Felthorpe Mill
Small tributary of River Wensum


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Painting by Thomas Lound - c.1945
Painting by Thomas Lound - c.1845

Felthorpe mill took its water from a beck which originated on the Haveringland Hall estate. It possibly also served the ancient priory, which was once close by. The ground floor of the mill was built of brick and the upper two floors were weatherboard with a Norfolk pantiled roof. The main axle was 1 foot 9 inches in diameter and it supported a breastshot wheel 20 feet in diameter and 4 feet 6 inches wide that drove 3 pairs of stones.

By 1883 water power was being supplemented by a steam engine.

Mill dam c.1905
Mill dam c.1905

Sale of Farm at Felthorpe.
... Mr. Christopher West of Felthorpe, Miller will shew the premises.

Norfolk Chronicle - 6th May 1809

Notice to Debtors & Creditors of
Christopher West late of Gunthorpe, Farmer, deceased request to pay debts to Christopher West of Felthorpe, Miller one of the Executors.

Norfolk Chronicle - 27th February 1819

c.1920 c.1921

In 1831 Christopher West was retailing some 50 sacks of flour a week produced by the combination of the watermill and Mill Farm postmill.

Sketch of 1860
Sketch of 1860

March 1977 5th January 2003
March 1977
5th January 2003

March 1977 March 1977
Looking towards the road March 1977
Site of the waterwheel March 1977 - axle top right

Earlier millers also worked the nearby Felthorpe postmill

Capital Wind Mill,
Lease of Water Mill, Dwelling House, Land, and Cottages.
On Saturday, the 11th September, 1830,
At Four o'clock in the Afternoon,
At the Maid's Head Inn, situate in Saint Simon's, in the city of Norwich.
THE following VALUABLE PROPERTY, situate in Felthorpe, in the county of Norfolk.
Lot 6. - All that substantial and recently built Freehold POST WINDMILL, with patent sails, round-house, two floors, three pair of excellent French stones, jumper, iron shaft, &c. &c. granary, cart lodge, and a piece of Land. - An excellent freehold Dwelling-house, in the occupation of Mr. Christopher West, a short distance from the mill, with a Retail Shop, barn, stable, gig-house, yards, and garden, containing altogether about four acres (including the site of the mill and buildings). Also the remaining term of a Lease of a Water-Mill, of which 11 years will be unexpired at Michaelmas next, with all the machinery, in complete repair, viz. three pair of stones, flour-mill, jumper, &c. &c. and two acres of land.
The Mills are now in full trade, and retail nearly fifty sacks of flour weekly. The whole having been in the occupation of Mr. West for many years, is exceedingly worthy the attention of the public.
The property may be viewed on application to Mr. West, at Felthorpe; and further particulars had of Mr. J. R. Staff, Solicitor, St. Andrew's, or of Mr. Spelman, Duke's Palace, Norwich..

Norfolk Chronicle - 4th September 1830

Capital Windmill, Lease of Water Mill, Dwelling House, Land & Cottages at FELTHORPE in Norfolk.
To be Sold by Auction by Wm. SPELMAN on Saturday 30 July 1831 at 4 o'c at the Angel Inn, Market Place, Norwich.
Lot 1. All that substantial & recently built Freehold POST WINDMILL with Patent Sails, Roundhouse two floors, three pair of excellent French Stones, Flour Mill & Jumper, Iron Shaft etc. Granary, Cart Lodge & Piece of Land, an excellent Freehold Dwelling House in the occupation of Mr. Christopher WEST a short distance from the Mill with a Retail Shop, Barn, Stable, Gig house, Yards & Garden containing altogether about 4 acres. Also the Lease of a Water Mill of which ten years will be unexpired at Michaelmas next ...
An Extensive Retail Trade has been carried on in the Mills nearly fifty years & the Lot is worthy the attention of the Public.
Land tax 7s.
The Property may be viewed on application to Mr. WEST of Felthorpe, further particulars of Mr. STAFF, Solr. St. Andrews, Mr. SPELMAN, Dukes Palace, & Mr. THOROLD, Engineer, St. Martin at Oak, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 16th, 23rd & 30th July 1831

