Itteringham Mill
River Bure


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


N.B. The village of Itteringham has its own website

There has been a watermill in Itteringham since before the Domesday survey in the 11th Century and two mills were also recorded in the now amalgamated parish of Mannington. Ironically many mills tended to burn down approximately every 200 years (mainly due to friction and large amounts of flour dust) and the present main structure was built in 1783. During renovation work in 1938, the builders discovered the inscription R.W. 1783 scratched in the plaster at the back of the water wheel and this was left intact.It was found again in April 2009 during the extensive alterations of that year.

Itteringham mill was built of Norfolk red brick and had a Norfolk pantiled roof. The three distinctive two storey dormers and the lucum were all of white weatherboard. The millstones used during the latter years of production were all French burrstones, which meant that the mill was grinding wheat for flour. A small lockable drawer underneath a narrow window in one of the downstairs rooms of the mill cottage was still in situ in the 1970s and was probably originally used for taking payment and was once part of the original exterior wall.

Itteringham watermill is the fourth mill down from the source of the Bure.

Herold was lord of the second manor at the first survey, but William Earl Warren at the Conqueror's, a freeman held of Herold 15 acres, there were 3 bordarers, one carucate and one acre of meadow, paunage for 4 swine, the right in half a mill, and was valued at 3s. In the reign of Henry II. the Earl Warren enfeoffed the ancestor of the family of Wolterton in this, who had a third part or portion in the advowson of the church, and this part passed (as may be seen in Wolterton ) together with their manor there, through many hands, to James Grey, Esq. and from his sisters to the Honourable Horace Walpole , Esq.
History of the County of Norfolk, Francis Blomfield - 1807

The master of the hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr at Beck-hall, in Billingford, owned the water- mill here in 1284, and Hugh Tirell of this town granted small rents out of lands here to Giles's hospital Norwich.
History of the County of Norfolk, Francis Blomfield - 1807

Estate map 1722
Estate map 1722 before the bypass to the north was cut

October 1972 4th September 2004
October 1972
4th September 2004

As with many watermills, the ancient course of the river was altered in order to provide a better head of water for the mill. This probably took place in the 1700s and involved the digging of a wide new cut some 250 yards long with a high bank on the northern side where the river was to be several feet higher than the surrounding terrain. A bypass was also cut in to go around the north side of the mill in order to control the water in times of flood. Once the cut had been finished the old course would have been dammed allowing the river to back up and deepen to form a reservoir - the mill dam. It is probable that this work was undertaken during the tenure of William Colls.

Colls Family

The Colls family were Quakers and their Pedigree is entitled:
Colls of Burgh by Aylsham, Horstead & North Walsham.

Henry Colls of North Elmham married Elizabeth ? in 1628. When Henry died in 1641, his wife Elizabeth was the sole executor.

Henry & Elizabeth Colls had 3 children:
1) Mary Colls who married William Banbury

2) William Colls b. 1632 in North Elmham, husbandman; married Joanna Boyden. William Colls died leaving his widow Joanna Colls.

3) Margaret Colls - still alive in 1640

William snr & Joanna Colls had 5 children:
a) Robert Colls b.North Elmham

b) William Colls jnr b.circa.1664 in North Elmham. William married Mary Boyden in 1691 at Burgh by Aylsham. William Colls jnr was described as of Itteringham & Burgh and also had property in Aldborough. William died at Aylsham and was buried at Burgh 1739-40. Mary Colls died in 1738.

c) Mary Colls, b.1667 in North Elmham and was aged 21 and unmarried in 1863.

d) Prudence Colls, b.1669 in North Elmham and was buried in 1738

e) Elizabeth Colls, b.1672 in North Elmham and was alive in 1673

William jnr & Mary Colls had two sons who were millers and mentioned in the will of William Colls jnr:
1) William Colls of Letheringsett who died in 1770

2) Robert Colls of Itteringham who married Hannah Playford by licence at Itteringham on 31st March 1756

On 10th December 1783, William Colls leased the mill from the Hon. Horatio Walpole for 50 years at a rent of £40.00 per annum - new mill lately erected and built by William Colls on the site of the old mill that was lately standing on the premises. William Colls had already rebuilt the mill to power two pairs of stones. One pair were German Cullins for milling wheat to flour and the other pair consisted of a Derby Peak runnerstone over a French burr bedstone for milling rye. French burrstones were expensive and were almost exclusively used for flour milling, thus the above arrangement might have come about if the mill had been converted to rye milling by buying a cheap peak runnerstone.

By 1831 an inventory showed that the wheel was now powering three pairs of stones via a 9 foot diameter spur wheel with a 7 foot diameter crown wheel set above it.

Between 21st June and 11th August 1838, the Mill machinery was renovated by millwright James Winterborn of Aylsham for the Earl of Orford. The total cost was £50 11s 7½d.

Various individuals from the village also took part in the renovation work including Nathaniel Brett, carpenter and wheelwright; Henry Hall, blacksmith, Edward and Samuel Slipper who worked with Henry Hall to remove some of the old machinery and Thomas Ward, bricklayer, who worked on the watercourses under the mill as well as repairing the various buildings.

60 Years in the Long Life of Itteringham Mill
By William Vaughan-Lewis

Probably since Domesday, if not earlier, Itteringham has had a large water mill at its present location near the bridge on the main road through the village.

