Claxton smockmill


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Claxton smockmill stood to the northeast of the village street.The mill had a 12 sided horizontally boarded tower built over a single storey 19 foot high brick base. The boat shaped cap had a petticoat, a gallery and a 6 bladed fan. The mill was powered by two pairs of double shuttered patent sails, one pair having 8 bays of 3 shutters and the other 7 bays of 3 shutters. Striking was via a chain pole.

An auxiliary steam engine had been brought in by 1875 and appeared to still be in operation until c.1933 when it was replaced by an oil engine that was eventually used in preference to wind power by 1937.

Mill and mill house c.1939
Mill and mill house c.1939

25th October 1936 c.1940
25th October 1936

Norwich Bankruptcy Court, Wednesday (18 Feb.) before Mr. Registrar Cooke.

Claxton Miller’s Failure

Frederick George Graham Chapman, residing at Claxton and carrying on business at Claxton & Ashby St. Mary, miller & carrier.

Gross liabilities £1136.4s.1d., expected to rank £404.12s.9d. deficiency £356.6s.3d.

Debtor said he first started business in 1891 with a capital of £700 a gift from his mother. He opened an account with Messrs. Barclay for about £690 & from it he bought the Claxton mill from his uncle for £700 paying £300 and allowing £400 to remain on mortgage. That mortgage was still in existence, but was vested in another person. The stock & materials he bought at a valuation of £156. The business went very well for a time and in October 1893 he purchased another mill at Ashby St. Mary for £300. the whole of that money he obtained on mortgage.

Asked why he bought the second mill, debtor replied, ‘Because I was silly, I suppose.’ (Laughter) He had thought that his son would have stayed at home and managed the mill, but he went to Canada. After he had a mill a year or two, it was found necessary to put in a new oil engine and that cost £120. He worked the two mills and for a few years did fairly well. About four years ago, however, he began to get into difficulties. In February 1909 he was served with a writ by Mr. Marston_of_Bungay for £39. The money was paid by Messrs. Woods,_Sadd,_Moore_&_Co., two houses being given as security. Two years later he borrowed a further amount from the same people and gave them a charge on his carrier’s van. He had taken up a carrier’s business because his other business was not paying. His banking account was closed about four years ago. He had a life policy with the Prudential, but it is now in the possession of the firm that had advanced it.

Whitbread issued a writ against him. He consulted his solicitors and afterwards obtained £10 from a creditor and filed his petition. He attributed his insolvency to bad trade, but as a matter of fact it was due to his having Ashby mill and to farmers commencing to grind their own corn. The furniture belonged to his wife, it having been given to her by her father.

The examination was closed.
Dereham & Fakenham Times - 21st February 1914

Albert Arthur Culling snr last used the windmill in 1938-39 and his son Albert Arthur Culling jnr took over the oil powered mill in 1947. He also ran Mill Garage on the same site from where he operated the firm Culling & Son (Norwich) Ltd. - Coach Hire & Road Haulage Contractors. The premises were eventually sold by the family in 1971.

Lorry c.1950
Culling's lorry c.1950

Coach c.1950 Coach c.1950
Culling's coach with windmill logo c.1950

In September 1934 (when the photo at the top of the page was taken) the Culling's coach fleet consisted of three vehicles. Having studied the photo, I am convinced that the bus is either CL9937 a Graham Dodge or NG1039 a Commer, the third vehicle being much smaller. These vehicles remaining until 1936.
A sketch of the Mill, taken from the photo was displayed on the Culling's vehicles and became quite a famous logo.
I was a friend of the late Mr. A. A. Culling and visited Mill Garage many times as a boy. However, being born in 1942 and the Mill being demolished in 1945, I am able to recall the premises as a bus and haulage yard, and sadly never saw the Mill.
Walter E. F. Nickerson (vehicle historian) - 4th May 2007

Albert Arthur Culling jnr  was my great grandfather on my grandmothers side,  her maiden name was Margaret Culling. She married Stanley Gooch and they lived in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich. As a small boy my father David Gooch used to play in the mill sometimes at weekends.
Jules Gooch - 31st July 2007

O. S. Map 1881
O. S. Map 1881
Courtesy of NLS map images

Greenwood's map 1834: Mill

White's 1836: Jeremiah Chapman, miller

Census 6th June 1841:

Jeremiah Chapman (47) miller
Elizabeth Chapman (45)
Mary Chapman (22)
Elizabeth Chapman (19)
Sarah Chapman (17)
James Chapman (16)
George Chapman (12)

White's 1845: Jeremiah Chapman, miller

Census 30th March 1851:

Jeremiah Chapman (59) b.Yelverton, miller
Elizabeth Chapman (56) b.Bramerton
Elizabeth Chapman (28) b.Surlingham
Sarahann Chapman (25) b.Surlingham
George Chapman (21) b.Claxton
Address: Mill House

