New Catton Philadelphia Lane towermill
(east - Bird's Mill)


Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Two relatively small towermills, used as sawmills, stood to the north of Philadelphia Lane on the east side of the Aylsham Road. A flour mill stood a few yards away on the south side of the Lane.
This tower mill was the easterly one of the pair often known as Bird's Mill, with the other mill, often known as Cann's_Mill, just to the southwest in the adjacent plot.

Bailey Bird was the son of John and Elizabeth Bird (née Harrison) and was born on the 30th November 1794 and baptised on the 5th December 1794 in Diss.

Bailey Bird was married twice. The second marriage was to Maria Webster (b.1819 in Hevingham), the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Webster. The wedding was in the January to March quarter of 1842 in Norwich. They had the following children:- Keziah Maria, baptised on the 15th March 1843 in St. Clement’s, Norwich 4; Robert Bailey, born 15th August 1844 and baptised 16th September 1844 in St. John Sepulchre, Norwich 5; Prudence Maria, born in the July to September quarter of 1847 4 and Hepzibah Maria, born on the 14th March 1849 in Philadelphia, St. Clement.

In the 1851 census, Bailey Bird was given as a miller living in Philadelphia, St. Clement’s with his wife Maria (32), sons Peter M. (8) and Robert B. (5) and daughters K. M. (8), Prudence (3), and Hephzibah (2).
Also given in 1851 in Philadelphia was a Bailey Bird who was a sawyer at a wind mill. He had a wife Susan (30) and had been born in All Saints, Suffolk c.1823.

In 1856, a daughter, Rachel Mary, was born.

This indenture made the twenty sixth day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and thirty seven. Between Baley Bird, of the Parish of Saint Clement, in the City of Norwich, Miller, on the one Part; and Elizabeth Bird of the Parish of Saint Clements aforesaid, Widow of the other part. Whereas by Indenture of Lease, Appointment and Release bearing date respectively on or about the thirtieth and thirty first days of December, One thousand, eight hundred and thirty six and the Appointment and Release made between George Warren of Norwich aforesaid Land Surveyor of the first part; Samuel Pizzey of the same City Gentleman of the second part; William Foster of the same City, Gentleman of the third part; the said Baley Bird of the fourth part; James Taylor Margitson Gentleman of the fifth part; and Thomas Clark Brettingham Esquire of the sixth part for the consideration therein expressed the Windmill, Land and hereditaments therein and hereinafter particularly described, were appointed and conveyed unto the said Baley Bird, his heirs and assignees. To such uses, for such estates, and in such manner as the said Baley Bird should at any time or from time to time by any deed or deeds appoint or, in default of such appointment. To the use of the said Baley Bird and his assigns during his life without impeachment of waste and immediately after the determination of the Real Estate by any means in his lifetime. To the use of the said James Taylor Margitson, his executors and administrators during the life of the said Baley Bird. Upon rest nevertheless for the said Baley Bird and his assigns with Remainder. To the use of the said Baley Bird And Whereas the said Elizabeth Bird hath contracted and agreed with the said Baley Bird for the absolute purchase of the said Windmill, and hereditaments hereinbefore referred and hereinafter described and the inheritance in fee simple thereof free from all incumbrances at the Price of Forty nine pounds and ten shillings and the same are agreed and intended to be appointed and conveyed in manner hereinafter appearing. Now this Indenture Witnesseth that in pursuance of the said agreement and in consideration of the sum of forty nine pounds and ten shillings of lawful British money paid by the said Elizabeth Bird to the Said Baley Bird on execution of these Presents, the receipt whereof and that the same is in full and absolute Purchase of the Windmill, Land and hereditaments hereinafter described, the said Baley Bird hereby acknowledges and thereof and therefrom hereby acquits and releases and discharges the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs, executors and assigns for ever. He, the said Baley Bird in exercise and execution of the Power and Authority given and restored to him as aforesaid and of all other power enabling him herinafter. Doth by this deed under his hand and seal absolutely and irrevocably direct, limit and appoint that All that piece or parcel of Land of him the said Baley Bird situate, lying and being in the Parish of Saint Clement in the said City of Norwich or in the County of the same City containing by measure thirty three perches, little more or less, bounded by the Land of Nathaniel Wyeth towards the North West, by Private Roads North East and South East and by Land of the said George Warren South West, together with a Windmill and all other buildings and erections now standing and being thereon as the same are now in the use, possession or occupation of the said Baley Bird, his tenant or tenants. Together with all ways, Paths, Passages, Watercourses, liberties, easements, privileges, Rights, members and appurtenances whatsoever to the same premises belonging and the Recession and Reversory Remainder and Remainder thereof. And also all the Estate right, the Interest, Claim and demand whatsoever of him the said Baley Bird in to, or out of, or upon the said hereditaments and Premises with their appurtances shall from henceforth remain, continue and be To the only proper and absolute use and behoof of the said Elizabeth Bird and her heirs and assigns for ever. And the said Baley Bird for himself, his heirs, executors and administrators hereby covenants with the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs and assigns that notwithstanding any act, matter or thing done or permitted by the said Baley Bird to the contrary. He the said Bailey Bird now hath in himself good right by these presents to appoint and assure the said land, Windmill, hereditaments and Premises with their appurtances. To the use of the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs and assigns for ever according to the intent and meaning of these Present. And also that the said Land, Windmill hereditaments and premises shall or may be peacefully held and enjoyed accordingly without any eviction or interruption from, or by, the said Bailey Bird, his heirs or assigns, or any person or persons rightfully claiming or to claim through, under, or in trust for him or them. And that free from, or by the said Baley Bird, his heirs, executors or administrators kept indemnified against all power or other estates, rights, charges and encumbrances created or occasioned by the said Baley Bird, his heirs and assigns and every person rightfully claiming any estate, right, like or interest in or to the said Land, Windmill, hereditaments and Premises, or part thereof through, or in trust for him or there will at any time, or times, hereinafter at the request and costs of the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs and assigns, make, do and execute every such act, deed, conveyance or assurance for now effectually assuring the said Land, Windmill, hereditaments and Premises, or any part thereof, with their appurtances unto and to the use of the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs and assigns according to this time, intent and meaning of these Presents as by the said Elizabeth Bird, her heirs and assigns, or her or their Counsel in the Law shall be reasonably advised and required and as shall be rendered to be done or executed. In Witness whereof the said day and Year first above witnessed.

