Earsham Mill 1793

Earsham Mill
Earsham Mill dates from Saxon times and adjoins ancient earthworks. It was a brick built mill with a pantile roof. Earsham and Elllingham are the only two mills on the Waveney that are officially in Norfolk.

The mill was rebuilt by R.H. Clarke on the existing site in 1862. It was fitted with 12 pairs of stones powered by a waterwheel and a steam engine. A roller plant manufactured by Whitman & Binyon was installed in 1893. At this time, flour from Earsham was being sent to Newcastle by water transport.

Thomas Clarke, miller in 1793

Earsham roller mills in 1893

Thomas Clarke, miller in 1893

c.1824 Thomas Clarke made a will in which he made mention of his wife Ann and also stated that a further 30 years of his 60 year lease from the Duke of Norfolk was still yet to run. This means the lease was granted c.1784 and was possibly taken out by Thomas’ father, Wiliam Clarke. Thomas Clarke died in 1834.

It would appear that sometime between 1845 and 1860 Richard and Charlotte Narburgh left for the USA, without their children. A Richard and Charlotte Narburgh show up in the Illinois census of 1860 and as their ages tie in it seems probable that it was the same couple. However, they presumably returned to England as they do not appear in any later surveys.

..I have definite evidence concerning their son Thomas (my great grandfather) who incidentally started a racing paper called the “Pink – un” which later became the “Sporting Life” that still survives. Thomas lived to age 90, and I can remember being taken to his home in Elstree to meet him when I was 5. I am now 81, and a US citizen, having emigrated here 40 years ago.
John Narburgh – 26th August 2004

News from the past . . .

To be let by Tender
for 4 or 6 years from Christmas next
Situate within One Mile of the Town of Bungay
The Mill will be Let with the Water-wheel, Pit wheels, three pairs of Stones, Flour mill and all the going gears and machinery as now in the mill, with Dwelling House, Stables, Granaries and Outbuildings and with 8 acres excellant Meadow Land including Garden and Yards.
Tenders sealed up to be delivered at the office of William HARTCUP Esq. Solicitor, Bungay on or before Thursday 20th instant, who will give further information.
The proprietor will not be bound to take the highest offer or accept any of the tenders.
Dated December 4, 1855
– Norfolk Chronicle – 8th December 1855

Thomas Jeckyll, Architect and Designer, 1827-81Jeckyll built a water mill and connecting cottage at Earsham for the Duke of Norfolk ….1862 ….. The contractors James Maxim Smith and Lewis Bull won the tender for this commission on an estimate of £1,069 with an additional £454.1.5 for the necessary machinery. The three-story mill composed of brick and cement had a small, attached four-bedroom house. The mill still stands today but in a poor condition, and the cottage has been demolished. – Susan Weber Soros & Catherine Arbuthnott – Yale University Press 2003


The steam engine house is to the left of the mill on the above photo but there is also an auxiliary drive belt attached to a pulley on the right hand side of the mill and is obviously being powered by some sort of engine hidden from view.
James Thurston was miller in the mid 1850s. He was born c.1802-05 in South Elmham and married Sarah Fairhead. They had some 15 children, one of whom was possibly George Thurston who was a miller’s apprentice in 1841 living in South Elmham, before moving to Mundham by 1861.


Charles Marston purchased the mill in 1900.
He was born in Bungay_Mill House in 1882 and apparently grew up learning every branch of his business as if it was his hobby. He also owned a 3 sack plant at Harleston and the watermill at Bungay, which for a short period was used as a roller mill. However, the mill burnt down in 1902 but by 1923 it was being used as a grist mill.

The plant was remodelled in 1904 and thereafter ran 24 hours per day. It’s capacity by now was 3½ sacks per hour. Power for the new plant was supplied by a turbine and coal gas.

The Miller Challenge Cup 1923British Wheat Flour

Class A 1st Prize – Charles Marston of Bungay
Class C 1st Prize – Charles Marston of Bungay

For more history about these mills and many others, please visit – www.norfolkmills.co.uk

Gold Star Fencing Bungay