James Chapman (24) b.Surlingham, journeyman miller (Panxworth by 1861)
Ann Chapman (22) b.Claxton
John Chapman (3) b.Carleton St. Peter

White's 1854: Jeremiah Chapman, corn miller

1858: Jeremiah Chapman, miller

Census 7th April 1861:

George Chapman (30) b.Claxton, master miller, employ 1 man
Elizabeth Chapman (64) b.Bramerton, housekeeper, (widowed mother)
Sarah A. (18) b.Rockland St. Mary (neice)
John Drake (27) b.Norwich, journeyman miller
Hannah Drake (26) b.Norwich, no occupation (visitor)

1863: George Chapman, miller

White's 1864: George Chapman, farmer (owner) & corn miller

Census 2nd April 1871:

George Chapman (40) b.Claxton, miller & merchant employ 2 men (unmarried) Elizabeth Chapman (74) b.Bramerton, housekeeper (mother)
Elizabeth Crowe (19) b.Bergh Apton, attendant on mother ??? (neice)
Harriet Warren (34) b.Mundham, general servant
George Farrow (20) b.Claxton, carter

1875: George Chapman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1879: George Chapman, miller & corn merchant

O.S. map 1881: Claxton Mill, (Corn)

Census 3rd April 1881:

George Chapman (57) b.Claxton, miller
Eliza Chapman (43) b.Rockland St. Mary
Elizabeth Chapman (4 mths) b.Claxton
Elizabeth Chapman (86) b.Bramerton, annuitant (mother)
Frederick L. Chapman (19) b.Claxton journeyman (nephew)
Alice Allum (16) b.Kent, domestic servant
Address: Claxton Mill House

John Drake (44) b.Norwich, journeyman miller
Elizabeth Drake (52) b.Seething, dress maker
Address: Claxton Mill Cottage

Thomas Forder (40) b.Langly, millers labourer
Emma Forder (43) b.North Cove, Suffolk, dress maker
Herbert Forder (4) b.Thurton
Benjamin Moore (25) b.Ashby St. Mary, miller's labourer
Address: Warren Road

White's 1883: George Chapman, miller & marsh farmer

1890: George Chapman, miller

O.S. map 1891: Claxton Mill, (Corn)

Census 5th April 1891:

George Chapman (60) b.Claxton, miller
Eliza Chapman (53) b.Rockland St Mary
Elizabeth L. Chapman (10) b.Claxton
Laurence C. Chapman (29) b.South Walsham, miller (nephew)
Hannah E. Everett (16) b.Kirstead, domestic servant
Address: Mill Lane

Frederick Chapman (29) b.Claxton, miller
Florence Chapman (25) b.Shipdham
Leopold F. G. Chapman (11 months) b.Claxton
Sarah Ann Chapman (64) b.Surlingham, living on own means (mother)

1891: Frederick George Graham Chapman bought mill from his uncle, George Chapman for £700

Census 31st March 1901:

Frederick Chapman (39) b.Claxton, miller & grain merchant & employer
Florence Chapman (35) b.Shipdham
Leopold Chapman (10) b.Claxton, scholar
Leslie Chapman (9) b.Claxton, scholar
Malcolm Chapman (8) b.Claxton, scholar
Douglas Chapman (6) b.Claxton, scholar
Olive Chapman (1) b.Claxton
Mary Taylor (14) b.Kirstead, domestic servant
Address: Claxton Mill House

Robert Allum (23) b.Claxton, miller & carter
Sarah Allum (21) b.Rockland St Mary
Dora Allum (2) b.Claxton
Address: Claxton Mill Cottage

Kelly's 1892: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam) & corn merchant

Kelly's 1896: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam) & corn merchant

Kelly's 1900: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam) corn merchant & dairyman

Kelly's 1904: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam) & farmer

Kelly's 1912: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam)

1914: Frederick George Graham Chapman, bankrupt

Kelly's 1916: Frederick George Chapman, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1922: Albert Arthur Culling, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1925: Albert Arthur Culling, miller (wind & steam) T.N. Loddon 306

Kelly's 1929: Albert Arthur Culling, miller (wind & steam) T.N. Loddon 306

Kelly's 1933: Albert Arthur Culling, miller (wind & steam) T.N. Thurton 32

c.1934: Mill ceased to operate by wind power

Kelly's 1937: Albert Arthur Culling, miller (oil) T.N. Thurton 32

1938-39: Mill ceased operation

1945: Mill demolished after part of it fell down

1947: Albert Arthur Culling jnr toook over oil powered mill

1971: Mill base used as a hut situated near the garage office of Culling & Son (Norwich) Ltd road haulage firm

1971: Mill site and premises sold by Albert Arthur Culling jnr

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 TG34300340
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2006