Wilton Road


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Feltwell post and tower mills c.1890
Round sailed postmill and towermill c.1890

Feltwell postmill was very unusual in that it had disinctive annular sails with 8 spokes and 120 vanes. These were a later addition, some time after 1860, the mill originally having been built with common sails. The mill buck was set onto a roundhouse and an 8 bladed fantail turned the mill into the wind. Although the postmill had been there for some time, in 1860 it stood on land beside the Wilton Road owned by William Heading. In that year he built a five storey towermill adjacent to the postmill. The mill house and buildings were sunk one floor below ground level in order not to take wind from the mill, as were those at Ashby St Mary postmill.

Annular sails were invented by a Mr. Ruffle of Haverhill, Suffolk, who installed the sails on his own mill in 1860. He based his design on one he had seen in France.

William's Heading's father, Henry Heading, was a farmer and he also ran the smockmill at Mill Drift (TL71309013) as well as a postmill. William and his brother Henry jnr then became responsible for running the postmill and the towermill, which they did with three journeyman millers: Charles Cuthbert, Edmund King and William Moore. When Henry snr died on 8th February 1872 at the age of 79, Henry jnr took over the running of the farm while William remained as miller.

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a Man who knows his business & can be recommended from his last place for honesty & sobriety. If Single, Board & Lodging, if Married, Cottage Rent Free.
Apply personally to Henry Heading, Feltwell Mills.

Norfolk News - 8th August 1857

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED, a Married Man who knows his Business & can be recommended from his last place for honesty & sobriety.
Apply personally to H. & Wm. Heading, Feltwell Mills.

Norfolk News - 27th August 1859

Situation Vacant
To Journeymen Millers

WANTED at Michaelmas, a Married Man who thoroughtly understands his business, to manage a Windmill. Rent free and 17s per week.
apply W. Heading, Feltwell Mill.

Norfolk News - 21st September 1872

The above advert was apparently unsuccessful in the long term as further adverts appeared in the press up until 1875. In 1877 William Heading decided to sell the mills and his farm at East Dereham, having bought the Dillington Hall Estate. This also appeared to be an unsuccessful venture as the estate, along with his furniture was sold in 1888. A short time later William Heading committed suicide.


All that old established Freehold Mercantile Property known as FELTWELL MILLS consisting of a lofty Brick Tower Windmill with six floors, bearings for four pairs of Stones, with all the first class fixed Machinery, two Flour Mills, Sifter, Smut Machine, four Patent Sails, Wind Tackle, fitted with two outside Stages and Iron Palisadings, capable of storing 1400 Coombs of Corn, built in 1860 in the best possible manner, both as regards Materials, Machinery and Workmanship.
Also a capital POST MILL with roundhouse, Circular Sails and Wind Tackle all in first class repair and occupying a commanding position on the road leading from Feltwell to Lakenheath and Brandon Stations. There is a commodious Dwelling House and suitable Offices, Chaise house, Flour and Offal Shops, Corn Granaries, Garden and Paddock, also detached Cart and Nag Horse Stables, Harness house, Van and Cart lodges with Corn Granary over, Loose boxes, Cow Sheds, range of new Brick and Tile Piggeries, Carpenter’s Shop and Sheds, the whole enclosed in a ring fence.
The goodwill of this sound, old-established Business and the fixed Mill Machinery will be included in the purchase. The purchaser will have the option of taking on Lease 23 acres of good arable Land adjoining the property.
And the PARK FARM ESTATE near the Railway Station and Market Town of East Dereham… which
EDWARD BANHAM is favoured with directions from Mr. William Heading (who has purchased the Dillington Hall Estate for a Residence) to Sell by Auction at the King’s Arms Hotel, East Dereham, on Friday July 20, 1877 at 4 o’clock precisely, in the following order
Lot 1. The MILL PROPERTY at Feltwell as described above
Lot 2. The PARK FARM…
Lots 3-9….
The whole of the above described Property is in the occupation of the Proprietor.
Particulars of Messrs. Isaacson & Sons, Solicitors, Mildenhall, at the office of the Auctioneer, Methwold, at the King’s Arms Hotel, East Dereham and posted free.

Norfolk News - 21st September 1872

Situations Vacant

To Journeymen Millers

WANTED, this day fortnight, a Married Man who understands his business to manage a Windmill.
Apply to W. Heading, Feltwell Mills.

Norfolk News - 16th November 1872

Situations Vacant

To Journeymen Millers

WANTED, the first part of September, a Married MAN who thoroughly understands his business to Manage a Windmill.
Apply to W. Heading, Feltwell Mills.

Norfolk News - 2nd August 1873

Situations Vacant


Wanted, a Married Man in March who thoroughly understands his business.
Apply to W. Heading, Feltwell Mills.

Norfolk News - 6th February 1875

WANTED, a good baker's Cart.

Apply to Mr. Johnson, Feltwell Mills, Brandon.
Lynn Advertiser - 3rd May 1879

To Millers & Bakers

A Married Man to work a Windmill, must be a good Stoneman and understand making good flour. Also a single man to manage a country baking trade.
Apply to Mr. Geo. Johnson, Feltwell, Brandon.

Lynn Advertiser - 10th September 1881

To Bakers & Confectioners
WANTED, a thorough good Bread Maker & used to small goods; good references.
Apply to H.E. King, Feltwell, Brandon.

Lynn Advertiser - 28th July 1883
Horace Edmund King was a Feltwell baker before taking over the windmills

George Johnson bought both mills, presumably to help with his baking business. In 1888 he decided to emigrate and put the mills up for auction in August of that year. His farm stock was auctioned at Michaelmas and his household effects on 16th April 1889.

