Stuston Road


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Diss smockmill stood on the corner of Stuston Road and Victoria Road, having been erected on the site of an older postmill that was often known as Chase's Mill and had been destroyed during a gale in 1839. The 5 storey mill had an 8 sided tower with a boat shaped cap that had a pettticoat, gallery and a 6 bladed fan. The 4 double shuttered sails each had 8 bays of 3 shutters, drove 2 pairs of French burr stones and were struck by rack and pinion. The upright shaft was made of cast iron.
A separate building stood adjacent that housed the steam roller mills.

Last week a young man of the name of Dykes, in the employ ot Mr. Rush, miller of Diss, was caught by the gripe taking his handkerchief about his neck, and carrying him up; it must have proved fatal, but some person below, hearing his cries, suddenly stopped the mill, which would otherwise have, by coming in contact with the upper beam, severed his head from his body.
- Norwich Mercury.
The Times - 9th November 1840

The Rush family, however, were of sufficient means to have a much larger and safer smock-tower mill built on the site, and it was this mill that was run for many years by the brothers John and George Chase. It was in regular use as late as 1912, and in occasional use for several years afterwards, being taken down in 1919 and used as a store. The Koh-Nor Roller Mill, into which it was incorporated, was purchased in 1921 by the Button family, after the ruinous fire at Weybread water-mill.
Old Windmills of Diss - Philip Unwin - 1973

Diss Parish Records
Made 10 May 1845 at 19d. in the pound
No. 39

No. 40
House & Land, 2a. 0r. 7p.
Gross Estimated Rental
Rental Value
Rate at 1s. 7d.

Gross extimated Rental
Rental Value
Rate at 1s. 7d.
Thomas Rush
George Houchen
Late Common
£10. 10s.
£8 10s.
13. 5½d.

Thomas Rush
Henry Rush
Late Comon
15. 10d.

Messrs. Elliott and Sons are favoured with instructions from the executors of the late John Baldwin decd. To sell by Auction at the King’s Head Inn, Diss, Monday, 27 July 1857, at 5 o’c., the following very eligible property:

DISS. Lot 1. An excellent Post Windmill with substantial brick round-house, patent sails, two pairs of French stones, Flour Mill, Jumper and other going gears in the occupation of Mr. Joseph Bartram as undertenant to Mr. Easto. Also a messuage in two tenements, barn, stable, neat-house, shelter sheds, and other outbuildings and six enclosures arable and meadow – 15a.24.3p. in the occupation of Mr. Solomon Lines and abutting upon the road from Diss Common to Walcot Green.

Lot 2. Land abutting upon premises of William Ellis.

Lot 3. Double Cottage in occupation of Widow Leathers and John Barham, etc.

Apply to Mr. Browne, Solr., Diss, or the Auctioneers, Thelveton and Thrandeston, near Scole.
Norfolk Chronicle - 18th July 1857

Looking southeast - c.1890
Looking southeast - c.1890

Diss Parish Records
Made 24 November 1864 at 9d. in the pound
No. 67

No. 68
House & Garden, 0a. 0r. 11p.
Gross Estimated Rental
Rental Value
Rate at 9d.

Wind Mill & Yard 0a. 0r. 1p.
Gross extimated Rental
Rental Value
Rate at 9d. in the pound
John Button
William Chaplyn
Victoria Road
5. 3d.

John Button
Susannah Rush
Victoria Road
7. 6d.

Victoria Road, Diss.

A.E. Vincent & Messrs. Elliott & Pike (jointly concerned) are instructed by the Trustees under Mr. C.H. Aldous’s assignment to Sell by Auction at the Kings Head Hotel, Diss on Friday May 13, 1881 at 5 for 6 o’c

A substantially constructed Tower Windmill driving two pairs of French burr stones, with commodious floors & extensive stowage for corn, flour mill, patent sails, cast iron upright shaft & self-adjusting wind tackle with all necessary machinery. Also a good double-stall stable, cart lodge & chaff house, together with a valuable piece of ground thereto appertaining, the whole containing 47 perches.

The property which is about a quarter of a mile from Diss Railway Station is most eligibly situated having a frontage of 138 feet to the Victoria & Stuston Roads.

The mill is well situated for wind & has lately been put into thorough repair. There is a good supply of spring water on the premises. The fixtures etc. in the mill will be included in the sale.

Particulars of Messrs. G. Lyus & Sons, Solrs. Diss & the Auctioneers Harleston, Thrandeston & Hoxne.
Diss Express - 6th May 1881

The 'Koinoor' Roller Mills, Victoria Road, Diss. Chase Bros., Beg to inform their friends and the pubnlic that they have recently introduced
A Special and Complete Roller Plant

to the above Mills, and after Six Months' experience with the same have confidence in stating they are in a position to Produce flour of as good a quality as can possibly be placed on the market.

Bakers and the public are respectfully invited to make a trial of the various qualities of Flour supplied from these mills - satisfaction guaranteed.

