Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills


Henry_Lock built the 9 storey Bracondale tower mill on a 40 ft. base in 1829, it stood behind Bracondale Manor House. The mill used four patent sails to power 4 pairs of 4 ft. 6 ins. French burr stones, 2 flour mills, a jumper and corn screens. The tower was waisted at the stage level on ther 5th floor. A Norfolk boat shaped cap with a gallery held a 6 bladed fan and a chain pole. The mill may have originally been built with common sails as an Indenture of 1832 mentions sail cloths.

In order to build the mill, Henry_Lock leased the land the mill was built on from John Crook in 1827. He borrowed £1,200 at 4½% interest from the Rev. John Alderman, of Starston, Norfolk, & George Morse and Robert John Turner, both of Norwich. The money was to be paid back as follows: - £300 to be paid by the 2nd February 1837 and £300 on the same day in each of the next three years. Interest was payable half yearly.

The mill was marked on the 1834 map. By 1835 Henry_Lock was getting into financial difficulties and he put the mill up for auction, along with the Poringland_High_Mill, which he had built in 1825.

Valuable Freehold Tower Mills, Houses, and Land,
At the Rampant Horse Inn, Norwich,
On Monday, December 21 st, 1835,
At four o'clock in the Afternoon,
In Three Lots.

Lot 2. comprises that lofty and substantially-built Brick Tower Windmill, 40 feet in diameter, on a commanding eminence, Bracondale Hill, Norwich, now in the occupation of Messrs. Bell and Co. as Tenants at Will. This mill was erected in 1829, and no expence spared to make it the most complete Tower Mill in the County; it contains nine floors, iron shaft, patent sails, drives four pairs of French Stones, 4ft. 6in. diameter, of good quality, two flour mills, jumper, corn screens, &c. &c.
There is also a two-stalled stable, Cart-lodge, and Garden adjoining the Mill.
All Freehold. – Land-tax redeemed.

For further particulars apply to Mr. Winter, Solicitor; Mr. Lock, Bracondale Hill; or to Mr. Butcher, Auctioneer, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 5th, 12th & 19th December 1835

Notice re Bankruptcy of
Henry Lock of Bracondale, Millwright, Builder & Engineer, Dealer & Chapman.

Norfolk Chronicle - 5th March 1836

The mill was not sold, and was again put up for auction on the 18th August 1836 at the Wounded Hart Inn. The mill was marked on the 1838 map. Thomas William Read leased the mill for 500 years upon purchase of an annuity of £700 upon the life of Mrs. Rebecca Creasey. He had been born c.1808 in Frettenham, Norfolk. He married Sarah Matthews, 29, on the 8th May 1832 at St. Peter’s Southgate Church.

Thomas William Read also worked Trowse watermill. His mother-in-law died on the 29th March 1841.

On Thursday, the 18th day of August, 1836,
At the Wounded Hart Inn, St. Peter’s, Norwich.
At Four o'clock in the Afternoon.
(By order of the Assignees of HENRY LOCK, a Bankrupt,)

Most valuable PROPERTY, situate at Bracondale, near Norwich, and in the City of Norwich, in the following Lots: -
Lot 1. COMPRISES that lofty and substantially built Brick TOWER WIND CORN MILL, 40 feet in diameter, on a commanding eminence, Bracondale hill, Norwich, now in the occupation of Messrs. Bell and Co. as Tenants at Will. This Mill was erected in 1829, and no expence spared to make it the most complete Tower Mill in the county, It contains nine floors, iron shaft, patent sails, drives four pair of French stones, four feet six inches diameter, of a good quality, two flour mills, jumper, corn screens, &c. &c.
All freehold, – Land-tax redeemed.
For further particulars and condition of Sale apply (if by letter post-paid) to Mr. J. Francis or Mr. Cannel Darkins, Norwich, the Assignees; Mr. Thos. Brightwell, Solicitor, Surrey Street; Mr. Jas. Winter, Solicitor, St. Giles’ Street; or to the Auctioneer, Saint Andrew’s Broad Street, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 6th & 13th August 1836


Monday last, at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. T. W. Read, Trowse Mills, Elizabeth, relict of Thomas Matthews, Gent, late of this city, deeply and sincerely regretted by her family and friends, in the 70th year of her age.
Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd April 1841


Thomas William Read was listed in Blyth’s Directory of 1842 as being at Bracondale mill and also at Trowse Mills, Trowse Millgate. The mill appears in the background of an etching of St. Mark’s church, Lakenham dated 1844, when the church was built.

