Mundesley Mill
River Mun


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

25th January 1906
25th January 1906

Mundesley watermill was built c.1723 and consisted of a two brick floors supporting a weatherboarded upper floor and roof space under a Norfolk pantiled roof. Unusually the mill had one of the few overshot wheels in Norfolk and no lucam. This type of wheel is comparatively rare in the county due to the mainly gentle terrain. The only other mills to use this system that I have found so far were at Brandiston, Buxton (one of the two wheels) Congham, Foulden, Hingham, Tharston and Weybourne. With the mill being just within yards of the sea, the only way to provide a sufficient head of water was to dam the stream to form the mill dam some considerable height above the road. When the mill was working, 8 million gallons of water flowed through per day.

Millpond c.1890
Millpond c.1890

Samuel Howard jnr was baptised in Mundesley on 15th May 1743, the son of Samuel & Margaret Howard.
A Samuel Howard jnr married Mary Boulter in Mundesley on 24th February 1764.
John Howard, son of Samuel & Mary Howard was born on 17th January 1768.
Samuel Howard jnr died in January 1817 at the approximate age of 74.

John Howard took over the mill at the approximate age of 49.

Samuel Howard jnr, miller, died in 1817 without making a will. His widow, Mary Howard, in an affidavit dated 14th January 1817, signed by making her mark, that she renounced the right to administer the estate, probably due to her advanced age thus making way for her son John.
Samuel and Mary's son, John Howard, miller, then made an oath stating that he did not believe his father Samuel had left a will. The administration bond was written on 22nd January 1817 allowing John Howard to take over the administration and he also signed another affidavit to say that his father Samuel did not leave a will.

1949 The Dell c.1952
The Dell c.1952

Affidavit Date Jan 22, 1817.
John Howard of Mundesley, in the County of Norfolk, miller, mentioned in the administration bond thereto annexed, makes oath and faith that he verily believes that Samuel Howard, late of Mundesley, Co. Norfolk, aforesaid Miller, his late father, died without any will made by him. 
The above affidavit was signed by John Howard in his own hand.

The said John HOWARD, signed this affidavit and was sworn to the truth thereof at Knapton on Jan 22, 1817.

LARTER On Monday last of erysipelas, Mr Wm. Larter of Mundesley Mills, aged 59 years, respected by a large circle of friends.
Norfolk News - 24th December 1864

Know all Men by these Present, that we:-  John Howard, of Mundesley, Co. Norfolk, Miller,  William Barcham, Gent of Mundesley, & Spurrel Plumbly, of Southrepps, both in the County of Norfolk are bolden and firmly bound ............
The Conditon of the Obligation is such  -  That is the above bound John Howard, natural and lawful son of Samuel Howard, late of Mundesley, miller, deceased, intestate, (Mary Howard, the widow and relict of the deceased having under her hand and seal renounced the administration of the said goods, rights, credits and chattels, which renunciation hath been duly admitted and allowed).
John Howard signed his own name as administrator.

Mill dam c.1924

Mill dam c.1930
Mill dam c.1930

Pippa Miller's copy of Claude Messent's 1938 original
Pippa Miller's copy of Claude Messent's 1938 original

The 1881 census (see time line at bottom of page) shows that the miller, William Larter was renting the mill and house from his mother Elizabeth Larter and his sister Elizabeth was renting out nearby cottages.

Mill dam c.1908 Mill dam c.1950
Mill dam c.1908
Mill dam c.1950

When the mill was worked by the Larter family in the 1920s, the deeds stated that anyone interfering with the stream had to pay dues to the millers. The Larter family also used the mill to generate electricity, which also supplied power to some of the surrounding properties including a Bell's grocery shop, Larter & Rudran's bicycle garage and a Mrs. Hewitt at The Dell. One of the Larter family was known as 'Grumpy Larter' by local children.

Mill interior c.1950
Mill interior c.1950

Stone dressing tools September 1950
Stone dressing tools September 1950

The Mill nearly suffered a flood followed by water starvation in 1924 when a culvert burst at Gimingham, which was the next mill upstream - see the article on the Gimingham Mill page.


c.1960 April 1965
April 1965

The watermill at Mundesley-on-Sea is one of the few Norfolk mills standing near the seashore. It is said to possess the only overshot wheel in Norfolk. [There were 7 others - JJN] This means that the water instead of pushing the blades of the waterwheel from below after the manner of other Norfolk watermills working on the sluggish rivers and streams so characteristic of this county is carried on to, but just over, the top of the wheel where it settles into troughs or buckets set round and across the rim; the weight of water carries the wheel round and so provides power. The wheel is a large one and the fall of water about twenty feet. The used water runs under the highway and past the bottom of a pretty little sunken garden. Last June giant hemlock plants were growing beside this waterway, at the bottom of which stones and rocks glistened. The wayfarer leaning over the wall beside the road here saw looking up at him great clusters of white flowers supported by stems ten feet in height. There was something repellent about these brown spotted poisonous-looking stems.

