Weybourne Mill
Spring Beck


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Weybourne mill's present structure could be the same age as the mill house, which is thought to date from 1729, when the village was known as Wabourne. Both were built from brick and beach flints with a Norfolk pantiled roof. The house could well have been enlarged later and has the iron initials E.N. (Edmund Nurse) on one gable. In 1938 Claude Messent wrote that Weybourne Mill was the second smallest in the county after Little Cressingham.

The picture above shows Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Beales with their daughter and maid standing outside the mill, possibly just before the first world war.

August 1967 7th April 2003
August 1967
7th April 2003

Weybourne Mill was powered by one of the few overshot wheels in Norfolk as there was insufficient water available to power the more commonly found and less efficient breast or undershot wheels. Overshot wheels are comparatively rare in Norfolk 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) Foulden, Hingham, Mundesley and Tharston. The present building was built some time before 1723 and it was shown on the earliest O.S. maps in 1838. For many years it was worked in conjunction with Weybourne_postmill on the same property. In the 13th century a priory was founded at Weybourne and it is likely that it owned both mills.

The mill ceased working in about 1930. Some of the original applewood gearing still remained in 1967, although troops destroyed a good deal of it during the war. A few gearwheels and the turbine were still intact within the mill in April 2003. With tthe exception of the turbine, all remaining machinery was removed from the mill in 2006 to make way for conversion to residential use.

Edmund Nurse was born in Trimingham and baptised on 25th May 1769. He went on to marry Mary Mallis née Larkman of Weybourne on 12th October 1801 in Weybourne church.

To Millers. To be Sold by Private Contract.
An eligible FREEHOLD ESTATE situate in Weybourne in the County of Norfolk consisting of a water mill driving two pairs of French Stones & a Windmill driving two pairs of stones with Flour Mills & all the going Gears in each complete; also a commodious Dwelling House, Barn, Stables & other convenient Outbuildings & 4 acres more or less of excellent Arable Land.
Half the Purchase Money may remain on Mortgage.
Apply to Messrs. BALLACHEY & SON, Solrs. Holt.
Norfolk Chronicle - 20th March 1841

During the 1800s when the mill and much of the Weybourne areas were owned by William J. Bolding, it is reputed that he turned a blind eye to smuggled goods landed on the beaches bordering his property and was always duly rewarded with a couple of tubs left discretely on his doorstep.

To Millers
To be Let with Possession at Maichaelmas next
A Water and Wind CORN MILL, Dwelling house, suitable Outbuildings with 3 acres of Land and a Baking office if required doing a good business.
Particulars of Mr. J. Bolding, Wabourne, July 4, 1846
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 11th & 18th July 1846

Leat in August 1967 Leat in April 2003
Leat in August 1967
Leat in April 2003

Leat in August 1967 with the sea behind Leat July 2006
Mill leat in August 1967 with the sea behind
12th July 2006

Leat housing July 2006
Original leat housing and brickwork 12th July 2006

Over the years the wheelhouse walls were marked by the turning wheel or foreign bodies lodged in it. Two sets of not quite concentric marks provide evidence that the waterwheel was replaced or rehung, possibly in 1855 when W.J.J. Bolding overhauled the mill, leaving his initials in the concrete. Later the wheel was removed and a Thompson turbine was installed by Samuel Nott in about 1900 in order to improve efficiency. Unusually the two pairs of stones were driven from above, the only other Norfolk mills I have found so far that shared this arrangement are Hunworth, Snettisham and Stoke Holy Cross.

Millstone steps of French burrstone August 1967 Bedstone with a cross-tailed gudgeon on top
Millstone steps of French burrstone August 1967
Bedstone with a cross-tailed gudgeon axle bearing on top

Detailed History
NIAS Journal 1984

Water Mill House August 1967
Water Mill House August 1967

When Robert and Edmund [Nurse] emigrated in 1849, the farm and mill were purchased at auction by their eldest brother James (born 1793) in Weybourne where he trained as a miller before buying the village store and postmill in Hindolveston. There he married another Platten, Martha, daughter of an owner farmer from Wood Norton, Samuel Platten, and his second wife Rebecca Sawyer from Foulsham. He had a son in Hindolveston in 1835 and christened James Platten Nurse who married Ester from Swanton and had two children before following his father as miller in Kelling.
James Platten Nurse born 1866
Ester Nurse born 1868 who married Arthur Wordingham.

