Garboldisham towermill


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Garboldisham tower mill was a 4 storey built in 1820 just to the north of Garboldisham_postmill. The property was part of an estate owned by the Molyneux-Montgomery family for some 200 years before finally being sold off in 1944. The mill had a fantail and the sails drove a pair of 4ft 4ins and a pair of 4ft 7ins French burr stones along with a flour mill.

Garboldisham Tower Mill built 1820
Diary of Thomas King of Thelnetham - 1804-1837

The towermill and postmill were offered for sale by auction in November 1839 but remained unsold. The nearby smockmill was not mentioned and may well have already have been dismantled. The following year the two remaining mills were offered for sale or let by private contract.

To Millers. An excellent Situation for Trade at Garboldisham
To be Sold by Private Contract or Let with Immediate Possession
The Premises late in the occupation of Mr. Robert Button deceased comprising a comfortable Messuage recently put into a thorough state of repair, yards and gardens, granary for 1,000 coombs, waggon lodges, stables, gig house, piggeries, carpenter's shop and other buildings.
A POST_WINDMILL with Roundhouse capable of containing 50 sacks of flour and chamber for 300 coombs, patent sails, winding tackle, flour machine and jumper, two pairs of French stones, 4ft . 4 ins., iron rightup shaft, wallower, and spur wheel, iron stone nuts, iron bridge trees, iron racks, and going gears in complete repair.
A Brick TOWER MILL, four stories high in an enclosed yard near the above driving two pairs of French Stones 4ft. 7ins. and 4ft. 4ins., flour mill, winding tackle, and all going gears complete.
The Property is well situated in a populous neighbourhood about 15 miles from Bury, 7 from Diss and 4 from East Harling, all good corn markets and an excellent trade is now carried on.
A Purchaser may be accommodated with a considerable portion of the Purchase Money at a modest rate of interest.
Apply to Mr. Calver, Solicitor, Kenninghall, near East Harling, Norfolk,
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th February, 7th & 14th March 1840


On Sunday morning, about 5 o'clock, the tower windmill on Garboldisham Common, Norfolk, in the occupation of Mr J. G. Button, was discovered to be on fire, and although prompt assistance was rendered, nothing but the brickwork remains. We are happy to state that the greater part of the stock in trade was saved and the mill was insured.
Suffolk Chronicle - 22nd August 1840

Tithe map 1842
Tithe map 1842 - as redrawn by Harry Apling

Tithe Award 1842
Land owner: Mary Button
Occupier: John Button

No. 333
No. 334
No. 17

Mill & yard
Mill & premises


0a. 0r. 9p. (Tower mill)
0a. 2r. 3p. (Post mill)
0a. 1r. 5p.
0a. 3r. 17p.

Tithe 14/-

Land owner: Crisp Molineux Montgomerie
Occupier: Mary Button

No. 43


3a. 3r. 21p.


In 1802 both mills [postmill and smockmill] were sold to one John Button for £795, and in 1820, according to a local diary, Garboldisham tower-mill was built close by. In 1839 the post-mill and tower-mill were put up for auction.
However, the Button family were still running the mills after that date; so, were they tenants, the freehold being sold, or were the mills withdrawn from auction? According to the Suffolk Chronicle of 22 August 1840 there was a fire at the towermill and nothing but the brickwork then remained.

And yet, on the 1842 parish tithe-map, the two remaining mills appear to be the post-mill and tower-mill - perhaps it is the smock-mill which was burnt down as this had gone by about that date. (A smock-mill stands on a brick plinth.)
The fate of the tower-mill is not known, although it is thought to have lasted until 1860; only the present post-mill is shown on later maps.
Phillip Unwin - Brome, Suffolk, 1973

1820: Mill built by James Turner

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

O.S. map 1837: Towermill, postmill and smockmill all shown

November 1839: Mill offered for sale by auction but remained unsold

1840: Robert Button died

14th March 1840: Mill advertised for sale by private contract or let along with postmill

1840: John Button

August 1840: Mill badly damaged by fire

Tithe Award 1842: Mrs. Mary Button (owner of towermill and postmill) John Button, occupier

Tithe map 1842: Towermill and postmill

c.1860: Possible date the mill was demolished

White's 1864: John Quantrill, corn miller

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 TG00248063
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005