River Waveney


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Painting dated 1920

Homersfield Mill was quite small and was mainly constructed of weatherboard over a brick base with a pantiled roof with a lucum extending over the bridge. The mill house was under the same roof as the mill and was nearest to the road. Before the 1800s both the mill and house would have been thatched.

The waterwheel was woodedn and had straigh paddles.
The machinery configuration was quite unusual in that the pitwheel had a spur gear rather than the normal bevelled gear. The spur gear then meshed with a smaller spur gear at the end of a horizontal shaft that ran the length of the mill. Four further gears on the shaft drove the three pairs of stones and the sackhoist or dressing machinery. The mill was also unusual in that it ran left handed (widdershins) with the stones running in reverse to a conventional system. During the 1870s it appears the mill was only using one pair of stones.


Mill dam c.1900 Mill and mill house c.1900
Mill dam c.1900
Mill and mill house c.1900

Mill site c.1900
Mill site c.1900

Extract from manorial administration accounts 1467-1468

New millstone at Yarmouth
Loading and cartage
Damming the pond 4 days at 4d
New spindle
Carting timber to the saw pit and to Homersfield Bridge
Sawing 2 men 10 days at 8d
4 cart loads of straw at 1s 8d
Nails for weatherboards and laths

53s 4d
3s 4d
1s 4d
2s 7d
1s 4d
6s 8d
6s 8d

Norfolk Chronicle - 25th February 1826
Norfolk Chronicle - 25th February 1826

It appears that Robert Harvey and Edward Hill were involved in the running of several mills including Alburgh postmill, Homersfield watermill, Syleham_watermill, Wortwell Mill Hill postmill, Wortwell postmill and Wortwell watermill.

Norfolk Chronicle - 10th August 1878
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th August 1878

July 1927
Painting by George Hastings Burgess (1870-1944) dated July 1927

Waterwheel axle (left) and main drive 1927
Waterwheel axle (left) and main drive 1927

And the said John Aston, his Executors, Administrators or Assigns shall during the said term keep in good and tenantable repair the said Water Mill, Floats, Gates, Wheels, Coggs, running and going Gears, Dams, Banks, Flood-Gates, Sluices, Posts, Pales, Rails, Fences and Glass windows and the lead thereof being allowed rough timber for the reparation of the same And shall fetch all such Materials as shall be wanted for the repair of the said Premises during the term And shall and will Yield up at the termination of this Agreement the Said Water Mill in a going and working condition with one pair of stones at least in use he the said John Aston, his Executors, Administrators, or Assigns being allowed by the said Sir Robert Shafto Adair his Heirs or Assigns or by the incoming tenant a reasonable and fair value or recompense for whatever addition shall have been made to the running and going gears mentioned in the Schedule annexed…
Articles of Agreement set out for when John Aston rented the mill and land from Sir Robert Shafto Adair, Bart from year to year at £80 per annum commencing 11th October 1848.

Schedule of the Machinerey &c. belonging to Sir Robert Shafto Adair in Homersfield Mill
One pair of Mill Stones, Water Wheel and Shaft, Pit Wheel, Counter Wheel and Shaft, Wallower Nut, one Stone Nut, four Drums and Straps, One Jumper with all the brasses belonging to the above.

John Asten was the son of Robert Asten, miller at Harleston School Lane postmill.

The headrace April 1968 Head and wheelrace 11th April 2004
The headrace April 1968
Head and wheelrace 11th April 2004

When the water was low a traction engine was used for power - threshing by day and milling by night.

The tailrace April 1968 Wheelrace April 1968
The tailrace April 1968
Wheelrace April 1968

In July 1970 Homersfield Mill House was on the market for £7,900. The property consisted of a hall, 2/3 reception rooms, exceptional kitchen, laundry, 4 bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside was a spacious garden with over 100 yards of river frontage.

Tailrace and millpond 11th April 2004
Tailrace and millpond 11th April 2004

O. S. Map 1884

O. S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

O.S. map 2008
O.S. Map 2008
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

Kirby's map 1736

1320s: Bishop of Norwich let the mill for £4 6s 8d

1444-1445: Building cost for a new mill were £4 13s 9d

1467-1468: Repairs were carried out for £3 15s 5d

12th March 1776: Reg Harvey, miller, insured his household goods for £50 and mill utensils & stock for £150

Sept 1825: Robert Crytoft Harvey & Edward Hill partnership, declared bankrupt - millers, flour merchants etc.

February 1830: An advertisement appeared in the local press for a journeyman miller

Pigot's 1839: Robert Harvey

1844: David Green, corn miller

11th October 1848: John Aston rented the mill from Sir Robert Shafto, Bart., for £80 on an annual basis

11th October 1870: Charles Smith rented the mill for £100 per annum from Sir Robert Shafto's Flixton Estate

August 1878: Mill advertised for sale by auction due to death of Rev Richard Aldous Arnold

1892: Charles Smith provided refreshment at the mill to the Church Rogation Perambulation

1900: Charles Smith, miller, landowner and church warden. Owned several bakeries in the surrounding area

13th June 1901: Charles Smith died as a bachelor at the age of 75

1901: Miss R. Gower inherited the mill from her uncle Charles Smith

1902: H.W. Hadingham, farmer had wheat ground into wholemeal flour

1912: Miss R. Gower. Mr. Nunn (employee) delivered flour by horse and cart

1916: Messrs Woods, Sadd, Moore & Co Ltd., also at Loddon steam roller mills, Harleston steam trefoil mill, Lowestoft & Yarmouth

1927: Mill ceased to operate due to breach in riverbank at the weir upstream

c.1924: Ground floor of mill used for village whist drives as there was no village hall

1927: Mill and house demolished

1994: Site owned by Mr. L.P. Hammond

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 TM28368541
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004