Snettisham Mill
River Ingol


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Snettisham watermill, in Southgate, was built in 1800 for £800 at a time when bread was scarce and it was built by the community for the community. It is probable that it was built on an existing site although virtually no records have so far been found apart from the fact that Thomas Stonne was a Snettisham miller in 1626. At the time of Domesday there were seven mills in Snettisham - more than in any other Norfolk village.

The mill itself is quite small and originally consisted of a single small structure built of local carrstone with a pantiled roof. Carrstone is a variety of sandstone that is dark brown due to minute grains of iron ore. Around 1877 the machinery was improved and a twin section added to become the granary and waggon store.

The mill carried on producing flour until 1940 and after that was used for animal feed production until 1960.

The mill had three pairs of stones and unusually the larger two pairs were driven from above and the smaller pair from below, the latter pair required less power and was used when water levels were low. Other Norfolk mills that drive stones from above are Hunworth, Stoke_Holy_Cross, Thornage and Weybourne. Later on a belt driven roller mill was added.

June 1968
June 1968

At the time the mill was built a significant part of farmworkers' wages could be taken up by the cost of having corn ground into flour. Local people would bring in grain they had grown themselves or gleanings they had acquired.

June 1968
June 1968

Normally, when flour leaves the stones, it passes down a chute into bags. However, at Snettisham it passed down a chute into bins from which the flour was then measured out to the poor of the parish.

To be Sold by Auction on Tuesday 2 June 1863 at the Globe Hotel, King's Lynn... (18 April ... by John BECK)
a small FLOUR -MILL, HOUSE & COTTAGE and about 8a. of Accommodation LAND also near the Village and within 200 yards of Snettisham Railway Station, occupied by Mr. Stephen BUTCHER, Mr. John MALLETT and Mr. Joseph TURNER.
Norfolk Chronicle - April & 2nd May 1863

The wheelhouse with the intact wheel June 1968
The wheelhouse with the intact wheel June 1968


Wheel spokes and axle May 1977 Belt driven roller mill May 1977
Wheel spokes and axle May 1977
Belt driven roller mill May 1977

By the Secretary of the Board 1813
Chapter X1V Section 1V The Poor p.41
Chapter X1V Section 1V The Poor p.491
An establishment at Snettisham, which has been found of the greatest use to the poor and has answered every expectation is a subscription water-mill; it cost 800£ and a miller is employed, at 20s. per week, to grind, at 4d per bushel, for all persons, whencesoever coming.
Also in 1804 Edition

25th August 2003
25th August 2003

1983 25th August 2003
25th August 2003

In 1981 the mill was bought by Robin and Audrey Nott who set about renovating the buildings, a new roof being the initial priority. Much of the original machinery lay intact. By 1984 the mill was back in operational order and able to provide milling demonstrations to the public.

Two pairs of lower stones 1980 Upper pair of stones 1980
Two pairs of lower stones 1980
Upper pair of stones 1980

The wheel, September 1998 Crown wheel, stone nuts and stones, September 1998
The wheel, September 1998
Crown wheel, stone nuts and stones, September 1998

The Water Mill enjoys an enviable position, having East/West elevations with lovely established gardens which include the Mill Pond itself which has recently been dredged. The whole site extends to about an acre subject to survey. This is a unique opportunity to acquire a Grade II Listed historical building. The main structure is of local carrstone under a pantiled roof and measures approximately 22' x 52' and is arranged on two floors and has the original mill wheel in working order. The River Ingol flows through the Mill Pond and out through the sluice gate which is controlled by the Water Mill.
SERVICES: All mains services are available to the other properties on the Mill House site but any interested purchasers will have to make their own enquiries as to the availability to the Water Mill itself.
Guide price in the region of £200,000
Belton Duffey Estate Agents & Valuers - April 2003

Plan from NIAS Journal Vol. 2 No. 3
Plan from NIAS Journal Vol. 2 No. 3

West Elevation
West Elevation

Mill Grinding Floor Plan
Mill Grinding Floor Plan

Cutaway machinery layout from official pamphlet - 1982
Cutaway machinery layout from official pamphlet - 1982

Old millstones inlaid into the mill house patio 2003
Old millstones inlaid into the mill house patio 2003

The Lynn News Village Supplement of 19th April 2004 reported that village's Watermill & Heritage Centre Steering Committee had made an application to the Lottery Fund for some £300,000 to go towards purchase and restoration of the mill.
Unfortunately, the application was unsuccessful.

In 2008, new owner, Michael Saunders applied for planning permission to convert the granary section of the mill to holiday let accommodation whilst allowing the mill to be open to to the public on set days. Although supported by members of the committee formed to save the mill in 2003, the application was objected to by the Mills Section of SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings), mainly on the grounds that the physical structure of the mill and its use would be dramatically and probably permanently altered.