Received the day and year first within
written of and from the within named
Elizabeth Bird the sum of forty nine pounds
and ten shillings being the consideration £49.10.
money within expressed to be paid by her to me
Baley Bird
John Alborough
Frederick Cole
Signed, sealed and delivered by the within named Baley Bird in the presence of
John Alborough.
Frederick Cole.


Charles Warren, aged 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing a lot of carpenter’s tools, from the mill of Mr. B. Bird, of Philadelphia. The tools were valued at a guinea; and James Thomas Watson, aged 27, stood charged with receiving the same, knowing them to have been stolen. It was proved that Warren took them to Watson’s in a skep, and asked him two shillings for them, which Warren took. He did not detain the prisoner, notwithstanding it must have been evident to any person that they were stolen property. However, as soon as there was any enquiry about them, Watson described the person of whom he had them, and at once shewed all the articles, so that there was no attempt at concealment. He said he really did not know what they were worth, but the Jury found him guilty.

The Recorder remarked that the duty of an honest man would have been to have detained Warren, and not buy such things as these so far below their value, when it must have been evident to any man that they were stolen. The practice of receiving stolen property was very prevalent in Norwich, and it became necessary to make an example of those found guilty. He entirely concurred in the verdict, and he was very glad a case of this sort came before the Court; and he trusted the sentence in this case would induce others to do what they could in the detection of thieves, and not encourage them by purchasing the property they steal. The sentence of the Court upon him was, that he be imprisoned for the period of six calendar months. Warren was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.
Norfolk Chronicle - 10th April 1841

In March 1842, Charles Warren was sentenced to 10 years transportation for theft.

