Gt Ellingham


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Mill working c.1905
Mill working c.1905

Gt. Ellingham towermill was built as a five storey tarred red brick mill and was described as newly erected in 1849. The mill originally had common sails that drove a single pair of stones. The sails were later updated to double shuttered patent sails, each with 8 bays of 3 shutters, struck by rocking lever and regulated by a long double chain that could be operated from the ground. The mill had a boat shaped cap, petticoat, gallery and 6 bladed fan. It is probable that the sixth floor was added just before the sails were changed. A bake office also operated on the same site.

The tower was 53 feet high to the curb and the walls were 2 feet thick. The ground floor was 18 feet in diameter and had a two leaf door and 2 windows. The first floor had a 15 - 16 foot high ceiling and contained beams to support 2 pairs of underdriven stoines. The upright shaft ran from the the curb to the second floor. The windshaft had cast iron balance weights like muff couplings bolted to the rear section.The wallower was put into and out of gear with the brake wheel via two adjusting screw and shackles on top of the upright shaft. The great spur wheel had 9 T section arms.


Great Ellingham
To Millers & Bakers
To be Sold by Auction by George W. Salter at the Crown Inn, Great Ellingham on Monday 2 April 1849 at 4 o’c
A newly erected TOWER WINDMILL working one pair of Stones, with the Sails & Sail Cloths thereto belonging & now in the occupation of James Buck together with a Piece of Land containing 1r.23p. more or less
Also three Tenements or Cottages
Also Messuage or Dwelling house with Baker’s shop etc.
The above Property is all Freehold & situate in Great Ellingham aforesaid near the street in a populous neighbourhood being eligible for the trade of a Miller & Baker, requiring only a small capital & the Land is of first rate quality.
Immediate possession may be given of the entirety of the premises except one of the cottages the tenant of which has had notice to quit at Michaelmas next.

Apply to Mr. Spanton, Solr. Or the Auctioneer, Attleborough.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 24th & 31st March 1849

Sackhoist - c.1920
Sackhoist - c.1920

Great Ellingham
To Millers & Bakers
To be Sold or Let at a moderate Rent, together or separately a very desirable property situate at Great Ellingham comprising a newly erected TOWER WINDMILL consisting of five floors working one pair of stones with the sails & sail cloths thereto belonging late in the occupation of James Buck, together with a piece of land containing 0a. 1r. 23p. more or less. Also two Tenements or Cottages adjoining each other late in the respective occupation of the said James Buck & Frances Buck & a cottage in the tenure of Sophia When, with a small Barn near the same.
Also a Messuage or Dwelling House & Baker’s Shop …

Apply to Mr. Spanton, Solr. Or George W. Salter, Auctioneer, Attleborough.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette - 14th & 28th July 1849

c.1932 - illustration by John Watson 2001
c.1932 - illustration by John Watson 2001

The Bankruptcy Act 1861

In the County Court of Norfolk holden at Swaffham in the said County William Miles Stackwood of East Bradenham in the county of Norfolk Journeyman Miller, before then of Great Ellingham in the county of Norfolk, Miller, having been adjudged Bankrupt on the 29th day of July 1866 (sic), a Public Sitting for the said Bankrupt to pass his last examination & make application for his discharge, will be held at the said Court at Swaffham on the 4th day of August 1866 … Thomas Palmer Esq. The Registrar of the Court is the Official Assignee …

John Smith, Bailiff.
Lynn Advertiser - 21st July 1866

To Millers
A TOWER WINDMILL & BAKE OFFICE to Let at Great Ellingham, 2 miles from the Attleboro' Station.
Apply to Mr. S. Le Grice, Attleboro'.
Norfolk News - 20th February 1869.

To Millers
To Let at Great Ellingham, a good TOWER WINDMILL & BAKE OFFICE, with immediate possession.
Apply to Mr. S. Le Grice, Attleborough.
Norfolk News - 20th February 1869.

12th April 1934
12th April 1934

For several years after the mill ceased working the advertisment Hovis Bread could still be read on the tower. By 1980, only the outer tower shell remained, with the house alongside.

William Stackwood moved c.1867 to work at Horsham St Faith smockmill possibly as a result of the deaths of some of his family and the fact that he had been made bankrupt while at Gt Ellingham. Daughter Louisa Stackwood died in the 2nd quarter of 1863, Hannah Stackwood died in the 2nd quarter of 1866 aged 9 and his wife Elizabeth died in the 3rd quarter of 1866 aged 29.

7th November 1938
7th November 1938

In the County Court of Norfok holden at Swaffham
William Miles Stackwood, Miller & Baker of Swaffham, having been adjudged bankrupt in the County Court of Norfolk holden at Swaffham 27th June 1866 ... to surrender 16 July 1866 ...

  John Smith
Lynn Advertiser - 7th July 1866


Robert Le Grice of Great Ellingham, miller, was charged by Thomas Fincham of Shropham, dealer, with assaulting him at Hockham on the 15 th inst and pleading guilty was fined 2s 6d and costs 17s 6d.

