Bungay Mill
River Waveney


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

September 1968

September 1968

Bungay watermill, often known as Bardolph mill as it was originally part of the manor of Bardolph Ilketshall.
When the mill was sold in 1784 it was powering 3 sets of French burr stones but by 1788 it only had 2 sets. Later, when the mill was working as a papermill, it burnt down and the site was then bought by later miller, Charles Marston's father, who rebuilt it in the 1870s. He fitted a roller plant in the 1890s, before the mill burned down again c.1900.
The Marstons then took over Earsham mill for flour production and rebuilt Bungay mill as a provender mill in
1902. The new mill was constructed of weatherboard and brick with a corrugated iron roof.

There were almost certainly two adjacent mills in times gone by.

During the Days of the Navigation, wherries would moor at the staithe and were loaded using an extended hoist.

During the American War of Independance 1775-1783 Bungay, Ellingham and Wainford mills produced flour for export to America.

In April 1779 a dispute arose between Henry Gooch, Thomas Cotton and a group of local farmers who enlarged and deepened the watercourse of Chain Bridge Beck that was some 300 yards above the mill thus starving the mill of water. The dispute continued until at least 1781 and by 1784 Gooch and Cotton were bankrupt. It is possible that they were unable to fulfil their government contract to supply flour to America and if this was indeed the case they were probably faced with a considerable claim for damages.

Henry Gooch was married to Mary Killett of Gorleston. In 1772 he was mayor of Gt Yarmouth and deputy mayor in 1774. After his bankrupcy he moved to London.

In 1779 the Mills were destroyed by fire and all the stock therein being of the value together of £3,000 and upwards.

The Water Lane in which the wheel is placed remaining exactly the same breadth and length as before the Mills were destroyed and the depth or lower floor thereof was sunk lower by about 6 inches in order the better to admit of a higher Water Wheel than before, which was recommended by the Engineer (Mr. Nickalls) on account that it in consequence of the increased height would work with less water.

Mill auction ad 1784
Mill auction ad 1784

Norfolk Chronicle - 6th March 1784

Charles Marston who owned the mill in the early 1900s was was born in Brooke in about 1844 and the 1861 census lists him as being apprenticed to Mr. S. Freestone in Hempnall_Field_Lane_Tower_Mill.  By about 1870, Charles Marston was working Bungay watermill.

Charles Marston was very particular and ensured that the corrugated iron rood was painted in red ocre every five years and the whole area around the mill was kept weed free.

Unfortunately, due to a gangrene infection Charles Marston was forced to have a leg amputated. The operation was carried out on the kitchen table and his leg was then buried under an apple tree in the mill house garden next to the mill.

At least three of his sons were millers, Charles Candace, at Bungay, Alfred Thomas, who also worked at Bungay and Earsham until 1902 and Carlos who worked for Parker Brothers Millers at Barton Mills, Suffolk and who then went on to purchase the water mill at Icklingham, also in Suffolk. Icklingham Mill ran under Marston direction until it was sold in 1990. 

Charles Candace Marston was born in the Mill House in 1882 to Charles Marston's second wife. He grew up learning every branch of his business as if it was his hobby. 
In 1919, Charles Marston died and the flour mills at Bungay, Earsham and the 3 sack/hour plant at Harleston were passed on to Charles Candace Marston. Charles Candace Marston was an extremely successful miller winning The Miller Silver Challenge Cup in 1923. At one point a roller mill was installed but this only ran for a short time.

Wanted to purchase, in good preservation. a 5 or 6 horse power steam engine, with 7 or 8 h.p. boiler; what maker and when last at work. Charles Marston, Water Mill, Bungay, Suffolk.
The Miller - 1st September 1884

Wanted an undershot Water Wheel 12ft. to 15ft. high, 10ft. to 16ft. wide, with first motion wheels. Secondhand or new. Apply to Charles Marston, Water Mill, Bungay, Suffolk.
The Miller - 1st December 1890

6lb flour sack

6lb flour sack

Charles Marston's self raising flour plant was some 100 yards away from the mill occupying premises that later became the Staithe Garage. Harry Hall worked there and sold flour to customers in Kings Lynn, Norwich and Ipswich, normally in 10 stone bags. Harry Hall was brother in law to Charles Candace Marston who had married Harry's sister Kate (1883-1972).

Billy Patrick was the carter to Charles Marston and was known as 'Midnight' Patrick on account of his frequent late return home due to his habit of calling in at numerous pubs whilst on his rounds. On one occasion, whist passing under an oak tree, he heard the voice of God telling him to give up drink. This he promptly did and subsequently became a staunch member of Bungay Salvation Army.

Sadly, the pair of horses he drove perished in the fire of 25th February 1902.

