Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Gayton towermill had an 8 storey, tall, slim tower with a pronounced batter that was white painted, before later being tarred black; a stage was set around the 2nd floor. The ogee cap with its gallery, 6 bladed fan and ball finial topped by a weathervane was the smallest noted in the county by Rex Wailes and only measured 13ft long by 7ft high. The upright shaft was known as a graft shaft and consisted of both iron and wood. Three pairs of French burr stones were overdriven by two pairs of double shuttered patent sails, each with 8 bays of 3 shutters and in later years, one pair of these stones had been exchanged for a pair of peak stones. The mill had an elaborate glut box that had a handle to tighten a wedge. A two oven bake office, dated 1862, was in operation on the site, producing 50 stones of bread each.

In 1872 the mill was advertised for sale along with an adjacent steam mill, powered by a Clayton & Shuttleworth, 8 hp high pressure steam engine driving 3 pairs of stones and a flour mill.

Begs to inform his friends & the inhabitants of Gayton and surrounding district that he has entered upon the Mills, Bake Office & premises at Gayton late in the occupation of Mr. Walter Hall & he hopes by strict attention to the business to secure their patronage.
The Westacre Mills will continue to be carried on as usual.

Gayton, March 14, 1872.
Lynn Advertiser - 16th, 23rd & 30th March 1872

Wanted immediately, a MAN to work a windmill; must have a good character.
Address, E. Lewis, Gayton Mill, near Lynn.

Lynn Advertiser - 12th October 1872

Wanted immediately, a JOURNEYMAN BAKER. Must be used to a horse & cart. Good character required.
Address, E. Lewis, Gayton Mills, near Lynn.

Lynn Advertiser - 21st & 28th December 1872

Gayton, Norfolk
To Millers, Merchants & others
To be Sold by Auction by Messsrs. Cruso & Hawkins at the Globe Hotel, Kings Lynn on Tuesday September 23, 1875 at 4 o’c in the afternoon precisely. In One Lot
All that BRICK TOWER WINDMILL situated in the centre of the village of Gayton, with patent sails & winding gear, working three pairs of stones & dressing apparatus, STEAM MILL adjoining working three pairs of Stones & BOLTING MILL driven by eight horse high pressure Steam Engine, together with Bakery also adjoining & communicating, fitted with two large ovens. Also Capital DWELLING HOUSE & two COTTAGES adjoining thereto, Granary, Stables, Cartlodge, Piggeries & convenient outbuildings, together with large & productive Garden & Two acres (more or less) of Pasture LAND adjoining, also 4a.0r.16p. or thereabouts of Arable LAND abutting upon the road leading from Gayton to Grimston east, upon lands now or late of .. Mitford, Esq. North & upon lands late of St. Andrew St. John, Esq., & now of his heirs or devisees towards the south & west.
All the above are freehold, except the two Cottages which are copyhold of the Manor of Wickenhall in Gayton with Gayton Wendlings, & in good & substantial repair & in the occupation of Mr. Edward Lewis, who is under notice to quit on the 11th October next.
Apply to the Auctioneers, Kings Lynn & Downham Market or at my Office,
L.W. Jarvis,
Solr. Lynn.

Lynn, 9 September 1873.
Lynn Advertiser - 13th & 20th September 1873


Situations Vavant
WANTED, a respectable Man as MILLER. Married Man preferred.
Apply to Mr. Lewis, Gayton Mills, near Lynn.

Norfolk News - 10th April 1875

Situations Vavant
Wanted, a Married Man as GENERAL MILLER. Wind or Steam.
Apply to Mr. Lewis, Gayton Mill
, Lynn.
Norfolk News - 24th July 1875

Journeyman Baker wanted at once.
Apply to A. Lewis, Gayton Mills.

Lynn Advertiser - 16th September 1898

Outing July 1908
Lynn Advertiser - 17th July 1908

MILLERS OUTING.      The employees of Mr. A. Lewis's Gayton and Westacre_mills had their annual outing on Thursday 5th inst., to Yarmouth.  The company went to East Winch by road, and completed their journey by rail in special saloons.  The varied attractions of the seaside were heartily enjoyed, and home was reached about 10.30 p.m.
Lynn Advertiser - 13th August 1909

OUTING. On Friday 12th inst., the work people at Gayton and Westacre_mills had their annual outing through the kindness of their employer Mr. A. Lewis. They went by road to East Winch station, and from there to Yarmouth by rail, two carriages being reserved for their use. They were accompainied by their wives and friends, and all spend an enjoyable day at the seaside. The homeward journey was made without a hitch, and Gayton was reached by 10 p.m.
Lynn Advertiser - 19th August 1910

