Invitation to visit The Food Museum at Stowmarket on Sun 1 Oct

We are delighted to be invited to visit the Food Museum (formerly the Museum of East Anglian Life) at Stowmarket on Sunday 1st October from 2 pm, following extensive work to Alton Watermill to return it to full working order. All being well some of the mill volunteers will be present to get the waterwheel turning and maybe the millstones too!

Nearby is the reconstructed windpump from the Minsmere marshes, rescued by Suffolk Mills Group in 1977 after it collapsed in February of that year. This has also been extensively repaired in the recent past.

The museum entrance is close to the town centre (postcode IP14 1DE), but you need to park in the Iliffe Way car park off Finborough Road, which also serves the Asda supermarket. Part of the car park is reserved for museum parking and costs £2.50 all day. The mills are several minutes walk from the museum entrance. For full details visit –

Members are welcome to arrive early and try the museum’s Feast café. Museum entrance to Suffolk Mills Group members on the day will be free, so why not take in the rest of the exhibits?

AGM & Visit to Saxtead Green Post Mill, Sunday 13th August

This year’s AGM will be held on Sunday 13th August at 11:00 am at the Suffolk Millwright workshop at Dennington, by kind permission of Tim Whiting. Several of you joined our visit there last September, so this will be another chance to look around this fascinating venue. The meeting will commence at 11 am. You are advised to bring a packed lunch although there is a pub in the village.a

Suffolk Millwright is on the B1116 Laxfield Road ¾ mile north of Dennington (TM282677). Going north, it is on the left hand side 100 yards after a left turn signposted Maypole Green. Look for modern wide-span farm buildings facing the road. Turn left down a concrete track just before the buildings to park at the rear.

In the afternoon (from 3pm) we have arranged a visit to nearby Saxtead Green post mill (about 4 miles to the south-west on the A1120), by kind permission of Nathan Sullivan. Suffolk Millwright carried out much of the recent restoration work on the mill, which is in the care of English Heritage.

National Mills Weekend 2023

The following Suffolk Mills are open on National Mills Weekend, 13 – 14 May 2023.

Bardwell Tower Mill
Sunday 14th May only
10.30am – 4.30pm
Tel: 07929 648369.
If windy the sails will be turning and they will be milling their own homegrown wheat.

Kersey Watermill
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May
10am – 4pm
Both the mill and gardens are officially open to the public. The mill will to the public at the beginning of October.

Pakenham Watermill
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May
11am – 4pm

Saxtead Green Post Mill
Saturday 13th May only
12pm – 5pm

Stowmarket Food Museum
Alton Watermill and Eastbridge Windpump
Saturday 13th May 10am – 5pm
Sunday 14th May 10am – 5pm

Thelnetham Tower Mill
Sunday 14th May
11am – 4pm (last entry for tour 3pm)

Woodbridgee Tide Mill
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May
11 – 4.30pm (last entry)

Saturday, 13 May – Wheel turning at 11:15
Sunday, 14 May – Wheel turning at 12:30

Welcome to the new Suffolk Mills Group website

Welcome to the new website, which has had its first major upgrade in over 10 years, a long time in this day in age. Most of the improvements are in the technical infrastructure but one notable front-end improvement is that the site is now considerably easier to navigate and read on mobile devices.

The archive section has also had an upgrade.  I spent most of Christmas updating the listings of the known windmill and watermill sites both existing and historical and photographs have been added to mills that previously didn’t have a linked image.

The layout has also been improved to make navigation much easier. Now instead of scrolling down the full list of 733 known sites, you can just click on the letter of the alphabet to get to the site that you are looking for. The photographic archive is not exhaustive so should you happen to have photographs of any sites not already visually represented, please get in touch at

We will be updating the pages of the mills that are usually open to the public with their opening times for the coming year as soon as we have that information.

If you have news items that you’d like us to post here please drop us a line.

