Felmingham Mill
Suffield Beck tributary of River Bure


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Felmingham watermill was a typical example of a farm mill and was surrounded by farm buildings. The mill was last rebuilt in 1774 and was 4 storeys high. When built it was used for grinding flour but in later years the French burr stones were changed to Derby Peak stones and it was used to grind animal feed and fertiliser.

The mill was built of brick and weatherboard with a pantiled roof. The original roofline of the mill was just below the level of the chimney top on the mill house of today. The section of the house in the right hand 1981 colour picture futher below, was originally part of the mill. When the mill was demolished, the roof line of this remaining one third section of the mill was lowered to the height of the existing house. The lucum, complete with a 16 pane window was originally on the upper level immediately above the remaining mill section but it had gone by the time the photograph below was taken in 1946.

The wheel was 17 feet in diameter and 6 feet wide.


In 1803 the mill was advertised for sale with a wheel 17 ft diameter and 6 ft wide, driving two pairs of French burr stones. In later years the mill machinery was refurbished and a larger 20 ft diameter, 8ft 6ins wide cast iron wheel was fitted that was capable of driving 4 pairs of stones.

All her part of a watermill and pond, called Ketelesmylle, and of a piece of meadow adjacent and of turbary and pasture at Eremitusgrene all in Felmingham conveyed by Matilda, widow of William de Martham, to Ralph de Colby, parson of Thurne and Simon son of Henry de Colby in 1345.
Norfolk Record Office

To be LETT & Entered upon immediately

All that NEW BUILT WATER & WIND MILL very commodious for laying a large Quantity of Corn, together with about six Acres of Pasture Land adjoining late in the Occupation of William Cooper, situate in Felmingham & Coleby, about half way between Aylsham & Northwalsham in the county of Norfolk. Horses, wagon & carts with sundry Implements belonging to the Milling Business to be disposed of on reasonable Terms.
Enquire of James RUMBELOW of Ingworth or of John RANSOME of Northwalsham for further Particulars.

Norfolk Chronicle - 22nd & 29th October, 5th & 12th November 1774

To be Disposed Of, and entered upon immediately, the remaining Term of the Lease of Felmingham Mills, in the County of Norfolk; consisting of a Wind-mill and Water-mill, with a Kiln adjoining thereto, and a Dwelling-house and Garden, all in a very good Repair, with about four Acres of Meadow Land -- Distance about thee Miles and a half from North-walsham, and about the same Distance from Aylsham, from which runs a navigable River to the Port of Yarmouth, and about thirteen Miles from Norwich, all of which are exceeding good Corn Markets.
For further Particulars apply to Mr James Moore, the present Proprietor, who will shew the Premises.
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th March 1783


To be DISPOSED OF & entered upon immediately, the remaining Term of the Lease of FELMINGHAM MILLS in the county of Norfolk, consisting of a Wind-mill & Water-mill with a Kiln adjoining thereto and a Dwelling house & Garden all in very good Repair, with about 4 Acres of Meadow Land. Distant about three miles & a half from North-walsham & about the same Distance from Aylsham from which runs a navigable River to the Port of Yarmouth & about thirteen miles from Norwich, all of which are exceeding good Corn Markets.
For further Particulars apply to Mr. James Moore, the present proprietor, who will shew the Premises

Norfolk Chronicle - 29th March, 5th & 12th April 1783

To Millers
To be Sold by Private Contract

A DESIRABLE SITUATION in the parish of Felmingham consisting of a neat dwelling house & convenient water mill adjoining containing two pair of French Stones, cylinder & two flour mills, water wheel 6 ft. wide & 17 high, foundation machinery almost new; also a Wind_mill with one pair of French stones 4 ft. 10 ins. high, corn granary, chaise house, stable for 8 horses & every requisite outbuilding, a neat garden & about 5 or 6 acres of excellent pastureland, all freehold except one acre of land & in complete repair. The above are situated three miles & a half from Aylsham & North Walsham, two market towns, 13 from Norwich & within 3 miles of the navigable river leading to Yarmouth & in excellent neighbourhood for buying wheat. Possession may be had at Michaelmas next. Apply to Mr. Barber on the premises.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th December 1803


Signatory to Notice re Purchase of Corn on One Month's Credit.
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th October 1808


To be Sold by Auction by Messrs. BARCHAM & BOULTER On Wednesday 17 September 1828 At the Kings Arms Inn, North Walsham, Norfolk (By Order of the Executors of the Will of Mr. THOMAS SEWELL decd.)