Thomas William Read was advertising for a foreman at Trowse_Mills in March 1849. There was an accident involving the miller’s waggon in September 1849.

Accident. – On Monday, about twelve o'clock, as the waggon of Mr. Read, miller, of Trowse, was going down Thorn-lane, the wheel by some means got out of the sledge, the waggon went against the wall of one of the squares, and the man was jammed so completely against the wall, that part of it had to be cut away in order to extricate him. When extricated, he was taken to a shop opposite. Mr. Dashwood attended, and by his direction, he was conveyed to the hospital, where he was found to be seriously injured.
Norfolk Chronicle - 29th September 1849

Thomas William Read was listed in Hunt and Co.’s Directory of 1850 as miller at Trowse_Mills and Bracondale. In 1851 he was given as a merchant and miller aged 43 living at Trowse Millgate, Norwich with his wife Sarah 39, son Thomas 15, and daughters Sarah 18, Elizabeth 16, Emma 12, Fanny 11, Jane 9, Anne 7, and Helen, 5.


Thursday last, at Trowse, by the Rev. Geo Carter, Mr. Frederick Towler, of Crostwick, in this county, only son of Abel Towler, Esq. of this city, to Sarah, eldest daughter of Mr. Thos. W. Read, of Trowse Millgate.
Norfolk Chronicle - 1st December 1855


Thomas William Read’s wife died on the 14th February 1861 and was buried in Trowse churchyard.
His youngest daughter was married on the 9th March 1865.


On Thursday last, at St. Peter’s Mancroft, by the Rev. J. E. Cox M.A., F.R.S., and the Rev. C. Turner, Donald Macdonald Esq., of Port Elizabeth, Alga Bay, to Helen daughter of Thomas Wm. Read, Esq., of Trowse.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th March 1865

Thomas William Read remarried on the 29th May 1865


On Monday last, at Framingham Pigot, by the Rev. W. H. Plume, T. W. Read Esq., of Trowse, to Martha, youngest daughter of the late Mr. J. Coe, of Wood Dalling, and step-daughter of Mr. James Coleby, of Briston, in this county.
Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd June 1865

Thomas_Smithdale was employed by Thomas Read to work on both Trowse and Bracondale mills. Most of the items relate to Trowse mills but it is recorded that E. Johnson spent 5 days, 2½ hours at Bracondale mill between the 12th and 16th of September 1865 and also 7½ hours on the 3rd December 1865. Another employee by the name of Dobson spent 4½ hours at the mill on the 10th March 1866 and a new bolt weighing 4½lbs is recorded against the mill for this date. A working day for Smithdale’s employees being 10 hours.

Thomas William Read’s youngest daughter died on the 19th January 1866.


On the 19th January, at Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony, aged 20, Helen Matthews, the beloved wife of Donald Macdonald, Esq., and youngest daughter of Thos. Wm. Read, Esq., of Trowse.
Norfolk Chronicle - 17th March 1866


BIRCH – READ. – On the 3 rd inst., at St. George’s, Hanover-square, by the Rev. Ker. Greay, G. A. Birch, Esq., son of the late Rev. G. Boyds Birch, to Fanny Read, daughter of T. W. Read, Esq., of Trowse.
Norwich. Norfolk Chronicle, 10th October 1868.

The mill was struck by lightning on the 8th May 1872.

Thunderstorm, - A very heavy thunderstorm visited the city on Wednesday afternoon. The thunder was exceedingly loud, and the lightning struck several houses and buildings, amongst the latter, the mill on Bracondale, inflicting more or less damage. We have heard, however, of no casualty affecting life.
Norfolk Chronicle - 11th May 1872.

In 1873, a Malt Office, Coal Bins, Crane and Staithe in King Street, occupied by Thomas William Read were for auction. Thomas William Read was involved in a Court case in January 1876, when he was sued for 18s.