Bob Paterson

Thelnetham Mill open days 2023

Thelnetham Mill open days 2023

Easter Monday 10th April

Sunday 14th May (National Mills Weekend)
Spring Bank Holiday Monday 29th May
Sunday 25th June
Sunday 23rd July
Summer Bank Holiday Monday 28th August
Sunday 10th September (Heritage Open Weekend)

Sunday 8th October

The mill will be open between 11am and 4pm on all days and wind permitting the sails will be turning. There will be guided tours throughout the day. The last admission for a tour is 3pm.

Entrance fee: £5 adults, under 15s free. Children need to be accompanied by at least one responsible adult.

The vintage Ruston & Hornsby diesel engine can often be seen running on open days.

Public Events

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions with social distancing, all windmills and watermills will be closed this summer and there will be no planned Suffolk Mills Group events.

Index And Introduction To A Directory Of Suffolk Millers 1086-1986 By Eileen Blythe

I have collected a list of Suffolk Millers from many different sources including Apprentice Bonds, Census, Deeds, Directories, Leases, Members of SFHS own research, Newspapers, Parish Records, Rental books, Settlement Orders, Suffolk Record Office and Wills. Then I have arranged the 56 pages into 5 sections, 1 & 2 are arranged in town order, 3 & 4 by surname and 5 & 5a are Millwrights. All this information includes a reference to the source so more research can be continued on the family or Mill you are looking for.

Copyright is with Eileen Blythe

Published by History Research, ISBN 0-9530998-9-X, EAN 978-09530998-9-4 Printed in 2017 by RB Print Folkestone Kent, with 56 pages including 2 colour pictures and 2 centre pages of Mills.

The Directory can be purchased from

E. Blythe, Kismet Stombers Lane Hawkinge Kent CT18 7AP UK

Costs £6, plus p&p £7 50 in UK, Cheques only made payable to E Blythe

This book came about because while researching my family tree and having found a Miller in my family in 1580 in Godalming Surrey, and then another in 1617 in Layham Suffolk, and again in Framfield Sussex in 1567, my interest in Watermills was born and I had to take pen to paper!


National Mills Weekend 2018

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018

These Suffolk mills will be open.

BARDWELL tower mill
Sunday 13th May only
10am – 4pm
Tel: 01359 251331. SAT NAV: IP31 1AD
They will have teas and refreshments as well as have a few craft stalls in the garden. Freshly baked bread will be on sale. All proceeds towards the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the mill. Sails turning and milling if windy!

KERSEY watermill
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
10am – 4pm
Tel: 01473 829317. SAT NAV: IP7 6DP
1.5 miles from Hadleigh, off A1141 Lavenham road.
A large 4-storey weatherboarded watermill with an internal breastshot wheel. Under restoration to working order.

Their Dog Day in association with Woofers (a fundraising event) will take place on Sunday 17th June 10am – 4pm.

PAKENHAM watermill
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
11am – 4pm
Tel: 01359 230275 / 07585 899633. SAT NAV: IP31 2NB

Wildlife Day at Pakenham Watermill on Sunday 13th May.

Pakenham Watermill is an excellent haven for wildlife. In addition to the normal watery and tree lined environment they have developed a beautiful circular walk of over half a mile and they have made a wildlife garden with public access designed to show ideas which visitors could incorporate in their own gardens. The mill is still milling flour twice per week and you will see and can buy their finest flour. Reduced admission on both days: adults £2.00, children free.

STOWMARKET Museum of East Anglian Life
(housing Eastbridge Windpump & Alton Watermill)
Saturday 12th May 10am – 4pm
Sunday 13th May 11am – 4.30pm
Tel: 01449 612229. SAT NAV: IP14 1DE

THELNETHAM tower mill
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
11am – 4pm (last admission for a mill tour 3pm)
E-mail: SAT NAV: IP22 1JZ

THORPENESS post mill
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
11am – 4.30pm
E-mail: SAT NAV: IP16 4NQ
It will be open for people to wonder around and picnic in the garden.