I believe the Robert Chapman who was the first miller at Snettisham had previously been at Castle_Rising:- his marriage licence before marrying Elizabeth Plane (they were I believe the parents of the John Chapman who took over Snettisham mill after Robert) states: 1805 Marriage Licence Robert Chapman, occupation Miller, of Castle_Rising ( have copy of this Licence) John Chapmans baptism states: baptism 18 September 1813 at Castle_Rising John Chapman son of Robert, a servant in the cornmill, and SARAH.
Rosemary Frost - 8th September 2008

August 2011
August 2011

Snettisham watermill money to go into church heritage room

EFFORTS are being made to release £1,660 from a small charity to create a new heritage room in Snettisham's church.
The watermill committee in the village was set up in 2002 to raise money to buy the 19th-century building, off Station Road, and turn it into a heritage attraction for people in the area.
Although it was independent from Snettisham Parish Council the group, which had 10 members, included three parish councillors, according to West Norfolk councillor and committee member David Johnson.
Mr Johnson, former borough mayor, told the Lynn News the committee needed to raise £70,000 to buy and restore the mill. That figure would have been matched with a grant.
He said: "It was a very good idea and I would have loved to have seen it but in all honesty it never stood a chance."
It is believed the committee collapsed in 2005 after the watermill was sold to a developer.
The historic structure is now being turned into holiday accommodation, according to Eric Langford, Snettisham Parish Council chairman.
An appeal was put out by Mr Langford at a full parish council meeting on July 6, for former committee members and signatories for its Santander bank account to come forward in order to release the £1,660.
The group's chairman had been Sybil Melton, mother of former parish council clerk, Beverley Boughen, 42, who was jailed for 18 months after stealing more than £60,000 from four parish councils and a village charity.
Boughen, who was treasurer of the watermill committee, was clerk to Ringstead Parish Council, Marshland St James Parish Council, Burnham Market Parish Council, Snettisham Parish Council, as well as treasurer for the Heacham and District Community Car Scheme.
Mr Johnson was one of seven former committee members who met on Monday at Snettisham's Methodist Hall, along with Mrs Melton who is one of the signatories.
"We were looking into how to get that money out," he added.
The councillor also added that Mrs Melton suggested the £1,660 should go towards the heritage room in St Mary's Church. Investigations are also being made into the legal aspects of dealing with individual donations.

Lynn News - Thursday 4th August 2011

Snettisham: Call to end Watermill fund saga

A PUBLIC meeting could be held to discuss winding up a defunct restoration fund.
Members of the Snettisham Watermill and Heritage Centre steering committee are hoping to organise the meeting to speed up the dissolution process and distribute the money.
The committee was formed in 2003 to renovate the old mill but fizzled out when the site was sold for housing.
It laid dormant until August last year but no meetings have been held since Christmas.
Committee members and West Norfolk councillors David Johnson and Zipha Christopher want to organise a meeting to draw a line under the saga.
Mr Johnson said: "We are looking to hold a public meeting to wind it up and to get transparency.
"I think the public should know what is going on."
Committee chairman Sybil Melton has now written to Snettisham Parish Council stating that members resolved at a meeting on September 13 that the matter should be put into the hands of councillors and they are waiting for a response.
The letter, which is dated January 2012 but was only received last week, stated: "It has been said that because the committee do not have or are unable to access all papers relating to their deliberations in prior years, their view is that the above winding up may involve taking legal advice.
"The committee considered this would involve unwarranted diminution of the distributable funds."
The letter goes on to say the committee's accounts and signed minutes were stored at the parish council office - although the parish council and watermill committee both warned that they could not vouch for the accuracy of the information after the files had been perused by the public.
Mrs Melton,in her letter, suggests that money should be returned to two fundraisers, including Sheila Matsell who called for the return of her £575 in last week's Lynn News, and the rest be donated to Norfolk Mills Group.
The letter also states: "However, may I just add, as founder members of the committee, some other members and myself are well aware that the committee was never set up as a parish council committee, and the finances were not dealt with by the parish council.
"Therefore I have been advised that it would be improper for the parish council to look into the watermill finances as they were never included in the parish council accounts."
Mrs Matsell has not heard from the committee. She wants the money to be donated to the lifeboat and Meadow House, Swaffham, which cared for her grandson Dean, who died from CJD - Mad Cow disease.

Lynn News - Thursday 23rd February 2012

I am a mill enthusiast from Soham in Cambridgeshire but my family have a holiday caravan in Heacham so i am always keeping an eye out for the local mills.
Today I decided to check out Snettisham Watermill as i haven't seen it for about 10 years and i had heard about the saga of the attempted conversion of the granary and the photographs on your excellent site about the state it is in. I was pleasantly surprised when i arrived to see that all the ivy and weeds has been cleaned off the building, the windows have been repaired/replaced and all woodwork repainted with fresh white paint. This is a great change to the previous condition described on its page on your site. Weather or not the owner is planning to open it again I am not sure I haven't heard anything but you may have better contacts than me.      
I do hope that the future of this important mill is now looking far more rosy than it did a few years ago and it will be amazing to see it working once again.