Norfolk News - 23rd February 1867

17th May 1980
17th May 1980

Arthur Kemp was the son of Frederick Kemp of Ovington Old postmill

When the mill was dismantled, the front sails and stock were reinstalled at Deopham towermill

Notice that a Building has become listed.
Building known as windmill, Long Street, Great Ellingham.

Breckland District Council - 16th November 1983
Breckland Council later advised by Mr. Robert Hall that the address should be Church Street


I found the website very interesting particularly the part on Gt Ellingham Towermill. My family have lived in the village for 250 years and my grandfather spent all his life there more or less. He wrote down a village history ... re the was made from bricks manufactured at the brickyard on Hingham Rd, Gt Ellingham by local builders and constructed without scaffolding. Coincidentally it was a Mr Scase who was the last baker and he made the most delicious bread!
Sue Fay - 14th April 2008.

Interior July 2008
Mill interior July 2008

Dream home could soon become reality

A Norfolk couple could soon achieve a long-held ambition to convert a ruined windmill in the garden into a dream home for their family.
Owners Janet and Michael May acquired the building when they bought their present home The Mill House, at Great Ellingham, more than 20 years ago.
Dating from 1849, the tower mill originally had five storeys, a boatshaped cap and was 53ft tall. The sixth floor was a later addition and during its heyday a bake office also operated from the site, near Attleborough. But over the centuries the mill fell into disrepair and was completely derelict when the Mays arrived on the scene.
They were granted consent two years ago for the conversion, but an unforeseen problem with the positioning of an extension to the mill delayed the project. And the couple have just submitted modified plans for Breckland Council’s approval.
Mrs May said: “We have been trying to get permission to do something with the building for 22 years. English Heritage have changed their policy and whereas in the past they had always hoped for restoration they decided it was derelict and capable of conversion.
“Breckland’s listed buildings officer, Andrew Gayton, has been absolutely brilliant in helping with
the design. The extension will be completely in sympathy with the tower, and after five or six years it will look like it’s always been there,”
she said.
The couple plan to sell their present home to fund the project, with the intention of moving into the neighbouring mill with sons John, 26, and Paul 23.
“I’m not sure if it’s going to be a dream or a nightmare,” quipped Mr May, contemplating the months of work that lie ahead.
“The first thing we had to do was make sure the extension didn’t clash with the mill. It will have wooden cladding on the outside and a traditional Norfolk tiled roof,” he said.
“Because of the shape of the mill, the further up you go the narrower it gets, so basically the top floors will just be spaces, and the bottom three will be used for living accommodation. We are sealing the outside with tar that will still allow it to breathe, and make it watertight. You will see it as a tower as it stands now – to put on something like the original boat cap is prohibitively expensive.”
The house will have environmental features such as a ground heat source pump to provide energy, high levels of insulation and low energy lighting. A wind turbine and solar panels have been ruled out as not in keeping with the mill which has two foot thick walls, so no extra insulation is needed in the original part of the building.
The Mays are hoping to start work this autumn, if all goes well.
Celia Wigg, Eastern Daily Press - 31st July 2008.

George Butler Mary Butler
George Butler, tenant miller
Mary Butler

At Burgh_St_Margaret,  Maria Butler was mentioned in White’s in 1845 as miller, her husband George having died at Repps. My Great Grandfather was her son George and was Miller at various mills, Forncett, Hingham and Gt Ellingham, at the Post_Mill in Mill Lane (where my Grandmother was born) and then the Tower Mill in Great Ellingham.  His brother Robert Butler was miller at Wacton, although I had not heard mention of this, but Mrs Clegg provided me with family tree and photos of Robert.
Joan Barnard - 17th August 2023 .

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Courtesy of NLS map images

Kelly's 1879: Arthur Cook, millwright
Kelly's 1900: George Butler, farmer
Kelly's 1908: Ellis Carter, Chequers P.H.
Kelly's 1929: Alice Clark (Mrs.) corn chandler

c.1849: Mill built

1849: James Buck, miller

March 1849: Mill advertised for sale by auction

July 1849: Mill advertised for sale or let

1850: Jeremiah Fielding, miller

Census 1851: Jeremiah Fielding (28) b.Rockland St Peter, Miller
Mary Ann Fielding (27) b.Rockland St Peter
John Joseph Fielding (1) b.Great Ellingham
Elizabeth Harvy (17) b.Rockland St Peter, Dressmaker (Sister-in-Law)
Robert Duffield (15) b.Old Buckingham, Apprentice to Miller
Address: Mill Lane, Ellingham

White's 1854: Jeremiah Fielding, corn miller

Census 1861: William Stackwood (24) b.Carbrooke, miller
Elizabeth Stackwood (23) b.Rockland All Saints
Hannah E. Stackwood (4) b.Attleburgh
John Stackwood (2) b.Carbrooke
Louisa Stackwood (4 mnths) b.Great Ellingham
Martha Miles (78) b.Watton, Grandmother
Charles D. Chaston (25) b.St James, Suffolk, journeyman miller
Address: Mill Lane, Ellingham

