Shotesham Mill
River Tas


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Shotesham Mill in Shotesham St. Mary or Low Shotesham as it was in 1836, was built in the 1700s and spent its last years working as a grist mill. It finally stopped working towards the end of the second world war when the last miller retired, before being demolished in 1949 after being badly damaged by floods. Apparently, at the time of its destruction it was described as "The little gem of Norfolk scenery."

The mill was almost saved, when at a meeting of the East Norfolk Rivers Catchment Board it was stated that the preservation of the mill was possible and Mr. Fletcher Watson, the architect, said that he had a client who was willing to restore the mill. Unfortunately it never came to pass.

Shotesham watermill stood to the southeast of the nearby post_windmill, the two mills being worked by the same miller.

Print by James Starling - c.1935
Print by James Starling - c.1935

3rd June 1939 29th May 1939
3rd June 1939
29th May 1939

Notice to Creditors
John Spratt of Shottisham, Miller and George Gordon of Carleton Rode, Farmer, legal representativers of George Everettt, Administrator of the goods etc. of the late Richard Everett, of Carleton Rode, deceased.
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th October 1791

Tailrace in 1938 c.1938
Tailrace in 1938

Mill dam c.1947 c.1947
Mill dam c.1947

1947 1947

In 1263, John de Vaux of Therston obtained a charter for free warren here, of King Henry III.; this John was sued for appropriating the fishing to himself on each side of his mill, it being proved that all the fishery in the manor was common to the tenants except the mill pool only, and at the same time the Abbot of Holme was fined, for hindering the common fishing at Linewesse in Shotesham .
History of the County of Norfolk, Francis Blomfield - 1806

Tofthall Manor belonged to Bishop Stigand, and at the Conquest to Roger Bigot, and Ralf Fitz Walter held it of him, as a manor containing 2 carucates of land, worth at the first survey 40 s . and at the second 4 l. per annum. Upper Shotesham was then a mile and half long, and half a mile broad, and paid 16 d . to the geld; there was the moiety of a mill, and the advowson of a church belonging then to the manor, and the moiety of the advowson had 15 acres of glebe, then valued at one penny an acre per annum.
History of the County of Norfolk, Francis Blomfield - 1806

The church of All-Saints, called high or Great Shotesham church, which was given by Sir Robert de Vaux, founder of Pentney priory in Norfolk, to that house when he founded it, and so it became separated from Shotesham -Hall manor, which it constantly had attended to that time; and Ralph de Hoe released all his right in it; the same founder also gave to that house, a mill at Shotesham and 15 acres of land late belonging to the church; and the advowson of St. Botolph's church here, and the prior got the church of All-Saints appropriated to his house, and was taxed for its spirituals appropriated, at 12 marks, and always presented to the endowed vicarage, till the Dissolution, when the whole vested in the Crown, and continued there till 1552, and then Edward VI. granted the impropriate rectory and the advowson of the vicarage , and the advowson of the churches of St. Mary and St. Botolph , to William Necton , and William Mingay and his heirs; and it hath continued in the Mingays, for in 1715, William Mingay, Gent. was impropriator and patron.
History of the County of Norfolk, Francis Blomfield - 1806

Arthur Cole (1835-1902) was journeyman miller who travelled between many mills including Shotesham.
This is his story

SHOTISHAM MILLS mile from Swainstorpe Station...
Sale of furniture of William BARNARD who relinquishes the above occupation.

Norfolk Chronicle - 29th September 1855

John Spratt made a will on 9th April 1817 and it was proved on 13th September 1819.
John Spratt, miller of Shottesham St. Mary, Nfk, appoints my son in Law William Spratt the Younger of Norwich, Coachmaker, & sons Andrew & Robert Spratt, executors of this will.

To ANDREW SPRATT, all that flour mill, dwellinghouse, land, hereditaments and premises situate lying at Mulbarton as is now in the occupation of said son Andrew for his heirs and assigns.