Kelling, A Genealogical Study - S. J. Morgan

Tithe map 1840
Tithe map 1840

Tithe Award 1840
Owner Thomas ARMES
Occupier John DAWSON

Map 1838

No. 230 : Mill Close - post mill on roundhouse. Arable 2a. 1r. 38p.
No. 231: House, mill etc. watermill on millpond. Pasture 1a. 0r. 10p.
  3a. 2r. 8p. = 19s.

Weybourne dam 7th April 2003
Weybourne dam 7th April 2003

Thomas Armes owned Weybourne watermill during at least the second half of the 1830s. Thomas, who was born in Gorleston c.1774, married Mary Hammond on July 9th, 1823 at Weybourne. The marriage was witnessed by John Pilch and Mary Dack. On July 20th 1823, Mary gave birth to a daughter, Martha. They then had a son Thomas, born 28th November 1824 a second daughter Marianne on 6th November 1826 and another son, John, born 2nd November 1827 and then a third daughter Elizabeth, baptised January 26th 1834.

At this time Thomas declares himself a farmer but this would have been about the time he acquired the mill, which he then either leased or rented to John Dawson.

Thomas was listed in the Holt census of 1851 as being 77 years old and a landowner.
It would appear that he
died in Holt c.1855.

The Bankruptcy Act 1861
In the County Court of Norfolk holden at Norwich
John Dawson of the parish of Weybourne near Holt in the County of Norfolk, Farmer and Miller, having been adjudged Bankrupt on the 3rd day of July 1869, a PUBLIC SITTING ... will be held at the said Court at the Shirehall, Norwich Castle on the 27th day of August 1869 at 10 o'c in the Forenoon precisely, the day last aforesaid being the day limited for the said Bankrupt to surrender.
The Registrar of the Court is the Official Assignee and Isaac Bugg Coaks of Norwich aforesaid is the Solicitor acting in the Bamkruptcy.
THOS. H. PALMER Registrar
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th August 1869

To be Sold by Auction by William Leggatt under instructions received from the Assignees of Mr. John Dawsonin Court of Bankruptcy on Friday September 24, 1869 the Live and Dead Farming Stock, MILL UTENSILS consist of about 300 corn and flour sacks, weighing machine and weights, beam scales and weights, dressing machine, sack barrows, ladders, straps, flour mill cloths, sail types, new step brasses, wrenches, sack chain etc. etc.
The Sale will commence with the Mill Utensils at the Mill at 11 o'c
Catalogues of the Auctioneer.
Norfolk Chronicle - 18th September 1869

Site plan - August 1983
Site plan - August 1983

Turbine 12th July 2006 Crownwheel section 19th July 2006
Turbine 12th July 2006
Crownwheel section 19th July 2006

Machinery 12Jul2006 Machinery 12Jul2006
Machinery removed during renovation 12th July 2006

Cross tailed gudgeon Cross tailed gudgeon
Cross tailed gudgeons September 2006

I have discovered that my Great Uncle John Dawson was the miller at Weybourne from 1836 to 1869. It would appear that he made an interesting career change. Prior to taking over the lease at Weybourne he was a brick burner in Sprowston having been born into a brick making family in Swanton Novers.
Kirk Dawson, Invermere, BC, Canada - 13th August 2010

My memories of the house go back to 1939 when my sister Christine and I were evacuees from Gravesend Kent at the  start of WW2. We were told to call Mr. and Mrs Beckett Auntie Dot and Uncle Dick. I was aged 5 and Christine was 7. I have very fond memories of those times. The things I remember was a well in front of the house that was used to draw water with bucket on a rope, and Uncle Dick being a farmer. He told me that I could have a horse for sixpence and I begged Auntie Dot for the money not knowing he was kidding.I also remember the pebble beach and watching some soldiers returning from fishing with a boatload of fish. Also remember a windmill nearby. I think that I was only there for a few months before being moved to a big building being used as a boarding school for evacuees and then going home to Gravesend. I wrote a letter after the war to Aunie Dot and she did reply. I hope before it's too late to visit Weybourne and see Watermill House. I have lived in New York City for the past 50 years.
David Buckler, New York, USA - 24th January 2011

