

Cornmill will be locked to deter vandals

Dereham windmill is to remain locked in a bid to prevent vandalism.
The 19th century cornmill used to open in summer months on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The mill was unlocked in the morning and left unsupervised during the day. Fears were expressed about possible vandalism and people injuring themselves - especially young children trying to climb to the cap.
New members of Breckland District Council's recreation and tourism committee have decided to keep the windmill- which the council bought for just £1 in 1979 - under lock and key until someone can be found to open the mill on Sunday afternoons and remain there.
Frank Davidson, industrial development and tourism officer said: "We cannot risk opening the mill without supervision. I would like it to be open more but we cannot afford it."
Mr Davidson said he was also initiating talks with national conservation bodies such as English Heritage and the Norfolk Windmills Trust to see if they were interested in helping with the management of the Grade ll listed building.
"It is very early days yet," he said. "We're keeping all options open - it is possible that they would take overall control but nothing is yet certain."
Eastern Daily Press - 8th April 1992

c.1992 May 1993
May 1993

The recently restored mill lost half a sail during the storm of Tuesday 13th January 2004

DEREHAM windmill is facing a make-or-break opportunity for restoration after storm damage to one of its sails.
The historic windmill, which has been the focus of a campaign to restore it to full working order, lost half of one of its wooden sails in high winds on Tuesday morning. The windmill was cordoned off early last week after a small piece of wood fell off.
Dereham Town Council clerk Pat Jarrett, who went out immediately to inspect the damage, said she hoped that the insurance would cover it.
Geoff Hayton, of the Friends of Dereham Windmill, said that any insurance money could be a lifeline for the windmill. He is confident of gaining Lottery Heritage funding for around 90 per cent of the estimated £600,000 cost of restoration to full working order, and hopes that the insurance money for repairing the sail could provide the other 10 per cent.
The Friends of the windmill have been waiting for the town council to decide what they want to do with the historic mill. Any bid to restore the windmill would need their backing, not least because funds would need to be raised.
Mr Hayton said: "The ball is in the council's court. We cannot go any further until the council says whether it wants to go down our road, or let it disintegrate further, or hand it over to the National Trust or English Heritage.
Mrs Jarrett said: "The council has received the report from the millwrights and will be discussing it in detail at the next meeting."
Councillors were told of the damage to the mill at their meeting on Tuesday night. Deputy mayor June Barnes said: "Council staff have moved debris and cordoned off the area. We would ask people to keep away from the area until further advice has been sought."
Eastern Daily Press - 16th January 2004

The past may help future of windmill

Plans to restore Dereham windmill have ground to a halt - because nobody knows what it looked like.
A specially-formed charity wants to refurbish the mill and put it back to grinding corn and is in the early stages of drawing up plans.
But its investigations have discovered that the sails put on the grade 11-listed mill in a 1980s restoration were of the wrong sort.
Trustee Geoff Hayton said: "The sails were taken off in 1922 when the owner replaced them with a donkey engine.
"Our millwrights have had a look at the ones Breckland put on in 1987 but they say they are not the right sort for the mill."
Mr Hayton said the charity was appealing for anyone with early photographs or drawings of the mill, which was built in 1836, to come forward.
This would help solve the mystery so it could press ahead with restoration plans.
Other elements include a new visitor centre and better disabled facilities, including cameras and microphones throughout the mill.
"It just isn't possible to have disabled access up into the mill, but we want to put in cameras so that if people visit they can see and hear as much as possible the same as their friends," said Mr. Hayton.
Eastern Daily Press - August 2005

1st September 2005 1st September 2005
1st September 2005

Michael Hardy jnr c.1880
Michael Hardy jnr c.1880

I am writing from Australia and have been looking into my Family history for sometime and recently discovered that my Great Great Grandfather owned East Dereham Towermill, his name was Michael Hardy and his son was Michael Hardy as well.
Phil Williams - 2nd September 2009

2008: Mill open for public viewing to the exterior only.
Contact tel. 01362 694030