Shottesham All Saints
Kelly's 1879:
William Cutts, Dukes Head inn, farmer, artificial manure, & cart & mill grease manufacturer & hoop & hurdle maker

Effort to Save Shotesham Mill

Private Offer For Renovation
In an attempt to save Shotesham Mill from demolition an interested person has offered to spend a considerable sum of money on its renovation. This was reported at yesterday's meeting of the East Norfolk Rivers Catchment Board.
At its last meeting the Board decided to make arrangements with Major Fellowes, the owner of the mill, for its demolition.
Reporting this latest development, Mr. S W. Mobbs, Chief Engineer of the Board, said he had been informed that Mr. Fletcher Watson, the architect, who had interested himself in the matter, had found a client prepared to put the mill in order and presumably live there.
He added that Major Fellowes had written referring to the importance of the waterway being kept free of obstruction and saying that if the Board was of the opinion that this could be done and the mill preserved whole, he would go further into the matter. If the Board did not think this would be possible, the mill would have to be demolished as originally agreed.
Mr. Mobbs said that, provided arrangements could be made for enlarging the waterway under the mill, obstructions and defective portions taken out and the old water mill removed so that the channel was sufficient for the flow of the river, there was no reasons why, if anyone was fool enough to spend sufficient money on it, it should not be preserved and a new top put on it.
The Chairman (Major S.W. Humphery) referred to the considerable reconstruction needed. He thought the Board would not object if proper arrangements could be made to safeguard its interests and the work could be done within a reasonable time.
Mr. Mobbs said he thought Major Fellowes would have to be satisfied that some kind of by-pass arrangements would be made in the river to prevent damage to his property from flooding.
It was agreed to await a report on developments at next month's meeting before making further arrangements about demolition.
Eastern Daily Press - 12th February 1949

Remains of waterwheel axle and upright shaft in 1949 Pitwheel remains during demolition in June 1949
Remains of waterwheel axle and upright shaft in 1949
Pitwheel remains during demolition in June 1949

Destruction of the mill in June 1949
Destruction of the mill in June 1949

I am now going back a further generation to Andrew Spratt (my 5x great grandfather) and John Spratt's father.  John baptismal record shows parents Andrew and Elizabeth. Andrew son of Andrew Spratt & Susannah his wife was bapt May ye 29th 1713 in Earsham. He was married on 29th October 1741 to Elizabeth Bruerton at Hedenham. He died 5th August 1788 and was buried at Shotesham St Mary  on 10th August 1788.  Andrew Spratt Miller aged 75. The headstone reads In memory of WILLm SPRATT who departed this life November the 21st  1751 Aged 37 years Also of ANDw SPRATT who departed this life August the 5th 1788 Aged 75 years. [William was Andrew's brother]. Unfortunately the area around the Spratt graves at Shotesham St  Mary is extremely over grown with shrubs etc. and it is now impossible to be able to see and read some. (The churchyard could possibly do with borrowing some sheep and/or goats!) Yesterday I discovered on Ancestry from Briton, Country Apprentices 1710-1808, hand written, the following, from 1784: 22 May 84, No.56 Andrew Spratt & John Shottisham C. of Norfolk Millers Thos Reynolds. This seems to confirm that this Andrew Spratt was a miller at Shotesham.
Jill Webb - 18th June 2018

My maternal 4x great grandfather was John Spratt the miller at Mulbarton, Shotesham_postmill, Shotesham watermill and Saxlingham Thorpe postmill and watermill.
Re: the details of him that are on your Mulbarton site: He was baptised on 10 February 1745/46 at Hedenham. Prior to his marriage in 1776 he was married, by licence, on 15 July 1770 to Mary Hayward, both of them widowed. Mary was buried 17 November 1773 in Mulbarton. John and Mary had three children. The only one who survived was Elizabeth (baptised 26 May 1771, died 19 July 1842), who married Jeremy Thursby on 9 October 1792. Jeremiah was buried 24 May 1795.(All these were in Mulbarton.)
John Spratt died on 23 May 1819. He was buried at Shotesham St Mary and his headstone reads Sacred to the Memory of SARAH the wife of JOHN SPRATT  who died Oct 7th 1802 Aged 47 years Also of JOHN SPRATT many years Miller in this Parish who died May 23rd  1819.
(I looked for the headstone last month but unfortunately it has "gone missing" so am relying on the Women's Institute transcription of the graveyard done in 1980. This can be found on Shotesham website under weddings!) John and Sarah had twelve children and John left the Mulbarton Mill to his eldest surviving son Andrew.

