Gt. Yarmouth Cobholm


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Gt. Yarmouth Cobholm towermill in Southtown stood West of Yarmouth Bridge to the north of St Luke's church. The mill had been built as a replacement for an earlier postmill on the same site and then unusually, was itself replaced by another postmill.

The sails powered 3 pairs of French burr stones and 2 flour mills.
One pair of stones were 5ft, one pair 4ft. 10 ins. and one pair 4 ft.

In 1785 the mill's grinding capacity was:
6 or 7 lasts of wheat per week
= 120 - 140 sacks (coombs)
3 pairs of French burr stones
i.e. 40-46 coombs per pair per week

THREE Frenches, viz. two Runners and one Bed Stone, all 4 Feet 10 Inches over; one Runner is 12 Inches thick, no Ring has been laid into it; the other is 10 Inches thick; the Bed Stone is 8 Inches thick. They are open and free cutting Stones and will be sold cheap. Also a sized BOULTING MILL & a NECK BRASS.
Enquire at the Brick Mill, near Yarmouth Bridge.
Also a large quantity of BURR STONES.

Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd August 1776

At the Angel in the Market Place, Yarmouth, on Monday the 5th Day of September next, between the Hours of 3 & 5 o'c in the Afternoon, if not disposed of before by private Contract. The following Estates:
Lot I.
One of the most capital Brick Tower WIND-MILLS in the Counties of Norfolk & Suffolk, situate on the West Side of Yarmouth Bridge, consisting of 3 pair of French Stones, viz. one Pair 5 Feet, one 4 Feet 10 Inches, the other 4 Feet, with 2 full sized Flour Mills & going Geers, all in good Repair and capable
of manufacturing 6 or 7 Lasts of Wheat per week. There is on the Premises near the Mill a very good Cottage for the Accommodation of Workmen.
Lot II.
A very good HORSE FLOUR MILL, with every Convenience for making Flour and two good Cottages adjoining thereto, situated near the Market Place in Yarmouth and very convenient for a Retail Trade.
Lot III.
A Granary in the Post Office Row in Yarmouth.
Lot IV.
Dwelling, King Street, late in the occupation of Thomas Sparhall, deceased.
For further particulars enquire of James Dawson, Esq. or Mr. Richard Allen, Merchant, Yarmouth or of Mr. John Sparhall, North Walsham, Norfolk.
N.B. All Persons having any Demands on Estate & Effects of Thomas Sparhall are desired to send Accounts thereof to James Dawson, Esq. or Mr. Richard Allen, Merchant of Yarmouth aforesaid or to Mr. John Sparhall, North Walsham and all such persons as stand indebted to the aforesaid Thomas Sparhall are desired to pay their respective Debts to the above mentioned persons.

Norfolk Chronicle - 16th, 23rd & 30th July, 6th August & 3rd September 1785

To Journeymen Millers
WANTED immediately, a Steady MAN as Foreman in a wind mill; he must be a good stone man. None need apply but those who can bring a good character from their last place.
Apply personally or by letter post paid to Mr. S. Waters, Merchant, Great Yarmouth. A married man will be preferred.

Norfolk Chronicle - 15th December 1810

Class No. D 32/1
Judgment in BROWN, D. D. v WOOLLSEY and others re payment of tithes on mills at Southtown and
Counsel's opinion re same. 1826
Court of Exchequer Tuesday 7 February 1826
Lord Chief Baron -
Tithe cause, Plaintiff Rector of South Town against defendants for an account of the Tithes of Mills in their occupation.
Defendant WATERS - mill built within 50 years on the site of an old mill and is therefore an ancient mill - no support for this, therefore all recent mills.
Defendants say they do not grind for hire in the usual way, but they are Corn and Grain merchants, that they buy the corn and grain, grind it and then sell the Flour in its manufactured state and they insist that for this operation no tithe is payable.
Case dismissed as Defendants business regarded as a Trade on which no tithe was payable. Difficult to separate small amount of grist or Bag Work (for which tithe might be payable on the profits) from their main business as Corn Merchants.
Counsel's opinion - Disagreed with judgment, might be a case for appeal, but costs would greatly exceed amount of tithe involved.

Defendants - John WOOLLSEY of High Mill
James JENNER of Green Cap Mill
Robert WATERS of Cobholm Mill

Tithe map 1843
Tithe map 1843 - redrawn by Harry Apling

Tithe Award 1849
Map Pratt & Son, Surveyors, Norwich & Richard Barnes, Surveyor, Lowestoft, 1843
Owner: Robert Waters
Occupier: do

No. 172

Mill, cottages & land


0a. 2r. 13p.

