Mill Farm postmill


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Witton postmill was also known as Ridlington Mill and stood to the northwest of Witton at Mill Farm on Witton Common, later known as Mill Common. The mill was built in 1809 to replace an older_postmill. In 1825 the buck was set over a roundhouse approx. 23 ft. in diameter and was turned to wind by a tailpole with a wheel. Two pairs of common sails powered one pair of 4 ft. 10 ins. and one pair of 4 ft. 4 ins. French burr stones and two flour mills.
A horse mill was also operated in an adjacent building that housed the granary on the upper floor.

In later years the common sails were replaced with double shuttered patent sails, each with 9 bays of 3 shutters and a fantail carriage with large wheels was attached to the tailpole.

When Abraham Ames wrote his will in 1825, his three daughters were already married and all of them were married in Walcott.
Robert Pike married Charlotte Ames on 4th November 1807
Thomas Nichols married Elizabeth Ames on 23rd December 1824
James Kidd married Ann Ames in Walcott on 22nd December 1816

Extracted from the 1825
Will of Abraham Ames of Ridlington

I give and devise to Robert Pike, my son in law, all that piece of land together with the wind corn mill, horse mill, round house, boulting mill, sheds, houses, outhouses, hereditaments and premises therefore standing, situate and being in Witton in the same County of Norfolk, with all and every the stones, wheels, cogs, staves, sails, sail cloths and other cloths, going gears and appurtenances whatsoever to and with the said mill belonging, or use or reported or taken as part, parcel or member thereof………………. To hold unto his heirs, executors, administration or assigns………
Also to Elizabeth my daughter, wife of Thomas Nichols aforesaid, miller of Ridlington I leave £200.00
Also to Ann my daughter, wife of James Kidd of Norwich, Carpenter £200.00, but if Ann should die prior to myself that portion goes to Robert Pike, aforementioned.
To my grandson Robert Pike, all those two freehold cottages, with yards, gardens, ground and Pightle of land, rights members appurtenances situate in Ridlington to be held by Robert Pike Senr, until my grandson reaches 21 yrs. If Robert Junr dies one cottage goes to Elizabeth wife of Thomas Nichols but not the pightle of land, and the other cottage goes to Robert Pike Senr.

The will was written on 13th November 1825 and proved on 15th October, 1833. Effects sworn under £200.00

Robert Pike snr. inherited the mill from his father in law, Abraham Ames.

The 1841 census lists George Youngman as journeyman miller at Ebridge towermill

In 1845 the mill's two pairs of stones were producing 100 sacks of flour per week or 50 coombs per pair.

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

Tithe Award 1842
Owner: Lady Charlotte Laura Wodehouse
Occupier: Robert Pike

No. 5

Cottage, Mill Buildings & Yard

0a. 2r. 3p.



Valuable WIND CORN MILL within 5 miles of the Market Town of North Walsham. To be Sold by Auction by Mr. Butcher at the Hill Hotel, Happisburgh on Monday 6 October 1845 at 4 o'c.
A capital and well built WIND CORN MILL with a good substantial Roundhouse about 23 ft. in diameter at WITTON in Norfolk adjoining the Estate of Lord Wodehouse and now in the occupation of Mr. Robert Pike, the Proprietor.
The Mill was erected about 36 years ago and contains two Flour Mills and drives two pairs of French Stones, One pair 4 ft. 10 ins. and the other 4 ft. 4 ins., with Going Gears all in substantial and complete repair capable of grinding 100 sacks per week.
Also Building near the Mill used as a Horse Mill with a Granary over the same capable of receiving6 or 8 score of Corn and a convenient Counting Room. There is also a Cart Lodge and Stable for 2 Horses and the whole Premises with the sites of the Buildings comprise One Acre of Land, part whereof is cultivated as a Garden. The Estate is held at a nominal rent of 20s. under a lease for a term of 99 years of which 16 years will be unexpired on the 10th October 1845 and the Mill will be removable by the Purchaser at his pleasure during or upon the expiration of the term.
The whole forms a most eligible Property either for investment or occupation, an extensive trade having always been carried on therein by its present and former proprietors in succession and the Mill from its situation will always command an excellent trade, there being no other mill in the neighbourhood nearer than two or three miles.
Apply to Mr. B. C. Siely, Solr. Beech Grove, North Walsham or the Auctioneer, Theatre Street, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 27th September & 4th October 1845

Situations Vacant
To Millers
Address, Mr. George Youngman, Wilton Mill.