In 1841, Elizabeth Bird made her will.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Elizabeth Bird of the Parish of Saint Clement in the City of Norwich Innkeeper which I make in manner and form following that is to say First I command my soul into the hands of Almighty God and my body I consign to the earth to be decently interred at the discretion of my executors hereafter named and with as little expence as possible an do nominate constitute and appoint my sons Mr. Bailey Bird and my Son in law Mr. Simon Mills executors of this my will. Also I give and devise unto my said Son Bailey Bird all that my messuage or tenement with the yard and garden thereto belonging situate and being in Cratfield, in the County of Suffolk and is now in the occupation of John Crane. And also all those four other tenements in the occupation of William Bryant and others. And also all that messuage or tenement with the Post Wind Mill thereto belonging with the appurtenances. To hold to him and his heirs forever. Subject to and I do hereby charge the said Estates with the payment of the yearly sum of seven pounds to be paid by my said son unto my son in law the said Simon Mills and his wife Priscilla Mills for and during the terms of their natural lives by four even and equal quarterly Payments in the year with a full power in case of default shall be made in the payment of the said Annuity to distrain for the same. Also I give and devise unto my said Son Bailey Bird all that Public House which is now in my own occupation with the smock Tower Wind Mill standing thereon and which is situate in the said Parish of Saint Clement. To hold to him and his heirs forever. And lastly I revoke and make void all former wills by me made and declare this only to be and contain my last will and testament. In witness thereof I the said Elizabeth Bird the testatrix have to this my last will and testament contained in one sheet of paper set my hand and affixed my seal this sixth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty one.

The mill at Cratfield, Suffolk was the one at Bell Green (TM309755) which was built in 1824 and blown down c.1865. Elizabeth Bird died in 1879 and was buried in the Rosary Cemetery, Norwich.

Norwich Police. – Guildhall.

STEALING WOOD. – William Sizer, (46), of Magdalen-street, was charged by Mr. Bailey Bird, of New Catton, with having stolen some wood, his property. Mr. Bird stated, that he was building a house, and the prisoner assisted him as a bricklayer’s labourer. He missed a quantity of wood at different times; some on the previous day; and suspecting the prisoner, he looked into his bag, and there found the wood he had missed. – More wood belonging to him was also found at the prisoners house. – The prisoner admitted the offence, and begged to be forgiven. – He was committed for trial.


William Sizer (46) charged with having. on the 16th July, stolen seven pieces of oak, the property of Mr. Bailey Bird, of St. Clement’s. The prisoner admitted the offence, and was sentenced to two months imprisonment, with hard labour.
Norfolk Chronicle - 25th July 1845

Bailey Bird died on the 26th April 1860.


On Thursday last, Mr. Bailey Bird, mill sawyer, of St. Clement’s without, aged 65.
Norfolk Chronicle - 28th April 1860

Bailey Bird owned both of the sawmills standing to the north of Philadelphia Lane.
He also owned the Cawston Sygate Black Mill.
They were all put up for auction after his death.

Without Reserve,

At the Bull Inn, Magdalen Street, Norwich, on Thursday, the 14 th day of June 1860, at Five for Six o'clock in the Afternoon, by order of the Executors of the Will of Mr. Bailey Bird, deceased, in Lots.

Lot 1. All that Brick Tower WINDMILL, USED as a Saw-mill, well situated in Cawston, Norfolk, erected within the last eight years, with the Machinery and going Gears complete, now in the occupation of William Fuller, a yearly tenant, at the rent of £25 per annum.

Lot 2. All that substantially erected Brick Tower_WINDMILL, used as a Saw-mill, situated at Philadelphia, near St. Augustine’s-gates, Norwich, with the Machinery and going Gears belonging thereto, and occupied therewith, and ~ Rods of Ground, late in the occupation of the deceased.

Lot 3. A Tower WINDMILL, used as a Saw-mill, with Machinery and going Gears complete, A COTTAGE, with land, Garden, and Appurtances, late in the occupation of the deceased, adjoining the mill, and three Cottages near, now occupied by Miss Hannah Orton, James Revell, and the Widow, all situated at Philadelphia aforesaid.

The respective purchasers of Lots 2 and 3, will have the option of purchasing the Timber and other Trees, now lying on those Lots.
Immediate Possession may be had of the Mills, Yards, and Cottage, late in the occupation of Mr. Bird.
Part of the purchase money may remain on mortgage at 4½ per cent.
Particulars and Conditions of Sale may be had of Mr. W. L. Mendham, Solicitor, St. Andrew’s Broad-street; or of the Auctioneers, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle & Norfolk News - 26th May & 2nd June 1860

In 1860, Thomas Smithdale was called upon to carry out some repairs and alterations to Bird’s Mill.
His account reads: -

