Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Mulbarton smock windmill stood on Mulbarton Common to the north side of the village. The 6 storey, 10 sided wooden tower was set on a 2 storey brick base with stepped sides of vertical brickwork rather than the normal sloping sides. The conical cap with a ball finial had an extension over the fan platform that held a six bladed fan. A stage was set on the 2nd floor that was strutted below to the base wall. Four double shuttered patent sails, each with 9 bays of 3 shutters and struck via a tail pole were driving 3 pairs of stones in 1829, along with 2 flour mills; a pair of Peak stones, a dressing machine and an oat crusher were also used at various times. A bake office and a horse mill was also on the site.

By c.1890 a steam engine had been installed to provide auxiliary power and in later years a diesel engine took over.

John Spratt was baptised at Hedenham on 10th February 1745/46. He married Mary Hayward on 15th July 1770. He married again on 27th January 1776, by which time he was running the mill.
In 1792 he left to take over Saxlingham mill and later also took over Saxlingham_Thorpe_watermill. On leaving Mulbarton, his son in law Jeremy Thursby, took over having moved from Gimingham_watermill.
John Spratt died on 1st December 1823 and was buried at Shotesham St. Mary - his headstone reads:
Sacred to the Memory of SARAH the wife of JOHN SPRATT who died Oct 7th 1802 Aged 47 years
Also of JOHN SPRATT many years Miller in this Parish who died May 23rd 1819

The following melancholy accident happened during the late high wind; Mr. John Greef, of Cranworth, being in his mill at the time it was blown down, was unfortunately killed by its fall.
A mill at Aldeby, and Mr. Chasteney’s mill at Brissingham (the third within three years) were also blown down. – The sails from Cringleford, Mulbarton, New Buckenham, Poringland, and several other mills in the county, were also swept off.
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th November 1795

Valuable Freehold Water_Corn_Mill, Superior Tower Windmill, Capital Dwelling House, Granaries and Land at Saxlingham and Mulbarton.
WM. BUTCHER Respectfully begs leave to announce to the Public that he has received instructions (from the Acting Executors of Mr. ANDREW SPRATT) to offer for Sale by Auction the latter end of the present month the valuable Freehold Water_Corn_Mill ... at Saxlingham. Also that superior TOWER WINDMILL with patent sails, Dwelling house, Granaries, Outbuildings, Garden and Orchard adjoining pleasantly situated at Mulbarton within five miles of Norwich, possessing a Right of Commonage over the Common in that parish.
The above Estates are well situated for Trade having an excellent connection, are in the best possible state of repair and are certainly very desirable for investment or to men of business.
Norfolk Chronicle - 2nd April 1825

Sale advert April 1825
Norfolk Chronicle -
9th, 16th, 23rd & 30 April 1825

re Act for establishing an uniformity of Weights & Measures (1825)
(5th Geo. 5th
(error for 4th) c. 74) as from 1 January 1826

Corn Bushell

Old Measure
cubic ins.

New Measure
cubic ins.

cubic ins.
1 quart more

We the undersigned Merchants and Millers do hereby give notice that on and from the first day of January next all Corn taken in by us will be by the New Imperial Bushel as by Law established.
... Thomas Spratt ...
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th December 1825

Mill with steam engine house and chimney alongside - c.1900

between WILLIAM & THOMAS SPRATT, Millers at Mulbarton having been DISSOLVED by Mutual Consent, all debts due to the above will be received by Thomas Spratt who will pay all demands upon the same.

William Spratt
Thomas Spratt
Witness W. Spratt Jr.
Mulbarton March 25, 1828
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th March & 5th April 1828

Insolvent Debtor. Prisoner in Norwich Gaol.
Samuel Ringwood ... Mulbarton, Miller
Norfolk Chronicle - 21st February 1829

To be Sold or Let
All that well built TOWER WINDMILL with patent sails, brick and tiled Dwelling house, baking office, granaries, outbuildings, garden and productive orchard adjoining, delightfully situate in the pleasant village of Mulbarton, by the side of the valuable Common in the Parish and over which it has right of depasturing stock.
The Mill stands exceedingly well for trade, is in the best possible state of repair, drives three pair of stones, has two flour mills, horse mill etc.
The orchard contains nearly two acres and there are many fruit trees of the best quality planted therein.
Apply to Messrs. SEWELL, BLAKE, KEITH & BLAKE, Solrs. Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st October 1829

Robbery 1840
Robbery 1840
Robbery 1840
Robbery 1840
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th January 1840

Mill and Common c.1906 c.1906
Mill and Common c.1906

Tithe Award 1841
Map 1840
Owner: Miss Elizabeth Spratt
Occupier: Charles Cramer

No. 62

House, Mill, Stables, Yards & Garden

0a. 3r. 16p.

