This film is part of Free

Oxnead and Buxton Watermills

Since before the Norman Conquest the River Bure has powered two watermills barely a mile apart, near the Norfolk villages of Oxnead, Buxton and Lamas.

Amateur film 1974 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Both Oxnead Mill and Buxton Mill were built as four-story, white-painted brick and weatherboard structures and each features two sack-hoist enclosures, known as ‘lucams’ – one over the water and another over the adjacent road or yard. Over the years, Oxnead’s white-painted bricks have reverted to their original colour, and the mill lost one of its roofs and both lucams in the 1960s, as can be seen in this film, but they were restored in 1986 when the entire roof was renewed.

The impressive power of the River Bure drove three pairs of grinding wheels to produce flour and animal feeds at Buxton Mill for over two centuries until 1970 when it became an arts centre. After a fiercely destructive blaze in 1991, the largest timber-framed reconstruction ever to take place in the UK restored the mill to its 18th century glory. The Buxton village landmark was reborn as a hotel and conference centre, and in 1999 became private residential apartments. Oxnead was a paper mill for over a century and in 1882 produced blankets before being rebuilt as a flour mill. In 1940 it produced paper once again until it was found to be unsafe and closed down in the 1950s. Today, Oxnead Mill is used for storage.