Cwt. qr. lb.
£. s. d.
Jan 19.
Parker. Pattern to 1 shaft.
3 hr.
3. 0.14
2. 5. 6
Barnes. Turning Shaft.
2 hr.
2. 0
Paling. " "
¾ day
7. 6
" " "
½ day
5. 0.
" " "
1 hr.
1. 0.
Feb. 16.
To 1 shaft.
2. 1. 9.
1. 7.11½
Segger. Turning Mill Shaft.
4. hr. )_
5. 6.
" " " "
1½ hr.)
Mar. 15.
Thoulness Cutting Key Way in Clutch
3 hr.
1. 0.
Segger. Boring Clutch.
1½ hr.
1. 6.
Apr. 2.
Lloyd. To Clutch Pattern.
2 hr.
2. 0.
To 3 Clutches.
1. 1.23.
17. 4.
Segger. Boring do.
5½ hr.
5. 6.
Towlson Cutting Key Way in Clutch
6½ hr.
3. 3.
Parker. Drilling Dye to Shafting.
13 hr.
15. 0.
Lawrence. " " " "
1½ hr.
Segger. Turning do.
10½ hr.
10. 6.
" " "
7½ hr
7. 6.
Parker. Drilling do.
4 hr.
4. 0.
Lawrence. Fitting do.
1 hr.
Segger Turning Shafting
1 day.
12. 0.
to 2 shafts
10. 0. 0.
7.10. 0.
Harrison. Cutting Key ways in Shaft
4½ hr
4. 6.
Keymer. " " " "
+ Keying in Clutches
11½ hr
5. 9.
Lawrence 3 Keys for Shafts &c.
4 hr.
3. 0.

PHILADELPHIA, Mile Cross Road, Norwich
To be Sold by Auction by

Wm. B. Tyzack on Wednesday April 25, 1866, all the materials from a Wind Mill consisting of Iron Shaft 11 ft. long, Sails, Upright Shaft, Reeve Wheel, Cog and other Wheels, Joists, Balks, Spur Wheels, Weather and other Boarding, Iron Shafting, Drum Wheels, several lots of good and useful Firewood, Old Iron, Bolts, several cwts. of Screw Bolts, Cast and Wrought Iron, Bricks etc. etc.
The sale begins at 11 o'c
W. B. Tyzack, Auctioneer & Valuer. Offices Bridewell Alley, Norwich.
Norfolk News - 21st April 1866

Alfred Walker was born c.1837 at Sprowston, the son of Benjamin, a farmer, and Sarah Walker.

Alfred Walker was listed in Kelly’s Directory of 1900 as a brush board cutter, Aylsham Road.

Morant's Map 1873
Morant's Map 1873
Mill marked in red - Cann's mill just to the southwest in the adjacent plot
Eglington's mill just to the south
Upper Hellesdon Press Lane postmill lower left marked in blue

O. S. Map 1883
O. S. Map 1883
Mill stood just to the northeast of Cann's Mill, which is marked in red and was in the adjacent plot
Upper Hellesdon Press Lane towermill lower left
Courtesy of NLS map images

1836: Baley Bird, miller, sold the mill to mother, Elizabeth Bird

1841: Bailey Bird, miller

1845: Elizabeth Bird, saw mills

1845: William Bird, miller

Hunt's 1850: Bailey Bird, saw miller, Philadelphia

Kelly's 1854: Bailey Bird, timber dealer, Philadelphia

White’s 1854: Bailey Bird, stave cutter, Philadelphia

1859: Bailey Bird, saw mill

26th April 1860: Bailey Bird died

May 1860: Mill advertised for sale by auction along with the western mill and Cawston Sygate Black Mill

1864: William Smith & Simon Mills, sawyers

April 1866: Mill materials & machinery advertised for sale by auction

Morant's map 1873: Sawmill

Kelly's 1875: Alfred Walker, saw miller

1879: Elizabeth Bird died

Census 1881: Alfred Walker (44) sawyer
Louisa Walker (48) wife
Frederick Walker (17)
Ellen Walker (15)
Lettisha Walker (13)
Ezikel Walker (10)
Alfred David Walker (6)
Robert Walker (4)
Address: Plummer’s Buildings, Philadelphia, St. Clement’s Without

White's 1888: Alfred Walker, saw mill proprietor and brush wood cutter, Philadelphia Windmill

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 TG22481052
-1841 to 1883+
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