Swanton Abbot


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Swanton Abbott towermill stood on Hill Common. The tower was 4 storeys high and built of brick c.1845. It had 4 double shuttered sails, each with 9 bays of shutters struck via a rack and pinion. The dome shaped cap was topped with a ball shaped finial and also held an 8 bladed fan. The sails powered 2 pairs of stones and a flour mill. A portable steam engine in a shed that stood alongside provided addition power in times of low wind.

Robert Page, son of local farmer John Page (b.1796) married Charlotte, daughter of Benjamin Postle Woollsey of Swafield_watermill and he later left Swanton Abbott to take took over Swafield_mill on the death of Benjamin Woollsey c.1860.


Messrs. IRELAND have received instructions to Sell by Auction in two lots at the King's Arms Inn, North Walsham on Thursday September 29, 1870 at 5 for 6 o'clock for the following desirable Property.
Lot 2. A well situate Brick TOWER WINDMILL driving two pairs of Stones and a Flour Mill, with capital Dwelling House, Stables and Outbuildings, situate at Swanton Abbott and in the occupation of Mr. Robert page. Possession can be had at Michaelmas next.
Particulars of W. Forster Esq., Solicitor, Aylsham and of the Auctioneers, Guestwick, Thetford.

Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 17th & 24th September 1878

Two Photographs ... tower mill at Swanton Abbott in Norfolk was struck by lightning in May 1901. One of the miller's children can be seen at the base of the mill among the shattered timbers which have fallen from the broken sails.
GONE WITH THE WIND - A Survey on the Survival of England's Windmills by Hugh Howes & Richard Minton - Winter 1979 - 1980
The photos also showed a shed alongside the mill containing a portable steam engine used for auxiliary power.


Hunt family c.1906
Hunt family c.1906

The (above) picture is of my family members.  According to a cousin, Elizabeth Ann Hunt, it was taken about 1906.  Those in the picture are (left to right): Mary Elizabeth Goose Hunt, Edith Rachel Hunt, Ruth Elizabeth Hunt, Amelia Mary Hunt Gray holding Ethel (born May 13, 1905), George Herbert Hunt, Benjamin John Hunt (age 11) on horse, John Benjamin Hunt, Sr. (small figure in background), Flora Rebecca Hunt (age 13, holding gate), Kate Sophia Hunt Daniels, b.December 1878, Earl Flaxman Daniels.
John Hunt - 30th March 2008

The 1871 Census records George Goose as the miller. His married sister Mary also lived here with her husband Benjamin Hunt, who was a blacksmith. Sadly, George died two years later. Benjamin then became the miller. His son John Benjamin Hunt emigrated to Canada in 1890 age 23 and became a manager of a flour mill in Ontario.
Colin Worswick - 1st February 2020

O.S. Map 1884
O.S. Map 1884
Courtesy of NLS map images

O.S. Map 2005
O.S. Map 2005
Image reproduced under licence from Ordnance Survey

White's 1883: Absolom Hunt, brickmaker
White's 1883: Mrs Eleanor Hunt, grocer & draper
White's 1883: Elijah Hunt, hurdle maker
White's 1883: George Hunt, sexton
White's 1883: Herbert Hunt, baker & confectioner

White's 1890: Elijah Hunt, bootmaker
White's 1890: Herbert John Thomas Hunt, baker
White's 1890: Josiah Hunt, farmer & carrier

Kelly's 1892: Herbert Hunt, baker
Kelly's 1892: Josiah Hunt, carrier (to Norwich twice a week)

Kelly's 1896: Elijah Hunt, shoe maker
Kelly's 1896: Herbert Hunt, baker
Kelly's 1896: Josiah Hunt, carrier (to Norwich twice a week) & farmer

Kelly's 1900: Elijah Hunt, shoe maker
Kelly's 1900: Herbert Hunt, baker
Kelly's 1900: Josiah Hunt, carrier (to Norwich twice a week) & farmer