Flour, Meals, Corn etc., Wholesale and Retail.
Samples and prices furnished on application to Chase Bros., Diss and Hoxne.
Diss Express - 4th May 1894 and for several weeks thereafter

A mill in Sandy Lane, Diss, driving three pairs of stones, came under the hammer in consequence of a bankruptcy, and sold, together with 15 acres of land, for £700 to Mr. Edward Mann.
The Miller - 3rd March 1902

Mill working - 1911

Norfolk Miller found drowned

Mr. George Chase, a member of the firm Messrs. Chase Bros., Millers of Victoria Road, Diss, was found drowned at Diss this morning. The inquest has been fixed for Saturday evening.
Norfolk Chronicle - 4th September 1909

August 1912 flood
Rose Lane composite mill & Stuston Road smockmill during the flood in August.1912

The body of Mr. George Chase, a well-known Norfolk miller, was found on Friday, 3rd inst., in the river, near Diss.  Mr. Chase who was fifty-eight, left home on Thursday afternoon, and as he did not return a search was made, which resulted in the finding of the body near some meadows which he hired.  The body was in an upright position, with the head just below the surface.
Lynn Advertiser - 10th September 1909

The death by drowning of Mr. George Chase (59), miller & farmer, a member of the firm of Messrs. Chase Bros., Diss & Hoxne, formed the subject of an inquest by the County Coroner, (Mr. H.R. Culley) at Diss on Saturday. The evidence showed that deceased was missed on Thursday evening & after a long search his body was found in the river near where one of the tubs from which his horses drank was standing. It is surmised that he was filling the tub when he fell into the river, the water being about eight feet deep. The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death & expressed their sympathy with the widow & relatives. The funeral took place in Hoxne churchyard on Tuesday afternoon.

Principal mourners, Mrs. Chase (widow), Messrs. R. & F. Chase (sons), Mr. Wm. Chase (brother)
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th September 1909


Diss mills c.1915
3 mills on Stuston Common c.1915
The above photograph shows the army from Diss Camp 51 about to give a demonstration with Maxim machine guns on Stuston Common with several civilians looking on. Diss smockmill and steam roller mill is to the right, the steam chimney and Rose_Lane_composite_mill to the left of centre and the sails of Victoria Road towermill are just visible on the left horizon above the back of the white horse.

... one of the mills at Diss had just been overhauled & painted. She was smock mill & the cap was white, the tower stone-colour, the sails bright red, ironwork black & the fantail red & white on alternate vanes ... This was over 50 years ago ...
East Anglian Magazine - April 1958

Vying with Button's Mill for command of the Common was a tall six-storied smock-mill standing at the corner of Stuston Road, and latterly owned by the Chase family. This mill was built in the mid-nineteenth century on the site of an old post mill, which is marked on the 1838 Tithe Map as belonging to Thomas Rush. The tower was later incorporated into a roller-mill building, and an arched gangway, etc., ran from one into the other. The Chase family also owned wind and watermills at Hoxne, and it appears that when oil engines were installed at the end of the First World War, the windmill was allowed to go to ruin, being finally dismantled. It was later taken down and used as a store, before the business failed, and the engines were exported to India. By 1930 very little remained on the site of either.
Diss Antiquarian Society News Sheet - Spring 1973

The arched gangway between the windmill and the steam mill was used until c.1918 when oil engines were installed, after which time the windmill became redundant and was dismantled. When the mill was taken down in 1918, the wood was used to build the row of houses to the east of Rose Lane.

O. S. Map 1885
O. S. Map 1885
Stuston Rd Smockmill - top centre right
Rose Lane Composite mill - in malthouse yard, top centre
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1903
O. S. Map 1903
Stuston Rd Smockmill - lower right
Rose Lane Composite mill - in malthouse yard, lower centre right
Victoria Road towermill - centre left
Courtesy of NLS map images

c.1839: Mill erected on the site of an earlier postmill that blew down on 7th January 1839

1839: Thomas Rush, miller

1840: Thomas Rush, miller

Poor Rate 1845: Owner: Henry Rush; Occupier: Thomas Rush, miller

1846: Thomas Rush, miller

1850: Thomas Mortimer Rush, miller

1863: John Button, miller

Poor Rate 1864: Owner: Susannah Rush; Occupier: John Button, miller

1874: John Button, miller

Kelly's 1879:
John Button, miller, corn & coal merchant; agent for W. & H. M. Goulding's celebrated manures, Dublin & Cork, W. Blackmore & Co's patent boltng cloths for dressing flour, Victoria mills

May 1881: Mill advertised for sale by auction and subsequently withdrawn at £250

c.1881: Thomas Leamon, miller (possibly)

White's 1883: John Chase, miller, Victoria Rd., home Hoxne

Kelly's 1892: John & George Chase, millers (wind & steam) Victoria Road

Kelly's 1896: Chase Brothers, roller millers (steam & wind) & corn merchants, Victoria Road & at Hoxne, Suffk

Kelly's 1900: Chase Brothers, roller millers (steam & wind) & corn merchants, Victoria Road

Kelly's 1904: Chase Brothers, roller millers (steam & wind) & corn merchants, Victoria Road & Hoxne, Suffk

Friday 4th September 1909: George Chase found drowned at Diss at the age of 59

Kelly's 1912: Chase Brothers, roller millers (steam & wind), Victoria Road

Kelly's 1916: Chase Brothers, roller millers (steam) & farmers, Victoria Road; & at Hoxne

1918: Mill demolished and used as a store

1922: Roller mill bought by John Button after the fire at Weybread watermill

1923: Chase Bros business became insolvent and oil engines eventually exported to India

1957: Wyatt's Garage occupied the site

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 TM12927910
Top of Page

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2006