Cawston Road


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Mill workng c.1890

Aylsham's 7 storey Cawston Road towermill was built in 1826 for Henry Soame. The 3 pairs of stones, flour mill and jumper were powered by 4 double shuttered sails, each with 9 bays of 3 shutters. The boat shaped cap held a gallery, an 8 bladed fan and a chain pole. A stage was set around the second floor.

The sale details of 1865 record that the mill was running 3 pairs of stones with a further pair being powered by a 6 h.p. steam engine in an adjoining building.

Henry Soame died in 1833, a few years after the mill was built and left it to his son George Soame. In 1872 the mill was sold for £315 to James Davison, who also ran Buttland towermill in Mill Road.

In the late 1890s the mill was struck by lightning and the sails were damaged and not repaired. When the mill was struck by lightning a second time c.1912 a small fire ensued. The sails were eventually blown off c.1920 and the mill was destined for demolition. When demolition was started, it was found to be uneconomical due to the tower being extremely sturdily built. The jagged effect of the partly demolished tower summit was therefore left in situ.

Tithe Award, 1840
May, James WRIGHT, Land Surveyor, Lynn Regis, 1839
Owner George SOAME
Occupier do

No. 673 House, Mill Buildings

& Yards

Pasture 1a.1r.30p.
part of 10a.0r.20p.
Tithe £1.3s. to Vicar
2.12s.6d. to Imprs.

To be Let For a term of years with Possession at Michaelmas next.
A very powerful Brick TOWER WINDMILL driving three pairs of French Stones with Machinery complete. Also Dwelling House, Gardens, Granaries, Stables & other Premises with or without 46 acres of good Arable Land in Aylsham.
Apply to W.D. Gardiner, Aylsham Mill, Norfolk.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th & 17th September 1853 & also advertised 5th November & weekly to 10th December 1853 as by W. D. Gardiner of Dilham Mills.

To be Sold by Auction (without reserve)
By Mr. G.E. Burrell, on Thursday, October 25, 1860 at 11 o’c a.m.
By Order of the Assignee of the Estate & Effects of Mr. JOHN NEECH under a Deed of Assignment for the equal benefit of all creditors.

All the Live & Dead Farming Stock, Mill Stock, Horses, Carts, Carriages, Household Furniture, & other Effects on the Premises of the said JOHN NEECH
Norfolk Chronicle - 20th October 1860 & Norfolk News

To be Sold by Auction by J. S. Hickling at the Dog Inn, Aylsham, on Tuesday 16 August 1864 at 4 for 5 o’c
The Valuable Property of Mr. George Soame comprising
Residence …
A Capital Brick built TOWER WINDMILL containing seven floors, three pairs of stones, flour mill, jumper etc.
Six horse power steam engine (nearly new) driving one pair of stones, flour mill & jumper, with large granary, barn, stables, bullock & cart lodge & other outbuildings. The site contains about one acre.
LAND … 5 acres
LAND … 3 acres
Apply to Mr. W. Henry Scott, Solr. Aylsham or the Auctioneer, Cawston, Norwich
Norfolk Chronicle - 30th July, 6th & 13th August 1864 & also Norfolk News

To be Sold by Auction Without Reserve by Mr. J. S. Hickling at the Dog Inn, Aylsham on Tuesday 9 May 1865 at 4 for 5 o’c
The Valuable Property of Mr. George Soame
Residence …
A Capital brick built TOWER WINDMILL containing seven floors, three pairs of Stones, Flour Mill, Jumper etc.
Six horse power Steam Engine (nearly new) driving one pair of Stones
Flour mill & Jumper with large Granary, Barn, Stables, Bullock & Cart lodges & other Outbuildings. The site contains 1 acre.
LAND ….. 5 acres
LAND ……. 3 acres
Apply to Mr. Forster, W. Henry Scott, Solr. Aylsham, or the Auctioneer, Cawston.
Norfolk Chronicle - 22nd & 29th April & 6th May 1865

Mill derelict - 1915

Re. above photo:
Thought you might be interested in a postcard we have found showing our tower mill in 1915.
 It was sent by a soldier who was billeted in the old workhouse (now St. Michael's hospital) serving in the Royal Veterinary Corps who were occupying the mill and outbuildings during the war.  He mentions that he was batman to an officer who was quartered next door in the house now called Oak Lodge.  Slightly more luxurious accommodation!   
Tim & Janet Bower - 8th February 2008

Mill derelict, looking from Cawston Road - 1917

Sold by auction at Dog Inn, Aylsham, May 9, 1865, property of George Soame:-
Brick tower mill containing 7 floors, 3 pairs of stones, flour mill, jumper etc.
6 h.p. steam engine adjoining (nearly new) driving 1 pair of stones, flour mill, jumper etc.
Large granary, barn, stables, bullock & cart lodges & other outbuildings.
As Lot 1, to Henry Edward Soame, Aylsham, farmer. £370