We know that in 1742 Robert Colls was renting the mill from Mannington estate and also held with it a small farm of 17 acres in 9 different pieces or fields. Fortunately a deed and associated working papers (WAL 367) has survived in the Walpole papers held in The Norfolk Archive Centre in Norwich which tells us quite a bit about the nature of the mill between 1783, at the start of a new lease, and 1838-39 when it was extensively repaired. This article summarises the facts but, being written by a non-expert, makes no attempt at interpreting precisely what sort of mill it was and its capability and efficiency relative to others of its time.

The 1783 Lease
The December 1783 lease is for a period of 50 years at £40 per year rent. It refers in passing to the surrender of the previous lease to Robert Colls of September 1751 and covers the water mill and the associated dwelling, stables, outhouses, yards and the small farm holding then known as Itteringham Mill Farm. Various clauses cover the respective rights of landlord (Lord Walpole of Wolterton and his son Horatio Walpole) and tenant (William Colls of Itteringham, miller) relating to land use and farming practice – eg, game rights, timber rights and even prescriptions on crop rotation and the use of hay and corn straw.

In amongst these clauses are two paragraphs relating specifically to the mill. They tell us that it had very recently been completely rebuilt – probably during the year or two prior to the new lease – and that it contained two pairs of millstones.

William Colls shall as often as need shall require repair uphold support maintain and keep in good and tenantable repair the new mill lately erected and built by William Colls on the premises hereby demised [leased] upon the scite [site] or situation of the old mill that was lately standing upon the demised premises and every part thereof

William’s father Robert had died in September 1777 and subsequent to taking over the family milling business William had taken the big decision to do a complete rebuild of the mill. Did he increase its capacity or had it for a long time been a large mill with two pairs of stones, one for wheat and one for rye?

And William Colls at the end of the lease shall yield up or leave the Upper and Lower stones called the pair of Cullins now standing in the Wheat Mill 9 inches thick, and the upper stone called the Peake now standing in the Rye mill 7 inches thick…and pay to the landlord ten shillings for every inch of these Cullins and Peake as they shall want of that thickness. And also the lower stone now standing in the Rye Mill called the French stone of the thickness of three and a half inches and pay twenty shillings per inch. But if the stones are worn out the tenant shall buy new millstones…

As we shall see, this clause is later invoked.

The 1831 Inventory
William Colls did not seem to have a totally lucky few years as miller in Itteringham. The parish burials register shows that he and his wife Mary suffered the loss of their daughter Mary in 1788 and the loss of twins George and John on the same day in 1789, presumably in childbirth. Until and indeed for some time after the 1800 burial of Hannah Colls aged 87 (no doubt the wife of Robert) there are no more Colls burials in the village. It seems William moved away. By early 1791 John Shelton had taken his place in the mill, as we know from the poor rate accounts.

In turn by early 1800 Thomas Roberts had taken over as miller and remained there at least until the end of 1811 when the poor rates book ends. He was still in the village and presumably the mill in 1825, since in October of that year he was a witness at his daughter’s wedding in the parish church. He died aged 68 in March 1830 and was buried in Itteringham churchyard. At the moment we do not know precisely the occupancy sequence from then until the late 1830s. But we do know that an inventory of the mill mechanism was done in 1831, presumably at the time of a change of tenant.

The inventory gives a good description of what has now become a water mill driving three pairs of stones:

An inventory of Tenants’ going gears at Itteringham Mills in the County of Norfolk, taken the 14 th day of January 1831.

On the Grinding Floor and Log Pit
A wood spar wheel 9 ft diameter – three wood stone pinions with wrought iron spindles. Brays [brace?] lightening-irons and brasses, two bridging-pots, five bray posts, casing in front of log-pit, and three meal troughs.

On the Stone Floor
The upstream runner stone 4 ft 6 diameter
The upstream bed stone 4 ft 3 diameter
Centre runner stone 3 ft 9 diameter
Centre bed stone 3 ft 9 diameter
Downstream runner stone 4 ft 3 diameter
Downstream bed stone 4 ft 3 diameter

Three sets of vats, hoppers, shoes, bearers, damsels, maces, ram-boxes, rings, stone-curbs, and joists. Two full sized flour mills with hoppers, shoes, driving-pullies, bags and jiggers. Dumper with three tiers of wire, hoppers, spout, bags, rigger, crank-shaft, bearing studs and jigger. Crown wheel 7 ft diameter, sack-tackle, nut with pulley, shaft, poppets and brays.
Upstream flour-mill-nut with shaft, drum [and] two pullies, puppets, brays, strap and rope.
Downstream flour-mill-nut with shaft, pulley, rope, brays and puppets. Grindstone 3 ft 6 in diameter with spindle, pulley, rope and frame. 9 feet step ladder.

Corn Floor
Sack tackle with pulley, shaft, brays, striking-lever and lines. Stripping-mill hopper, mealbinn, partition, round sack tackles, middlings-bag and 7 feet step ladder.

Sack tackle, pullies and bearers.

The ladders, say belong to landlord, the upwrite [upright] shaft wallower and spar wheel to ditto. Stones and vats – to value and allow difference according to agreement in old lease.

From the 1838 documents it looks likely that this inventory was done for the use of the mill by John Gambling, but we cannot be sure since there are no names mentioned on the inventory.

The 1838 Repairs
On then to the repairs of 1838; which, from the details in the various tradesmens’ bills, was clearly a major rebuild of the water conduits, the mill works and the adjacent buildings.

