Norton Corn Mill

Norton corn mill was situated on the road from Rosemarket to Honeyborough (Norton Hill Road), immediately after passing under the old railway bridge on the right-hand side and would have ground corn for the residents of Rosemarket. Recent references to occupiers of this mill can be found from 1837 to 1946.

A map of 1862 showing the location of Norton Mill which contains a reference to the mill, a pond and a sluice.

This map is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Before the railway was built, the water to the mill was fed via a leat (a man-made waterway) which can be identified on an old tithe map (highlighted below).  With a closer look, it shows the water used to pass over Norton Hill Road when it exited the mill suggesting a possible ford at this point.

Tithe map from 1842 showing the old leat route with the arrow showing the mill.

A photograph of the remains of what is believed to be a part of the old leat before the railway was built.

When the railway was built, the route took it beside the mill resulting in most of the old leat being built over.  The issue of how to continue to supply water to the mill during the construction of the railway embankment must have been a major one.  It was solved with agreement from local landowners by building a tunnel through the embankment and building a new leat on the other side.  The planning and surveying to achieve this during the construction of the embankment was impressive.  The remains of this leat can still be seen in 2022.

The route of the leat post railway construction is highlighted in yellow.

This map is reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The old leat tunnel known as “Black man’s tunnel” still exists in the railway embankment at the location of the old mill and appears to be in good condition after over 150 years.  It was often crawled through by the local Rosemarket village school children when playing in the area. 

 Local information has it that the steam trains used to stop at this point on the line to use the leat to fill up with water.

The remains of the leat ditch which was built during the construction of the railway.

Current Remains of Norton mill

There is very little which remains of the old mill site now, only a few walls much covered by vegetation remain. 

 Possible mill pond (photo taken from the railway embankment).

Some remains of stonework


Known residents identified by tithe, census and newspaper data

  • 1837 – Thomas Richards (Owner)
  • 1848 – A trial at court referenced Thomas Richards (owner).
  • 1851  - Census – Thomas Venables with wife, four sons and two daughters at Norton Mill.
  • 1855 -  A trial at court regarding a theft of Barley.  Thomas Hancock in residence.
  • 1881 -  Census – Thomas Venables still at the mill with wife and one son.
  • 1911 -  Census – Richard Venables at Norton Mill.
  • 1945-1946 - Electoral Roll -  Elsie M. Allen in residence

 It is noted that the in the Census data that the head of the household never had his occupation recorded as “Miller”.  It was recorded as either “Agricultural labourer”, “General labourer” or “Labourer on farm”.  Possibly his wife and children ran the mill while he earned money doing other jobs, but this is unknown.

An unknown Mill

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