Working via auxiliary power - 6th September 1937
Working via auxiliary power - 6th September 1937

Red brick tower, tarred
Tall, slim mill with pronounced batter
Top battlemented
Had 8 floors, 7 remain
Built into more modern, but now disused, buildings
No cap, sails or fantail
Had double shuttered patent sails
Cap with gallery, surmounted by weathervane
Wooden stage at 3rd floor
Wooden slatted ogee cap with finial, horizontally boarded, petticoat removed
First 2 floors empty
1 wheatstone remains on 3rd floor
Stones overdriven
Iron mortise stone nut, wooden cogs
Great spur wheel 12 tee armed, iron sectioned cogs drives sack hoist.
Second iron wheel with iron cogs attached drove ..?
Round wooden upright shaft
On 5 th floor upright shaft in square wooden casing
Diesel engine (Blackstone). Belt drive from nearby shed
Drove 1 pair peak stones, 1 pair burr.
In Lewis family. Gayton Milling Co.
Gayton Mills Co. Ltd. Registered as Company 13 April 1919.
Mr. J.A. Richards managing director.
Stage (& stones ?) at 2nd floor
In yard:-
Peak runner stone, 4 ft. diam. 10 ins. thick
French burr runner stone, 50 ins. diam. with plate –
Wm. Garner & Sons, 72 mark Lane, London. (Tucker c. 1910)
Mill had no chain pole
6-bladed fan
Early Blackstone paraffin engine, later Blackstone 32 h.p. diesel engine drove windmill stones by belt with pinion driving great spur wheel producing excessive wear on pinion.

Sails taken off 1924/25 by Kidds of Wisbech.
  Philip Unwin - 1972

11th July 1970
11th July 1970

William Copeman of Mill Corner Cottage, Walton Road, Gayton. (T.N. 435) worked at the mill for 52 years from the age of 14.

Sam Hogger was a baker at the mill and his widow was still living in Gayton in the 1970s.

Miss Pamela Lewis, daughter of Alfred Lewis died on 9th August 1973 at the age of 93.
An aunt, Miss E. Lewis was living at School Road, Heacham.
A brother, C. A. Lewis was living at Coldham Farm, Sherbourne.

Alfred Littleproud, was the assumed illegitimate son of Sophia Littleproud who was the eldest daughter of Robert Littleproud of Cranworth smockmill.


Red brick tower, tarred
Grounds floor:-
22 ft. diam. inside. Wall 2 ft. thick
Second door blocked up
Remaining floors have staircase instead of ladders
1st floor:-
Shaft across mill with bearings sunk into wall drove
roller grist mill
2nd floor:-
Peak bedstone, 4 ft. (50 ins.) still in situ
Iron mortise stone nut on floor
All iron great spur wheel, 12 armed, c.10 ft. diam. with ring of inverted iron cogs below to drive sack hoist
3 rd & 4 th floors:-
Round wooden upright shaft, 15 ins. diam. topped with iron fitting to take iron upper section of graft shaft (Wailes)
Upper floors;-
And parts of lower floors badly rotted by rain through upper floor which had been covered with tarred felt when cap removed, but already leaking before work at mill ceased.
Date stone 1862
Second pair of new ovens used for only three years before work ceased.

Harry Apling - 174th March 1981


Provisional plans of Roy Hirons & Margaret Hall in converting the mill complex to residential use included:
Ground floor - office
1st floor - living room
2nd floor - kitchen & bathroom (permission for kitchen refused on 16th March 1981 possibly due to fire regs)
Granary to the left of the mill - 3 bedroom residential
Bakery to the right of the mill - antique furniture showroom
Mill house coal shed - kitchen
Planning department made the following requirements:
All buildings to be roofed in old red tiles.
Stables to be rebuilt using old Norfolk red bricks (£100 per 1,000) or breeze blocks faced with shiplap.