As an introduction to the work described and bills submitted, we have an agreement drawn up between William Lemmon, Lord Walpole now the Earl of Orford’s steward or agent at Wolterton, and John Cook Beane now the miller. This commits to some contributions to costs by Orford which apparently supersedes the old lease obligation on the tenant to do repairs. By the absence of any other lease deed in these papers it seems likely that the 1783 lease deed, although more than four years over its term, was still effectively the basis for tenancy and rental arrangements. A commitment is also made to begin a new lease.

Memorandum May 30 th 1838. The undersigned will engage with Mr John Cook Beane as to the repair of the Itteringham water mill, first condition is that Mr John Gambling of the parish of Buxton who claim[s] the machinery of the above mill which he it appears paid for the greater part thereof to a Mr Pinckard [or Pinskard?] as by an inventory, do appear, now if the said John Gambling do by his hand in writing give up the said machinery to the Earl of Orford without any remuneration, the following conditions are then agreed to by the undersigned on the behalf of the Earl of Orford.

In first to find all timber required for the repair of the water mill and premises, and to pay the greater part of the sawing to the water wheel, also to pay one half of the wages of the mill-wright required at this time. Signed: W. Lemmon

It is further agreed, by the undersigned W Lemmon, with the consent of the Earl of Orford, that the said John Cook Beane to have a lease of the water mill, premises and land, which are now occupied by JC Beane, for the term of fourteen years at the yearly rent of ninety pounds, to be paid half yearly, he performing such covenants as are usual between landlord and tenants.

Signed: W Lemmon and JC Beane and witnessed by John Warnes

White’s 1845 Norfolk Directory tells us that in Buxton there was a corn millers and merchants called Cooke and Gambling (John). So John Cook Beane and John Gambling were in business together and W Lemmon could readily assume that in signing the agreement Beane would deliver Gambling’s written disclaimer to the machinery.

There then follow a dozen or more bills, receipts and scraps of paper with calculations on the division of costs between landlord and tenant. These tell us what was done in the repairs by millwright, carpenter, blacksmith and bricklayer.

James Winterborn the Millwright

Winterborn of Aylsham submitted a bill in two parts for £50 11/7½d for the period 21 June to 11 August 1838 and for £8 19/4½d in September 1838. The major items include:

The labour in making a new water [wheel] and shaft and putting to work. The same putting sleepers and pullers blocks down to carry the water wheel and repairing the breast and hanging the pit wheel
800 feet board 1 in thick for the water wheel at 3d per foot
[Various iron plates, bolts, shackles, hoops and carriages]
2 new gudgeons to water wheel shaft [of more than 4 cwt weight]
2 new brasses to water wheel shaft [weighing over 1 cwt]
The labour in making new vats and bearers to stones and making new flour mill

Nathaniel Brett the Carpenter/Wheelwright
After the millwright’s work the timber and carpentry bills were the most significant. Itteringham’s wheelwright Nathaniel Brett did the work, assisted by one man. His bill covers the period July to November 1838 and he charged Orford £6 14/7d for more or less a month’s worth of time at 2/6d per day each for himself and his man.

Timber bills, over and above the sum charged by Winterborn, amounted to well over £10 in total; but not all purchases are itemised, with anonymous cash sums making up quite a large part of the total. At least some of the timber was bought from Isaac Preston and Son of Yarmouth.

Henry Hall the Blacksmith
The local strongman played his part with a bill covering his work from late July to early August 1838. Most of the items in his bill refer to hoops and bolts and nails. He also charged for hoops and spikons to the water gates and for new chains for them.

He also worked with Edward and Samuel Slipper from the village in 1839 to take down part of the ‘masheen in the mill’.

Thomas Ward the Bricklayer
It is clear from the main bricklayer’s receipt that substantial work had been done on the water courses. The receipt itemises work done between June and October 1838:

Building walls to water lanes and bye water ditto. Putting up archers and repairing breaches. Repairing tilings. Build fence walls and hog and tye. Repairing walls in stable, barn and leantoos, etc

He charged himself and his labourer out at the less substantial sum of 3/4d per day for the two of them.


A handful of scraps of paper show various attempts to total the cost of work and to allocate costs between landlord and tenant. No single one of them appears to show a definitive total, but one shows a total of £124 ‘paid by Mr Beane’ and another allocates Mr Cook Beane £91. The total probably came to around £124 to £150.

A nice footnote brings us back to ‘dilapidations’ of the grinding stones. A copy of a note from W Lemmon, presumably to John Cook Beane, of October 1839 says that he is sending him ‘the copy of the lease of Itteringham Mill in which you will see Lord Orford’s claim for the mill stones’. It goes on to claim £16 for the full 9 inches of wear on the pair of stones called Cullens, 7 inches of wear on the Peak and 3½ inches on the French stone.
William Vaughan-Lewis - 31st May 2005
Author’s rights reserved ©

Ayton & Bell marriages
Ayton & Bell marriages

Additional detailed history from Walpole Estate records

Mathew Arthur Slipper was known to be the illegitimate son of Charlott Tipple and the 4th Earl of Orford (1813-1994). He was born 18 June 1839 at Itteringham and was apprenticed as a miller at the mill before moving to work at Upper_Sheringham_postmill where he was listed as journeyman miller in the 1841 census.  Later still he  became the publican of the Lobster Inn at Sheringham. In 1861, he married Susan Cooper, who was born on 22nd December 1843 in Sheringham and they went on to have 10 children. Mathew Arthur Slipper died on 4th November 1919.