11th April 2004

11th April 2004

At one point after the mill had been rebuilt, the wheel was replaced by a turbine installed by Gilbert, Gilks & Gordan of Kendal. However, the changeover only took place on the understanding that if the turbine did not perform as well as the wheel, the wheel would renewed and reinstalled. This is precisely what happened.

11th April 2009

11th April 2009

I have spent the last year researching diesel oil engines made by the Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd of Loughborough.  During this research, I found the production records for these engines and can advise that in October 1934, Charles Marston of Bungay, Norfolk (tel: Bungay 40) ordered a Brush engine.  Built under works order E130 and carrying serial number 176, it was a four cylinder diesel, type 4S10, developing 200 hp at 290 rpm.  It was delivered to Marston in March 1935.  There is a general arrangement drawing of this engine, but unfortunately, it does not show much of its situation within the mill.
Kevin Parsons - 9th September 2013

Repair work to start at Bungay staithe to protect town mill

Repairs to stop a 400-year-old watermill from falling into a river are finally due to begin this month, following a three-year row over who is responsible for the work.
The project at Bungay staithe is to strengthen the bridge on which the town's former mill stands.
The crossing - over a culvert diverted off the Waveney which runs under the mill - has been closed to road traffic since January 2021, because of severe damage.
But the repair work has been held up by disputes over who is responsible, between the bridge's owner, Tim Child, and East Suffolk Council (ESC), which owns the beauty spot on the far side of the crossing, which can only be reached via the bridge.
The mill area is popular with canoeists, paddleboarders and swimmers and Mr Child says the bridge damage was caused by an increase in the numbers of people flocking to the spot, especially since the pandemic.
The bridge provides the only access to the Riverside Centre, owned by Bungay Town Council, and a public car park, which is owned by ESC.
Mr Child, who has lived in the mill since 2010, says that at one stage, he recorded 600 crossings by vehicles in the space of a day, each putting further strain on the structure.
However, ESC says other factors have also weakened the structure, such as debris and rushing water during the 2020 Christmas floods which swept the region.
Mr Child strongly disputes this. He says an investigation by the Environment Agency in April 2021 found the damage had been caused by traffic.
He says the damage is to a culvert which has been closed since 2015, so the water - and any debris - only passes through a second channel.
The dividing wall between the two culverts is only 22in wide. It is this structure which is collapsing.
Should it give way, the bridge and the buildings above will also collapse.
Mr Child, who created popular 1980s and 1990s children's TV show Knightmare, has previously offered to sell the bridge to East Suffolk Council for £1 to resolve the matter.
The council declined, but has agreed to provide 30pc of the project's costs.

Bungay 18July2023
Even at this late stage, delays have continued.
Reinforcement work beneath the bridge was due to start on July 10.
But this was put back after another dispute over electrical wires which run across the bridge.
Mr Child said: "Because of the nature of these hazards my contracted repair team cannot get working access below the bridge until they have been made safe or removed."
Work is now due to start on July 24.

Despite the years of dispute and recent setback, a deal still holds between Mr Child and the council.
"What broke the bridge was the crossing of canoeists and cars. We had 600 movements across the bridge a day. It was absurd," he said.
"I am fearful that even after the work is complete, it will be this which threatens the bridge structure again.
"I am keen to get the best deal possible for this for the community because this is just purely unsafe. If this dispute wasn’t so nasty it would be hilarious."
An ESC spokesman said: “We have been negotiating at length with the owner to agree the extent of repairs and the contribution various parties using the bridge should make towards the cost of repairs.
“The bridge gives access to various premises, including some council-owned land, while also providing, in part, structural support to a private residence.
“While East Suffolk Council does not see any purpose to changing the current ownership of the bridge, it has committed to funding 30pc for the required repairs, commensurate with its use of the structure.
“Based on the information provided, East Suffolk Council understands the damage to this privately owned bridge results from a combination of various impacts.
"These include water flow and flood surges, and associated debris impact, along with the fact that the bridge provides structural support to the adjoining property, and the various vehicular and foot traffic it carries.
"The nature and extent of past and ongoing inspection and maintenance is also very likely to be a contributory factor.”

Bungay's Staithe, its watermill and maltings were once the centre of the town's economy.
Commercial activity in the area declined after the silting up of the Waveney in the early 1930s.
The mill’s water wheel and machinery were removed in the 1950s and the millstream grassed over a few years later.
Bruno Brown, Eastern Daily Press - 18th July 2023
Damaged culvert no. 2
No. 2 Culvert
Bungay's Staithe, its watermill and maltings were once the centre of the town's economy.
Commercial activity in the area declined after the silting up of the Waveney in the early 1930s.
The mill’s water wheel and machinery were removed in the 1950s and the millstream grassed over a few years later.
Bruno Brown, Eastern Daily Press - 18th July 2023

O. S. Map 1882-1884

O. S. Map 1882-1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

1618: Henry Whight & Edmund Cooke

1652-1654: Duke of Norfolk's accounts show a
Nil rent indicating the mill was unoccupied