Kelly's 1904: Elijah Hunt, shoe maker
Kelly's 1904: Josiah Hunt, carrier (to Norwich twice a week) & farmer

Kelly's 1908: Elijah Hunt, shoe maker
Kelly's 1908: John Benjamin Hunt, farmer
Kelly's 1904: Josiah Hunt, farmer & carrier (to Norwich Sat)

1916: John Benjamin Hunt, farmer

Census 1841:
John Andrews (35) miller
Eleanor Andrews (30)
Mary Andrews (10)
Harriet Andrews (9)
John Andrews (7)
Eliza Andrews (6)
Address: Chapel House

Jesse Youngman (35) miller
Sophia Youngman (35)
Louis Youngman (12)
Thomas Youngman (10)
Emma Youngman (5)
William Youngman (3)
Elizabeth Youngman (2)

Robert Jones (60) journeyman miller
Ann Jones (60)
John Jones (35) journeyman miller

White's 1845: John Andrews, corn miller

Census 1851:
John Andrews (42) b.Dilham, miller
Eleanor Andrews (40) b.Worstead
Mary A. Andrews (10) b.Stalham
Harriot Andrews (19) b.Tunstead
John Andrews (17) b.Tunstead, journeyman miller
Eliza Andrews (15) b.Tunstead
Address: Swanton Mill

Matthew Beau (49) b.Honingham, miller
Eliza Beau (46) b.Norwich
Sarah Beau (13)  b.Norwich

Census 1861: George Goose, apprentice miller

White's 1845: John Andrews, corn miller

White's 1854: John Andrews, corn miller

1856: John Andrews, miller

1858: Robert Page, miller

1865: Thomas Henry Gray, miller (later moved to Dilham Staithe towermill)

1870: Robert Page, miller

17th September 1870: Mill for sale by auction

1870: John Goose bought the mill with the view that his son, George Goose would run it

Census 1871:
George Goose (27) b.Scottow, miller
Benjamin Hunt (25) b.Swanton Abbott, brother in law, blacksmith
Mary Hunt (21) b.Scottow, sister (of G. Goose)
George Benjamin Hunt (3) b.Swanton Abbott
Herbert Hunt (1) b.Scottow
Rachel Goose (10) b.Scottow
Address: Wind Mill, Mill House

1872: John Goose, miller & farmer

1873: George Goose died

1878: John Goose, miller & farmer

Census 1881:
John B. Hunt (35) b.Scottow, miller & farmer of 12 acres employing one man
Mary E. Hunt (30) b.Scottow
John Benjamin Hunt (13) b.Swanton Abbott, scholar
Herbert G. Hunt (11) b.Swanton Abbott, scholar
Amelia M. Hunt (9) b.Swanton Abbott, scholar
Thomas A. Hunt (7) b.Swanton Abbott, scholar
Frederick Hunt (6) b.Swanton Abbott, scholar
Ernest Hunt (4) b.Swanton Abbott
Kate Hunt (0) b.Swanton Abbott
Elizabeth Rounce (60) b.Scottow
Address: Mill House

White's 1883: John Benjamin Hunt, farmer & miller, Swanton hill (son in law of John Goose)

O.S. map 1885: Windmill

c.1888: Portable steam engine installed in an adjacent shed

White's 1890: John Benjamin Hunt, farmer & miller

Kelly's 1892: Benjamin Hunt, miller (wind & steam)

Kelly's 1896: Benjamin Hunt, miller (wind & steam) & farmer

Kelly's 1900: Benjamin Hunt, miller (wind & steam) & farmer

Kelly's 1904: John Benjamin Hunt, miller (wind & steam) & farmer

May 1901: Mill struck by lightning and sails damaged

1914: Benjamin Hunt, miller

1914: Interior of mill destroyed by fire

1926: Tower standing as an empty shell

O.S. map 1924: Windmill

1971: Mr. & Mrs. T. P. Smith, Mill House

1984: 23 ft. diameter foundations grassed over to north of the 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 TG26332671
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004