Signpost - Ellingham and Kirby Cane
It's hard to say how long there has been a mill or a river crossing in Ellingham, but it has always, and remains still, a focal point for those seeking natural beauty.
There was some acivity on the Ellingham part of the river in 1444 (was there a mill then?) because a crowd of around 400 people from the Bungay area attacked and demolished the sluices at Ellingham, which were affecting the fulling mill at Wainford.
There certainly was a mill on the river in Ellingham in 1612 (see map, right).
Ancient roads were difficult and slow to travel along so the Waveney was vital for commerce, however, over time the river became silted and blocked. Boats could no longer reach Bungay, so goods had to be transported by land from Beccles. It was therefore decided, in 1670, to pass an Act to improve navigation between Beccles and Bungay. Locks were constructed at Geldeston, Shipmeadow, Ellingham and Wainford (see Lost locks). Commerce improved.
The old lock at Ellingham
The Mill was linked to the Waveney by a special cut so the mill could retain a head of water.
It had many owners over the years and in 1964 Vitovis Ltd. ceased milling in Ellingham. The property was renovated and put up for sale as a house and flats in 1969.
With such a beautiful location as this, it is of no surprise that is is a popular haunt of artists. Chester Williams made the Mill a centre for modern art in the 1970's and lived there until 1994.
Miss Margaret Thomas RBA NEAC lived at the Mill from 1984 to 2016 when she died aged nearly 100.
In 1976 the locale was designated as Ellingham Mill Conservation Area.
The continual flow of water under the mill inevitably meant that repairs would someday be needed. Initially posts were inserted outside the mill to prevent the passage of heavy vehicles and in 2013 the pool was drained for major repairs of the bridge in front of the mill.