A project to restore Dereham's historic 19th windmill, to make it one of the town's biggest tourist attraction, looks set to be mothballed because of a lack of funding.
The Grade II listed structure in Penny Lane has had a chequered and colourful history, but now it seems that after years of lobbying for funding by the mill's trustees, they have resigned themselves to it just being made structurally safe and left boarded up.
Trustee chairman and mill restoration campaigner Geoff Hayton said it looked as if they have come to the end of the road because repeated attempts to secure funding to carry out complete restoration of the red-brick 42-feet high mill had failed.
He said: "For just £400,000 the Dereham windmill could have been preserved for posterity, but our efforts to secure funding have continually hit a brick wall. The trustees feel so frustrated and it looks like they will be wound up as a body," said Mr Hayton.
Last year, the EDP reported how a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £338,000 had been turned down over fears of the long-term sustainability of a new visitor attraction in the area - a claim refuted by Mr Hayton.
He added that there was to a meeting next week at which it is likely Norfolk County Council will agree a small amount of cash for essential repairs to make the structure safe and watertight.
He strongly believed that had £400,000 been spent to restore the mill, it could have paid its way and been further developed using income from admission prices and a tea room facility.
"The restored mill could then have become part of a tour of Dereham setting out from the Mid-Norfolk Railway and other tourist "hot-spots" could have included been Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and historic Bishop Bonner's Cottage in the town centre.
The windmill was built in 1836 by Michael Hardy, a miller and baker and James Hardy, a millwright.
The 42-feet high five-storey red-brick tower was topped with a boat-shaped cap and fantail sails. It was restored by Breckland Council and The Manpower Services Commission under the supervision of millwright John Lawn. It was opened by the then chairman of Breckland Council, John Birkbeck, on September 14, 1987.

Richard Parr, Dereham Times - 24th February 2010

In 2011 Brian and Alison Webb took over as Chairman and Head of Fundraising and formed a small new team of Trustees and Volunteers.The community was then consulted over what they wanted the windmill to be in the future.
Ideas from Schools included a helter skelter and a giant swimming pool! Also included was an exhibition centre for them to display all their art, crafts, etc.
Further consultation with local Businesses and general Community groups/members agreed that an Exhibition Centre would be the best for the community.
The decision was then taken to restore the dilapidated Windmill to be used as a Community Centre for all local Schools and Charity organisations to display artwork and craft work.
Much work was needed to renovate the Windmill, including new sails, fantail, windows, doors, cap repairs plus internal renovation of stairs and installing boards for the exhibitions.
The hard work then began!
The fundraising included:
Teddy Bear Zipwire - really popular with children bringing teddies and other loved toys to the windmill to be zipwired from the top
Windfest - Music Festival for local groups playing all types of music in the grounds of the windmill
Auction of Promises, Stalls in many locations, Sponsored Walks and Donations.
However, the biggest amounts came from Grant applications, the Biffa Award of £50,000 being the biggest, along with donations from - Paul Bassham Trust Fund, Geoffrey Watling Charity, Breckland District Council, Dereham Town Council, The Society of the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Garfield Weston Foundation and Round Table.

On the 7th September 2013 funding was achieved and with a Grand Opening Event, the mill became a Community Exhibition Centre.
Brian Webb (Chairman) said ‘I am so proud and thankful to the whole community who have contributed to what we have achieved so far.’
Alison Webb (Head of Fundraising ) said ‘It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling to see the windmill restored to its former glory. The idea is to keep a monthly changing exhibition inside the windmill to keep people coming back and back again.’

Grand Opening Event - 7th September 2013
Grand Opening Event - 7th September 2013

In 2014, Dereham Windmill for Cultural Award won the top Biffa Award for Cultural Facilities and overall Winner Nationwide.
However, the challenge was the Windmill Community Exhibition Centre was becoming very popular and there were no facilities (children really need toilets!!!) so fundraising continued:
Father Christmas - Grotto in the Windmill, Easter Bunny and Egg Hunt, Zip Wires continued,One Stop Shop donation, Northgate School sponsored walk, Classic Car Displays, Fancy Dress Parades.
Sufficient funds were raised and the Coffee Shop opened in 2015, with the trustees feeling satisfied that their vision had been achieved.

The Mill Trustees decided that the beautiful grounds surrounding the Windmill needed protection and after two years of hard work, Fields in Trust status was achieved in September 2015. This protection means that the land can never be built on.

13th November 2017
13th November 2017

In 2018, the Windmill closed for two months for painting and reopened on 3rd June 2018 with the inclusion of the new feature of a Ghostly Hologram of Miller Fendick that tells visitors about the hard and skilled work necessary to run a windmill and also how the windmill machinery worked. This became extremely popular with the children, as well as being educational.

