Drainage Mills (Windpumps)
Steam Mills

Mill working - c.1920

Sprowston postmill, sometimes known as Mousehold Mill, has one of the best documented mill histories in the county and has been the subject of several books. It was built in 1780 as an open trestle mill but a two storey roundhouse was added later. A canopy was over the platform and a tailpole was cut off at the ladder.

The mill was built with common sails and later converted to patent sails with a 6 bladed fantail on a ladder. The fantail took 625 revolutions to turn the mill through 360º, thus @ 120 r.p.m. it would take 2½ minutes to turn 180º. The 4 double shuttered sails each had 8 bays of 3 shutters, that were struck internally by rack & pinion. The sails powered one pair of 4 ft. 6 ins. and one pair of 4 ft. French burr stones in the head and a further single pair of 3 ft. 6 ins. stones in the tail, thus needing about two tons of grain in the tail to balance the structure.

Rex Wailes reported that:
The body had a gable porch.
The main post of the mill was 32” square at the base and there was a ball bearing collar resembling a deep groove thrust bearing and 52 cast iron balls, 2¼” in diameter.
The sails had an angle of 2 degrees at the top and 27 degrees at the heel, with a span of 63 feet and a width of 8 feet. They were struck by rack & pinion via a chain wheel inside the mill.
The great spur wheel was made of iron, cladded with wood on the rim sides and with wooden spokes. An iron bevel rim driving a bevel pinion was bolted to its upper side. The shaft on which the pinion was mounted, passed through a hole in the crown tree and extended to the rear of the mill to drive the small pair of stones in the tail of the mill. The two pairs of stones in the breast of the mill and the single pair in the tail were all underdriven.
Alarm bells were operated by damsels.
Governors were driven from the upright shaft.
The sack hoist was driven by a cone clutch from the brake wheel.

The boulter was driven from the sack hoist drive. It was a standard model and had a six bar reel and six beater bars. A chute from the hopper above had a shaking action by a four-part cam on the boulter shaft. The meal supply was regulated by a metal slide on the hopper, controlled by a two-ball governor through a quarter-twist belt from a pulley on the boulter shaft.
Breast and tail beams on a sub-frame in the top of the mill carried the windshaft and the sails.
The whole assembly was moved forwards or backwards in relation to the main frame of the mill by means of a screw. This was done if it was found that by reason of wear in the bearings, the sails were just touching the roof of the roundhouse. This procedure was termed "Putting sails out of the house."

The post . . . at Sprowston is no less than thirty-two inches square.
. . . journal bearing for steadying purposes . . . at Sprowston Mill it is a ball bearing, with
2¼ inches cast iron balls. This is the earliest example of this class of bearing the author has met, and possibly dates from 1780.
Quote from H. O. Clark - R. T. Hopkins, Old Watermills & Windmills

At Sprowston, Norwich, is I believe the earliest ball bearing extant. It forms the steady journal in the waist and encircles the post. It is 34 ins. outside diameter and has 42 cast iron balls. There is no trace of machining anywhere on the bearings or the balls and the accuracy and cleanliness of the castings is remarkable.
Ralph Neville, Windmills - c.1933

The mill's grinding capacity in 1823 was:
4 to 5 score per week = 4 to 5 lasts = 80 to 100 coomb sacks
This being the equivalent of 40 to 50 coombs per pair of stones

Closeup from above photo c.1920 Drawing by J. Percival Chaplin c.1920
Closeup from above photo c.1920
Drawing by J. Percival Chaplin c.1920

c.1920 c.1920

Mill interior c.1920
Mill interior - c.1920

c.1920 Stone tun - c.1920
Stone tun - c.1920

Brakewheel - c.1920
Brakewheel - c.1920

Fantail trolley and steps - c.1920 Fantail trolley and steps - c.1920
Fantail trolley and steps - c.1920

Fantail trolley gearing - c.1920 Fantail trolley gearing - c.1920
Fantail trolley gearing - c.1920

Roundhouse door - c.1920 Underside of mill steps - c.1920
Roundhouse loading door - c.1920
Underside of mill steps - c.1920

Roundhouse door - c.1920 Roundhouse door - c.1925
Roundhouse door - c.1920
Roundhouse door - c.1925


The mill was originally built as an open trestle mill without a roundhouse and in that state was the subject of an etching by John Crome in 1810 that went on to hang in the National Gallery. The etching showed Sprowston postmill and Bond's towermill together.

