Saham Hills


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Saham Hills north postmill stood on the southeast side of the village at Saham Hills on the common, just to the northeast of the site of the nearby Saham_Hills_south_postmill. It was situated on the north side of the road, opposite the Primitive Methodist Chapel. Saham Hills itself stood just to the north of the village of Saham Toney.

Faden's Map of Norfolk of 1797 shows quite clearly that Saham had four post mills by the late 18th century, all situated in Saham Hills. The earliest, the most easterly, was Simon_Wyer's_post mill of 1744. In the pages of the Court Rolls there is his request to build "upon that part of the Common pasture in Saham Toney called Saham Hill...". The rent was 5/- a year.
Forty years later Isaac Hardy built two mills, one of which was run by his son Michael from 1802.  Isaac's post mill stood about opposite the chapel on Saham Hills Road.  Michael_Hardy's_mill was sold to William Youngman in 1810, then is passed to his daughter Frances Adcock but it was almost immediately sold again, this time to William Ashley in 1863, for £130. Subsequently this was rebuilt in brick and became known as Ashley's_Tower_Mill and was located up the lane opposite what used to be the Windmill public house.
Robert Whalebelly owned the post mill that stood behind what is now Ngong House (a slight hump in the paddock there may indicate where the foundations stood). In 1841 the land belonged to Phoebe Bowen and its site was a pasture, as it is today.   An outhouse carries the initials R. W. and the date 1862.  This mill was eventually sold to Robert Joseph Mace, Robert Whalebelly's son-in-law, who advertised himself as a "wind and steam baker" from 1896 and whose sons continued in the same business until 1929.

The land on which Wyer's_mill stood passed to Mary Ann Pickling, wife of William, when she inherited land from John Alderton, her father, in 1858. By then the old mill had probably disappeared, wooden post mills were somewhat less durable than brick ones and rarely lasted 200 years. Both post mills and smock mills were transportable and could be dismantled and re-erected. Bristow's_Tower_Mill, the only windmill that remains in Saham - and in nothing like its original condition - was built in 1828, as is shown by a date stone that reads: J. & S.B. 1828.
John Bristow retired in 1845 and went to live in Chequers Lane and the mill was taken over by his son who worked it until 1880, and then his son, Robert, was in charge from 1882 until about 1904 after which he advertised himself only as a baker. In 1948 the tower was converted into living accommodation for Mrs. K. M. Tice, and as such it is the only visible remains of what was once an important and flourishing activity in Saham Toney. At the time the maximum number of windmills were operating in Saham the parish was probably milling flour for much of the surrounding district. Watton only seems to have had one mill, near the junction of High Street with the Swaffham road, behind West house.

Windmill at the Hills, Saham Toney - Extracted from the Shadows on the Summer Grass - Robin Brown.

Isaac Hardy married in 1766 and his son Michael snr. married Mary (née Kiddle) with their son Michael jnr. being baptised in 1794. Michael jnr. married Elizabeth (née Meachen) and they had 3 daughters at Mattishall.
Ann was baptised on 6th May 1819, Harriet on 23rd February 1823 and Elizabeth on 22nd March 1826. Michael Hardy jnr. went on to own mills in Dereham, Gressenhall. and Ovington.

To be Sold or Lett
And entered upon at Lady day next
A New POST WINDMILL, two dwelling houses and two acres of pasture land in Saham Toney, near Watton, Norfolk, in the occupation of Robert Chandler, together with right to the adjoining and extensive Common of Saham Toney aforesaid.
Particulars on application to Mr. J. G. Wyer, the Proprietor or Mr. Brighton, Attorney, both of Downham Market.
Norfolk Chronicle - 1st, 8th & 15th of March 1794

SAHAM near Watton, Norfolk
Calital Windmill etc.
To be Sold by Auction by Benjamin Bird
At the house of Mr. Hinsey, the sign of the Bull, in Saham Toney, near Watton On Thursday 1st August 1799 between the hours of 5 and 7 The following desirable Freehold and Copyhold ESTATES situate in Saham Toney aforesaid.
Lot I. A Capital POST WIND-MILL late in the tenure of William Bitton.
Lot II. All that Freehold MESSUAGE or Tenement adjoining the said Wind-mill, with the yards, garden and allotment of land thereto belonging, containing together, by estimation, 2a. 2r. (be the same more of less) late in the tenure of the said William Bitton.
Lot III. All that Copoyhld MESSUAGE ...
Possession of the 1st and 2nd lots may be had immediately and the tenants (who will shew the premises) are under notice to quit the last lot at Michaelmas next.
Also a very good Breast CART to be sold.
Apply to Mr. George Wyer or Mr. Crisp, Attorney, both of Downham Market, Norfolk.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th July 1799

O.S. Map 2009
O.S. Map 2009
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

c.1784: Mill built by Isaac Hardy along with Saham Hills towermill

1794: J. G. Wyer, proprietor

March 1794: Mill advertised for sale or let

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

c.1799: William Bitton, miller left mill

July 1799: Mill advertised for sale by auction:

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