Matthew Slipper was the illigitimate son of the 4th Earl of Orford. His mother Charlotte was a seamstress at Mannington Hall. She later married a Tipple and produced another child by him. I have a detailed family history which tells me that Matthew was still at the Lobster Inn, Sheringham, in 1902. He married Susan Cooper of Upper Sheringham. They had 10 children 8 of which survived. There are 2 graves in the churchyard at Upper Sheringham.  He was much involved in the local leadership, now council. He handled the Poor Law money in Lower Sheringham. One of his sons was the Village Constable, another had a sweet shop and a third, my grandfather, was a grocer and two daughters were teachers at the Upper Sheringham School. He died in 1919  Much of this information was gleaned from books written by Peter Cox, a local councillor and a family history produced by a relative. I have yet to discover why he was in Nottinghamshire when he died (perhaps one of his children lived there?) He is buried in West Bridgeford.
He was first apprenticed as a miller at Itteringham water-mill. He was not denied by the Earl and was baptised by Bishop Cremer-Cremer. The Earl had no other children !
Michael Slipper - 3rd February 2010

The 1851 census showed that while the mill itself was being run by Frederick Copeman, the mill grounds were being run as a farm by William Hardmeat and his wife and they were living in the Mill House. William was aged 30 and had been born in Cromer and his wife Amelia, also aged 30 had been born in Metton.

They were sharing part of the Mill House with one of Frederick Copeman's employees, Samuel Deane, aged 29 from Langmere, who was a journeyman miller.

St. Ann's Iron Works,
King Street, Norwich,
23 Apr. 1864.

F. S. Watson, Esq,
Sir, Having duly examined the Water Wheel and Shaft at Itteringham Mill I find it in a most delapidated condition and not in a fit state to be repaired.
I therefore beg to lay before you an estimate. To take out the old Wheel and Shaft and fix in new ones. The wheel to be 16 feet diameter and 8 feet Wide, with three Cast Iron rings well fitted and bolted together, with Cast Iron Starts, Best Memel timber floats and back boards and all necessary bolts and nuts. One new Cast Iron Shaft to weigh about 35cwt., with neck carriages and wall plate with turned journals and Key and planed for hanging Wheel on Shaft, also two Gun Metal Neck Brasses, Cast and bored to fit the Same. Two Cast Iron Bosses and four Angles for hanging pit wheel on New Shaft, the above work, which shall be made of the best materials and sound workmanship for the sum of two hundred and seven pounds, ten shillings.
I have the honor to be,
Your Obt. Servt,
Thos. Smithdale.
£207.10. -.
Oak starts, 190. 10. -.

Frederick Copeman lived in the mill house, leasing Itteringham watermill from the Walpole Estate while owning Aylsham steam mill in Dunkirk.

James_Brown, who was running the mill in 1864 was also a farmer and maltster. At one point in his career, he was probably also a tanner and lived at Tanyard Farm (later to become Bintry Farm). In 1828 he married Pleasance Copeman who was the daughter of Robert Copeman and sister of Frederick Copeman. One of James Brown's sons was Frank Brown, who by 1871, was running Roughton_Mill_Hill_towermill.

The road brige over the river is around 200 yards upstream from the mill. The bridge used to be a rather picturesque single arch brick bridge but this was swept away in the flood of August 1912

Road bridge painting c.1900
Road bridge painting c.1900

Mill working 1913

George Harvey Witham 1910
George Harvey Witham 1910

Walter Marcom was there in those days. We used to see him out walking and he had a big boot on one foot and the sole was several inches thick.
Joan (Nellie) Hall née Wilch - 20th November 2007

My name is Alex Marcon, eldest son of Walter Hubert Marcon who was the Miller from 1918- 1934.
My Father trained me to operate the mill when I was 14 years of age when home on holiday from Paston School, North Walsham, Norfolk, in 1927.
My father W. H. Marcon left the mill and the mill farm in autumn 1934 to take over a bigger farm at North Barningham so the mill was in operation to that date.
After I left Paston in July at 16 years of age in 1929 I worked on my Father's farm running the Mill when required, grinding barley into meal and crushing oats for local Farmers who brought their sacks of grain to the Mill by horse and tumbrel, collecting the ground meal or oats when ready by the same means.
I left the UK at 16 years of age, emigrating to NZ in mid January 1930, being sponsored by a NZ farmer to work on his farm. I am now 98 years of age.
I have many happy memories of the old mill as it was in my day. The mill had 3 floors above the ground floor, the grindstones were on the second floor, the hoppers which fed the grain into the grindstones on the third floor and the windlass on the fourth floor from which a chain went through hinged double doors about a yard wide to the bottom floor. The sacks of grain were tied at the top and the chain which had a loop on its end was put through the loop and over the tied top. A simple mechanism which moved the belt across on the winch could be operated from any of the floors. The whole machinery was driven by a water wheel which took all the water the River Bure contained into a mill race, to drive it.
To my two brothers Gordon and Raymond and myself, as growing boys, the old mill was a paradise, and we had the run of it when not in use. There were steps to all the floors to run up and down and one area on the second floor from which the flour machinery had been removed was the length of a cricket pitch and half as wide. We made good use of it as a football pitch in the winter months, and a cricket pitch in the summer months - especially on wet days.
The walls were lined with plaster over brick and took something of a battering from football and hard rubber cricket ball, so consequently there were numerous small pieces of plaster some of which got crushed into the floor. There were two dormer windows in this area one of which looked looked over the mill pool which was 14 feet deep in places and had several species of fresh water fish including trout. On one occasion Lord Orford from Wolterton Hall, who owned all the land in the district including the Mill and the village of Itteringham, was fishing in the pool. The temptation to have a bit of fun was too much for us and we took turns in picking up small pieces of plaster and throwing them out into the pool where the disturbed water attracted the Earl's attention and he immediately cast his fly in that direction - much to our amusement. This was repeated once too often however and the Earl looked up and saw us. My father was visited by the river Game keeper and we got a good telling off but I noted as he turned away he had a grin on his face.
The mill was reputed to be haunted and I really believe it was. I had a fox terrier dog who was constantly by my side when home for school holidays. A small room on the ground floor overlooked the mill pool and served as an office. A shelf on one side contained account books going back to the 1800's, a desk at chest height was under the window and contained the one in current use. On one memorable occasion at the end of one of my days work I went to the office to fill in the details of whose corn was ground. The dog was with me. When I opened the door the dog growled and its hair stood on end, as did mine. I made a hasty exit and told my Father but I don't think he believed me. That little dog would never go into the mill again but curled up by the door until I came out. I eventually plucked up the courage to enter the office again but did not sense any 'Presence'.