Oil painting by Walter E. Plumstead c.1925 Oil painting by Walter E. Plumstead c.1925
Oil paintings by Walter E. Plumstead c.1925

The mill was first shown on Faden's map of 1797. Thomas Carlton is given as the miller at Sprowston in the 1817 Poll Book and he advertised the mill for sale in 1823.

To be SOLD by Private Contract,

A Good Substantial Post WIND-MILL, able to do from four to five score per Week, in good repair, with two pair of French Stones at the head, Flour Mill and Jumper, with a good Round House with two floors; also a New House with Stables and other conveniences, with one Acre of good Land more or less, all Freehold; situated one mile from Magdalen Gates, Norwich, in the parish of Sprowston. – Enquire of Mr. Carlton on the Premises. – Possession may be had immediately.
Norfolk Chronicle - 16th, 23rd & 30th August 1823

The mill was again offered for sale in 1824

To be SOLD by Private Contract,
With Immediate Possession,

A Capital POST WINDMILL, with two pair of French Stones at the Head, Round-house with two floors, Going Gears and appendages, now in complete order, and capable of grinding from four to five score per week. Also a new built Dwelling-house, Stable, Cart shed &c. and upwards of one acre of excellent Land, including the scites of the mill and buildings, the whole in the possession of Mr. Thomas Carlton, and situate in Sprowston, next the Wroxham Turnpike and about one mile from Magdalen Gates. All freehold, and subject only to 2s. Land-tax.
To view the Premises apply to Mr. Carlton, and for price and further particulars to him, or Mr. Cuddon, Conveyancer, Upper Close, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 3rd & 24th July 1824

Insolvent Debtor
Imprisoned for debt.

William Smith
formerly of Sprowston, Baker & Miller
afterwards of the hamlet of Thorpe, Norwich
and late of Thorpe next Norwich, Miller.

Norfolk Chronicle - 28th January 1826


TO BE LET, with Possession at Michaelmas next, a POST WIND-MILL, in Full Trade, with a convenient Dwelling-house, Stable, Cart Sheds, and Garden, situate on Mousehold, within half a mile of Norwich. – For Rent and other particulars apply to Mr. Roger Kerrison, Solicitor, Norwich.
Norfolk Chronicle - 19th September 1829

Robert Robertson was the miller by 1824. He had the patent sails and fantail put on the mill. He had married Sarah Rockhill in 1820 and may have been at the Market_Hills post mill in Great Yarmouth from 1820 to 1822. In 1824 a daughter Julianne, was born, then in 1827 another daughter, Susannah and in 1830 a son, George Rockhill. Robert Robinson was listed in Pigot’s Directory of 1830. In 1831 he had another daughter, Hannah Rachel.

On the 19th July 1832 there was an accident involving Robert Robinson's horse and cart.

We have this week to record another very serious accident arising from a horse running away with a cart. It appears that on Monday evening a valuable mare and cart belonging to Mr. Robinson, miller, of Sprowston, was standing at a baker’s door, in Ber-street, and during the absence of the man, who was collecting empty sacks, the reins became entangled with the tail of the mare, and she set off down Ber-street, along Goldenball-lane, and at full speed down Castle Ditches, as far as the New Shirehall, whence she was met by a poney and gig, in which Mr. J. Muskett, of the Yarmouth Bridge Inn, and Mrs Bailey Bird, relict of the late Mr. Bailey Bird, of Red Lion-street, were returning from a ride. – So frightful and tremendous was the collision that the shaft of the gig entered just beyond the shoulder of the mare, and penetrated the heart, and she fell lifeless on the spot. At the same time Mr. Muskett and Mrs. Bird were thrown out with great violence; they were soon conveyed home, and surgical assistance sent for, when it was found that Mr. Muskett had received a severe fracture on the head, and his body was much bruised, and that Mrs. Bird had one of her arms broken, and was otherwise very seriously injured in the head. The poney was cut across the eye and the gig damaged. We regret to say that Mrs. Bird died yesterday (Friday) noon from the effects of this dreadful accident, and that Mr. Muskett’s death from the same is hourly apprehended.
Norfolk Chronicle - 25th July 1832

Mr. Muskett died on the 30th August 1832

In 1834 Robert Robinson had a son, William Alfred.