Celebrations will mark the latest stage of work on town's historic windmill

Grade 2 listed Dereham Windmill, based at the end of Greenfields Road, has been closed while extensive painting is carried out on the outside of the building.
To mark the completion of the work, which has cost in the region of £18,000, a reopening event has been organised for next month.
It will be the first chance for visitors to view the new audio visual display - a projection of miller, William Fendick, who bought the windmill at auction for £650 in 1844.
The project is the latest effort from the Dereham Windmill Charity Trustees, Friends and volunteers, and will run alongside other exhibitions, including the ground-floor video presentation which showcases the windmill's history and upper floors.
Alison Webb, head of fundraising, was proud of how far the project had come.
'It has become more than what we ever could have dreamed of,' she said.
Chairman of the trustees, Brian Webb, added: 'It has evolved more than what we ever though it would become.'
In September 2013, the £75,000 project to revive the town's historic windmill  came to fruition.
It has since gone on to raise more than £450,000 over the past five years, maintaining a well-used exhibition space for schools and community groups, as well as opening a cafe.
The project received its main financial backing of £50,000 from a Biffa Award, but at the time Dereham Town Council, Norfolk County Council, the Society of the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Paul Bassham Trust Fund and the Geoffrey Watling Charity also contributed.
It is also considered as  one of the prettiest windmills in Norfolk.
The windmill will reopen on June 3 at 1pm.
During the family-friendly event, there will games, a children's fancy dress parade at 2pm, and a classic car display.
The coffee shop has remained open and is available to visit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
The popular teddy bears' zipwire event will return in August.
If you would like to help by donating or volunteering, visit the website www.derehamwindmill.co.uk. If you are interested in any aspect of Dereham Windmill, email info@derehamwindmill.co.uk.

Donna-Louise Bishop, Eastern Daily Press - 7th May 2018

Brian and Alison Webb retired from the Windmill Trustees in 2018 feeling satisfied that their vision had been achieved.

Chairman praises volunteers - but windmill faces 'existential' fight

A 19th-century landmark could face an ‘existential problem’ if more trustees and volunteers do not come forward.
Dereham Windmill is the last of several in the town’s district and was built in 1835.
Rescued from dereliction in the 1980s, the mill was  recently restored as an exhibition centre and is now run by a small group of volunteers.

Although the chairman of Dereham Windmill Charity, Alan Ferguson, is “very pleased” with how well the small team have been working together, he expressed worries over low volunteer numbers at a meeting in February.
He said: “Our pool of volunteers, who act as windmill guides, helpers in the coffee shop and perform a whole host of other duties, does continue to age and shrink. We have just about held our own over the last year but if you are willing to devote a little time to the mill, I’m sure we can find an enjoyable role for you.”

Low numbers of volunteers isn’t the only problem at the mill, as the charity is also struggling to bring in new trustees.
Mr Ferguson said: “Although I am prepared to act as chairman for a second year, I will not continue in that role in 2021. I do believe chairman should be a rotating role, but no one has put themselves forward to be vice chair and therefore chair designate for 2021. About the time we are planning the 2020 Christmas events, this will become a serious, even existential problem.”

The Dereham Windmill Charity have made many changes to its way of working over the last 12 months by providing the community with bus trips, zip wires and  events. The mill’s coffee shop has also  partnered with The Partea Hut which has been a “roaring success” according to the chairman.

Mr Ferguson said: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by developments. I‘ve been very pleased how much our small team has been able to achieve in the last year. Also I think we now present a more modern image that will hopefully appeal to a slightly younger generation of volunteers. I look forward to handing over to a youthful successor in a year’s time.”

If you would like to become a volunteer please contact Alan Ferguson at AlanFerguson@outlook.com or 01362 698209
Abigail Nicholson, Eastern Daily Press - 14th April 2020

12th August 2021
12th August 2021

Windmill's future secured as volunteers come forward in their droves

The future of a precious jewel in Dereham's crown has been secured after an immense public response. 
Dereham Windmill, off Greenfields Road, had come under threat of closure after a sudden exodus of volunteers.
While it is owned by Dereham Town Council, the historic structure is run on a day-to-day basis by the Dereham Windmill Charity.
Fears were amplified when the chairman and secretary announced prior to last month's annual general meeting (AGM) their intention to step down, reducing the committee to just four members. 
But, after an impassioned plea, the charity has managed to attract several new volunteers and trustees, who will welcome visitors to the mill and help organise fundraisers - key to ensuring the mill's maintenance can be paid for. 
They include a new chairman, secretary and events organiser, who stepped forward during the AGM at the windmill's community hall. 
Ann Bowyer, a trustee and former mayor of Dereham, said she was delighted that so many people had answered the call. 
"It was amazing, to be honest," added Mrs Bowyer. "We had lots of support and the room was packed. 
"There were even more people who could not make it to the meeting. There seems to be a lot more interest in our windmill than I had imagined."
Explaining the importance of finding new recruits, she said: "Without volunteers, without trustees, we cannot operate. 
"The people of Dereham and the wider public - because we do get visitors coming from a distance - would lose the windmill and it would deteriorate."
Dereham Windmill Charity is looking to host a number of events over the coming months, which will help to fund crucial maintenance and renovation work. 
A repainting of the whole structure - which takes place every five years - is due in 2023, while members are seeking advice on what can be done about some crumbling brickwork. 
In the meantime, Mrs Bowyer is simply grateful that one of Dereham's best-known landmarks is being protected. 
"In my mind there are three main things in Dereham: Bishop Bonner's Cottage, the railway and the windmill," she added.
"I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who came forward to help us."