1a. 2r. 10p.

£1. 3. 6d
11. 3d

re Storm of 9 August 1843
Mr. Cremer's mill had its sails torn off and then falling on the warehouse adjoining injured it considerably. Mr. Cremer's loss is estimated at £300.
Norwich Mercury

C. CREMER, Miller and Maltster, Mulbarton
Having engaged the Old established Malting Business at Mulbarton (many years in the occupation of Mr. Robert Mantes) begs to solicit the favour of a continuance of such Customers who have hitherto dealt there and of the public in general, who will oblige him with their Orders, assuring them that they may rely upon having Malt and Hops of the first rate quality.
Norfolk Chronicle - 16th & 23rd October 1847

William Howes, deceased
... William Howes late of Mulbarton in the County of Norfolk, Miller (who died intestate on the 11th day of August 1867 ...
Letters of Administration to Elizabeth Howes of Mulbarton, widow ...
Norfolk News - 23rd November 1867


William Howes deceased
The Creditors of William Howes, late of Mulbarton in the County of Norfolk, Miller, deceased, can receive the amount of their respective debts at my office on and after the 17th day of February instant.
Dated this 13th day of February, 1868

J. C. Chittock

Solicitor to the Administratrix
Redwell Street, Norwich.
Norfolk News - 22nd February 1868

To be SOLD or LET a first class situation as a WINDMILL with patent sails, 4 pairs of Stones, 1 Flour Mill with Warehouse attached with 2 Flour Mills, Meal, Corn and Pollard Bins and stowage for a large quantity of goods. A comfortable Dwelling house, Bake office, Granary, 2 Stables and Outbuildings, 2 Gardens, productive Orchard and right of common. The Mill is doing a good business.
Possession can be had next Michaelmas.
Apply to C. Cremer, Bracon Ash.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 22nd May 1875

The Valuable Property known as Mulbarton Mill, with neat Residence, Gardens, Orchard and Farm Buildings, standing in a good position, with long frontage to the High Road and the Common, with Common Rights of Pasturage.
Messrs. Spelman have received instructions from the Executors of the late Miss Emma Spratt to Sell by Auction on Saturday September 15 at 3 o'c at the Royal Hotel, Norwich, the above Estate, now in the occupation of Mr. A. Thompson. The Mill stands well for wind, and with the other Buildings is in thorough substantial repair and the total content is about two acres.
Particulars of Messrs. Spelman, Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft and of COPEMAN & LADELL, Vendors' Solrs. Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 1st & 8th September 1894

On Thursday, 30th ult. a severe storm passed over Mulbarton and district. The mill at Mulbarton had one of the sails struck and the vanes were shattered, pieces of wood being thrown to a considerable distance. The owner, Mr. A. Thompson and his employee, Mr. A. Middleton were working in the mill at the time and were thrown to the ground when the lightning struck the chain which is used inside the mill to pull up the sacks. This is said to be the third time this mill has been struck.
Eastern Daily Press - 2nd July & Dereham & Fakenham Times - 9th July 1910

William Lant Duffield wrote an article in The Miller entitled Early Experiences of a Country Miller in which he mentioned that he was one of two employees at the 6 storey mill. The mill had four pairs of stones in situ - three for flour and one for grist. With a good wind the mill ran three pairs of stones, a dressing machine and an oat crusher. William Duffield left Mulbarton in 1893 to take over and start his own business at Mattishall_Mill_St_towermill by taking on a four year lease.

Mulbarton ... a large white derelict smockmill opposite the green.
In Search of English Windmills - Hopkins & Freese, 1931

c.1931 18th August 1937
18th August 1937

In lawn parched grass shows outside wall to wall diameter as about 28 feet.
Cologne millstone 3 ft. diameter, 7 ins. thick.
About 9 or 10 feet of steam chimney still standing.
Also base for later diesel engine.
Later blacksmiths shop with bellows etc.