Built near beach

Seen from the highway Mundesley Mill has five floors but take the public pathway round to the back and only two will be seen. This is because the mill pool here is level with the third floor. The builders set the mill deep into a high bank, over which the water must have fallen freely in old days before findings its way to the beach; or possibly the water was diverted to this point for the purpose of driving the mill. The mill is in good condition and at work. One hopes it may continue to escape the fate of so many of its fellows.
Features of Mundesley Mill - R .D. Clover, 6th December 1947

The wheel April 1965 Main machinery and stones April 1965
The wheel April 1965
Main machinery and stones April 1965

The millpond still remains but the mill burnt down in November 1956. Some of the cog wheels were still visible in their mountings within the shell of the building in 1959. The remains of the building were finally pulled down in the summer of 1965.

April 1968
April 1968


Richard Harvey was a local and his brother decided to sail a tin bath down the stream beneath the mill. Unfortunately, when the bath got to the small bridge just ahead of where the stream empties into the sea, it immediately stuck fast causing a jet of water to shoot into the air, soaking all the folk who happened to be standing on the bridge at the time.

Mill dam March 1977 Mill wheel February 1977
Mill dam March 1977
Mill wheel February 1977

Mill dam 1st January 2003 1st January 2003
Mill dam 1st January 2003
1st January 2003

The waterwheel was large with a diameter of 26 feet and Mr Percy Wilde of Stevenage who had owned the Mill House as weekend holiday home since about 1958, decided to enclose the wheel behind a grill and to leave it as a showpiece. The wooden spokes and the rim were in reasonable condition but the metal scoops and some wooden cogs were replaced.

For many years it still turned whenever enough water was available. The water flowed over the wheel and then under the road and into the sea through a pipe.

Wheelhouse 1st January 2003 Mill wheel 1st January 2003
Wheelhouse 1st January 2003
Mill wheel 1st January 2003

River Mun just below the mill 9th March 2009 Mill wheel 8th March 2009
River Mun just below the mill 9th March 2009
Mill wheel 8th March 2009

19th February 2018
19th February 2018

O. S. Map 1905

O. S. Map 1905
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

Militia Ballot List 1765: Saml. Hayward snr. miller, aged 42; Saml. Hayward jnr.miller, aged 21

January 1817: Samuel Howard jnr, miller, died leaving widow Mary and son John Howard, miller (Hayward)

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

21st September 1834:

William Larter snr married Elizabeth Gaze of Paston whose family later milled at Gimingham watermill

White's 1836: William Larter snr

White's 1854: William Larter snr - corn miller

December 1864: William Larter snr died

Census 1881:

Elizabeth Larter (70) b.Dilham, rents from mill and house;
John Larter (42) b.Mundesley, farmer of 100 acres employing 3 men and a boy;
Elizabeth Larter (41) b.Mundesley, rents from cottages;
Norman Moore (22) b.Sidestrand, boarder, miller

Census 1881: William Larter jnr (43) b.Mundesley, master miller employing 2 men;
Mary S. Larter (36) b.Cromer; Kate Larter, (10) b.Sidestrand, scholar;
William Larter (7) b.Mundesley, scholar; Edith Larter (5) b.Mundesley, scholar;
Norman Larter (3) b.Mundesley;
Sophia Chadwick (17) b.Sidestrand, general domestic servant

Kelly's 1883: William Larter jnr

Kelly's 1896: William Larter jnr

Kelly's 1900: Mrs. Mary Larter (widow)

Eastern Daily Press 1924: Larter Bros.

Kelly's 1925: Mrs. Mary Larter

Kelly's 1929: Mrs. Mary S. Larter

Kelly's 1937: Larter Bros

1956: Mill destroyed by fire

1965: Remains of mill demolished leaving just the wheelhouse and wheel, which still turned

2005: Remains of waterwheel still in situ

2009: Wheel remains deteriorating, paddles gone and sides collapsing

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 31533652
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004