East Anglia has been renowned for the mills that have dominated the skyline in many
places. Traditionally they have been used for grinding flour. Villages associated
with them have often chosen to depict them on their village sings. Here are a few
The windmill on this village sign at Earsham in Norfolk represents the old mill here
next to the River Waveney as it used to look in 1793. The sign was painted by Clarence
Reeve and he has put a note on the back of the sign confirming that records show
that this is how it looked. There has been a mill on this site since the time of
the Domesday Book, but the last mill ceased to operate in the 1980s. Notice the
otter on top of the sign: it represents the Otter Trust which was established on
the river here.
This village sign at Pakenham in Suffolk actually depicts two mills, for there’s
a watermill as well as a windmill in the parish. The sign was erected in 1977 to
commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Below is another sign that depicts two former mills, the windmill on the left and
the watermill on the right, which was totally destroyed by fire in 1914.
The watermill at Elsing in Norfolk is depicted on the village sign here.
Above, right and below are three village signs depicting post mills. The mill at
Wacton in Norfolk dates from the seventeenth-century. The sign at Pettaugh in Suffolk
was erected in 1997 and depicts a particularly tall mill, and the mill depicted on
the sign at Thornham in Norfolk represents one that blew down in 1928.
Not a village sign this time but a house name plaque on the gate of a house in Bungay
in Suffolk.The house is situated on top of a hill and therefore gets the brunt of
strong winds, hence presumably its name.
In the early part of the nineteenth century Elsing was a paper mill. Later it milled
corn and then animal feed until it ceased operating altogether in 1970. For further
information on this and other Norfolk mills go to http://www.norfolkmi lls.co.uk
Clippesby drainage mill by the River Bure had a Norfolk boat shaped cap and was lived
in when it was still a working mill. It became a weekend retreat in 1958. A modern
pumphouse took over the work of the mill by the 1970s.
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A weathervane depicting a windmill on the roof of a house aptly named ‘Mill House’
in Gissing, Norfolk. This weathervane and house name are clues to the fact that a
post windmill once stood here. Dating from the early nineteenth century, it was used
for grinding flour. A steam-powered mill was added some time before 1873. The steam
engine was replaced by one powered by oil some time between 1904 and 1922. The mills
were dismantled in 1930 and demolished in 1949.