Kings Lynn
Swagges Mill


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

The first reference to a mill in this area mentions Sewoldsfled in 1101. It is unclear whether the later name Sunolf's Fleet c.1250, is a corruption of this or associated with the family of Robert fitz Sunolf, first mayor of Lynn. At this time the fleet was known as Mayorsfleet, while the bridge crossing it was called both Mayor's bridge and Sunolf's bridge. Later it was known as Swaggesfleet, after the mill owner and eventally as Millfleet.

The first mill known on this site was Scales Mill, built by the lord of South Lynn, Lord Scales. It was later known as Swagges Mill but was derelict by the late 1300s.
The borough of Lynn acquired the site in 1392 and built the new Town Mill.

Millfleet was strongly tidal and had a relatively small flow of its own water, which meant that the mill was constantly running out of water.

Millfleet c.1875

Inquest held before the coroners of Lynn on 22 May 1296 into the death of Roger fitz Claricia miller [...] the jurors say that around the middle of the day on 19 May, Roger arose from his midday nap and went down to the water next to the lesser water-wheel of the mill in Lynn called Swargermelne [Millfleet] to wash his hands, when he tripped over himself and fell onto the beam called briggetre. Of which [injury] he languished from that hour until vespers on the following Monday.
Kings Lynn Coroner's Roll 1291-1300

John Wynch miller for a mill leased him with 2 cottages and gardens opposite St. James chapel. (Of the rent, 20s. belongs to the Bishop and 20s. to the Prior of Lynn.) [This would have been the grain mill, whose site was acquired by the town from the Bishop, for an annual farm of 20s., in August 1392. The king’s ratification of this agreement, the following month, indicated the site (to be selected by the burgesses) was to be on Millfleet where Swagges Mill had once stood, or between that site and the Gannock gate (one of the lesser gates on the east boundary of the town). The burgesses were admonished: not to damage the fleet when excavating for the new mill; not to block the fleet’s course, which ran eastwards to the Bishop’s demesne at Mintling; not to allow the mill to back up water so that floods resulted, as had happened with Swagges Mill; and to ensure the causeway (raised road) on the north side of the fleet was maintained. Robert Perch miller had leased the mill for three years in July 1424, but he later complained that bakers and others were not bringing corn to him to have it ground; in November the borough released him from the arrangement and leased the mill to Wynch for seven years. Wynch probably encountered the same problem for, in March 1426 the borough issued an order for all bakers to grind their grain at the town mill; but the problem persisted and, shortly after the end of Wynch’s term, the borough passed an ordinance obliging townsmen to take their grain to the town mill. The cottages and gardens had been associated with the farm of the mill since at least 1399.]
Medieval English urban history - Lynn rental

1/.VOLll Page768-768
Mayor's Fleet formerly SUNOLF's FLEET (a person of some import) in the time of Edward lst. Robert probably the earliest Lynn Mayor was a son of SUNOLF (from the ancient bede roll of the merchants gild-substantiated by the leet roll c.1310).
The Mill situated almost on the current site of Framingham's Almshouses passed into various hands i.e. SWAGGS Mill Fleet and later SCALES Mill Fleet. Richard ll granted Letters Patent, whereby the Gild of the Holy Trinity in Lenne Bishop received this Mill at the hands of Thomas de Scales Knight, Marmaduke, Bishop of Carlisle and William GODERED. A new Mill was built on the GUANOCK possibly a windmill because of insufficient water flow to work the Town_Mill, for about this time the "Great mill dyke" was recast c.1596. From this source the Old Miln Lane (Stonegate Street) (Anglo Saxon - Mylen a Mill) and our modern Millfleet Terrace derive their names.
A Mill perhaps attached to the adjacent Monastery once occupied a spot near St Margarets School (now a Club) Probably converted into a Windmill when the supply of water became inadequate. Subsequently it became an Oyle Mill and the Tar office erected on site. (see:4/.)
2/. Vol l Page 22
The burg on the foreshore of the LIN was near a freshwater stream which was diverted to form not only a moat on the East and North but moreover a Mill Leat on the South which drove the Town Mill until a recent date. The Water Mill appears on RASTRICK'S Plan c.1725 and was in line with the St James Workhouse. Parts of the oak frame (22 in by 20 in by 9 ft and 16 in by 16 in by 5 ft) in which the overshot wheel worked were discovered during the sewage undertaking c.1901
3/. Vol.l Page 71-72
At the close of the 12th Century the Town was made up of two parts each being owned by different Religious Factions. THE NEWLAND (NEWLONDE) formed part of the Bishop's personal estate and the original or "OLDLAND" belonged to the Monks of Norwich. Between the Bishop and the Prior there was a rivalry and estrangement, for, as owners, each endeavoured to reap the greatest pecuniary advantage from his possession. For our Mills interest the Water Mill in the Oldland was driven by Sunolf's Fleet subsequently termed the Mayors Mill Fleet to distinguish it from Bishop's Mill Fleet where in the vicinity of Littleport Street, in the Newland, once stood the Bishops Mill. To the owners, the Monks and the Bishop, these mills were valuable "paying concerns". Mills were necessary adjuncts to Manorial Residences, hence they were, as a rule, erected by the Lord of the Manor for his own use and for those living on his estate. To compensate him for his outlay the tenants were bound to bring their corn to his Mill to be ground. They did not however pay in cash for the grinding, but were under an obligation termed Mill Service (seeta debita molendini); in other words they were compelled to leave a portion of their meal with the bailiff or the miller to recoup their patron for services rendered.
4/. Vol.ll Page 738

Lynn Mills from H .J. Hillens' History of King's Lynn

Map of Kings Lynn in 1240
Map of Kings Lynn in 1240

1200s: Mill working

August 1392: Kings Lynn town acquired the site from the Bishop of Lynn at 20s per annum

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