Saham Hills


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Saham Hills northeast postmill stood to the north of the village of Saham Toney on the common just to the east of where a later towermill was built.

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 postmill 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.

1744: Probable date that mill was built

1744: Simon Wyer, miller renting mill for 5/- per annum

1794: Robert Chandler, miller and occupier; J. G. Wyer, proprietor

March 1795: Mill advertised to be sold or let

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

1799: William Bitton, miller

August 1799: Mill advertised for sale by auction after William Bitton had left or died

Poll Book 1802: Michael Hardy, miller

Bryant's map 1826: Windmill

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

1858: Mill land inherited by Mary Ann Pickling, wife of William, from her father, John Alderton

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 2010