To Debtors & Creditors of Christopher West of Felthorpe, Miller
Debts & Claims to Thomas Nash
By order of the Executors,

Felthorpe, 29 January 1847
Robert Springall
William Plane
Norfolk Chronicle - 30th January 1847

To Let at Michaelmas next
Mill Farm ... with or without a water mill ...
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th June 1884

To be let & entered upon at Michaelmas 1869
A WINDMILL & a WATERMILL with three pairs of stones in each, 33 acres of Land, a good House with Barn, Stables & all requisite Outbuildings.
Apply to Mr. Overman, Haverland Hall Farm, near Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th April & 19 June & Lynn Advertiser 15th May & 19th June 1869

In the Matter of Thomas Nash of Felthorpe in the County of Norfolk, Miller & Farmer.
Notice is hereby given that all persons having any claims or demands against the Estate of Thomas Nash of Felthorpe in the County of Norfolk, Miller & Farmer, by whom a Deed of Conveyance & Assignment in Trust for Creditors was executed on the 10th day of September 1869 ... pursuant to the Bankruptcy Act 1861 & the Bankruptcy Amendment Act 1863 ...

Dated 1st March 1870 Blake, Keith & Blake
Solicitors for the Trustees
Norfolk News - 5th March 1870

March 1977 March 1977
The axle beside the road March 1977
The axle and remains of a stone March 1977

When the photographs were taken in 1977, the foundations could still clearly be seen. The site was generally overgrown and the remaining water was flowing over a heavy build up of silt. The waterwheel axle lay near the road and the remains of one of the stones was just beside it.

March 1977 Wheelrace October 1982
Looking towards the road March 1977
Wheelrace October 1982

When further photographs were taken in 2003 the site to either side of the water channels was completely overgrown and there appeared to be no trace of either the axle or the stone.

5th January 2003 5th January 2003
Wheelrace 5th January 2003
5th January 2003

c.1920 3rd April 2015
3rd April 2015

Wheelrace 3rd April 2015 Wheelrace 3rd April 2015
Wheelrace 3rd April 2015

Faden's map 1797
Faden's map 1797
Watermill upper centre right
Mill Hill postmill just to the east

O. S. Map 1881-1882
O. S. Map 6" 1881-1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 25
O. S. Map 25" 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

Felthorpe watermill map
Image produced under licence from Ordnance Survey

A house on Felthorpe Green has a small marble stone over the front door bearing the inscription ES 1792. Edward Springall's daughter Elizabeth married Christopher West in 1797 and then lived in the house. Christopher became the miller at Felthorpe and was there until he died in 1847, although according to the newspaper notice listed above, it would appear that he assigned the lease in 1831.

Ephraim Witard, who ran the mill from c.1891 to c.1912 also ran Upper Hellesdon Press Lane towermill.

Once out of service, the mill was used as a blacksmith's shop for some years by Horace Harrison before being demolished in the late 1920s. A Mr. Motram also worked as a blacksmith at the old mill.

I used to spend all my summer days with my friends playing near the mill (or what was left of it). This was about 1986 and it wasn't as overgrown as it is now. Many hours were spent catching sticklebacks, trying to block the river with a dam or daring each other to go all the way under the bridge. All the children at that time used to hang out near the mill. I spent so much time there with my friends when I was young, I am surprised to see it so overgrown. I put that down to Playstations.
Will Mitchell