Thomas Chapman, Eastern Daily Press - 12th March 2022

O. S. Map 1882
O. S. Map 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

1836: Mill built by James and Michael Hardy

May 1836: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1837: Michael Hardy, miller

June 1837: Mill advertised to be let

1837: John Arms, miller

December 1837: Mill advertised for sale by auction

O.S. map 1838: Mill

1839: Isaac Arms, retailer of flour, Cherry Lane

Tithe Award 1840: Owner: Michael Hardy; Occupier: John Armes, miller (also Ovington & Gressenhall)

1844: John Ives, miller

16th February 1844: Mill sold at auction for £650 (reserve £540) Rent £30 per annum

1845: William Fendick (I), corn miller, Norwich Rd

1850: John Willden, miller

White's 1854: John Willden, corn miller, Norwich Rd

White's 1856: John Willden, corn miller

1858-61: William Fendick (I), corn miller from Shipdham West End postmill

16th January 1861: William Fendick (I), died in Guy's Hospital, London from cirrhosis of the liver, aged 48

1862: Mill using an auxiliary steam engine

January 1863: Mill advertised to be let

1863: Mrs. Sarah Fendick, corn miller

White's 1864: Sarah Fendick, corn miller, Norwich Road

1868: Sarah Fendick, miller

1871: William Fendick (II), miller

Kelly's 1879: William Fendick (II), miller, Norwich Road

White's 1883: William Fendick (II), miller, Tower Mill, Norwich Road

Kelly's 1892: William Fendick (II) (wind), miller, Norwich Road

Kelly's 1896: William Fendick (II) (wind), miller, Norwich Road

Kelly's 1900: William Fendick (II) (wind & steam), miller, Norwich Road

Kelly's 1904: William Fendick (II) (wind & steam), miller, Norwich Road

1908: William Fendick (III) left to take over Mattishall Mill St towermill and then Honingham Watermill

1909: Mill sold to Charles Robert Gray & Arthur James Milk for £450.00.

Kelly's 1916:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A Grain, Dereham; Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Elmham & Wendling

1922: Sails removed by Percy Bensley (Jack) Fysh of Portland House with the mill powered by paraffin engine

Kelly's 1922:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A "Grain, Dereham;" Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Elmham & Wendling

Wednesday 1st February 1922: Charles Robert Gray died

Kelly's 1925:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A "Grain, Dereham;" Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Fakenham & Wendling

1926: Mill being worked by diesel engine

11th November 1926: Arthur James Milk died

1926: William Robert Gray, Arthur Payne Milk & Henry Jonas Harding Garlick trading as Robert Gray Ltd.

Kelly's 1929:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A "Grain, Dereham;" Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Fakenham & Wendling

1932: Painting by Karl Wood showed the mill with the cap and windshaft still in place

Kelly's 1933:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A "Grain, Dereham;" Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Fakenham & Wendling

Kelly's 1937:
Robert Gray, corn, coal, cake, manure, salt & seed merchant & miller; agent for Ind. Coope & Co. ales & stout, Norwich street (T A "Grain, Dereham;" Telephone 12 Dereham); also at Fakenham & Wendling

c.1937: Mill ceased working

1948: Mill with cap, petticoat, gallery, windshaft, fan frame and long striking lever

1949: Mill derelict

1972: Mill given a Grade II listing

July 1973: Mill owned by Green family partnership and awaiting demolition for possible use as building land

December 1977: Remains of cap frame and windshaft removed by Lennard & Lawn

1978: Mill bought by Breckland District Council from Greens (Nurseries) Ltd. for £1

1986: New cap and fantail fitted

1987: Mill fitted with new sails

14th September 1987: Mill opened to the public by J. O. C. Birkbeck, Esq

1992: Breckland D.C..decrees that the mill tower is to be locked when unsupervised in order to deter vandalism

2002: Mill taken over by Dereham Town Council

2003: Friends of Dereham Windmill commissioned a full survey of the mill by millwright Tom Davies.

Tuesday 13th January 2004: Mill lost part of a sail during a gale

August 2005: Appeal for old photos to find out correct type of sails to replace incorrect refurbished type

Tuesday 8th August 2006: Sails removed for renovation with application for £600,000 Lottery Grant

February 2010: Mill to be boarded up and left weatherproof as all attempts at funding failed

October 2011: New Board of Trustees formed that was successful in raising funds.

July 2013: Windmill underwent extensive renovation, including cap and replacement sails

7th September 2013: Grand opening of renovated mill as Community Exhibition Centre

2014: Series of fundraising events planned

2014: Mill w
on the top Biffa Award for Cultural Facilities and was the overall Winner Nationwide

2020: Mill volunteers urgently being sought

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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