Norfolk News - 28th January 1865

To be Let with Immediate Possession
The RIDLINGTON WIND MILL near Bacton, Norfolk, (working two pairs of stones) with House, Premises and about six acres of Land.
Apply to George Forrester, Esq. Tombland, Norwich or to Mr. R. Thurling, Estate Carpenter, Witton, North Walsham.

Norfolk Chronicle - 15th January & 19th March 1881


One source stated that the mill ceased working c.1900, although the trade directories appear to contradict this.

After the mill ceased working, a local ejected family was allowed to live in the roundhouse for a short time.

11th September 1934 Roundhouse in use as a greenhouse - 24th May 1979
11th September 1934
Roundhouse in use as a greenhouse - 24th May 1979

The above photograph shows the roundhouse in use as greenhouse. The red brick roundhouse had a 7 ft. 6 ins. high wall with an inside diameter of 22 ft. and an outside diameter of 23 ft. A large door was set in the south side of the building.

This mill at Witton and Woodton postmill are the only two postmills in Norfolk recorded as having been used for residential purposes. Woodton's roundhouse was used after the mill buck had been dismantled. After Witton mill ceased working, a local ejected family was housed in it for a short time.

O. S. Map 1885

O. S. Map 1885
Courtesy of NLS map images

c.1809: New mill built on site of earlier mill

1825: Abraham Ames, owner;
Thomas Nicholls, tenant miller

Bryant's map 1826: Mill

Index of Wills 1832: Abraham Ames, miller

1833: Abraham Ames, died

Greenwood's map 1834: Windmill

O.S. map 1838: Windmill

Tithe Award 1842:
Robert Pike snr, owner and occupier on land leased from Charlotte Laura, Lady Wodehouse and part of the Witton Hall Estate. The tithe map apparently shows the postmill with roundhouse and tailpole with one wheel

1845: Robert Pike, miller

September 1845: Mill advertised for sale by auction

Census 1851: Robert Pike snr (70) b.Ranworth, journeyman miller
Charlotte Pike (67) b.Ridlington, wife
M. J. Pike (24) b.Ridlington, dressmaker

1858: George Youngman, miller and farmer

1863: George Youngman, miller

1864: George Youngman, miller

1865: George Youngman, miller

1868: George Youngman, miller

1872: George Youngman, miller

1875: George Youngman, miller

1878: George Youngman, miller

Kelly's 1879:
George Youngman, miller

Census 1881:
George Youngman (60) b.Gimingham, farmer
Emma Youngman (59) b. Honing
Ann Youngman (27)  b. Witton

January 1881: Mill advertised to be let

White's 1883: Samuel Brady, miller

O.S. map 1885: Windmill

1888: Jonathan Andrews, miller

1890: Jonathan Andrews, corn miller
& flour dealer

Kelly's 1892: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1896: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1900: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1904: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1908: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1912: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

Kelly's 1916: Jonathan Andrews, miller (wind)

c.1920: Mill buck dismantled

Kelly's 1922: William Andrews, miller (wind)

c.1924: Mill dismantled

1926: Remains of roundhouse

Karl Wood painting 1937: Roundhouse only with double roof (second roof covering original opening)

O.S. map 1845: Windmill

1949: Remains of roundhouse

1974: Mr. & Mrs. Lewis B. Fletcher, Mill House

1978: Mr. & Mrs. Lewis B. Fletcher, Mill House

1984: Roundhouse being used as a greenhouse
. Large door on the south side and a 9 sided glazed roof

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 TG34883231
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Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004