Alex Marcon, Hamilton New Zealand - 19th December 2011

Sidney Wilch was the landlord of the Walpole Arms at the top of the mill drive.
My Dad also worked at and ran the mill and he had a fish round. He would call the horse from the orchard but he wouldn't come so he would yell "Edith!" Mother would come and she would call "Jack!" and he'd come trotting over and Dad would put the harness on him. He would drive to the train station at Aylsham to get the fish.

Joan (Nellie) Hall née Wilch - 20th November 2007

Gladys Broughton who lived in the village often used to go down to the mill at the age of 14 in 1920 and recalled that the whole establishment was run as a farm as well as a mill.

Chickens would often be lost as they had a habit of roosting on the wheel and didn't always get off before it was started up.
Gladys Broughton

Itteringham Mill finally stopped working in 1934 when Walter Marcon moved to North Barningham to take over a larger farm. In May 1936, owner Lord Walpole contemplated bringing it back into use but subsequently decided to convert it into a dwelling. Two alternative sets of plans were drawn up by the Cromer builder Girling & Smith and work started on the favoured version on 13th July 1938. The total cost of the whole project was approximately £2,500.00 and the project was overseen and recorded by Ernest Edward Smith himself, who was 71 in that year. Some of the photographs he took are on the separate Itteringham_Mill_Conversion page. Girling & Smith later also converted Antingham_Upper_Bone_Mill to residential use c.1946.

Mill Conversion
in 1938

View through the broken dormer pre-conversion in 1938 Stone floor
View through the broken dormer pre-conversion in 1938
The stone floor -
One of the grinding tuns on the 1st floor to the left
The millpost and crown wheel rear centre
The stone marked "A" was used as the front door step

Transformation of a Norfolk Water Mill
Amongst the old watermills of Norfolk, the mill at Itteringham, near Aylsham, must at one time have ranked as one of the most important.
A substantial structure of local red bricks, and housung an undershot wheel of the type common to the majority of Norfolk water mills, it was built across the river Bure just outside Itteringham village in 1788, and there is no doubt that in the ensuing years it did yeoman sevice to the surrounding farmers until finally the march of modern methods compelled it to close down for good in 1913.
For the next 25 years the building seems to have served no useful purpose and simply stood neglected, the sport of wind and weather, until in 1938 it had reached the state of delapidation and decay shown in our first illustrations.
At this stage, however, the present owner, Lord Walpole, on whose estate the building stands, decided that it deserved a better fate and in consultation with his builders a plan was finally arrived at for reconstructing it as a private residence whilst still retaining the main features of the original.
The work was carried out during the latter half of 1938, and now the exterior elevations once again face the elements in as staunch and sound a trim as ever they did.
But inside 'tis feared that the ghosts of the old millers would be hopelessly lost. Where once they stood and watched the golden grain trickle down to the rumbling stones, is now m'lady's boudoir with central heating and electric light, whilst the corn bins above have become light and airy bed rooms for staff or guest. And below, in the lounge, the walls which once housed the gurgling wheel now form the sides of an imposing brick fireplace with a section of the old main cog wheel worked into the mantle and one of the old mill stones taking pride of place in the centre of the hearth.
The transformation, both inside and out, may well be judged by the accompanying illustrations. Thus do we endeavour to capture some small measure of the spirit of the past, and pass it on to future generations, hoping that the result of our labours will stand the test of time as well as did the work of our ancestors.

Ernest Geoffrey Smith - c.1939

The Saracen's Head 31st October 2004
The Saracen's Head 31st October 2004

At the foot of the main staircase is a carving of the Saracen's Head. It was carved by Ernest Geoffrey Smith of the Smith family building firm, Girling & Smith Ltd. of Cromer, who converted the mill to residential use in 1938. The only local connection appears to be that of the Saracen's Head pub on Lord Walpole's nearby Wolterton Estate that originally owned the mill.

Ernest Smith also used old timbers from the mill to carve and make 5 wooden chests - one for each of his grandchildren.

Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
30th January 2021

Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith
Box made by Ernest Geoffrey Smith for grandson Edward Kirk Smith containing bricks of different woods used in the building trade - 30th January 2021

The Ghost
Itteringham Mill

The RAF were the first to live in the mill after conversion and were responsible for converting the cart track to the mill into a proper metalled drive. The officers lived in the mill and all their auxiliary staff lived in the mill cottage.

King George Vl and the Queen Mother visited the pilots during their stay and Gladys Broughton also recalled seeing the Duke of Kent driving down Sovereigns Hill to the village in a maroon car.

7th July 1938 Derek Neville and dogs in the late 1960s
View from the meadow near the road
looking east on 7th July 1938
Derek Neville and dogs in the late 1960s

7th July 1938 7th July 1938
Views of the mill pond on 7th July 1938


During the war the Mill was used as an officers' mess for staff based at RAF Matlaske. The pilots lived in the mill itself while the cooks and other staff lived in the cottage. Some brave individuals would dive into the mill pond from the flat roof section between the two dormers. On other occasions swans were fed with bread soaked in whiskey. When the drunken birds swam back upriver, they were unable to negotiate the first bend and would swim straight into the bank. On 15th June 1974 several airmen returned to the Mill for a reunion and presented Derek and Mary Neville with a framed map of old Norfolk that they had all signed:
B. Ashwell 222 Squadron 1941 - Spitfire Mk IIa & IIb
J. H.Burgess 222 Squadron May 1941 - Spitfire Mk IIa & IIb
Jack Cornwell Ex F/O Adjt. 601 Squadron - Hurricane Mk IIb & Bell Airacobra Mk I
W. Duthaler H.Q. 1940 - 1942
John Fincham 19 Squadron 1941 - Spitfire Mk IIa
R. M. D. Hall 222 Squadron, May 1941
- Spitfire Mk IIa & IIb

N.B. Some of the handwriting was not easy to decipher although the above is believed to be fairly accurate

F/Lt Hogan (Adj) (fishing) & F/O Barnet 1942 Sgt Hoots (Canadian) with fishing rod! and Scottie Torrence - 1942
F/Lt Hogan (Adj) (fishing) & F/O Barnet - 1942
Sgt Hoots (Canadian)  with fishing rod! and Scottie Torrence - 1942

F/Lt Hogan - 1942 F/Lt 'Uppie', F/Lt 'Bartie' Bartlett, Sgt Eddie, Sgt Hoots & P/O 'Sammy' Samede - 1942
F/Lt Hogan - 1942
with mystery unidentified building in the background
Left to right: F/Lt 'Uppie', F/Lt 'Bartie' Bartlett, Sgt Eddie, Sgt Hoots, P/O 'Sammy' Samede - 1942

Dr. & Mrs. Gerald 'Gerry' Clayton - 1942
Dr. & Mrs. Gerald 'Gerry' Clayton 1942

My father, the M.O., had to check all the new pilot recruits.  He checked the 1st recruit for colour blindness using the charts with coloured dots.  The recruit said 5.  My father said he was colour blind and rejected him.  The 2nd recruit said the same!  So he was rejected. Likewise the 3rd.  But the 3rd chap said he was definitely not, and for my father to check the key in the back.  Yes, it was my father who was colour blind and he was 28 by then!
Gerry Clayton - 7th January 2010

Ex RAF dinghy c.1959 Raft August 1967
Ex RAF dinghy c.1959
Raft August 1967

Raft and retriever Sirius c.1968
Raft and retriever Sirius c.1968

When Sir David Cunningham moved in shortly after the war, the gardens were overrun by moles, which were removed by attaching a hose to a car exhaust pipe and burying the other end in a mole hole.

Sir David Cunningham employed three men, Donny Baxter, Willy Thompson and a Mr Bond, he had an operation and later took cyanide and was found alongside the river with his feet in it, very sad and Brian Hoolhouse was one of the people that went out to find him.
Ivan Thompson - 19th October 2005

Bypass bridge c.1956
Bypass bridge c.1956

The bridge where the bypass joins the millpool in 1956 Mid 1960s
The bridge where the bypass joins the millpool in 1956
Mid 1960s

During the 1960s the footbridge bridge was swept away by floods and a simpler bridge was later rebuilt using telegraph poles and wood slabs. The above right hand photo shows Jim Bonham from Hawaii, Jonathan Neville, Derek Neville, Martin Ellis and dog Sammy.

In the spring of 1961 the river burst its northeastern bank some 100 yards above the mill and reverted to what was probably its original course.

I remember cycling back from school one lunchtime and finding the river bed above the mill completely dry except for a few puddles. The river had gone. Several acres of meadowland to the north and northeast of the mill were under water as the river went around the mill with the majority of the water rejoining the main channel at the lower end of the millpond. After a few days the river board workforce turned up and began laying a wall of bags filled with chalk. The force of the water had been considerable due to a drop of several feet and when the flood subsided we saw that an island had formed in the river at the point where some of the water, having flowed along a ditch, returned to the new riverbed just below the millpond.
I played on it for many years.

Jonathan Neville - 2003

The river island May 1961
Jonathan Neville on the river island May 1961


28th December 2001

Looking west from the Mill cottage early ''70s Mill cottage c.1965
Looking west from the Mill cottage early 1970s
Mill cottage and garden when used for afternoon teas c.1965

Edith Thaxter c.1968 Edith Thaxter and Rose Coles c.1970
Edith Thaxter c.1968
Edith Thaxter and Rose Coles c.1970
Edith Thaxter was Gladys Broughton's sister and for many years they lived in the cottage next to the school.