Lot 1. A Most Complete Valuable ESTATE called FELMINGHAM MILLS comprising a Water Corn Mill & a Wind_Corn_Mill (the Water Mill driving two pair, the Wind_Mill one pair of stones & capable together of manufacturing 100 quarters of wheat per week) with machinery of the best construction & in excellent condition; a comfortable Dwelling house, a good garden with plantations & pleasure grounds, extensive yards & millways, stables, cow houses, bullock sheds, piggeries, fowl houses, granary, barn, cart lodges & other convenient & requisite outoffices & about eight acres of arable & meadow land of the first quality, situate in Felmingham & Colby in the county of Norfolk & late in the occupation of the said Mr. SEWELL. All Freehold with the exception of one acre of meadow which is Copyhold of the Manor of Suffield.

Felmingham Mills are situated at the confluence of two streams of sufficient force to keep them constantly at work, in a good corn country equidistant from Aylsham & North Walsham, two good Corn Markets & within 3 miles of a river navigable to Yarmouth, thus possessing facilities for carrying on a considerable trade, in addition to the extensive & valuable home trade attached to the Mills.

N.B. The purchaser of this lot may be accommodated with a moiety of the purchase money upon mortgage of it for a term of years at 4½ per cent.

Apply to Mr. DEYNS, North Walsham, at whose office a map of the Estates may be seen.
Norfolk Chronicle - 6th & 13th September 1828

Notice to Debtors & Creditors of

Mr. Thomas SEWELL late of Felmingham Mills, deceased.
Norfolk Chronicle - 12th July 1828

AFFIDAVIT of James BARBER as to identity of Felmingham Mills.
Dwelling House, Water Corn Mill and Windmill, with Outhouses, Outoffices, Yards and Garden, Millways & Waterways and about 4 acres of Land.
Now sold to Edward Lord Suffield by Thomas Sewell.

19th February 1829 - Norfolk Record Office

On 26th August 1829 a draft lease was made by Lord Suffield to lease the mills and lands at Felmingham to Richard Hylton for 14 years at a rent of £154 per annum.

Sale of Live & Dead Farming Stock of the late Mr. Richard Hylton
Norfolk Chronicle - 21st September 1878

Thomas Gaze of Gimingham Mill took over some time after William Hylton died in 1878, leaving Walter James Gaze to run Gimingham Mill.

For Sale by Auction
(Unless previously sold)
ON FRIDAY, JULY 18th, 1980
At 3 p.m.
Aylsham 3½ miles, the coast 8 miles.
FELMINGHAM MILL FARM - mid-way Aylsham and North Walsham. A picturesque former working mill in idyllic situation with Mill Race, River Frontage, Lakes, Water Meadows and valuable crop of bat willows.

The Mill House, 2/3 reception, 7 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Outbuildings. Oil central heating.
11.6 acres.

Agpro Poultry Unit, Old Barn, Lake and River Frontage. 16 acres.
Solicitors: MILLS & REEVE, 3/7 Redwell Street, Norwich.
Auctioneers: Savills, 8-10 Upper King Street, Norwich. Tel. 612211

Eastern Daily Press - 1980

c.1981 c.1981
The mill site c.1981
The tailrace and mill house c.1981

Around 1960 it appears the owners decided to reinstate the wheel by building a new albeit lightweight version and a pulley wheel was attached to the axle in place of a pit wheel. Whether the wheel ever came to work or what it was intended to power is as yet unknown. The left hand photo above shows the stack of paddle boards waiting to be attached to the metal wheel.

c.1981 c.1981
The new wheel and pulley c.1981
The wheel awaiting its paddle boards c.1981

Detail of the new wheel c.1981

Earlier millers worked the watermill in conjunction with the adjacent postmill,which powered a single pair of 4' 10" French burr stones. Both mills produced flour. By 1883 Thomas Gaze was supplementing the water wheel with a steam engine.