1662: Francis Flowerdaye

1704: Mill and estate purchased by John Dalling snr (1663-1733)

1718: Mill and estate owned by John Dalling jnr (1697-1744)

1744: Mill inherited by Sir William Windham Dalling of Earsham Hall (grandson Of John Dalling jnr)

1770: Mill and navigation owned by Gooch family

1771: Mill rebuilt

1774: William Kingsbury

Monday 20th March 1775: Mill sold at auction at the Three Tuns in Bungay

June 1775: Henry Gooch & Thomas Cotton

January 1779: Mill destroyed by fire

Summer 1779: Mill rebuilt

June 1779: Henry Gooch & Thomas Cotton insured the
Water Corn Mills adjoining each other and stock for £1,500. Gooch & Cotton also worked Wainford mill and a windmill at Bungay, both watermills being leased from the Duke of Norfolk

Tuesday 30th March 1784: Mill lease sold at auction at The Kings Head, Bungay along with Ditchingham and Wainford mills. Employee miller, Matthew Swan lived in a cottage that was also sold

1784: William Mann, also at Syleham, Wainford and Weybread mills

1784: William Mann let the mill to an Arminian Royalist by the name of Joseph Hooper who converted one of the mills to a paper mill. Writing paper was one of the products produced

1786: The Bardolph corn mill offered for sale by auction

Monday 21st July 1788: The Bardolph corn mill and nearby smockmill offered for sale by auction with the watermill occupied by Thomas Bassett who was listed as having had Parish Apprentices

23rd September 1788: Joseph Hooper insured the mill for £1,600

20th July 1790: Joseph Hooper wrote to William Mann complaining that the people of Ditchingham had reopened Chain Bridge Beck and starved the mill of water, thus preventing its operation

1792: William Mann wrote to the alleged offenders demanding reinstatement of the water to the mill and damages

1793: Joseph Hooper listed as one of
Persons Proper to have Parish Apprentices

1795: Joseph Hooper listed as one of
Persons Proper to have Parish Apprentices

1811: Joseph Hooper drew up his will in favour of his wife Susannah (née Susannah Taylor of Grantham) with a bequest of £50 to each of his daughters Emily and Harriet

Excise General Letter 8th October 1816: Proprietor or master papermaker, Susannah Hooper (wife)

1817: Joseph Hooper died

London Gazette 26th June 1829: James Betts and Lewis Betts (also of Upper and Lower Sheringham) papermakers and stationers, bankrupt

25th January 1830: Paper Mill to be sold by auction at The Kings Head Bungay

O.S. map 1830: Paper mill

Excise General Letter 28th November 1832: Mill not in use

Excise General Letter 1st July 1833: John Burgess - having moved from Taverham Mill

1844: Charles Burgess, papermaker, the Staithe, Bungay

1850: David Walker, miller at corn mill

Excise Office Return 1851: One beating engine - used for pulping rags etc. ready for papermaking

1858: John Lenny Pratt, paper manufacturer, Bungay Staithe

1864: Benjamin Ward, papermaker

1864: Mill destroyed by fire

1870: Mill rebuilt as a cornmill by Charles Marston

1874: Charles Marston, corn miller, New Mill, Staithe Road, Bungay

September 1884: Charles Marston advertised for a steam engine

1892: Charles Marston, miller, steam and water. Also using a roller mill

25th February 1902: Mill badly damaged by fire

November 1910: Charles Marston advertised the sale of an iron waterwheel

1919: Charles Marston died and his son Charles Candace Marston b.1882, Bungay, took over

1920: Charles Marston, miller, Bungay and Earsham roller mills

1923: Mill had ceased to produce flour and had become a grist mill

1930: Charles Marston, miller, steam and water

Kelly's 1933: Charles Marston, miller, Bungay, water and steam, self raising flour manufacturer. Earsham, water and steam, flour and grist, corn and coal merchant etc. Harleston Railway Station, gas and oil

March 1935: A Bush 4S10 4 cylinder diesel engine delivered

Kelly's 1937: Charles Marston, miller, Bungay, water and steam, self raising flour manufacturer. Earsham, water and steam, flour and grist, corn and coal merchant etc. Harleston Railway Station, gas and oil

1947: Charles Marston assisted running Ellingham Mill as Walker Marston Ltd until Hovis took over

c.1948: Mill taken over by Hovis and used as a provender mill, under the name Charles Marston (Bungay) Ltd

c.1955: Mill bought by a Mr. Green and at that time was still in provender production

c.1956: Wheel and machinery removed and building used to house a boat building and design business

c.1960: Watercourse adjacent to the mill building filled in and grassed over

1967: Timber store

c.2000: Mill sub divided into four separate units

2003: Consultancy & training centre

Tim Child bought one of the mill units

July 2023: Repairs begin to the damaged second culvert under the mill and bridge

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 2005