The oak bench in the background of the right hand photo above was shortly to be transported to Australia in commemoration of Blackburn's Island whose original name had been reinstated as a result of the book
Blackburn's Isle written by Derek Neville tracing the voyages of David Blackburn.

Members of staff in 1967 Derek & Mary Neville c.1970
Members of staff in 1967
Derek & Mary Neville c.1970
Mary Wooler Jennifer Porcas Sandra High Jonathan Neville Mary Neville Sirius
Marks made by the wheel still remain 29th June 2003
Marks made by the wheel still remain - 29th June 2003

The wheelrace to the breast shot wheel June 2003 The renovated brick arch and new concrete ceiling of 1938
The wheelrace to the breast shot wheel June 2003
The renovated brick arch and new concrete ceiling of 1938

During conversion to residential use in 1938, a new fireplace alcove was built on the site of the wheel housing and a section of the cast iron pitwheel was incorporated into the brickwork above the hearth. A millstone was used as the centrepiece of the floor and the two wooden benches were made from mill timbers. In the 1990s a glass plate was inserted into the lounge floor over the site of the wheel and the river can be seen rushing through below.

Another millstone was used a the front doorstep and a further two were incorporated into the back lawn. All the millstones were French burrstones, which meant the mill was grinding wheat for flour.

The fireplace alcove in the 1960s with a section of the pit wheel over the fire
The fireplace alcove in the 1960s with a section of the pit wheel over the fire

Pitwheel section above the fireplace 31st October 2004 Pitwheel teeth showing wear from contact with the wallower
Pitwheel section above the fireplace 31st October 2004
Pitwheel teeth showing wear from contact with the wallower

December 2001 29th June 2003
December 2001
29th June 2003

6th June 1999
6th June 1999

The north gable 29th June 2003
Brian Webster standing at the north gable 29th June 2003

In the 1960s new oak sluice gates were installed by H. Newton & Sons of Cley. The wheel bypass sluice had not been raised for some 10 years and the mill pool, which used to be some 12 feet deep, had silted up to within a foot of the surface over most of the pool area. When the new gate was raised the whole millpool boiled as a vast amount of trapped methane gas was released. Within a few weeks the water was back to its former depth.

Bypass sluice derelict in the 1960s
Bypass sluice derelict in the 1960s

EDP advert Mar1982
Newspaper advert - March 1982

Bypass in flood late '60s looking west Bypass 29th June 2003
Bypass in flood late '60s looking west
Bypass 29th June 2003

29th June 2003
29th June 2003

15th June 2006 27th July 2006
15th June 2006
27th July 2006

December 2006 6th September 2009
Peter Downs beside the Hydroelectric generator 9th December 2006
6th September 2009

15th June 2007 15th June 2007
River Bure after flood warning between Corpusty and Brampton 15th June 2007

RW 1783
RW 1783 to the north of the fireplace under 1st floor floorboards
During renovation work in 1938, the builders discovered the inscription R.W. 1783 scratched in the plaster at the back of the water wheel and this was left intact. It was found again in April 2009 during the extensive alterations of that year. Local historian William Vaughan-Lewis, identified the RW initials as belonging to Robert Ward, a bricklayer who was very active locally on the Wolterton/Mannington estate in the 1770s and 1780s. He may even have been the son of Valentine Ward who was active in the same trade during the 1740s.

11th July 2009
11th July 2009

My Dad [Sidney Wilch of the Walpole Arms] also worked at and ran the mill and he had a fish round. He would call the horse from the orchard but he wouldn't come so he would yell "Edith!" Mother would come and she would call "Jack!" and he'd come trotting over and Dad would put the harness on him. He would drive to the train station at Aylsham to get the fish.
Joan (Nellie) Hall née Wilch - 20th November 2007

I'm researching my Bean, Beane, Bane, Baine ancestors originating to date from the village of Thorpe Market c.1757. Having a subscription to the British Libraries Newspapers online I've found an article in the 'Norfolk Chronicle' newspaper copy of Saturday 02.03.1833 relating to Mr John Cook Bean of Itteringham, Miller. The article report was of his Deed of Assignment, Indenture dated 26.02.1833 where he Assigned his estate to a John Windett of Plumstead and John Gambling of Buxton, miller. The 'Deed of Assignment' was deposited at the Office of William Repton, Solicitor of Aylsham, to date I'm unsure as to how or if it's possible to obtain a copy of this record of part of his life.
Ken Maidens, Lincolnshire - 7th May 2013

Staying on the north coast and simply looking up Norfolk history.
I then remembered a childhood holiday at Itteringham Mill.
It must have been approximately 1959 early 1960 and it has left a chilhood memory.
I note that a Derek and Mary Neville were living there at the time, although I have no memory of them.
My brother approximately 8yrs and I must have been 5yrs old. I remember the name well and possibly it was due to falling into a bed of sticking nettles, crossing a tiny wooden bridge in a field very near to the Mill House.
As for being allowed to walk about alone at such an early age passes belief now thinking about it, although both my brother and I were obedient and responsible children.
Mary Hepworth Taylor - 3rd November 2021

