alias Pyrleston
(Nr Diss)


September 1859
September 1859

Billingford postmill had a roundhouse, 2 pairs of common sails and a tail pole. The mill buck contained 2 pairs of stones. White's directories of 1845 and 1864 list Billingford as alias Pyrleston.

The mill was tail winded during a storm on 22nd September 1859 and blown over forwards. The miller, who was inside the mill at the time, was saved from being crushed in the debris by the mill post and escaped with only cuts and bruises. However, a man who was descending the ladder at the back was not so lucky as he fell into the wreckage and was fatally injured.

To be Sold by Auction by W.W. Elliott at the Crown Inn, Diss on Thursday 10 March 1842 at 6 o’c
A Small Piece of freehold LAND situate on Billingford Common one mile from Scole, with a capital Windmill thereon with brick Roundhouse, two pair of stones, good sails, wheels & other going gear in excellent repair. Also a stable & shed adjoining.
No outgoings.
Apply to Messrs. Muskett & Cross, Diss or the Auctioneer, Thelton.
Norfolk Chronicle - 26th February & 5th March 1842

To be Sold by Auction by Elliott & Sons at the Kings Head Inn, Diss on Friday 1 st October 1852 at 5 o’c
A small piece of Freehold Land whereon is erected a capital WINDMILL with brick Roundhouse, two pairs of stones, sails, wheels & other going gears. Also a cart shed & stable near the said mill. The above property is situate on & surrounded by Billingford Common about 1 mile from Scole, is in good repair & now in the occupation of Mr. Clement Bacon.
Outgoings:- on change of ownership 2s.6d. Free Rent 6d.
Apply to Messrs. Kerrison & Preston, Solrs. Bank Street, Norwich or the Auctioneers, Thelton near Scole.

Norfolk Chronicle - 18th September 1852

POST WINDMILL Billingford Green near Scole, with immediate possession
Wm. Spelman & Sons will sell by Auction without reserve on Friday 13 October 1854 at 5 o’c at Kings Head Inn, Diss
With brick Round house, she drives two pairs of Stones, a Flour Mill nearly new with sails & going gears, also a cart shed & stable near the mill.
The Mill stands remarkably well on the Billingford Common & is in the occupation of James Piper as tenant from year to year at a low rental of £14.
Outgoings on change of ownership 2s.6d. Free rent 6d.
Auctioneers, Norwich & Yarmouth.

Norfolk Chronicle - 30th September & 7th October 1854

September 1859
September 1859

Billingford near Diss

On Thursday September 22nd during a high wind the windmill at Billingford, the property of Mr. Chaplyn of Diss was blown over & in a few seconds was reduced to a heap of ruins presenting a most extraordinary spectacle. Two persons were inside the mill at the time, George Goddard the occupier & an old man in his employ. The latter was seriously hurt, insomuch that his life is despaired of, several bags of meal having alighted on his body, fracturing two or three ribs & causing other injuries. Goddard’s escape was almost miraculous. He was at the top of the mill at the time of its going over & was precipitated to a depth of five & twenty feet, along with the mass of falling rubbish & when found was standing wedged in between the mill stones & a large cog wheel close by – the whole weighing nearly three tons. Had either of these fallen upon him he must have been instantly crushed to death, but though greatly alarmed & bewildered by the sudden descent & the crash of the falling materials around him, he had not received a single scratch. The mill which is now a complete wreck has been visited by many hundreds of persons during the past week. A Subscription is being raised in the neighborhood as by this unfortunate event Goddard, who is a very steady industrious man has been deprived of his all & also of the means of subsistence for many months, for although the mill is about to be rebuilt by the owner immediately, it cannot be in working order much before June next year.
Norfolk News - 1st October 1859


SOWTER. - 1st inst., at Hoxne, from injuries received from the falling of a windmill at Billingford, Norfolk, Mr. J. Souter, saddler and harness maker, aged 73 years. The deceased was much respected by all who knew him, and a resident in the parish of Hoxne for 50 years.
Halesworth Times & East Suffolk Advertiser - 20th March 1860

George Gooddard astride a sail September 1859
George Gooddard astride a sail Septermber 1859

On 15th October 1984, Cyril A. Piper of Diss, kindly gave Harry Apling four copies of photographs of the mill as blown down on 22nd September 1859. The photographs were taken on 1st October 1859 by Cleer Sewell Alger, of Diss. The mill was facing west when it was blown over on to its left side. The post was left standing, though leaning, with the crowntree, from which the sidegirts had broken away.

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

Census 1841:

Benjamin Tacon (22) miller
Sophia Tacon (25)
Wallis Tacon (1)

March 1842: Mill advertised for sale by auction

White's 1845: Clement Bacon, miller

Census 1851:

Clement Bacon (43) b.Mellis, Suffolk, miller
Mary Bacon (37) b.Roydon
Mary Ann Bacon (8) b.Thorp Abbots
Charles Edward Bacon (3) b. Billingford
Flora Tye (41) b.Dickleburgh, lodger
Address: Low Street

September 1852: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1853: Clement Bacon, miller

White's 1854: James Piper, corn miller

September 1854: Mill advertised for sale by auction with James Piper as tenant at a rent of £14 per annum

1858: George Goddard, tenant miller. Owner: William Chaplyn of Diss Rose Lane composite mill

22nd September 1859: Mill destroyed in a gale and shortly after Billingford towermill was built on the same site

March 1860: Jonathan Souter died from injuries received when the mill was blown over

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 2006