Saturday night last, some person or persons broke into the mill of Mr. Robertson, of Sprowston, and stole therefrom 25 stone of flour and two sacks.
Norfolk Chronicle - 14th April 1838

Painting c.1928 by George H. Downing
Painting c.1928 by George H. Downing

Painting 1928 by Frank L. Emmanuel
Painting 1928 by Frank L. Emmanuel

Robert Robertson was listed in Pigot's directory of 1839 and Blyth’s Directory of 1842. He was killed in an accident in the mill on the 8th March 1842.


Tuesday last, aged 48, Mr. Robert Robertson, miller, of Sprowston from a fatal accident in his own mill. His loss in all the relations of life as a husband, father, and friend, will be deeply mourned by his bereaved family: and sincerely felt by the neighbourhood in which he lived, where he was a pattern of that pious conversation and upright conduct which true religion alone inspires.

An inquest was held on the body or Mr. Robert Robertson, miller, on Tuesday evening, before Mr. Pilgrim, at the Norwich and Norfolk Arms, Sprowston, when the Jury found a verdict of “Accidental Death.” It appears that as the deceased was putting the strap into the bolting mill, he was caught up by the wrist and was drawn up till he stuck fast at the shoulders in the machinery, the body of the unfortunate man stopping the mill, which had been observed to stand still for a quarter of an hour. When found, he was dead. He leaves a widow and six children to lament the catastrophe, which has deprived them of the best of husbands and fathers.
Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 12th April 1842

The above account of Robert Robertson’s death contradicts the version in H. C. Harrison’s book (written some 100 years later in 1948) that he became entangled in the drive from the brake wheel to the sack hoist. He was buried in Sprowston church. The ownership of the mill then passed to his wife, Sarah Robertson.

To Millers and Bakers.

A CAPITAL WINDMILL driving two pairs of STONES, situate near one of the most populous parts of the suburbs of Norwich, and in which a good Trade has been carried on for many years.
For Rent and further Particulars apply to Mr. Thomas Rackham, King-street, Norwich.

Norfolk Chronicle - 12th April 1842


ALL Persons Indebted to the Estate of ROBT. ROBERTSON, late of Sprowston, in the County of Norfolk, Miller, deceased, are requested forthwith to pay their respective Debts either to Mrs. Sarah Robertson, of Sprowston aforesaid, the administatrix of the deceased, or to Mr. Everett Bardwell, Solicitor, St. Andrew’s Street, Norwich, and all persons who have any demands upon the said Estate are requested to send in an account of the same, either to my office as aforesaid, or to the said Sarah Robertson.

Solicitor to the Administatrix

Returns her grateful Thanks to those Friends of her late Husband, who for many years favoured him with their Support, and she takes this opportunity of acquainting her Friends and the Public, that having engaged a competent person to superintend the Mill, she intends carrying on the Business as usual in all its departments, for the maintenance of Herself and Six children, and earnestly solicits a continuance of those favours enjoyed by her late husband.
Sprowston, 26th April 1842.
Norfolk Chronicle - 30th April 1842

Tithe map 1843 as redrawn by Harry Apling
Tithe map 1843 as redrawn by Harry Apling
Mill marked in red
Northern and eastern mills at 415
Southern mill at 337

Tithe Award 1844
Map - W. S. Millard & Son, Norwich, 1843
Owner: Sarah Robertson
Occupier: Sarah Robertson

No. 377 Windmill, House etc. Pasture 0a. 2r. 39p. 2s. 6d.

Sarah Robertson & Son were listed as millers at Sprowston in Hunt and Co.’s Directory of 1850. Sarah Robertson was born c.1793 at Pakefield, Suffolk. In 1851, she was given as a miller aged 58 employing one man living in Wroxham Road, Sprowston, with her sons Robert W., 27 and George R, 21, who were both millers. There was a double wedding in the family in 1856.