Harry Apling - 26th June 1980

On 21st September 1983, Harry G. Lambert of Old Mill House (next to the towermill) told Harry Apling that Alfred Thompson also worked the towermill for a while.

My maternal 4xgreat grandfather was John Spratt the miller at Mulbarton, Shotesham_postmill, Shotesham watermill and Saxlingham Thorpe postmill and watermill.
Re: the details of him that are on your Mulbarton site: He was baptised on 10 February 1745/46 at Hedenham. Prior to his marriage in 1776 he was married, by licence, on 15 July 1770 to Mary Hayward, both of them widowed. Mary was buried 17 November 1773 in Mulbarton. John and Mary had three children. The only one who survived was Elizabeth (baptised 26 May 1771, died 19 July 1842), who married Jeremy Thursby on 9 October 1792. Jeremiah was buried 24 May 1795.(All these were in Mulbarton.)
John Spratt died on 23 May 1819. He was buried at Shotesham St Mary and his headstone reads Sacred to the Memory of SARAH the wife of JOHN SPRATT  who died Oct 7th 1802 Aged 47 years Also of JOHN SPRATT many years Miller in this Parish who died May 23rd  1819.
(I looked for the headstone last month but unfortunately it has "gone missing" so am relying on the Women's Institute transcription of the graveyard done in 1980. This can be found on Shotesham website under weddings!) John and Sarah had twelve children and John left the Mulbarton Mill to his eldest surviving son Andrew.

Jill Webb - 18th June 2018

O. S. Map 1881
O. S. Map 1881
Courtesy of NLS map images

14th November 1775: Sails blown off in a storm

Norwich Consistory Marriage Licences 27th January 1776: John Spratt, miller

1792: John Spratt, miller moved to Saxlingham

1793: Jeremy Thursby, miller from Gimingham watermill (son in law of John Spratt)

Faden's map 1795: Windmill

1819: Andrew Spratt, miller

23rd May 1819: John Spratt died and was buried at Shotesham St. Mary

1823: Andrew Spratt, miller

February 1824: Andrew Spratt died

April 1825: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with Saxlingham watermill

1825: Thomas Spratt, miller

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

1828: William & Thomas Spratt, millers

March 1828: Partnership of William & Thomas Spratt, dissolved

1828: Thomas Spratt, miller

October 1829: Mill advertised for sale or let

White's 1836: Charles Creamer & Co., corn millers

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

Tithe Award 1840:
Owner: Miss Elizabeth Spratt; Occupier: Charles Cramer

9th August 1843: Mill sails torn off in a gale

October 1847: Charles Cremer took over the malting business of Robert Mantes

Kelly's 1854: Charles Cremer, miller & maltster
White's1854: Charles Cremer, corn miller

White's 1864: William Howes, miller & malt & hop dealer

11th August 1867: William Howes died

May 1875: Mill advertised for sale or let by Charles Cremer

Kelly's 1879: George Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

1883: Steam engine installed to add auxiliary power

White's 1883: George William Thompson, miller & farmer

O.S. map 1891: Windmill (Corn)

Kelly's 1892: Alfred Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

September 1894: Mill advertised for sale by auction by executors of Miss Emma Spratt

Kelly's 1896: Alfred Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

Kelly's 1900: Alfred Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

Kelly's 1904: Alfred Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

Kelly's 1908: Alfred Thompson, miller & farmer, Mulbarton steam & wind mills

Thursday 30th June 1910: Mill struck by lightning and sails damaged; Alfred Thompson & A. Middleton in mill

1911: Sails blown off

Kelly's 1912: Alfred Thompson, miller

Kelly's 1916: Alfred Thompson, miller

Kelly's 1922: Alfred Thompson, miller

Kelly's 1925: Alfred Thompson, miller

1926: Mill derelict

Kelly's 1929: Alfred Thompson, miller

1931: Mill tower derelict with a conical roof

Karl Wood painting 1933: Derelict wooden tower with a pointed roof

1937: Brick base covered in ivy and tower above with large holes topped with conical roof

1949: Mill demolished

October 1979: Dr. Andrew & Mrs. Fairclough, Mill House

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 TG19260117
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004