(Before E. P. PRICE, Esq., Q.C., Judge.)

DOWE v. READ. – This action was brought by the plaintiff, Henry Dowe, miller, Saxlingham, to recover of the defendant, Thomas W. Read, miller and Maltster, the sum of 18s., being a week’s wages in lieu of notice. – Mr. Linay appeared for the plaintiff, and as the defendant made no response either personally or by proxy, judgement was given for the amount claimed, with costs.
Norfolk Chronicle - 26th February 1876

Thomas William Read again found himself being sued in April 1876, this time for defamation and assault.

(Before the Right Hon. John Duke Lord COLERIDGE.)

The plaintiff Mr. Thomas Hovell Colman, of Rockland St. Peter, brought this action against Mr. Thomas William Read to recover damages from him for using defamatory language of him in the way of trade, and for having assaulted him in the public market.
Mr. Willoughby, who was for the plaintiff, told the jury that they would not be troubled with the hearing of the case, as the defendant had behaved in a handsome way by admitting his conduct was such that he ought to make a public apology for it, and accordingly the parties had consented that there should be a verdict for 40s. for the plaintiff.
Mr. Reeve, who represented the defendant, stated that his client lost his temper, made use of words which he now withdrew, expressed his regret, and offered a public apology to the plaintiff for having used them.
A verdict was accordingly given by direction of his LORDSHIP for the plaintiff for 40s.
Norfolk Chronicle - 15th April 1876

Thomas William Read died in June 1876.


READ. – On the 20th inst., at Trowse, in his 69 th year, Mr. Thomas William Read.
Norfolk Chronicle - 24th June 1876

Thomas William Read had issued a writ against Jonathan Hayes before his death and the case came to Court in July 1876.

NORWICH County Court. – July 11
(Before E. P. PRICE, Esq., Q.C., Judge)

READ v. HAYES. – This was an action to recover the sum of £7 13s. 6d., being balance of account stated. Since the summons was issued, the plaintiff, Thomas William Read, miller and merchant, had died; Mr. Linay appeared for the defendant, Jonathan Hayes, turner, King-street. Under the circumstances, an adjournment was granted till next Court to substitute the names of the executors as plaintiffs.
Norfolk Chronicle - 15th July 1876

The case did not reappear. It may have been settled out of Court or just dropped. Thomas William Read had died intestate and his effects were auctioned in January 1877.


MR BUTCHER is favoured with instruction from Mr. T. M. READ (Administrator of the late Mr. T. W. READ), to Sell by Auction (without reserve), on Tuesday, January 16 th, 1877, at Eleven o'clock, at Trowse.
The valuable EFFECTS throughout the MILLS and Premises, comprising Six Van HORSES, Harness Horse and Pony, four capital miller’s vans, three miller’s carts, tumbril, water cart, horse phaeton, covered car, excellent Norwich car, van, cart, phaeton, and gig harness, riding saddle and bridles.
Three superior WHERRIES, of 38, 35 and 21 Tons, Two Boats, 1,350 Coombs of Barley, Oats, Beans, Peas, Maize, and Brank; 88 Tons of Best housekeeper’s and Steam Coals; 7 Tons of Cake, 8½ Tons of Pollard and Randan, 3¼ Tons of Sharps and Supers, 24 Sacks of Dustings, 3 Coombs of Damaged Wheat, about 2,000 Sacks, Trade Utensils, Wheelwright’s Stuff, Old Iron, Machine Wire, Brasses, Scales, Weights, Brewing Tubs, and other Effects.
Described in Catalogues to be obtained on the Premises, and of the Auctioneer, Theatre Street, Norwich, and posted on application.
Norfolk Chronicle - 13th January 1877