Most Eligible Freehold Mercantile Property
Known as ‘The Feltwell Mills’

Are instructed by the proprietor Mr. George Johnson, who is going abroad, to Sell by Auction at the Oak Tree Inn, Feltwell on Monday August 13, 1888 at 5 o’clock in the afternoon punctually, as follows:-
Lot 1. A substantially built TOWER WINDMILL, 70 feet high, 22 feet in the clear at the base, having 6 floors, driving 3 pairs of stones, with the fixed machinery, 4 patent sails, wind tackle and all going and running gear, ropes, chains and tackle.
This Mill is capable of taking in 1,400 coombs of grain.
Also an excellent POST WINDMILL and fixed machinery and gear with roomy roundhouse, circular sail and wind tackle.
Also a commodious DWELLING HOUSE with offices, 40-stone oven, flour and offal shops, corn granaries, garden and paddock. Cart lodges, cow sheds and piggeries and carpenter’s shop. The whole is enclosed in a ring fence and contains 1a.3r.0p. The Mills occupy a commanding position in a populous neighbourhood, on the road leading from Feltwell to Lakenheath and Brandon Stations on the Great Eastern main line and are situated in a good corn-growing district.
Lot 2. An Allotment of FEN LAND containing 91. 2r. 21p, valuable for Turf digging, situate on the North side of Sam’s Cut.
Possession of both lots can be had on the 17th September.
N.B. The purchaser will have to take and pay for the mill utensils, sacks, carts, harness and other things connected with the business, as per inventory to be produced at the sale.
Further particulars with conditions may be obtained at the offices of the Auctioneers, Methwold Hall, Brandon or of

John Houchen, jun.,
Thetford, Norfolk
Solicitor to the Vendor.

Lynn Advertiser - 4th August 1888

Sales by Edward Banham & Son
On Monday October 1st

All the Horses, Harness, Trade Carts, Barley, Mangolds & outdoor effects of Mr. George Johnson, who has sold the estate.
Sale at 2 o'c
Catalogues in circulation.

Lynn Advertiser - 22nd September 1888


Sales of all the HORSES & HARNESS, DONKEYS, Sows and 20 Pigs, 8 Miller’s Carts, Van, Luggage Cart and Car, Chaff cutting machinery, contents of the Carpenter’s Shop and Bake-office, Pigeons and about 100 head of Turkeys, Ducks and Fowls, Stack of Barley, Mangolds, Swedes, Carrots, Parsnips and Manure, the property of Mr. George Johnson, miller and baker, who has sold the Mills and is leaving England, which
are favoured with instructions to Sell by Auction on Monday, October 1, 1888 commencing at Two o’clock punctually.
See Catalogues in circulation.

Lynn Advertiser - 29th September 1888

(re gale of 24 March 1895)
Mr. H. E. King’s wind-mill, which was fitted with new sails only the summer before last, had the wind tackling carried away, causing the sails to swing round away from the wind, whereupon they were broken up almost immediately, the vanes being carried incredible distances. The force of the wind also shifted the cap and the top of the mill was soon a complete wreck.

Lynn Advertiser - 30th March 1895

The gale of 24th March 1895 caused an estimated repair bill to the towermill of £300. The postmill may have been badly damaged or even destroyed at this time, although it could have been sold and removed prior to the gale as there is no mention of it in the newspaper report.

The Heading family also owned Mill Drift smockmill.

White's 1836: John Richardson & Son, millwrights
White's 1845: John Richardson & Son, millwrights
White's 1854: John Richardson, millwright
White's 1864: John Richardson, millwright
Kelly's 1879: John Richardson, millwright

Index of wills 1722: Richard Whitton, miller

1771: ? Jacumb, owner

Enclosure Award map 1815: Mill

1815: John Tokelove owner; Robert Tokelove, occupier

O.S. map 1824: Mill

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

Pigot's 1830: Henry Heading, miller & flour dealer, Feltwell

White's 1836: Henry Heddon, corn miller

Census 1841: Henry Heading snr (45-49) miller & farmer
Henry Heading jnr (15)
Robert Heading (10)
John Heading (3)

Charles Bacon (25) journeyman miller
John Malt (35-36) journeyman miller

White's 1845: Henry Heading, corn miller

White's 1854: Henry Heading, corn miller & farmer

1856: Henry Heading snr, miller

1859: William and Henry Heading jnr

1860: Towermill built beside the postmill by William Heading on land owned by his father Henry Heading snr

Census 1861: Henry Heading jnr (36) miller
William Heading (34) miller (brother)

William Moore (25) journeyman miller
Edmund King (35) journeyman miller
Charles Cuthbert (40) journeyman miller

1859-c.1865: William and Henry Heading jnr

White's 1864: Henry jnr & William Heading, corn millers (Henry also farmer)

1865: Henry jnr & William Heading, corn millers (Henry also farmer)

1868: William Heading, miller

8th February 1872: Henry Heading snr died at the age of 79

September 1872: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with the towermill

1877: William Heading, miller

June 1877: Postmill and towermill advertised to be sold by auction

1877: George Johnson, miller

1879: Walter Manning working at mill as employee

Kelly's 1879: George Johnson, miller & baker

c.1888: William Heading committed suicide

White's 1888: George Johnson, baker, miller & corn merchant

March 1888: Mill advertised for sale by private contract along with the towermill

August 1888: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with the towermill

September 1888: Business effects of George Johnson, miller, advertised for sale by auction due to emigration

Kelly's 1892: Horace Edmund King, baker & miller (wind)

1888-1895: Probable period during which the postmill was dismantled

Sunday 24th March 1895: Mill wrecked in a storm

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 TL71808990
Top of Page

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005