Jill Webb - 18th June 2018

Tailrace in April 1977 Tailrace in February 2003
Tailrace in April 1977
Tailrace in February 2003

Headrace in February 2003 Wheelrace in February 2003
Headrace in February 2003
Wheelrace in February 2003

23rd November 2006
23rd November 2006

The burials records of St Mary's Shotesham of 1788 show Andrew Spratt, Miller, aged 75. There is no record of him being a miller on the grave stone. The burial record together with the details of the 1784 apprentice record stating Andrew was a miller in Shotesham I think make it safe to put this on the site. (This Andrew Spratt started out life as a carpenter in Hedenham where he was married and where his children were born.  There is an apprentice record from 1751 with him being a Master Carpenter.) The earliest record of him being in Shotesham is 16th October 1776 from the Norfolk Chronicle attending a meeting together with John Spratt of Mulbarton of the subscribers to the association for the apprehending and prosecuting  of horse-stealers but whether he was a miller at this time is not stated. The safest time for saying he was a miller is as late as 1784,  although likely he was a miller for many years before this. However, from when, it is impossible to tell from my investigations.
Regarding William Spratt.  Unfortunately the only definitive details that I have been able to find of him are his baptismal and burial records . I cannot find any record of him being a miller but he died in 1751 aged only 37 and records are in short supply from that time. So with lack of evidence I don't think he can go down as a miller in Shotesham.

Jill Webb - 12th May 2019

O. S. Map 1880

O. S. Map 1880
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1882

O. S. Map 1882
Courtesy of NLS map images

The above map clearly shows the dotted line of the parish boundary tracing the original path of the River Tas that ran to the west of the mill rejoining the main river course to the north of the mill. The river course was altered to accommodate the mill and the mill dam.

O.S. Map 2010
O.S. Map 2010
Red cross marks postmill - watermill at the ford
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

1263: Mill working

September 1763: Mr. Pratt listed as a contact re the sale of Bedingham smockmill

1784: Andrew Spratt, miller

5th August 1788: Andrew Spratt, miller, died aged 75

1791: John Spratt, miller

1795: John Spratt, miller, also Saxlingham_watermill, Saxlingham Thorpe postmill and Shotesham postmill

Faden's map 1797: Shotesh Mills

Shotesham Poll Book 1806: John Spratt, miller (also at windmill)

Shotesham Poll Book 1819: John Spratt, miller (also at windmill)

23rd May 1819: John Spratt died and was buried at Shotesham St. Mary

White's 1836: ... and comprising only two farms, a few scattered houses and a watermill ...

White's 1836: William & Henry Barnard, corn millers

White's 1845: William Barnard, corn miller (also at windmill)

White's 1854: William Barnard, corn miller (also at windmill)

Craven's 1856: William Barnard, miller

September 1855: William Barnard left

1855: John Miles, miller

Kelly's 1858: John Wakelin Miles, miller

Harrod's 1863: John Wakelin Miles, miller

1863: John Miles took over Saxlingham Thorpe water & wind mills

Kelly's 1879: Wiliam Crane, miller & farmer

Kelly's 1883: William Crane, miller

Kelly's 1896: William Crane, miller, steam and water

Kelly's 1900: Arthur Aldridge, miller

Kelly's 1912: Arthur Aldridge, miller (water & steam)

1st June 1915: Arthur Aldridge bought Hempnall Mill Road towermill at auction

June 1919: Eliza Aldridge sold Hempnall Mill Road towermill to Miss Helen Kate Vout for £300

Kelly's 1922: Execors. of Arthur Aldridge

Kelly's 1922: Execors. of Arthur Aldridge

Kelly's 1929: Arthur Aldridge & Sons, steam and water

Kelly's 1937: Horace Aldridge, miller

1947: Horace Aldridge retired

1947: Heavy winter floods caused damage

1949: Mill demolished

2010: Joanna Bull, Mill House

2011: Mill house open for bed & breakfast accommodation

Nat Grid Ref TM 22589939
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003