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Denver Windmill

Downham, Norfolk

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Denver mill
Photo by Tony Bennett 

The present windmill was built in 1835 but on a map dated 1824 there is a postmill shown at the location.

Todayís tower mill was built for John Parker whose initials and the date of construction can be seen on a plaque just below the gallery. John parker also had the engine house with its tall chimney built so that on days when there was not enough wind to turn the sails of the windmill a steam engine could continue the grinding and milling process on the site.

In 1873 the proprietor of the mill was James Gleaver who had taken it on from his father John. The mill remained the property of James Gleaver until 1896 when the mill was sold to Thomas Harris who remained working the mill until his death in 1925. On Thomasís death his son, also Thomas took over the operation. The windmill was severely damaged in a gale in 1908 resulting in the sails needing replacement. In 1927 new sails were fitted and by this time the steam engine had been replaced by an oil fuel engine. The windmill continued to be powered by wind and oil until 1941 when in another storm one of the sails was struck by lightning.

Thomas Harris died in 1969 and left the mill to his sister Edith Staines. The mill had survived thanks to the constant maintenance and repair done by Thomas Harris with the help in later years of the Norfolk Windmill Trust. In 1971 Mrs Staines gave the mill to Norfolk County Council.

In the summer of 1972 the windmill was once again damaged by a severe gale. This time one of the sails was blown right off its hub and fell on to the gallery and the mill office below. The opposite sail was removed leaving only two sail surviving. In 1975 the stocks and sails were restored and replaced. The following year restoration was carried out to the floor support beams and the brickwork of the tower was restored. In the same year another gale lifted the cap from its track and dropped it cracking the track and damaging the brickwork of the structure. The cap was eventually removed for restoration work to be carried out in 1991 and in 1992 further work was carried out on the sails.

In 1998 plans were made to make a complete restoration of the Windmill and the surrounding site. The Mill house was purchased to once again unite it to the mill. The purchase also provided for much needed car parking. In all nearly 1 million pounds was spent on the restoration and conversion works to provide visitor facilities and restoring Denver windmill back to a working mill.

The mill site is now owned by Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust who are committed to ensuring the conservation of this unique set of buildings for future Generations.

Denver Windmill is 59 feet tall and has six floors. The mill has four double shutter sails which drive 3 pairs of overdrive stones. The cap is of ogee horizontal boarding there is a gallery around its girth the cap also has a six bladed fan the grinding stones are on the 3rd floor.

The preserved outbuildings include the mill house, steam mill, granary and stable block. One of the outbuildings directly under the mill originally had a section of its roof lowered to allow for the passage of the sails. The original wooden curb was replaced by reinforced concrete. Denver Windmill restoration programme was completed in April of 2000 and the windmill was open to the public until 2014.

As at December 2014 the mill closed for the winter. It is currently only now viewable from the outside, and there is more restoration work on the tower due to start in 2015.

(Information principally from Wikipedia)

Further information Grid


Denver Windmill, Downham Market, Norfolk

Ceremonial County: Norfolk

Grid Reference:

TF 605012   OS Sheet - 143

Map Link:


Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

mills open    WW        NM     Wiki

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Planning Grid


Denver Windmill, Downham Market, Norfolk

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

About 1 mile south of Downham Market. Signposted from A10.

The mill used to be on the route of the A10 but is now by-passed. The mill is signposted from the new road route.
The mill stands half a mile away from Denver parish church.







Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:



Denver Windmill
Downham Market


PE38 0EG



Opening times:

Available for viewing from the outside only as at 2015.



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access:  
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed:  

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote the Page Ref. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

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By: Keith Park Section: Windmills Key:
Page Ref: denver Topic: Windmills Last Updated: 04/2015

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