Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Topcroft postmill stood to the north of the village to the east of Oxnead Lane. The mill buck was set on a two storey roundhouse. Four double shuttered sails powered 2 pairs of French burr stones and a flour mill. The mill was turned to wind by a 6 bladed fantail on a ladder.


Rex Wailes surveyed the mill c.1950:
Body with lean-to porch
Post:- 25 ins. square at base, 14 ins. square at top.
Instead of the usual collar where the post passes through the lowest floor of the buck, there was a circular frame which carried two rollers; one bore against an iron ring on the post and the other on a horizontal track built up off the quarterbars.
Vertical iron track was fixed round the post below the sheers and iron rollers on brackets bolted to the bottom of the first floor took the place of the steady bearing. No collar was fitted but a small horizontal track fixed to the quarterbars was provided for additional vertical rollers.
Crosstrees:- 10 ins. by 9 ins. deep
Brakewheel:- Wood, clasp arm, with flanges on iron wind shaft instead of squared section.

Philip Unwin surveyed the mill in May 1974:
Iron Windshaft 10 ft. neck to tail
Brick piers 33 ins. square, 6 ft. high
Cross trees 9 ins. square
Post 25 ins. square at horns tapering to 22 ins. at collar, 14 sided above collar.

c.1935 15th September 1936
15th September 1936

Situations Vacant
To Millers
WANTED, a Single Man, one that has been used to a Windmill preferred.
A good character and reference from his last employer required.
Apply to E. Eldred, Topcroft Mill, near Bungay.
Norfolk News - 9th April 1864

To Millers
To be Let immediately, a POST WINDMILL with Patent Sails and self-winding Gear. Two Floors in Round house and driving two Pairs of French Stones and Flour Machine, with House and Stable and one acre of Land.
Apply to John Rounce, Topcroft, near Bungay.
Norfolk News - 15th October 1864

Situations Vacant
To Millers
Wanted, a steady Single Man to Work a WINDMILL.
Apply to G. Potter, Topcroft, Bungay, Suffolk.
Norfolk News - 12th December 1868

Situations Vacant
Wanted, a steady Single Man to work a WINDMILL.
Apply to Geo Potter, Topcroft, Bungay, Suffolk.
Norfolk News - 18th December 1869

O.S. map 1950
O.S. map 1950 - redrawn by Harry Apling

c.1960 29th August 1972
29th August 1972

The post, trestle and walls of the roundhouse were still intact in 1972, although becoming very overgrown

1989 15th July 2005
15th July 2005

William Lant Duffield owned the mill from 1909-1916, he also owned Saxlingham_Thorpe_black_towermill and the watermills at Flordon, Saxlingham Thorpe and Tasburgh.

Sarah Ann Doughty, wife of Thomas Doughty of Topcroft, miller, applied for a separation order against her husband.
Application dismissed.
Dereham & Fakenham Times - 27th January 1912

Norwich Bankrupts.
... public examinations before Mr. Registrar Cooke at the Norwich Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday (14th) The examinations were conducted by the Official Receiver, Mr. H. P. Gould.
William Lant Duffield, miller and farmer of Tasburgh_Mill and Saxlingham_Thorpe. Gross Liabilities £1697. 4s. 2d: deficiency £632. 2s. 2d.
Replying to questions, he said that in 1893 he commenced trading as a miller at Mattishall with a capital of about £130. When he removed to Tasburgh three years later hew was worth about £300. In 1897 he took over Flordon_mill with 36 acres of land and at Michaelmas 1906 he hired the Saxlingham mill with 20 acres. Three years afterwards he hired the windmill at Topcroft and a year ago he gave up the Flordon_mill and land ...
... last year a distress was issued for rent ...
... His insolvency was due to want of capital and losses occasioned by the flood of 1912.
Dereham & Fakenham Times - 18th March 1916 (Saturday)

... Topcroft mill, a tall derelict peg-and-post ...
In Search of English Windmills, Hopkins & Freese - 1931

Around 1925 the owner of the postmill at Halesworth started demolition. Mr. Scrimgeour of nearby Wissett Hall objected to this as it spoilt his view so he paid Mr. Robert Martin of Beccles to repair it. This was effected using parts from Topcroft postmill in Norfolk in 1933 ... when Mr. Scrimgeour died in 1937, the fly and shutters were removed ...
Halesworth - Calver's Mill demolished in 1942.
Suffolk Windmills, Brian Flint - 1979

Various parts of the mill went to other mills including the windshaft, which went to East_Harling_towermill in 1975.

How fascinating to read your history of Topcroft mill. I've just found out that my mother was born there in 1919, as it seemed to be the family home, although the mill was not worked at the time. My mother is now aged 94. In the 1980s she was Lord Mayor of Norwich. She was born Barbara Ellen Edith Yallop, now Stevenson.
Anya Mitchell - 18th May 2014

21st March 2010
21st March 2010

O. S. Map 1883
O. S. Map 1883
Courtesy of NLS map images

White's 1845: William Rounce, farmer

White's 1854: William Rounce, farmer

White's 1864: John Rounce, farmer

O.S. map 1838: Windmill

1846: John Rounce, miller

1853: John Rounce, miller

1856: John Rounce, miller

1858: Thomas Parker, miller

1859: Thomas Parker, miller

November 1859: Thomas Parker bought lease of Hempnall Mill Road towermill for £230

1863: Edward & Frederick Eldred, millers

White's 1864: Edward & Frederick Eldred, corn millers

October 1864: Mill advertised to be let

1868: Edward & Frederick Eldred, millers

1872: Charles Clemence/Clements, miller

1875: Charles Clemence/Clements, miller

1878: Charles Clemence/Clements, miller

Kelly's 1879: Horace Everett, miller

White's 1883: Horace Everett, miller

O.S. map 1884: Windmill

1888: Horace Everett, miller

White's 1890: Harry Laskey, miller

Kelly's 1892: Henry Laskey, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: John Henry Laskey, miller (wind) & corn dealer, Topcroft mill

Kelly's 1900: John Henry Laskey, miller (wind) & corn dealer, Topcroft mill

Kelly's 1904: Alfred E. Kemp, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1908: William Nelson Plummer, miller (wind)

1909: William Lant Duffield of Saxlingham Thorpe, hired the mill

1910: Mill had one new stock and two new sails

Kelly's 1912: William Lant Duffield, miller (wind)

1912: Thomas Doughty, miller (employee)

Kelly's 1916: William Lant Duffield, miller (wind)

1916: William Lant Duffield declared bankrupt

c.1922: Mill ceased working

1924: Sails and fantail removed as fan damaged

1932: Mill derelict

1933: Parts from mill used to repair Halesworth postmill in order that the view of it should not be spoiled

Karl Wood painting 1937: Roundhouse, derelict buck with windshaft but no sails

O.S. map 1956: Windmill

1970: Mrs. Cyril Robert Long, Mill House

1972: Mill post, trestle and most of roundhouse wall still intact

O.S. map 1974: Windmill

1975: Windshaft fitted to East Harling towermill by Adrian Colman of Garboldisham postmill

March 2010: Mill post, trestle and most of roundhouse wall still intact

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 2004