Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Mileham tower windmill was built at the end of a long track to the southwest of the village. The 4 storey tarred red brick tower had 21 inch thick walls, was 38 feet high and had a 24 foot diameter base. The mill used 4 double shuttered sails, each with 7 bays of 3 shutters to power 4 pairs of stones. The upright shaft was 'graft' shaft of both wood and iron. Two opposite doors were set into the base of the tower on the east and west sides and another door was on the south side of the meal floor.

A sketchmap by Geraldine Neale c.1948, showed the towermill at the north end of the south to north track and the postmill to the north of the western end of the east to west track. Geraldine Neale died in May 1970 aged 80 and was the daughter of John Wilkin who was miller at the time the mill was dismantled. Her article The Miller's Daughter was published in the Eastern Daily Press on 21st August 1948

Harry Apling recorded 3 stones on the ground floor:
Peak bedstone - 4ft 6ins diameter
French burr bedstone - 4ft 6ins diameter
French burr runnerstone - 4ft diameter wit
T & R HAMBLING, DEREHAM on central iron ring round eye.

St. Ann's Iron Works, King Street, Norwich, July 28/60.
Mr. Tilney,
Sir, I am willing to supply you with One Wind Shaft and Tail Gudgeon, Four Angle Plates & Bolts. Shaft to be Turned Neck + Tail end. The Shaft to weigh 24cwt. The whole to be done in a Workman-like manner for the sum of sixteen pounds, to be completed in one Month.
£16. -. -.
I am,
Your Obt. Servt,
Thos. Smithdale.

Thomas_Smithdale's ledger of 15th February 1865 listed a pair of millstones and items for a steam engine as being booked to Mr. Tilney of Mileham.

18th September 1936
18th September 1936

In 1853 Reuben Tilney moved to Mileham_postmill and towermill when William Critoph bought Yaxham_smockmill where Reuben Tilney was miller. William Critoph was one of the executors to Reuben Tilney's will when he died in 1877.

To Millers and others
Has received instructions from Mr. Tinley (who has sold his mills) to Sell by Auction on Monday July 9, 1877
All his
and other Effects comprising a quantity of millwright's stuff, wheels, nuts, curbing, mill sails, sail racks, ten millstones, mill bills, slate proof staff, lifting stone gear, mill sack chains, sacks, sack barrows, smut and flour mills etc.
In Blacksmith and Carpenter's Shop ...
5 capital Miller's carts ...
Lynn Advertiser - 7th July 1877

All persons having any claim or demand upon the estate or effects of REUBEN TILNEY late of Mileham in the county of Norfolk, Miller, deceased, are requested to forward forthwith the particulars of such demands to Mr. William Critoph of Yaxham in the said county, Miller, or to Mr. William Barnes of Swaffham in the said county, Miller, the executors of the will of the said deceased. And all persons who stood indebted to the said Reuben Tilney at the time of his decease are requested forthwith to pay the amount of their respective debts to the said William Critoph or the said William Barnes.
Thos. Palmer,
Solr. to the Executors.
Dated the 9th August 1877
Swaffham, Norfolk.
Lynn Advertiser - 11th August & 1st September 1877

6th April 1970
6th April 1970

To be Sold by Private Contract
A BRICK TOWER WINDMILL conveniently situated, very powerful and well apponted and driving four pairs of stones. Also
A POST_WINDMILL driving two pairs of stones. Also a well built brick, stone and tile Dwelling House adjoining, with Bake Office, good Stables and Outbuildings and Garden and about 2 acres of fine PASTURE LAND.
The above property (except the Post_Windmill) is all Freehold and is now in the occupation of Mr. Benjamin Stringer, the proprietor.
Possession can be given on 11th October next.
Apply to Messrs. COOPER & NORGATE,
Solrs. Dereham.
Lynn Advertiser - 4th June 1881

WANTED, a situation as General Miller, to take charge of a windmill or as an improver in water mill; capable of taking charge of engine.
Apply H. B. Childs, The Mills, Mileham.
Lynn Advertiser - 27th October 1888

6th April 1970

According to Geraldine Neale, writing in 1948, a sail broke of the mill in a gale in 1904 and a similar occurrence put the mill out of commission for all time. However, it is not clear whether this was the actual case as in May 1973, G. Rye reported to Philip Unwin that the mill ceased working in 1924 and was dismantled soon after. Interestingly, a photograph of 1934 showed the mill with 3 broken sails and the fanstage still in situ.

A letter from Geraldine Neale published in the North Norfolk News on 5th September 1969 mentioned that the mill had 2 pairs of 4ft 6ins Peak stones and a single pair of 5 ft French burr stones.

O. S. Map 1883
O. S. Map 1883
Towermill to the southwest of the postmill
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1904
O. S. Map 1904
Towermill to the southwest marked Windmill (Corn) and postmill marked as clear circle to the towermill's northeast
Courtesy of NLS map images

White's 1845: William Wright, corn miller & farmer - also at the postmill

1846: George Wright, miller

White's 1854: Reuben Tilney, corn miller

July 1860: A new windshaft was quoted for and possibly fitted by Thomas Smithdale

July 1877: Reuben Tilney's millwright stock advertised for sale by auction

9th August 1877: Reuben Tilney died aged 60

Kelly's 1879: Benjamin Stringer, miller

1881: James Tilney, miller (employee)

1881: Benjamin Stringer, owner & miller - also Mileham postmill

June 1881: Mill advertised for sale by private contract along with postmill

1883: James Tilney, miller

O.S. map 1891: Windmills (Corn)

1888: H. B. Childs, working at mill

1888: Henry Steggles, miller

White's 1890: Henry Steggles, miller

O.S. map 1891: Windmills (Corn)

Kelly's 1892: Henry Steggles, miller (wind) & thrashing machine proprietor

Kelly's 1896: Alfred Tilney, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1900: Alfred Tilney, miller (wind)

O.S. map 1904: Windmill (Corn)

1904: Sail broke off during a gale

Kelly's 1904: John Wilkin, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1908: John Wilkin, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1912: John Wilkin, miller (wind)

1918: Sail broke off in gale

1924: Mill ceased working

1926: Mill derelict with a bare stock and the remains of 3 skeletal sails

Photograph 1934: Mill with stocks, 3 broken sails and the fanstage still in situ

Karl Wood painting 1937: Empty shell of tower

1936: Tower shell remaining

1949: Tower shell remaining

1970: Tower shell remaining with a few floor beams and a millstone on the floor

22nd March 1970: Frank Bassett of Mill House (postal address Litcham) died Geraldine Neale died in May

May 1970: Geraldine Neale, daughter of John Wilkin, died aged 80

O.S. map 1974: Windmill on The Warren

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 TF 90101734
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2005