The son of Christopher (d.1847) emigrated to the US in 1833. He established himself in Baltimore, lived his entire life there, and never returned to England. Many of his family also stayed in Baltimore, as did mine. That is where I grew up.
Our family progressively moved south from Wells-next-the-Sea, where they had resided in the 1600s. I presume - but do not know for sure - that they fished there, as did much of the coastal population. I can understand how they might move thence into farming. But to buy (or build) and operate a mill must have taken some capital to begin with, and it is hard to imagine how a farmer might have accumulated such in the 1700s. Perhaps there were other means of entry of which I am unaware.
I do note from your website that in 1775 Robert Critoph advertised to "lett" the Felthorpe Mill Hill mill. It is possible that Christopher took upon this lease with the prospect that milling revenue would cover his lease costs. This seems a likely explanation.
Most of the descendants of Christopher (d.1847) moved to northern Pennsylvania and farmed there. Christopher was a successful farmer and miller himself, with much to pass on to his children. So, again, it is curious why these children would trade one lifestyle and assured livelihood for another of substantially similar nature of a riskier nature in an area of the world that was largely still wilderness (log cabin versus brick home, lean-to open air kitchen on a back porch, etc.). We have some evidence from preserved diaries that this next generation yearned for greater political freedom than they felt existed at the time in England.
The son Christopher (d. 1890), however, moved to the big city and involved himself very successfully in the oil lamp business and then later in the oil refining business. Quite a leap from the farm life in Felthorpe! Clearly, he was not particularly taken with farming as his life's path.

Page West - 29th April 2022

Faden's map 1797: Water Mill

1809: Christopher West snr, miller

May 1809: Mill Farm advertised for sale

c.1819: Christopher West snr, miller - died

1819: Christopher West jnr, miller

1830: Christopher West jnr, also Felthorpe Mill Farm postmill

September 1830: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with Mill Farm postmill

July 1831: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with Mill Farm postmill

White's 1836: Christopher West, corn miller and grocer

Census 1841:

Christopher West (67) miller
Elizabeth West (65)       
Thomas Nash (30) miller
Jane Nash (31)  
Jane Nash (3)    
Ann Nash (2)     
Thomas Nash (6 wks)
Robert Critoph (16) miller apprentice
Mary Critoph (15) female servant
Sophia Betts (20) female servant
Mary Critoph (45) nurse

White's 1845: Christopher West, corn miller and farmer

1847: Christopher West died

Norwich index of proved wills 1847: Christopher West, miller

1847: Thomas Nash, miller

Census 1851: Thomas Nash (38) b.Sprowston, miller and farmer 50 Acres 2 Men 
Jane Nash
(47) b.Felthorpe
Ann E. Nash
(12) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Thomas Nash
(9)  b.Felthorpe, scholar
Frederick Nash
(8) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Walter Nash
(6) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Elizabeth West
(75)  b.Felthorpe (mother in law) annuitant
Ruth Spelling
(22)  b.Felthorpe, dairy maid
Ann Larwood
(16) b.Haynford, house maid 

William Critoph (49) b.Sheringham, journeyman miller
Charlotte Critoph (47) b.Haynford (wife) working at paper mills (Taverham)
Elizabeth Critoph (16) b.Felthorpe, ag lab 
Rachel Prea. Critoph (14)  b.Felthorpe, ag lab 
William Critoph (12) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Susan Critoph (9) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Celia Critoph (6) b.Felthorpe, scholar
Anna Critoph (4) b.Felthorpe, scholar

William Fuller (46) miller's carter

Craven's 1856: Thomas Nash

Census 1861: Samuel Bush, journeyman miller, living with wife Maria and 2 children in Attlebridge Road, Felthorpe. Samuel grandfather of Samuel Bush at Bintry mill in 1950s

White's 1864: Thomas Nash, miller and farmer

1869: Thomas Nash, miller & farmer - bankrupt

April 1869: Mill advertised to be let along with Mill Farm postmill

Craven's 1870: Thomas Nash. Insolvent Deed of Assignment

Kelly's 1879: William T. Shreeve, farmer & miller

Kelly's 1883: T. William Shreeve, steam & water

June 1884: Mill advertised to be let

White's 1888: Thomas William Shreeve, miller & farmer

Kelly's 1892: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1896: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1900: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1904: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1908: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1912: E. Witard & Son, millers (water)

Kelly's 1916: Horace G. Harrison, miller (water)

c.1927: Mill demolished

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 15771847
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005