On the 17th inst., at Oulton, Suffolk, by the Rev, F. Fell, Mr. Robert Wm. Robertson, miller, to Miss Elizabeth Goff, second daughter of Mr. Thomas Goff, Farmer, both of the above place, also at the same time and place, Mr. Thomas Goff, eldest son of Mr. Thos. Goff, to Miss Julianna Robertson, second daughter of the late Mr. Robert Robertson, miller, Sprowston, in this county.
Norfolk Chronicle - 25th November 1856

It would appear that Julianna was widowed within nine years, as she was again married in Oulton Church in 1865.


On Thursday last, at Oulton Church, Suffolk, by the Rev. Charles Steward, Mr. Chester Lay, farmer, Barnby to Julianna, second daughter of the late Mr. Robert Robertson, late of Sprowston, in this county.
Norfolk Chronicle - 13th May 1865

Situations Vacant
To Millers

Wanted, a steady married man.
Apply to Mr. Robertson, Sprowston Mill, Norwich

Norfolk News - 10th November 1866

George Rockhill Robertson took over the mill from c.1858. The mill was marked on the 1880 map. In 1881 he was given as living in Sprowston Road, Sprowston with wife Susanna, 54, and son George William.
George Rockhill Robertson died in 1884.

The mortal remains of the late Mr. G. R. Robertson, miller and Merchant, of Sprowston, Norfolk, were laid to rest on Monday May 5 in the churchyard of that parish, and in the presence of a large assemblage of mourning friends. The deceased gentleman had succeeded his father in the occupation of the Sprowston Mill, and had earned the esteem and regard of his neighbours.
The Miller - 2nd June 1884

Sarah Robertson died in 1884 aged 92. Robertson & Son were listed in White’s Directory of 1888 as corn merchants and millers, 75 Corn Exchange; and Sprowston.



William Albert Harrison inherited the mill from George Rockhill Robertson, who was his maternal uncle. It was his mother, Elizabeth Sarah, eldest daughter of Robert Robertson, who had found her father dead in the mill. She died c.1915, aged 95.

c.1926 c.1928


William Albert Harrison’s wife was Rachel Margaret. In 1885 they had a daughter, Edith Alice; in 1886 they had a son, William Edmund; in 1888 they had a son, Herbert Clifford; in 1891 they had a son, Horace George; in 1893 the had a son, Leonard Linford and in 1897 they had a daughter, Olive Victoria.

William Robertson of Stratton_St Michael_postmill, was the eldest son of William Robertson and Elizabeth Scarffe of Hethersett.
William jnr's brother George took over the running of Hethersett Gt Melton Road postmill in 1829.
Robert Robertson took over at Market Hill mill in Yarmouth before moving to Sprowston.
Abraham Robertson took over the lease of Deopham smockmill on 18th September 1826.
Elizabeth Robertson married John Hastings who was running Starston postmill in 1854.
Susan Robertson married George Willis, a miller & baker from Mendelsham, Suffolk .
John, Simon, David and Samuel Robertson do not appear to have become millers.

John Robertson's son George Wilby Robertson worked in one of the Upper Hellesdon and one of the Gayton windmills. Robert's Robertson's oldest daughter, Elizabeth, married a Harrison of Sprowston postmill.
Elizabeth's sons worked Oulton Broad, Gisleham, Wangford and Sprowston mills. Her oldest son Robert William helped at Sprowston postmill after his father was crushed to death and he later bought a mill at Oulton Broad. Her next son, George, continued the family line at Sprowston and her youngest son, William Alfred, was an apprentice at a Wymondham mill and a journeyman at Great Bentley, Essex and he later owned St Margaret's Church Mill in Lowestoft.
Abraham's son William Proctor Robertson worked a mill in Eaton.

c.1927 1927

Arthur Leslie L Hard Moore painting
Arthur Leslie L Hard Moore painting

c.1930 Etching by Mary Lyle c.1930
Etching by Mary Lyle c.1930

Horace George Harrison, who followed his father at the mill, used to say that he remembered the great gale of Sunday, 24th March 1895, which rocked the mill. His father turned his back on the mill saying he did not want to see it fall. However, it survived with little damage. In 1920 Horace G. Harrison hired the mill from his father. He was listed in Kelly’s Directory of 1924 as a miller (wind) Windmill Road, living at 481 Sprowston Road. By 1928 it was no longer economic to keep the mill working and it reverted to William A. Harrison.