PERSUANT to Orders of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, made in an Action in the matter of the Estate of THOMAS WILLIAM READ, Deceased, JOHNSON against READ, and in the Matter of the ESTATE of THOMAS WILLIAM READ BIRCH against READ, the Creditors of Thomas William Read, in the city of Norwich, Brewer and Maltster, who died in or about the month of June 1876, are on or before the 17th day of April, 1877, to send by post prepaid to Mr. Thomas Hanworth Rackham, of the City of Norwich, the Solicitor of the Defendant Thomas Matthews Read, the Administrator of the said Thomas William Read, deceased, their Christian and Surnames, addresses and descriptions, the full particulars of their Claims, a statement of their Accounts, and the nature of the Securities (if any) held by them; or in default thereof they will be peremptorily excluded from the benefit of the said Orders. Every Creditor holding and security is to produce the same before the Master of the Rolls, at his Chambers, situated in the Rolls Yard, Chancery Lane, Middlesex, on Tuesday, the First day of May, 1877, at Eleven o'clock in the Forenoon, being the time appointed for adjudicating on the Claims.
Dated this 16th day of March, 1877.

68 Aldermanbury, Agent For
Norwich, Plaintiff’s Solicitor.

Norfolk Chronicle - 24th March 1877


In September 1877 a Freehold Estate at Reedham and a Leasehold Estate in St. Julian’s, late the property of Thomas William Read were to be auctioned. Thomas Matthews Read sold the mill to Jeremiah James Colman and Frederick Edward Colman. Thomas Matthews Read was born c.1838 in Norwich. He was listed in Hamilton’s Directory of 1879 as a miller at the Tower Mill, Bracondale and also a maltster & corn merchant at Canon Wharf, King Street. At this time he was residing in Bracondale. In 1881, Thomas Matthews Read was given as living in Bracondale, Lakenham with his wife Maria (40). He was listed in Eyre’s Directory of 1883 as a maltster & corn merchant at King Street, with a malthouse at St. Stephen’s Square and a branch office in the Market Place.

The mill was marked on the 1884 map. In 1885, Thomas Matthews Read sucessfully tendered for the supply of 40 coombs of peas at 18 stone per coomb to Norwich Town Council. Thomas Matthews Read was listed in White’s Directory of 1887 as a maltster, corn coal, cake & artificial manure merchant. Cannon Wharf, King Street, & Corn Exchange and Tivetshall; home Bracondale. Thomas Cook, a millwright employed by J. J. Colman Ltd, demolished the mill in the 1890’s. Thomas Matthew Read continued to be listed in the trade directories until at least 1916.

It stood on the site of the present Carrow Homes in that road. (Corton Road)
Eastern Evening News - 21st August 1945

When windmills ground the city's flour a . . . brick tower mill six storeys high (9 storeys) and with a gallery round the lower part of the tower was to be found on Bracondale . . . swept away by housing development around 1890.
Eastern Daily Press - 13th April 1970

O. S. Map 1883
Towermill marked lower left
Courtesy of NLS map images

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

1829: Mill built by millwright Henry_Lock

Manning's map 1834: Windmill

December 1835: Mill advertised for sale by auction

1836: Bell & Co., millers

March 1836: Henry Lock bankrupt

August 1836: Mill advertised for sale by auction

O.S. map 1838: Windmill

1839: Thomas William Read & Co., millers

Blyth's 1842: Thomas Read, miller, also at Trowse

1845: Thomas Read, miller, also at Trowse

Hunt's 1850: Thomas Read, miller, also at Trowse

Census 1851:

Thomas William Read (43) merchant and miller
Sarah Read (39)
Sarah Read (18)
Elizabeth Read (16)
Thomas Read (15)
Emma Read (12)
Fanny Read (11)
Anne Read (7)
Helen Read (5)
Trowse Millgate, Norwich

1854: Thomas Read, miller, also at Trowse

White's 1864: Thomas William Read, miller, also at Trowse

1865: Thomas Read, miller, also at Trowse

8th May 1872: Mill struck by lightning

Morant's map 1873: Windmill

1875: James Hipperson, miller

1876: Thomas William Read died

January 1877: William Read's mill effects,including 3 wherries advertised for sale by auction

September 1877: Thomas M. Read sold the mill to Jeremiah James Colman & Frederick Edward Colman

Hamilton's 1879: Thomas Matthews Read, miller

Eyre’s 1883: Thomas Matthew Read, maltster & corn merchant, King Street

O.S. map 1883: Windmill (Corn)

c.1890: Thomas Cook, a millwright employed by J. J. Colman Ltd, demolished the mill

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 TG23640744

1829 to 1890+

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