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Who put that Windmill there? Mysteries of the Brockdish Diary No. 2



I first started to making the journey across Syleham Great Green when I began travelling from Brockdish to teach in Stradbroke in 1985. As I recall the view was something like this mockup. The Mill was clearly in a bad way but I promised myself that I would take a proper look sometime. Life was busy with a new job and a new house and so I never got to see the mill that was already under threat. But after the gales of 1987 I found I had missed my chance. The demolition job that lost us an estimated 15 million trees made short work of the near-ruin that was Syleham Windmill.

The Brockdish (Syleham) diary for 1788 states (in Charles Souter's customarily terse manner)


and then again 30 years later in 1818


Mr Mann was William Mann of Syleham Comitis Manor: flour entrepreneur, builder of Syleham Watermill and eventually manager of both Weybread and Wainford Mills along the Waveney. Charles Souter, author of the diary, lived less than 1/4 mile from Syleham Manor, may well have been William Mann's tenant and whose wife, Mary, nursed the Mann's only daughter Isabella for two years.

So it was with some considerable surprise that on reading the Syleham Windmill entry in Wikpedia I read:

Syleham Windmill was a Grade II listed post mill at Syleham, Suffolk, England which was built in 1730 at Wingfield and moved to Syleham in 1823.

It seems highly unlikely that a 100-year-old windmill should be moved to replace a windmill half its age. Unlikely as well that there were two windmills in Syleham on the edge of the common (Syleham Great Green). It certainly seems to me that someone has got something wrong - and personally I don't think it was The Brockdish Diary!


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