To be Sold by Auction by Mr. J.S. HICKLING at the Black Boys Inn, Aylsham on Tuesday 24 September 1872 at 4 for 5 o’c
Lot 1. A capital Brick built TOWER WINDMILL near the Cawston Road driving three pairs of Stones with Granary, Engine Room & other Outbuildings
Lot 2. A large Brick & Tiles BARN with outbuildings & land containing altogether 2 roods or thereabouts & adjoining the last lot.
Norfolk Chronicle - 7th, 14th & 21st September 1879 & also Norfolk News


James DAVISON’S Assignment
To be Sold by Auction by
Messrs. BRUCE & SON at the Black Boys Inn, Aylsham on Tuesday 17 March 1896 at 4 for 5 pm.
Lot 1. A DWELLING HOUSE near the Buttlands & with Bake Office, Outbuildings & Brick_Tower WINDMILL.
Lot 2. A Brick Tower WINDMILL near the Cawston Road, with Granary, Stable, Outbuildings & Land, containing about Three Roods.
Possession upon settlement of the purchase.
Apply to Mr. Forster, Solr. Aylsham or the Auctioneers, Aylsham.
Norfolk Chronicle - 7th & 14th March 1896

James Davison's Deed of Assignment
Notice is Hereby Given that the Trustee of the Deed of Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors made by James Davison of Aylsham, Miller & Baker, will on the 17th day of July 1896 proceed to Pay a Final Dividend to all Creditors of whose Claims he shall then have had notice.
Solr. To the Trustee.
Aylsham, 30 June 1896
Norfolk Chronicle - 4th July 1896

1900 sale details 1900 sale details
Sale Particulars - 1900

The two windmills, which were in use within living memory, were brick tower mills and were probably both built in 1826. The Vestry minute book for that year records the assessment of Fiddy Barnes for a new mill which was probably the one situated at the rear of No. 5 Mill Road and sometimes known as the Buttlands_mill, and also of Henry Soame for a new mill and house, probably the one of the Cawston Road. The sails were blown off the Buttlands_Mill in the great gale of Sunday, 24th March, 1895, and it was never used after. The tower was demolished in 1941 and ...
History of Aylsham - John Sapwell 1960

26th April 1939
26th April 1939

1977 20th May 1978
20th May 1978

20th April 1984 20th April 1984
20th April 1984

1990 1990

3rd April 2004
3rd April 2004

24th February 2018
24th February 2018

O. S. Map 1885

O. S. Map 1885
Cawston Road mill is to the southwest and the Buttlands mill is to the northeast
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1905

O. S. Map 1905
The Buttlands mill is to the northeast and the Cawston Road mill is to the southwest
Courtesy of NLS map images

1826: Mill built for Henry Soame

Pigot's 1830: George Soame, miller, Cawston road

1833: Henry Soame died

O.S. map 1838: Mill

Pigot's 1839: George Soame, miller

Robson's 1839: George Soame, miller

Whites 1845: George Soame, miller

1860: Effects of John Neech, tenant miller, sold at auction to the benefit of creditors

July 1864: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1865: Mill sold at auction as property of George Soame and purchased by Henry Edward Soame for £370

1872: James Davison bought the mill for £315 from executors of H. E. Soame. JD also Buttland Mill, Aylsham

September 1879: Mill advertised for sale by auction

Kelly's 1879: James Davison, miller & baker, Cawston Rd.

O.S. map 1885: Windmill (Corn)

Kelly's 1892: James Davison, miller (wind) Cawston Rd.

c.1895: Mill struck by lightning and never repaired

Kelly's 1896: James Davison, miller (wind)

18th February 1896: John Davison conveyed various properties to Benjamin Cook, Aylsham, merchant. Also Dunkirk steam rollermills

March 1896: Mill advertised for sale by auction

4th July 1896: Benjamin Cook sold mill to Charles Stapleton for £100

4th July 1896: Charles Stapleton sold mill to John Davision jnr for £125 - J. Davison jnr already in occupation

6th July 1896: Mill mortgaged to ? Stapleton for £70

8th October 1900: ? Stapleton in default of mortgage repayment. Mill sold to Samuel Lomax, butcher for £200

c.1900: Mill struck by lightning damaging sails and putting mill out of use

Kelly's 1900: James Davison, flour dealer, Hungate Street


Commercial Union Fire Policy £300. Brick tower mill … at present dismantled & incapable of being worked £100.

Tuesday 2nd October 1900: Mill advertised to be sold by auction at the Black Boys Inn, Aylsham

O.S. map 1905: Windmill (Disused)

c.1912: Mill struck by lightning. Cap & sails caught fire starting the destruction of the mill interior

1915: Mill derelict

1914-1918: Army veterinary unit stationed on the premises

c.1920: Cap and sails blown off

c.1920: Granary converted to residential use

Kelly's 1922: George T. E. Anderson, veterinary surgeon, Old Mill House, Cawston Road. Tel. No. 30

1939: Mill tower lying derelict

c.1945: Property bought by Mr. Bower. Mill only a shell with one internal floor remaining

1970: Tim Bower bought mill from his father

c.1998: Mill converted to residential use as holiday let

2000: Conversion won the Broadland D.C. Enhancement Award for conservation

2004: Four storey holiday let - see Mills Accommodation page

2012: Tim & Janet Bower

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 TG18582651
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004