My grandfather V.H. Rees and family owned Watermill House and the adjacent Watermill Cottage, around 1956.
They bought it from a Mr Andrews.
Nigel Rees - 27th April 2016

O. S. Map 1886

O. S. Map 1886 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images
Watermill top left marked Corn Mill, Postmill immediately below marked Windmill (Corn)
and Towermill centre marked
Weybourne Mill (Corn)

O. S. Map 1886

O. S. Map 1886 (not to scale)
Courtesy of NLS map images
Watermill top left marked Corn Mill, Postmill immediately below marked Windmill (Corn)

Map 1904

O. S. Map 1904
Courtesy of NLS map images
Watermill centre marked Corn Mill, Postmill site just to the west of the Mill Pond

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

White's 1836: Cooke Nurse, victualler, Ship
White's 1836: John Nurse, farmer

White's 1845: John Nurse, farmer (owner)

White's 1890: Mr. William Thomas Bird

Kelly's 1900: Walterr Nott, farm bailifff to Mrs. Dixon
Kelly's 1900: Robert Seaman, farm bailiff to Samuel Nott esq

Kelly's 1904: John Otty, farm bailiff to Samuel Nott esq

c.1070: Area around Weybourne including 2 mills, given by William I to his sister's son, Hugh Earl of Chester

13th September 1649: Thomas Lawson sold the mill to Edmund Britiffe for £140

Index of wills 1723: John Perry snr

June 24th 1764: John Perry jnr buried

August 25th 1765: Ann Perry buried

18th September 1723: Indentures of lease & release between Edmund Britiffe and Robert Britiffe (sale for £200)

1749: According to the terms of Robert Britiffe's Will the watermill, along with huge estates, passed to his grandson John Lord Hobart and then to John, Earl of Buckinghamshire

1759: The mill was sold as part of the estate to Horatio Lord Walpole for a combined total of £2,300

1769: Edmund Nurse born in Trimingham

1790: Edmund Nurse, miller

c.1790: Edmund Nurse's son James born

1791: Edmund Nurse, miller, was a signatory to Norwich Sack Association - Notice re charge for flour sacks

1792: Edmund Nurse, miller

30th December 1793: Indentures of Lease and release from Lord Walpole to Edmund Nurse (sale for £400)

Poll book 1802: Edmund Nurse, miller also at postmill

1803: Edmund Nurse purchased Croxton postmill

22nd August 1815: Indentures of Lease and release from Edmund Nurse to Thomas Armes (sale for £1000)

1818: Edmund Nurse sold Croxton postmill

Poll book 1824: Edmund Nurse

1825: Edmund Nurse's son James Nurse training as miller

Bryant's map 1826: Watermill

1836: Mill owned by Thomas Armes

White's 1836: John Dawson, corn miller

O.S. map 1838: Mill and postmill

Tithe Award 1840: Mill owned by Thomas Armes and milled by John Dawson

20th March 1841: Mill advertised for sale in The Norfolk Chronicle along with Weybourne postmill, mill house, various buildings and 4 acres of arable land.

Census 1841:

John Dawson (45) miller
Ann Dawson (50) wife
Emma Dawson (15)
Rachel Dawson (13)
William Dawson (11)
Priscilla Dawson (9)
Thomas Grey (20) male servant
Naomi Duffield (15) female servant

15th October 1841: Indenture of Lease and Conveyance from Thomas Armes to John Bolding (sale for £1400)

White's 1845: John Dawson, miller

July 1846: Mill & windmill advertised to be let

1847: W. J. J. Bolding inherited the mill on the death of his father. John Dawson, miller

Census 30th March 1851:

John Dawson (52) farmer of 50 acres employing 2 labourers & master miller employing 2 journeymen
Ann Dawson (56) wife
Emma Dawson (29)
Priscilla Dawson (19)
George Dawson (14) apprentice miller (nephew)
Hannah Woodhouse (15) house servant
Address: Church Street