In 1933 arrangements had been made to hand the mill over to the Norfolk Archaeological Society for preservation by a Trust, as from 25th March. However, on the 23rd March someone lit a rubbish fire at the edge of Mousehold Heath, the gorse caught fire and flaming debris blowing onto the canvas sails soon set the mill alight.



. . . the total destruction by fire on Thursday of the ancient windmill on Mousehold Heath, Sprowston. . . .
The fire . . . broke out
about eleven o'clock. Smoke was seen rolling past the mill from a brushwood blaze on adjoining land. Mr. Harrison, the aged mill owner, hurried to the spot and frantically tried to prevent the flames spreading, but with a strong south-easterly breeze blowing it was only a matter of minutes before the fire had got a hold on the tarred brick and woodwork . . . the City Fire Brigade was telephoned for but before the Brigade arrived the superstucture crashed to the ground, a blazing tangle of burning beams.
The crash was caused by the great head wheel with its solid iron shaft by which the sails were turned . . .
For the past five years the mill has not been in use, and its unique associations with the city had led to negotiations for its sale to a public trust for preservation as a memorial. A fund had been started to acquire the building . . .
In an interview Mr. H. O. Clark, who is hon. secretary of the committee which was formed to acquire the mill . . . said the mill was built about 1780 . . .
The committee of which Mr. Clark is hon. secretary was formed last October. Numerous Norwich societies were represented on the committee and it was proposed to put the mill into repair and place it in the care of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust. An appeal for £300 was issued under the patronage of the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Mayor . . .

Eastern Daily Press - Friday 24th March 1933

24th March 1933
24th March 1933

The mill collapsing 24th March 1933   Fantail and roundhouse 24th March 1933
The mill collapsing 24th March 1933
Fantail and roundhouse 24th March 1933

Mill remains 24th March 1933 Mill machinery 1933
Mill remains 24th March 1933
Mill machinery 1933

26th March 1933
26th March 1933

Horace G. Harrison took the nearby “Brickmakers Arms” when he left the mill in 1928. After war service in the Royal Air Force he eventually retired to Shipdham, where he died on the 29th November 1976, aged 85.

Eastern Daily Press - 1st December 1976
Eastern Daily Press - 1st December 1976

In 1974 Horace G. Harrison wrote to Harry Apling to say that there were a pair of 4 ft. 6 ins. and a pair of 4 ft. French burr stones in the head of the mill and also a single pair of 3 ft. 6 ins. the tail. However, he never used this smaller pair as they were too small to be economical. All the stones were underdriven from the great spur wheel. The tail stone nut was taken out of gear by removing a wooden cog segment of 4 or 5 teeth.

In 1975 Horace G. Harrison wrote to Harry Apling to say that in his father's time, c.1900, he recalled that there was a 11 h.p. Crossley gas engine, running on town gas, in the granary driving a pair of peak stones.
Presumably these were used for animal feed.

Horace G. Harrison remembered the gale of about 1896 that rocked the mill. His father turned his back on it saying he didn't want to see her fall. However, the mill survived.

For about fifteen years, the late Mr. H. O. Clark worked on making an exact scale model of the mill at a scale of 1” to 1’, which is now in the Science Museum, London. It had long been thought, and he was of the opinion, that this was the windmill depicted in John Crome’s painting of a windmill near Norwich, now in the Tate Gallery, London. However, consideration of other details in the picture, particularly the chalk pit in the foreground and comparison with similar pictures now supports the view that John Crome’s painting represents Trowse open trestle post mill. In fact, the frame of this picture is said to bear a label to the effect that it is Trowse postmill.

