Saham Hills


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Saham Hills towermill stood to the north of the hamlet of Saham Hills on the common up the lane opposite to where the Windmill pub used to stand. An earlier postmill stood just to the northeast.

In 1809, the mill was using two pairs of patent sails to power three pairs of French burr stones. By 1861 only two pairs of stones and a flour mill were being used.

Capital Tower Wind Mill & Premises
To be Sold by Auction at the Crown Inn, Watton On Wednesday 10 January 1810 Unless sooner disposed of by Private Contract of which due notice will be given.
A Very Capital Tower WIND MILL now in full trade, with three pair of French stones, and going gears complete belonging the same. Also a substantial granary, barn, stable, cart lodge and other conveniences, with 1a. 2r. of excellent arable land.
Also, a Dwelling house in two tenements and Baking office in good repair standing near the above premises with the yards and outbuildings belonging thereto.
Possession of the above premises may be had on the 18th October next.
Apply to Mr. William Youngman of Saham near Watton, who will shew the premises.

Norfolk Chronicle - 23rd & 30th December 1809

To be Sold by Auction by Mr. Emerson on Tuesday 25 June 1861 at 4 o'c on the premises at Saham Hills. The following desirable Property in 2 lots; with immediate possession.
Lot 1. A Capital WINDMILL well situated and now in full trade with Patent Sails driving 2 pairs of French Stones with Flour Mill and all requisite gears in good repair.
Also a Stable, Cart Lodge and Hay House with Granary over and about 1 acre of Pasture Land more or less.
Lot 2. Freehold Dwelling House etc.
The above Property was late in the occupation of William Youngman deceased.
Apply to E. R. Grigson, Solr. Watton, Mr. Marsh, Schoolmaster, Saham and the Auctioneer, Watton.

Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 22nd June 1861

Notice re
John_Bristow, deceased, late of Saham Toney, Farmer, whose will was proved 27 November by William Ashley of Saham Toney, Miller, one of the Executors.

Norfolk Chronicle - 12th June 1886

Rate Valuation 1891
Ashby, William
Mill & land
Rateable value
House & land
Clark, G. R.
Rateable value
3r. 22p.

£3. 10. 0

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 postmill 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.

Tithe Award map 1842
Tithe Award map 1842 - as redrawn by Harry Apling

Tithe Award 1842
Map 1842
Owner: William Youngman
Occupier: do

No. 745

Mill, House & garden

part of

0a. 0r. 18p.
1a. 0r. 22p.

6s. 9d.

Saham Toney & Saham Hills millers' family tree
Saham Toney & Saham Hills millers' family tree

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Courtesy of NLS map images
Robert Whalebelly Robert Mace Robert Mace jnr John Bristow snr John Bristow jnr Robert Bristow
O.S. Map 2009
O.S. Map 2009
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

The mill was built by Isaac Hardy c.1784 along with Saham_Hills_north_postmill that stood further to the south alongside the same road. His son Michael took over the running of the mill in 1802.   In 1810 the mill was sold to William Youngman and it eventually passed to his daughter Frances Adcock, although it was almost immediately sold again in 1863 to William Ashley for £130.
Although the above article states that the mill was rebuilt as a brick towermill after being sold to William Ashley in 1863, the mill was in fact a towermill by 1809 and was probably built as one.

White's 1836: John Youngman, farmer

White's 1845: John Youngman, farmer

White's 1854: John Youngman, farmer

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

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

1802: Michael Hardy, son of Isaac Hardy took over the running of the mill

1809: William Youngman, miller

December 1809: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1810: William Youngman bought the mill from Isaac Hardy

Pigot's 1830: John Youngman, miller, Sahan

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

White's 1836: William Youngman, corn miller

Tithe Award 1842: William Youngman, owner & occupier

White's 1845: William Youngman, miller & farmer

White's 1854: William Youngman, miller & beerhouse

1858: William Youngman, miller

8th April 1861: William Youngman died aged 72

June 1861: Mill advertised for sale by auction

c.1862: Mill inherited by Frances Adcock, daughter of William Youngman

1863: Frances Adcock sold mill to William Ashley for £130

White's 1864: William Ashley, miller

Kelly's 1879: William Ashley, miller

O.S. map 1884: Windmill (Corn)

White's 1888: William Ashley, miller, Saham hills

White's 1890: William Ashley, miller

Kelly's 1892: William Ashley, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: William Ashley, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1900: William Ashley, miller (wind)

O.S. map 1905: Windmill (Disused)

c.1905: Mill demolished

3rd December 1905: William Ashley died aged 76

c.1955: Mrs. Gladys Watson living in original bungalow on mill site

1971: Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Moore of Bungalow Farm living in new bungalow on mill site

1980: Bungalow Farm on mill site

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 TF90630410
Top of Page

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2010