WOODBRIDGE – The Tide Mill Living Museum
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
11am – 5pm with milling demonstration at 4pm both days
Tel: 01394 388202. SAT NAV: P12 1BY

The theme this year is ‘Wildlife and Conservation’. They are putting up two small exhibitions. One is ‘Birds of the Deben’ and the other is ‘The Moon over The Water’ which highlights the role played by the tides in the development of Woodbridge. In addition on Sunday 13th Radio Hams from Felixstowe and District Amateur Radio Society will be on hand contacting people in mills around UK and Europe.

Late Summer News Round-Up

The Suffolk Mills Group will be formally thanked for 40 years of work protecting windmills and watermills in the county by the High Sherrif of Suffolk Geoffrey Probert at an event at Kersey mill on the morning of Sunday 22nd October 2017, circa 11 am. Members are cordially invited to attend.

Woodbridge Buttrum’s Mill (an important Grade II* tower mill) is now on the market, for the first time since the 1960’s. The mill is leased to Suffolk County Council until 2050. It is being sold by formal tender and bids have to be in by noon Tuesday 7th November. The details are on Rightmove and Neals are the agents.

We hear the sad news of the death of John Capps. John helped to run the Friends of Norfolk Windmills and its successor Norfolk Mills Group for many years, and organised several mill tours to the Continent. He also assisted in mill repairs through his business, Thurton Foundry. We extend our condolences to his widow Maureen and the rest of his family.

Progress repainting the buck and fan carriage at Framsden windmill. Photographs by Mr William Griffiths (16th August 2017):


and after…

Framsden windmill is now visible for the first time in years. Don’t you just miss the ghastly leylandii? Photographs by Mr. William Griffiths (April 2017)

News Round-Up

Sail shutters and striking gear were removed from the sails of the Pakenham windmill September 3-4 2016 for safety as the cap is no longer turning to wind.

Martin Whitworth, owner of Buttrum’s Mill at Woodbridge since the late 1960’s sadly died on September 5 2016 after a short illness. He was 90.

Walton (near Felixstowe) smock mill will be open on Sunday, September 11 2016 between 10 am – 4 pm as part of the Felixstowe Heritage Open Day event.

Shutters Installed At Thorpness Mill

The new sails at Thorpeness mill were being fitted with a pair of shutters on Wednesday 11th June 2014. Seen in the photo are Tim Whiting and Vincent Pargeter.

Bardwell Mill Gets A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Mark Barnard was at Bardwell on 17th October 2013 when Jonathan Wheeler was painting the cap with white lead from a cherry picker. The dirt on the cap has been cleaned off during the summer and with the paint it now looks smart again. The new fantail blades are under construction but will not be fitted until 2014.

Cladding Up At Framsden Mill

Good progress is being made applying the sheet aluminium cladding to the roof at Framsden mill. The main work should be completed by this coming weekend although the scaffold platforms will be left in place over the winter for finishing off next year.

This photo was taken on Tuesday 24th September 2013 showing Bill Griffiths applying a sheet on the north side of the roof.

New sails for Thorpness Mill

The new sails were craned on at Thorpeness mill on Wednesday, September 25th. Everything went smoothly under the guidance of Vincent Pargeter assisted by Tim Whiting. The fantail blades and some sail shutters will now be added and the sails should be turning by early October.


A New Roof For Framsden Post Mill

Work is currently under way to the roof of Framsden post mill. The bituminous felt applied in the 1960’s was starting to fail badly and the roof is now being re-clad by Suffolk Mills Group volunteers. The old felt and hardboard base has been removed, and 2 layers of plywood are being applied to the old weatherboards, followed by sheet aluminium. The cladding may be completed this year (weather permitting) and painting will probably have to wait until 2014. See photo. Showing the plywood going on.