. . . Mousehold Heath, where stands . . . the subject of John Crome's picture "The Windmill". This is an eighteenth century post mill made of wood, with all the inside main beams of oak. It cost two thousand pounds to build and now after being derelict for two years, is in danger of being demolished or falling to bits . . . There was an attempt to preserve it for the nation, but it is now to be let. This mill, which has the usual revolving fantail fixed to the high steps which go round the roundhouse, is sometimes known as Sprowston Mill.
S. P .B. Mais, England of the Windmills - 1931

I have just inherited from my late mother a wooden bowl, about 18 cms. in diameter, and fitted with a small round brass plate bearing an  engraving of the mill and inscribed "Oak from  Crome's Sprowston Mill  - 1780 -1933".
I believe the bowl came from my mother's father, Mr. Sam Sleigh, a  journalist on the East Anglian Daily Times, who acquired it soon  after the mill's destruction.

Steve Wood - 3rd February 2010

Oak bowl made from the mill's timber Oak bowl made from the mill's timber

Oak bowl made from the mill's timber 9th February 2010

Oak bowl Bowl plaque

Oak bowl made from the mill's timber - 2023

Various artefacts were made from wood salvaged from the mill ruins, including bookends and bowls.

I have just visited your website, having been told of its existence by a newly found English distant cousin (a Robertson).
I was particularly interested in your section on Sprowston postmill as I am a granddaughter of the late Herbert Clifford Harrison who was born in the Mill House in 1888 and wrote two books about it. I have known about the mill all my life (my grandfather died in 1962 when I was 9, and his wife Nora and son Hubert (my father) both died in 1997, aged 99 and 75 respectively). I will be traveling to England in September so intend visiting the site of the Mill and Mill House (both now long gone of course).
I was also interested in the last note added by Steve Wood a few weeks ago re the wooden bowl. I too have a wedge-shaped piece of oak from the mill with the same brass plate. I am not certain exactly what the item is (about 17cm by 11cm), but it was obviously meant to sit on a desk (its bottom surface is covered with green baize), perhaps as a paperweight, and has two nails protruding from the front, presumably to suspend a picture or small calendar or something. I think it's lovely that although the Mill itself has been lost long ago, small pieces of it remain scattered across the globe!

Judy Ruffels (née Harrison ) - 21st February 2010

Several years ago I was fitting central heating in my house and found that sometimes I could drill my wall to fix things to easily and then another time it was almost impossible to drill at all. I am talking way back some forty years ago, when electric drills did not have a hammer action to aid the drilling of hard material. Any way I mentioned this to a man who lived opposite to me in Russell Ave. Sprowston, and he said it was because my house was built using bricks recycled from the burnt out mill on the heath.
To verify this I went into the roof space of my house and could see the mixture of assorted bricks. Some soft Norfolk reds and others very hard cream ones.

Keith Holt - 19th July 2015

My Mum lived in Shipfield and can name all who lived on Sprowston Road. She is 97 and her grandfather was killed in Sprowston Mill  Leo Lutkins . We have a photo of him.
His widow Martha née Easton from Cawston had two children Maud and Leo with Leo and on his death went on to marry Herbert Bush and have two more children continuing to live in Sprowston. Mum lived at various addresses around Shipfield and on Sprowston Road until 1967 marrying my Dad who also lived in the area. Mum has a fantastic memory and told me that she watched the mill burn down in 1933, she was 12 years old.

Angela Britcher - 12th November 2018

My mum lives in the Bungalow which stands on the site dad bought the Bungalow in 1975. We moved in when I was 17  in late 1976. A couple of years later I was in bed and felt a presence I did not see any thing however I got out of bed went to look around mum and dad were in bed. I never said a word but really felt a presence.  I moved out at age 22 as I bought my own house, some time after mum said I think we have a ghost, it sounds mad but my mum finds Roberts Ghost a comfort I know it sounds mad but its true, I hope you find this interesting. It sounds mad however the Ghost of Robert still Haunts the Bungalow, Mum still lives there age 87 and finds Robert no threat. I well remember the Big House the miller lived in with stables an immaculate garden one of the pictures on the site shows this and operate where two millers cottages both demolished now however. In the late 70s early 80s I knew one of the guys who lived in one. Just so you know my dad was a total cynic I was open  minded but before dad died he spoke freely of Robert my aunt stayed and saw him. To this day mum mentions him from time to time she was asked if she wanted him exorcised  but finds him a friendly spirit. I know it sounds crap but thats the truth , ok
Tony Earl - 30th May 2020

