Record Details

NHER Number:1720
Type of record:Building
Name:Great Bircham Windmill


A mid 19th century windmill with a brick tower and four sails. It ceased to be used as mill in 1916 until it was restored during the late 1970s and 1980s. There is an attached bakery and miller's cottages, with a brick-lined well close by. There may have been an earlier windmill on the site during the 18th century.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 7601 3267
Map Sheet:TF73SE

Full description

June 1976.
Cap gone but machinery within still in comparatively good condition, with sail-wheel, shaft, cogs and wheels for turning cap, and gantry for steering-wheel still remaining. On floor below drive-wheel survives; no other machinery. Odd metal lined holes in wall, blocked by stairway, about 15cm (6in) square (pair). Brick tower in good condition, but floors rotting, beams decayed inside wall sockets, and much beetle infestation. Mill is at present home of many feral pigeons.
Adjoining is former bakery with large brick oven, but iron doors to this have rusted to powder. Pantile roof to this and adjoining pair of miller's cottages. Deep brick-lined well nearby, with iron pump, but which has been used as cess pit in recent years. Whole is to be restored, with bakery used as art gallery.
E. Rose (NAU) 3 June 1976.

Mill mostly restored by owners, who believe mill is one mentioned here in 1767 but (S1) does not mark it, and brick tower mills of this type are usually 19th century. (S2) is more probably correct in saying mill dates from 1846. Member of the public [1] says latter is correct but there was a postmill here pre 1761, disagreeing with (S1). Last miller 1916.
E. Rose (NAU) 1980.

April 1987.
Totally restored, utilising material from other mills. Excellent condition.
E. Rose (NAU) April 1987.

See press cuttings in file. (S3) to (S6).

Grid reference wrong and correct (not 7601 3767).
R. J. Rickett (NAU) 3 May 1990.

More press cuttings in file (S7), (S8), (S9) and (S10).

Repairs were undertaken, replacing the brake lever support. These are the first repairs to the machinery since the completion of restoration work in 1979.
See (S11) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 May 2008.

March 2010.
The weather beam has been repaired, allowing the sails to turn again.
See (S12) for further details,
H. White, (NLA), 9 April 2010

Monument Types

  • BAKERY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDMILL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDMILL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF7623A-B.
---Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1077809.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 73 SE 11.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 362.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. A tour of Norfolk's magical ups and downs. 21 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. Public join in fun during triple celebration at Bircham. 12 May.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Windmill's new cap goes on. 4 August.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. Mill Life Restored. 28 May.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1983. Battling wind to hoist mill's new sails. 27 May.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1983. Photograph of Bircham Windmill. 6 September.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979-1992. [Articles on the restoration of Great Bircham Windmill].
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. [Photograph of Bircham Windmill]. 27 November.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1992. The towering tale of a mill. 24 April.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1993. Bite of history at mill bake. 24 May.
<S10>Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1999. [Photograph of Bircham Windmill]. 26 January.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The sails on the mill go round and round once more. 25 March.

Related records - none

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