Earl Stonham Windmills

Location of Earl stonham Mills onsection of 1880's map

Although slightly outside the boundary of Stowupland, “ Stonham Two Mills” stood on a ridge to the East Of Saxham Street.

They first appear on Greenwoods Map of 1823/4, but the 1901 OS map only shows one, after this there is no further record.

From The Suffolk Chronical 18th October 1823 – “To be sold by private contract. Two post windmills…apply Mr Francis Symonds”.

And again 6 months later on 20th March 1824,  The Suffolk Chronicle carries an announcement for an auction on April 2nd ‘by order of executors. All that desirable PROPERTY, late in the occupation of Mr William Symonds, deceased, the proprietor, consisting of 2 substantial Windmills, with the going gears complete…copyhold to the manor of Earl Stonham.“

On the 27th June 1829 Francis Symonds is again appealing for by buyer, and 18 months later in January 1831 his ‘effects are to be sold at the mills. But 6 months later in June 1831 “  to be sold or let. Two post windmills, one with patent Sails, and roundhouse complete with a good dwelling house, enquire Mr F. Symonds the proprietor.”

The following year the chronicle advertises an auction on April 19th ‘property of Francie Symonds, who is retiring. Lot 1 An excellent POST WINDMILL, to be removed by the purchaser, standing upon Lot 2, with one pair of four and a half feet of superior French stones.

Lot 2. A good capital house…and a very superior WINDMILL, with Round- house, Patent sails, two pair of French stones, Four-mill.”

A few years later in 1838,  the London Gazette carries a Fiat in bankruptcy dated 13 th November 1837 against Francis Symonds, formerly of Eal Stonham, now Bildestone, Co. of Suffolk, miller.

Eventually by 1838 there is a change of ownership. The Suffolk Chronicle reported that at auction in January 1839 Earl Stonham Mills was sold through bankruptcy of Francis Symond, the new tenant is Mr Gostling who Robsons directory of 1839 names as a miller and merchant.

From the tithe apportionments we know that William Gostling also had the tenancy of the Drift or Lane (tm 225) that led off Saxham Street to the Stonham Town Barn, as well as First (227), Second (228) and Third (229) Stonham fields. All 4 pieces of land were owned by the Earl Stonham Feoffees of Rev John Phear, John Martin Snr, and others.

By 1874 White’s directory names a George Gostling as well as William as miller. And  ‘The Miller’ 1876 tells us that ‘died on Feb 2nd at Earl Stonham, Suffolk, much respected, Mr William Gostling, aged 78 years, miller and corn merchant.’

In 1883 and 1885 George is still named as miller (wind), but according to The Miller, February 5th, 1883 George Mathew Gostling of Earl Stonham went into liquidation in December 1882.

Further research by Neil Langridge found that ‘by the 1880s as trade had gone, the big mill was pulled down, followed by the small one. Though there is some dispute as to whether this was in the 1880’s or early 1900s. certainly the 1901 OS map marks a small mound as ‘Old Windmill’ but this may refer to its remains, which survived for several decades, although nothing remains today. The Mill house was further along the road and there was a small cottage close to the bigger mill, whose sails used to swing over the roof.

‘The small mill had 4 common sails (spread with canvas) driving one pair of stones; it had no roundhouse. The big mill had 4 patent sails (with hinged vanes) and drove 2 pairs of stones;it had a roundhouse with 2 floors. Neither had a fantail, being pushed into the wind with a tailpole. As the small mill stood on a mound it is tempting to suggest it was the earlier of the two.

Neither mill appears on Hodskinson’s map of 1778-82.