Andrew White - 13th October 2013

Mill dam 19th February 2014 Mill 19th February 2014
Mill dam 19th February 2014
Mill 19th February 2014

Bypass sluice 19th February 2014 Wheelrace 19th February 2014
Bypass sluice 19th February 2014
Wheelrace 19th February 2014

1946 aerial photo showing river routes
1946 aerial photo showing river routes

1946 aerial photo of the Ingoldisthorpe/Snettisham area, showing what I take to be the old course of the river in blue and the new (present) one in orange. The old one has evidently been straightened in more recent centuries.
Tim Holt-Wilson - 3rd March 2014

I stumbled across your page whilst trying to find out about my family history in Snettisham. The photo believed to be Sarah Chapman (Elizabeth Susannah Wright) is my Great Great Great Grandmother! The information you have is in keeping with what I've found out myself. You mention she had a daughter Ellen, after marrying William Wright. This daughter was Ellen Elizabeth Wright, who went on to marry Henry Whitby. One of Ellen and Henry's daughters fell into the water at the mill and died aged 2. They lived in a cottage nearby. They had quite a few children, including William "Bill" Arthur Whitby, who lied about his age to join the Norfolk Regiment 2nd Btn. and fought in the Boer War. He was taken prisoner but returned and later fought in the 1st World War with his younger brother Guy Marriott Whitby, who was killed in action. He later was a sea defense officer during the Second World War. Bill was quite something! His duties in WW2 were at home, patrolling Snettisham beach, drinking and smoking like a trooper, with his pet parrot! Finally discharged due to old age.
His youngest brother Henry was my Great Grandad.

Jack Whitby - 24th January 2021

31st July 2023 31st July 2023
31st August 2023
Wheel still in situ - 31st August 2023

Snettisham Mill advertised for sale for £370,000

O. S. Map 1885

O. S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

1626: Thomas Stonne

1800: New mill built

1800 - 1836: Robert Chapman

1805: Robert Chapman married at Castle Rising

December 1816 - February 1817: T. Horner

Pigot's 1830: Robt. Chapman, miller, Snettisham

White's 1836: Robert Chapman

Pigot's 1839: John Chapman

Census 1841: John Chapman

7th June 1844: John Chapman died

White's 1845: Sarah Chapman (John's widow)

1850: Stephen Butcher (Sarah's father)

Census 1851: Elizabeth Sarah Chapman (34), miller employing 1 (Sarah had 3 sons and 2 daughters)

1857: Elizabeth Sarah Chapman married William Wright

1863: Edwin Butcher, Greenwich Pensioner - Royal Marines Portsmouth 1830 - 1852 (Sarah's brother)

Tuesday 2nd June 1863: Mill sold at auction

6th December 1863: Stephen Butcher died

Census 1863: William Wright

1868: Mill machinery improved and granary and waggon store built

1871: Mill sold by Styleham le Strange family to William T. Brown of Gedney

1877: Mill sold to Edward Green (later Sir Edward) - industrialist from Yorkshire

Census 1881: William Wright

Kelly's 1883: William Wright married Elizabeth Chapman (John's widow) 2 daughter's + 1 between marriages

Kelly's 1892: William Wright, miller

1895: Edwin Butcher died aged 83, buried 15th February

Kelly's 1896: John Whitrod

January 1901: Elizabeth Wright (Chapman) died aged 86 in Docking Workhouse, buried 12th January 1901

1902: William Wright died Docking Union Workhouse aged 85

Kelly's 1912: John Whitrod

Kelly's 1922: William Morley

Kelly's 1925: Thomas Elliott Hodge

Kelly's 1937: Thomas Elliott Hodge

1949: Thomas Hodge sold the mill and moved to Scotland

L.D. Barnes - various alterations including garden landscaping

Mrs. Dixon-Spain - later married Dr. Parrymore. Gardener's cottage built adjoining the mill house

Norfolk CC report 1969: Storage use. Original machinery survives

1978: Mrs.Parrymore died

F.R. Easton

1979: Mill bought by Robin and Audrey Nott for restoration

1984: Mill back in operational order

1995: Mill sold

April 2003: Mill advertised for sale by Belton Duffey of Kings Lynn at a guide price of £200,000

2003: Watermill & Heritage Centre Steering Committee formed to attempt to purchase the mill for the village

Snettisham Watermill & Heritage Centre Steering Committee applied to the Lottery Fund for a grant of 300,000 towards purchase and restoration of the mill

2004: Lottery grant unsuccessful

2005: Snettisham Watermill & Heritage Centre Steering Committee disbanded after mill sold to a developer

2008: Michael Saunders

2008: Application for planning permission to convert the granary section to holiday let accommodation

February 2024: Mill advertised for sale at £370,000 by The Norfolk Agents

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

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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2003