2s 9d

Burning of a Mill
On Sunday afternoon last, as a Mr. Todd was coming over the Southown marshes, at about quarter to five o'clock, he observed a large quantity of smoke issuing from under the cap and petticoat of Mr. Water's mill, situated on the Mill Road, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the Southtown turnpike. Mr. Todd directly went to one of Mr. Water's men, named Greengrass who resides near the mill, and the latter, on ascertaining it was in flames, took a hatchet and with great presence of mind got in by a low window and breaking open the desks, got all the books and papers out. An alarm was raised, and in a very short time the town engines, five in number, were on the spot, and also the factory (presumably Grout's silk factory) engine. Owing to the numerous dykes for draining the marshes contiguous to the mill, there was an abundant supply of water and the engines were most efficiently worked, and proved to be in excellent condition, particularly our new iron, which played quite over the top of the mill. There is little doubt that, but for the peculiar funnel-like ferm of the mill, which of course, by admitting the draught at the bottom, tended in no small degree to increase the force of the flames, the fire might speedily have been subdued. After burning for sometime, the sails (which presented a most singular pyrotechnic appearance) gave way, and fell with a tremendous crash, happily doing no damage, as their fall had been long expected, and a quantity of burning rafter, as well as the top of the mill, was brought down with them.The flames were not extinguished until nearly eight o'clock, by which time everything in the building had been destroyed . The beams, rafters etc., which had fallen in the interior, to the height of several feet, continued to burn until Monday night . The brickwork is still standing, but of course it is so injured that it will have to be removed. Not the slightest idea can be formed as to the origin of the fire, which first commenced in the lower chamber. No one went into the mill after nine o'clock on Saturday night, when everything was all right. There was in the mill between 30 and 40 lasts of grain besides a large quantity of flour. The premises were insured for £800, and the greater portion of the stock was also insured.
Norfolk News - Saturday 6th April 1850

The mill was insured with the Norwich Union for £800 but it's not established if the stock was insured.

Board Meeting 1st April 1850, policy no. 184354 £800, brick tower mill £300, standing and going gear, wire machines and dressing mills £500. Took fire and was totally burnt out yesterday afternoon. Mr. Leman to go over.

Board Meeting 29th April 1850, Mr. Robert Waters claim in detail for the standing and going gear, wire machines and dressing mills in his brick tower windmill burnt down on 31st March to be referred to M
r._Thorald and evidence to be given that the building is damaged to the value of £300.

Board Meeting 6th May 1850, £800 total loss as per Mr. Thorold's report, amount allowed.

To Millers, Merchants and others.
To be Sold by auction by PETTINGILL at the Star Inn, Great Yarmouth (by order of the executors of Mr. Robert Waters deceased)

on Tuesday 26 October 1852 at 6 o'c
The following Valuable Mercantile Property situate in SOUTHTOWN next Great Yarmouth.
At an easy distance from the Market and Bridge
Lot 1.
A substantial Freehold WINDMILL TOWER as dismantled as the late fire with the Warehouse, Granary over large Stable and horse box, Cart Lodge, Miller's house, Labourer's cottage, Mill Yard, Garden, containing together by survey 2r. 12p. as lately occupied by Mr. Waters.
Free Rent 5s.
The Auctioneer solicits the attention of Millers and Corn Merchants to this most advantageous Property which offers a capital open site for a Corn Mill and is situate in a parish where the rates are exceedingly low.
Lot 2.
. . . Freehold Meadow Land 1a. 2r. 10p. situate on the opposite side of the road leading to the Mill in Southtown and lately occupied by Mr. Waters. Land Tax 1s. 6d. Drainage rate 2s.
Possession of both lots may be had immediately.
Apply to J. D. Waters, Solr. or the Auctioneer.

Norfolk Chronicle - 16th & 23rd October 1852

On the north side of the Southtown Road after passing over the bridge . . . The first road through is called SAW MILL LANE . . . The next to the right . . . MILL ROAD because on the west side of it stands a Tower Windmill . . .
Further north was another mill, the property of Mr. Robert Waters which was burnt to the ground in 1850.

The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth, Charles John Palmer - 1875

. . . Robert Waters' mill stood further north (from Greencap Mill) almost opposite the St. Luke's Church site.
A drainage mill stood due west almost to Breydon Water.

Yarmouth Mercury, Local Wind-Mills, H. B. Johnson - January 1928

c.1776: Mill built to replace earlier postmill

August 1776: Millstones advertised for sale

William Youell's diary: . . . flour obtained from John Harley's mill, Cobholm

Swinden's map 1779: Windmill

Hodskinson's map 1783: Windmill

1785: Thomas Sparhall, miller, died

July 1785: Mill advertised for sale by auction

William Youell's diary 1795:
. . . the Cobholm Mill had the sails damaged in a high wind on 6th November 1795

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

31st May 1805: Fantail fitted to the mill began working

1810: S. Waters, merchant

Pigot's 1822: Robert Waters, miller

1826: Robert Waters, miller

Pigot's 1830: Robert Waters, miller, South-Town

1836: Robert Waters, miller

O.S. map 1837: Windmill

1839: Robert Waters, miller

1840: Robert Waters, miller

Manning's map 1842: Water's Mill

Tithe map 1843: Windmill

1845: Robert Waters, miller

1850: Robert Waters, miller

Sunday 31st March 1850: Mill destroyed by fire

1852: Robert Waters died

October 1852: Mill advertised for sale by auction

c.1880: Mill replaced by a postmill

2010: Mill site used by coach firm

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 TG51600770
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