Dickleburgh Burston Wood


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Dickleburgh had a postmill that stood near Burston Wood and in 1834, it became the first mill in Norfolk to use auxiliary steam power when an 18hp beam engine was installed. When the windmill ceased working the incumbent firm of William Smith & Son continued working from a new_site in the centre of Dickleburgh using steam and then oil in later years.

... mill stood in field near the Burston wood ... came into possession of Mr. William Smith in 1780.
In 1834 a beam steam engine was installed of 18 horse power, the first of its kind in Norfolk.

History of the Church & Parish of Dickleburgh - Rev. M. R. Peacock - 1964

Dickleburgh. Firm of W. Smith & Son founded 1780.
Had first steam mill in Norfolk.

Diss Town Guide - 1970

William Smith snr c.1800 William Smith jnr c.1855
William Smith snr c.1800
William Smith jnr c.1855

William Smith jnr jnr c.1880 Sam Smith c.1890
William Smith jnr jnr c.1880
Sam Smith c.1890

There were four William Smiths connected to Dickleburgh Mill. My great grandmother was a younger sister of William Rayson Smith.  I believe that one of the other brothers, Samuel Smith, ran the mill in later years though perhaps not as successfully as in the past (I have a copy of a slightly disparaging aside in a letter written by William R to his nephew in South Africa!)
A bit of a side issue, but it is just possible that the oldest picture - actually a photograph of an  oil painting long gone from the family – was painted by George Cattermole, later a well known illustrator, including of Dickens’ work.  George Cattermole was the son of squire Cattermole of Dickleburgh, presumably a friend of William Smith senior and executor of his will (but I have absolutely no proof of this, merely a circumstantial document and a mind which makes connections).  I can’t think why else a rural publican would have an oil painting done of himself, unless there was somebody very close to him who could paint!!

1. The first William Smith connected with the Mill, died 1812 aged 64.
I believe (though I have not researched it) that this man, (also a publican -  the White Horse now gone?) first bought the milling business. 
2. William Smith, son of above, died 1862.
3. William Smith son/grandson of above. Died 1897
4. William Rayson Smith son/grandson/great grandson of above. Died in 1932.  This man was married into the Hudson family (Maria Hudson), who had a rolling mill in Harleston.  No children.
5. Sam Smith who ran the business in later years.   The second photo (in old age) is taken with his sister Emma Smith Womack, my great grandmother and his older brother William Rayson Smith.
Scilla Bunn - 5th November 2014

O.S. Map 2004
O.S. Map 2004
Image produced from a digital map under licence from Ordnance Survey

1780: Mill acquired by William Smith snr

1834: Steam engine installed - first in Norfolk

White's 1836: William Smith jnr, corn miller

O.S. map 1837: Windmill

White's 1845: William Smith jnr, corn miller

White's 1854: William Smith jnr, corn miller, corn, seed & coal merchant

21st March 1862: William Smith snr died aged 78 (b.1784)

White's 1864: William Smith jnr, corn miller & corn & coal merchant

Kelly's 1879: William Smith, miller, & seed, corn & coal merchant; & at Castle hill, Norwich

White's 1883: William Smith & Son, millers & corn, seed & coal merchants, and at Castle Hill, Norwich; and coal depôt, Burston station

c.1890: Mill demolished

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Nat Grid Ref TM165824
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2014