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Hempstead Watermills

Hempstead had two watermills within the parish, both on the River Glaven - see below.

Hempstead Hall Watermill

aka Smokers Hole
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Hempstead Hall watermill was by far the oldest of the two and had probably ceased working by the early 1800s.
The site became known locally as Smokers Hole and was well used by smugglers en route inland from the coast.

The two Mill Cottages built beside the mill were lived in by several families over the years, including the legendary Long Sal - Sarah Ann Dagless.

On this website the full history is shown on the Smokers Hole page.

The history is also recorded on the Norfolkmills website.

Hempstead Watermill
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16th March 2003
16th March 2003

Hempstead watermill and the adjoining mill house are built of local flint and brick under a Norfolk pantiled roof. The present building was built by Richard John Gurney in 1830 and at that time was known as Holt Mill, undoubtably because the mill is actually within the parish of Holt. The original watercourse, along which the parish boundary still runs, was moved northwestwards some 40 yards slightly towards Holt in order to better accommodate the mill machinery layout. The River Glaven, which used to be called Hempstead Beck, was effectively dammed by the mill thereby forming the large lake that is still above the mill today.

At the time locals used to say,
 "Mr. Gurney, he built a barn where there weren't enough corn to put in it and a mill where there weren't enough water to turn the wheel."

The full history of Hempstead watermill is on the Norfolkmills website

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

Website copyright © Jonathan Neville 2020
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