Henry Bugden (36) journeyman miller
Susan Bugden (32)
Sarah Ann Bugden (13) servant to grocer
Mary Ann Bugden (11) scholar
Address: Mill Cottage

Samuel Amies (28) journeyman miller
Address: Sea Road

Robert Pitcher (13) apprentice miller
Address: Sheringham Road

Kelly's 1854: John Dawson, farmer (and corn miller)

1855: W.J.J.B. marked in mill

1855: William Johnson Jennis Bolding, (born 28th September 1815) landowner, farmer, brewer and maltster had taken over ownership, although John Dawson was still the miller

Census 1861: John Dawson (64) b.Holt, farmer & miller
Ann Dawson (70) b.Aylmerton
Pricilla Dawson (29) b.Sprowston
James Dawson (40) b. North Shields, Northumberland (son in law)
John Dawson (12) b.North Shields, Northumberland, scholar (grandson)
John W. Dawson (12) b.Weybourne, scholar (grandson)
Mary Ann Dawson (26) b.Norwich, ?maker (visitor)

John Turner (50) b.Mileham, journeyman miller
Alice Turner (52) b.Whissonsett
Emily Turner (18) b.Holt; Anna Turner (16) b.Holt
William Turner (12) b.Holt; Alice Turner (10) b.Holt, scholar

White's 1864: John Dawson, farmer & corn miller

3rd July 1869: After some 33 years at the mill, John Dawson was declared bankrupt

September 1869: Personal effects, mill utensils & farming stock of John Dawson advertised for sale by auction

Kelly's 1879: William Thomas Bird, farmer & miller

White's 1883: William Thomas Bird

Census 1891: William J. J. Bolding (76) b.Weybourne, farmer, small brewer, miller
Hannah E. Bolding (75) b.Weybourne (sister)
William E. Monement (43) b.Kings ? (nephew)
Ellen Goffin (47) b.Beckles, domestic cook
Eliza Dolle (46) b.Plymouth, Dorset, domestic nurse
Mary Wright (22) b.Holt, domestic kitchen maid
Rachel Randall (17) b.Cley next Sea, domestic kitchen maid

Kelly's 1896: William Johnson Jennis Bolding, brewer, maltster, landowner, farmer & miller (water)

1899: William Bolding Monement inherited the watermill and Weybourne estate after of his uncle
W. J. J. Bolding died on 28th October 1899

1900: Samuel Nott had bought the mill and soon after this he removed the waterwheel and installed a turbine

Kelly's 1900: Samuel Nott, miller (water) & farmer

Kelly's 1904: Samuel Nott, miller (water) & farmer

Kelly's 1908: Samuel Nott, miller (water) & farmer

1912: Samuel Nott sold the mill lease to Ellis Beales (see photo at top of page)

Kelly's 1912: Ellis Beales, miller (water) & corn & flour dealer

Kelly's 1916: Ellis Beales, miller (water) & corn & flour dealer

Kelly's 1922: Ellis Beales, miller (water)

1922 - 1925: Ellis Beales sold lease to Messrs. Rawston & Cringle

1925: Francis William Monement inherited the watermill from his brother William

Kelly's 1925: Rawston & Cringle, millers (water)

Kelly's 1929: Rawston & Cringle, millers (water)

Macdonald's 1930: Rawston & Cringle, millers,

1930: Mill ceased working

1932: Mill still owned by Francis William Monement

Kelly's 1933: Old Mill house listed as a private residence owned by Richard Beckett

Macdonald's 1939: Rawston & Cringle, millers,

1939: Richard & Dorothy Beckett, Mill House

c.1956: V. H. Rees & family bought the Mill House and cottage from a Mr. Andrews

12th October 1990: Bidwells advertising the mill, the mill house and an acre of ground for sale, seeking offers in the region of £300,000

March 2003: Mill and adjoining buildings advertised for sale by Thomas Gaze at a guide price of £775,000

2003: Mill bought by Len & Viv Lee

June 2006: Mill advertised for sale by John Marsh for c.£595,000 but subsequently withdrawn

2006: Remaining machinery removed to make way for residential use, leaving only the turbine

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 TG1099 4341
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004