Census 1861: Charles Daniel Chaston, miller (employee) Mill Lane. (Double 1st cousin of William Shearing)

White's 1864: Robert Walker, corn miller

1865: George Butler, miller

1866: William Stackwood, miller

1866: William Stackwood bankrupt

c.1867: William Stackwood left to take over at Horsham St Faith smockmill

November 1867: Mill advertised to be let by Samuel Le Grice, owner

February 1869: Mill & bake office advertised to be let by Samuel Le Grice, owner

Census 2nd April 1871:

George Butler (39) b.Repps, Miller & Master employing 1 man
Mary Ann Butler (40) b.Bunwell
Mary Ann Butler (12) b.Foncett St Peter, scholar
Eliza Butler (10) b.Foncett St Peter, scholar
Amela Butler (9) b.Foncett St Peter, scholar
Emmelina Butler (7) b.Hingham, scholar
Emma Butler (3) b.Great Ellingham, scholar
Address: Church Street, Gt. Ellingham

Kelly's 1879: George Butler, miller & baker

Census 3rd April 1881:

George Butler (47) b.Repps, Corn Miller employing 2 men
Mary Ann Butler (48) b.Bunwell
Emmerline H. Butler (17) b.Hingham, Assistant
Emma S. Butler (13) b.Great Ellingham, scholar
Address: The Mill, Gt. Ellingham

James Carter (28) b.Gt Ellingham, Corn Millers Assistant
Sarah Carter (27) b.Gt Ellingham
Elijah Fox, Boarder (19) b.Gt Ellingham, Labourer (General)
Address: Mill Yard

Robert Lebbell (76) b.Gt Ellingham, Innkeeper and Farmer of 12 Acres Employing 2 Boys,
Robert B. Lebbel (44) b.Gt Ellingham, Blacksmith Employing 1 Man
Emma Le Grice (37) b.Gt Ellingham, Millers Wife (daughter)
Herbert B. Lebbell (7) b.Gt Ellingham, Scholar (nephew)
Address: Crown Inn

White's 1883: George Butler, miller & baker

White's 1890: George Butler, miller & baker

Census 3rd April 1881:

George Butler (59) b.Repps, Miller & Baker, Employer
Mary Ann Butler (60) b.Bunwell, Baker
Emeline Hannah Butler (24) b.Hingham, Assistant
Emma Sophia Butler (13) b.Great Ellingham, Assistant
Address: The Mill, Gt. Ellingham

Neheniah Carter (40) b.Gt Ellingham, Miller & Baker, Employed
Elizabeth Ann Carter (27) b.Watchet, Baker
Edward James Carter (5) b.Gt Ellingham, Scholar
Clara May Carter (5) b.Gt Ellingham, Scholar
Evan Sidney Carter (2) b.Gt Ellingham
Sidney George Carter (?) b.Gt Ellingham
James Carter (70) b.Gt Ellingham, Agricultural Labourer (widdower, father)
Jonathan Rivett (60) b. Gt Ellingham, Fowl Plucker (lodger)

Thomas William Wilkins (23) b.Gt Ellingham, Miller's Assistant
Jane Wilkins (25) b.Gt Ellingham
George Rivitt Wilkins (3) b.Gt Ellingham
Address: Ivy Cottage

Kelly's 1892: George Butler, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1896: George Butler, miller (wind) & baker

Kelly's 1900: Arthur Kemp, miller (wind)

c.1900: Mill house & bake office burnt down

Kelly's 1904: Lewis Storey, miller (wind)

25th September 1905: Samuel Le Grice died aged 86

O. S. Map 1905: Windmill (Corn)

September 1908: George Butler, tenant miller, found hanged at the mill

Kelly's 1908: Josiah Carter, thrashing machine owner, miller & baker

Kelly's 1912: Josiah Carter, thrashing machine owner, miller & farmer

Kelly's 1916: Josiah Carter, miller & farmer

Kelly's 1922: George Albert Hales, grist miller (oil engine)

c.1922: Mill ceased working

Kelly's 1925: William Breeze, baker, Mill house

Photo 25th August 1932: Sails and fantail gone but cap still remaining

1934: Mill tower with cap, petticoat, fanstage and windshaft

Karl Wood painting 1937: Mill derelict with cap & windshaft but no fan

1938: Mill tower with cap becoming der
elict, petticoat, fanstage and windshaft

c.1955: Mill tower without windows

1971: Mr. & Mrs. Cyril J. Scase, Mill Bakery

1980: Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hall, Mill House, some machinery including upright shaft still in situ

November 1983: Mill listed by Breckland Council

1984: Mill bought by Michael & Janet May

1989: Mill tower without windows or roof

2009: Conversion work started

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

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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005