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

O. S. Map 1926
O. S. Map 1926
Courtesy of NLS map images

White's 1883: Robert Mears, miller

White's 1890: Henry B. Brock, corn mlr. & merchant

c. 1780: Mill built at a cost of £2,000

c.1825: William Smith, miller

January 1826: William Smith, miller, imprisoned for debt

Faden's map 1797: Windmill

John Crome etching 1810: Windmill

Poll Book 1817: Thomas Carlton, miller

1823: Thomas Carlton, miller

August 1823: Mill advertised for sale by private contract

1824: Thomas Carlton, miller

August 1824: Mill advertised for sale by private contract

1824: Robert Robertson, miller

c.1825: Common sails removed and replaced by patent sails with a fantail

September 1829: Mill advertised to be let

Pigot's 1830: Robert Robertson, miller, Sprowston

1832: Robert Robertson, miller

1836: Robert Robertson, miller

1838: Robert Robertson, miller

Pigot's 1839: Robert Robertson, miller

1840: Robert Robertson, miller

Blyth’s 1842: Robert Robertson, miller

8th March 1842: Robert Robertson died after being entangled in the drive from the head wheel to the sack hoist

April 1842: Mill advertised to be let

1842: Sarah Robertson, miller

Tithe Award 1844: Sarah Robertson owner & occupier

1845: Sarah Robertson, miller

c.1845: Common sails replaced by patent sails

1846: Sarah Robertson, miller

Hunt's 1850: Sarah Robertson & Son, millers

Census 1851: Sarah Robertson (58) miller employing one man
Robert W. Robertson (27) miller
George R. Robertson (21) miller
Address: Wroxham Road, Sprowston

1853: Sarah Robertson, miller

1854: Sarah Robertson, miller

1856: Sarah Robertson, miller

1858: George Rockhill Robertson took over the mill

1859: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1863: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1864: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1865: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1866: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1868: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1872: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1875: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

1879: George Rockhill Robertson, miller

Census 1881: George Rockhill Robertson (51) miller
Susanna Robertson (54) wife
George William Robertson, son
Address: Wroxham Road, Sprowston

White's 1883: George Rockhil Robertson, miller

O.S. map 1883: Windmill (Corn)

1884: Robert Rockhill Robertson died

1884: Sarah Robertson died aged 92

1884: William Albert Harrison inherited the mill from Robert Rockhill Robertson

White’s 1888: Robertson & Son corn merchants and millers, 75 Corn Exchange; and Sprowston

White's 1890: William Albert Harrison, miller

1892: William Albert Harrison, miller

1896: William Albert Harrison, miller

1900: William Albert Harrison, miller & corn merchant

Kelly's 1904: Wm. Albert Harrison, flour mill (wind)

1908: William Albert Harrison, miller (wind & steam)

1912: William Albert Harrison, miller

1916: William Albert Harrison, miller

1920: Horace George Harrison hired mill form his father William Albert Harrison

Kelly’s 1924: as a miller (wind) Windmill Road, living at 481 Sprowston Road

O.S. map 1926: Windmill (Corn)

1928: Horace Harrison retired from the mill and took over the Brickmaker's Arms, Sprowston Road

1933: Arrangements made to hand the mill over to the Norfolk Archaeological Society for preservation

Friday 24th March 193
3: Mill destroyed by fire

Karl Wood painting 24th April 1933: Tangled wreckage but post and substructure still standing

December 1971: Womens' Institute erect a village sign depicting the derelict mill

29th November 1976: Horace George (John) Harrison died aged 85 at Shipdham

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 TG24021090
1780 to 1933
All historical written material within this page copyright
© Michael Roots & Jonathan Neville
Top of Page
Web design and website © Jonathan Neville, Norfolk Mills 2018