King's Lynn Borough planning committee has approved conversion of granary and part of tower into seasonal holiday accommodation. Other parts already so used.
Eastern Daily Press - 10th June 1987

25th August 2003
25th August 2003

My grandfather lived at Mill End opposite Mr. Copeman (who is mentioned on the page). Mr. Copemans daughters were bridesmaids to my Mother and Father at their wedding in Gayton Methodist Chapel on 4th June 1938 along with my aunt Thelma Wright (now Thorne and still living in Gayton) and a cousin, Lily Gray.  From the bedroom window when we stayed we could see the mill.  So glad to see it is still there.
Lyn Hardy - 19th June 2007

I lived at Gayton mill where my father was head miller. Roy Hirons never owned the mill house, my parents owned that up until they retired and sold it to Dave Ballard for its present use . Roy bought the mill flats where Mr. Horsfall (the mill farm rep) lived in the top flat and Mr. Collins the company accountant lived in the lower flat. Mr. J. A. Richards joined as managing director in about 1962 when I was a small child he took over from Mr. Rose who had taken over from William Carr. The bakehouse was converted into accommodation and Les Wells lived there and worked at the mill. Robert Thaxton bought most if not all the remainig buildings in the yard and ran his very successful computer company from there until a year or two ago my mother left many pictures of the old mill including pics of the sails removal and the names of the actual company that removed them which I believe was a Lynn company and the foremans name is on the picture. Robert's company had several pictures from us a few years ago when they were researching the old mill.
Les Rust - 3rd November 2010

O.S. map 1824: Windmill

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

White's 1836: Robert Matthews, corn miller & baker

Census 1841:
Robert Matthews (50) miller
Mary Matthews (50)
William Matthews (15)
Mary Ann Matthews (12)
Sarah Pank (25) female servant

Edmund Dennis (50) miller
Maria Dennis (50)
Alice Sarah Dennis (20)
Thomas Dennis (15)
John Dennis (15)
Robert Dennis (13)
Mary Ann Dennis (11)

White's 1845: Robert Matthews, corn miller & baker

1846: Robert Matthews, miller

1853: Walter Hall, miller

Whites 1854: Walter Hall, corn merchant, miller & baker

Whites 1864: Walter Hall, corn miller & baker

1862: Bakery probably rebuilt as it bears a date stone 1862

1872: Walter Hall, miller & baker

March 1872: Edward Lewis, miller & baker, took on tenancy, also at Westacre watermill

1873: Edward Lewis, tenant miller, under notice to quit

September 1873: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1875: Edward Lewis, miller

Kelly's 1879: Edward Lewis, miller, farmer & baker

White's 1883: Edward Lewis, corn miller& baker

Kelly's 1892: Edward Lewis, miller (wind), farmer & baker

Kelly's 1896: Henry Lewis, miller (wind), farmer & baker

1898: Alfred Lewis, miller & baker

Kelly's 1900:

Henry Lewis, miller (wind), farmer & baker, The Church farm; & also The Station farm, East Winch, & Coldham farm, Sherbourne & West Acre mills (water)

Census 1901: Alfred Littleproud, miller

Kelly's 1904: Alfred Lewis, miller (wind & steam), farmer & baker, The Church farm & West Acre mills (water)

Kelly's 1908: Alfred Lewis, miller (wind & steam), farmer & baker, The Church farm & West Acre mills (water)

1909: Alfred Lewis, miller - also at Westacre

Kelly's 1912: Gayton Mills Co. millers & bakers, corn & artificial manure merchants; & at Westacre

Kelly's 1916: Gayton Mills Co. millers

13th April 1919: Gayton Mills Co. Ltd. Registered as Company - J. A. Richards, Managing Director

Kelly's 1922: Gayton Mills Co. millers, corn & agricultural merchants & bakers

1924-25: Sails removed by Kidds of Wisbech

1925: Mill foreman - Mr. Carr

Kelly's 1925: Gayton Mills Co. millers, corn & agricultural merchants & bakers

1926: The mill was powered by an engine

Kelly's 1929: Gayton Mills Co. Ltd. millers, corn & agricultural merchants & bakers TN 3

1933: Painting by Karl Wood showing a white ogee cap, windshaft and fanstage only

Kelly's 1933: Gayton Mills Co. Ltd. millers, corn & agricultural merchants & bakers TN 3

Kelly's 1937: Gayton Mills Co. Ltd. millers, corn & agricultural merchants & bakers TN 3

1937: Mill tower in good condition with cap, petticoat, windshaft, fanstage and stage; working via an engine

1949: Mill derelict

Yates 1966: Gayton Mills Co. Ltd., Gayton Ph. 255 / 6

29th July 1980: Mill withdrawn at auction

December 1980: Roy Hirons moved into the mill house intending to convert the complex to a craft centre

1981: Roy Hirons & Mrs. Margaret Hall Tel. No. 613

10th June 1987: Planning granted to use part of the tower and the granary for holiday accommodation

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 TF73271928
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004