2023 2023
Strutt & Parker sale brochure - 2023

Enclosure Map
Enclosure Map

Tithe Map 1841
Tithe Map 1841

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

O.S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images

O.S. Map - unknown date
O.S. Map - unknown date - c.1950
The mill dam is clearly shown to have extended under the road bridge, almost up to Bintry farm

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

Reign of Henry II (5 March 1133 - 6 July 1189): Mill working

Master of the hospital of St.Thomas the Martyr at Beck-hall, in Billingford 1284: Mill owner

Estate map 1722: Robert Colls

1742: Robert Colls, miller

September 1751: Mill leased to Robert Colls brother of William Colls of Letheringsett

31st March 1756: Robert Colls of Itteringham married Hannah Playford by licence at Itteringham

1751 - 1777: Robert Colls, miller

September 1777: Robert Colls died (1708-1777)

1783: Mill rebuilt by William Colls on site of older mill much of the bricklaying being carried out by Robert Ward

10th Dec 1783: Mill and Itteringham Mill Farm leased to William Colls for 50 years at a rent of £40 per annum

1791: John Shelton, miller

Faden's map 1797: Mill

c.1802 - c.1825: Thomas Roberts

Bryant's map 1826: Ittringham Mill

Pigot's 1830: Frederick Copeman, corn miller also Blickling Mill

March 1830: Thomas Roberts died aged 68

26th February 1833: John Cook Beane assigned his estate to John Windett and John Gambling of Buxton

White's 1836: John Cooke Beane, corn miller
White's 1836: Frederick Copeman, corn miller

1838: Machinery renovated by James Winterborn of Aylsham for the Earl of Orford

Walpole Estate record 1838: John Cooke Beane within a 14 year lease at a rent of £90 per annum

Census 1841: Frederick Copeman (30), farmer & miller;
Harriet Copeman (30);
Jane Copeman (25);
Ann Hall, maidservant - all at White Hall
Robert Copeman (20) lodger;
Pheaby Buck (55) housekeeper - Mill House

White's 1845: Frederick Copeman, corn miller, also Blickling Mill

Hunt's 1850: Frederick Copeman, corn miller

Census 1851: Samuel Deane (29) - journeyman miller - Mill House, Itteringham
William Adams (46) - miller - Common, Itteringham
Thomas Ayton (19) - journeyman miller - son living with Mary Ayton, Common, Itteringham
Samuel Deane (29) - journeyman miller, Mill House
Henry Fowell (16) - miller - brother living with Mary Fowell (17) Common, Itteringham

Kelly's 1854: Frederick Copeman, miller & corn merchant

White's 1854: Frederick Copeman, corn miller
White's 1854: Samuel Dare, farmer & miller

Harrod's 1863: James Brown, miller, tanner, timber, corn and coal merchant, and at Aldborough and Aylsham

White's 1864: James Brown - corn miller, maltster and farmer

1864: New wheel axle, wheel and pitwheel installed by Smithdale's

Itteringham Parish Register 13th November 1868: Thomas Ayton of full age single of Itteringham, Miller
married Rebecca Bell of full age single of Itteringham

Kelly's 1879: Benjamin Cook

Census 1881: Albert F. Aldors (16) b.Lingwood, miller's apprentice

Kelly's 1883: Benjamin Cook, also Blickling Mill

Census 1891: Benjamin Cook, miller; Thomas Ayton, worker

Kelly's 1896: Benjamin Cook, miller (water) & at Dunkirk roller flour mills, Aylsham

Kelly's 1900: Benjamin Cook, miller (water) & at Dunkirk roller flour mills, Aylsham

Kelly's 1904: Benjamin Cook

Kelly's 1908: George Harvey Witham, also Erpingham Mill

Kelly's 1912: Walter Thomas Bell

26th & 27th August 1912: A great flood after torrential rain caused massive damage all around the county

Kelly's 1916: Walter Thomas Bell

1918: Walter H. Marcom

Census 1921: Walter H Markham (34) b.Edgefield
Victoria Markham (32) b.Briston
Lillian Annie Markham (21) b.Norfolk
Alice John Markham (8) b.Wyberton, Lincs.
Herbert Gordon Markham (7) Wyberton, Lincs.
Raymond Walter Markahm (4) b.Wyberton, Lincs.
Eileen Mary Markham (1) b.Norfolk

Kelly's 1922: Walter H. Marcom, miller (water)

Kelly's 1925: Walter H. Marcom, miller (water)

Kelly's 1929: Walter H. Marcom, miller (water)

Autumn 1934: Mill ceased working as Walter Marcom left to take over a larger farm at North Barningham

Kelly's 1937: Edward Pryor, farmer, The Mill
Kelly's 1937: Sarah Warne (Mrs) corn & flour dealer

July 1938: Mill converted to residential use and all machinery removed

1938 - ?: RAF

1947 - 1952: Sir David Cunningham. Willie Thomson, gardener, also ? Bond - took cyanide because of an operation

1954 - 1975: Derek and Mary Neville

1975 - 1985?: Geoff and Jean Mills

1985 - August 2004: Brian and Lilian Webster

August 2004 - present: Peter and Elisabeth Downs

December 2006: Hydroelectric turbine installed on mill bypass channel came onstream

2009: Mill underwent major reconstruction to improve the internal layout and downstream viewing

August 2023: Mill advertised for sale by Strutt & Parker for £1,850,000

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 14923057
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Derek Neville Sammy Roddy