The mill was last worked by Barclay & Pallett and they only sold it to the resident farmer on condition that it was not worked commercially.

The new owners subsequently demolished it c.1950.

During the war the mill was used for storage. The machinery was diesel driven for the last few years of its working life, as the wheel boards had rotted through lack of use and maintenance.

September 1967
Mill bridge and tailrace September 1967

September 1967 1977
The mill house September 1967
Two sections of the mill house in 1977

September 1967 September 1967
A Derby millstone September 1967
Headrace channel September 1967

You might be interested in a remarkable incident which happened over the exceptionally cold winter of 1963. All water, everywhere except at the foot of the millrace, was frozen. Cars were even being driven on the Broads. That winter an otter gave birth to 5 cubs in a hole accessed through missing brickwork below the feet of the photographer who took the photograph shown as the Headrace on your site. That wall is, in effect, the outside wall of the house. Thus, surely for the only time ever, wild otters were born in an inhabited house! There was snow on the ground, so nights were relatively light. Each evening we would watch from the parapet (shown in others of your photographs) 6 feet above, as the mother brought her cubs down the ice and positioned them around the half-moon of open water as she dived below to bring them their food........An experience not to be forgotten. Shortly after that otter numbers decreased drastically, nationwide, and remained low for many years. They have considerably increased since and I have heard of sightings around Felmingham in recent years.
Alistair Kilburn - 29th July 2007

O. S. Map 1885
O. S. 6" Map 1885 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images
O. S. 25
O. S. 25" Map 1885 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

Matilda, widow of William de Martham, conveyed mill to Ralph de Colby, parson of Thurne and Simon son of Henry de Colby

c.1774: Mill built or rebuilt

October 1774: Mill advertised to be let along with the adjacent windmill both being new built 

Norwich index of proved wills 1774: Micah Ransome, miller

1783: James Moore

29th March 1783: Mill advertised for sale along with adjacent windmill both being
newly built

Faden's map 1797: Wind & Water Mills

1803: ? Barber

1808: Thomas Sewell, miller, was a signatory to a notice to purchase corn on one month's credit

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

1828: Thomas Sewell

1828: Thomas Sewell died

Norwich index of proved wills 1829: Thomas Sewell

February 1829: Mill sold to Edward, Lord Suffield

22nd July 1829: Richard Hylton married Mary Ann Sewell (daughter of Thomas Sewell) at Felmingham

26th August 1829: Lord Suffield leased the mills to Richard Hylton for 14 years at £154 per annum

White's 1836: Richard Hylton, corn miller

Census 1841: Richard Hylton (39), miller, corn merchant & farmer
Mary Hylton (32)
Deborah Hylton (10); William Hylton (8); Keziah Hylton (7); Harriet Hylton (5);
Richard Hylton (3); John Hylton (5mths);
Edward Lee (15) journeyman miller

White's 1845: Richard Hylton, corn miller

Census 1851: Richard Hylton (49), miller, corn merchant & farmer
Mary Hylton (42) b. Hardingham
Deborah Hylton (20); William Charles Hylton (18); Keziah Hylton (16);
John Danond Hylton (10); Thomas Sewell Hylton (8); Edward James Hylton (6); Kerenhappach Hylton (3)
John Canham (46) journeyman miller, Banningham Bridge

White's 1854: Richard Hylton, corn miller

White's 1864: Richard Hylton, corn miller & merchant, Felmingham Mills

Harrod's 1878: Richard Hylton, miller

1878: Richard Hylton b.1802, died aged 76

September 1878: Farming stock of Richard Hylton advertised for sale

Census 1881: Thomas Gaze (46) b. Paston, miller and farmer; Mary, wife, (48) b. Southrepps; Polly b. Nrth Walsham; Ellen b. Gimmingham and Louisa b. Gimmingham

Kelly's 1883: Thomas Gaze, steam & water

White's 1888: Thomas Gaze, miller & farmer, water mill

Kelly's 1896: Thomas Gaze, miller

Kelly's 1904: Thomas Gaze, miller

Kelly's 1916: Barclay & Pallett

1919: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1960: Propery bought by Alistair Kilburn

Friday 18th July 1980: Mill Farm sold by auction at the Royal Hotel, Norwich by Savills

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 TG 23152967
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004