See inside the final home for sale in a converted Norfolk watermill once earmarked for demolition

PUBLISHED: 10:14 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:12 25 October 2018

Aylsham watermill: beautifully restored and where the last home is for sale. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

Aylsham watermill: beautifully restored and where the last home is for sale. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

It began as a pension project but 14 long years later, the renovation of Aylsham’s watermill is finally complete and the third and last property is up for sale. Property editor Caroline Culot went to take a look at Wagtail, for sale for a guide price of £625,000.

Aylsham watermill in 1910 with a wherry passing in front. Pic: EDP archive.Aylsham watermill in 1910 with a wherry passing in front. Pic: EDP archive.

The sale of this final property in the renovated and converted former watermill in Aylsham marks the end of 14 long years endured by owner, structural engineer Jon Spalding who purchased the mill building, in a state of disrepair in 2004 as a pension project. He never imagined its renovation and conversion into three homes would take so long. But with delays caused by everything from the housing crash to a long running dispute with Aylsham town council, which is now fully resolved, it has taken until now for the property to be finished.

But, boy, it really is something worth waiting for.

Aylsham watermill, beautifully restored and where the last home is for sale. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.comAylsham watermill, beautifully restored and where the last home is for sale. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

Aylsham watermill: the balcony from the top floor master bedroom suite. Pic; www.arnoldskeys.comAylsham watermill: the balcony from the top floor master bedroom suite. Pic; www.arnoldskeys.com

The restored Aylsham watermill: the original workings presented as a feature in the kitchen. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.comThe restored Aylsham watermill: the original workings presented as a feature in the kitchen. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

The top third floor master bedroom with a small balcony overlooking the water. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.comThe top third floor master bedroom with a small balcony overlooking the water. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

The original workings preserved within the property. pic: www.arnoldskeys.comThe original workings preserved within the property. pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

The original  workings of the mill preserved within the property. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.comThe original workings of the mill preserved within the property. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

The en suite to the master bedroom. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.comThe en suite to the master bedroom. Pic: www.arnoldskeys.com

Jon Spalding, owner, pictured outside the mill in 2015. Pic:  www.edp24.co.ukJon Spalding, owner, pictured outside the mill in 2015. Pic: www.edp24.co.uk

The huge former mill building, which dates to 1798, has been divided into three homes (two have sold) and the last to be finished, Wagtail, incorporates the original workings, much of which has been painstakingly rebuilt and now serves as a rather special feature and daily reminder of its history.

Much of the workings including the wheel, which could still turn but has been blocked off so it remains stationary, are presented behind glazed panels in the kitchen and quite remarkably, you can walk through, off the kitchen. and hear and see the water which still rushes beneath.

This home is a fantastic combination of tradition and modernity; you’ve got some beautiful old timbers and exposed brickwork along with many little nods to the mill’s origin. For example, some of the original wood from the wheel has been strengthened and used as cupboard fronts and on the top floor for doors into storage in the eaves.

Another superb little touch is a pulley wheel encased behind glass which makes a novel feature, and adds light.

Mr Spalding has tirelessley worked with the local authority and heritage specialists to renovate the mill as authentically as possible; look for the beautiful leaded panes in windows with black aluminium surrounds and monkey tail latches, adding double glazing and its benefits yet looking almost identical to the black iron originals.

Yet, you’ve got a real feeling of luxury too; particularly with the kitchen where marbled granite worksurfaces adorn beautiful dark grey contemporary units, all bespoke. The same luxury can be found in the bathroom and en suites; the one leading off the master bedroom on the top, third floor, is absolutely beautiful with a shower enclosure boasting textured, light brown tiles which look like wood.

In another en suite, a shower enclosure has the tiniest of tiles with glass to add just the right sparkle and glamour.

The entire property is also versatile; currently you have a large kitchen, utility and a dining room/reading room/family room on the ground floor with a lounge on the first floor where the mill gearing is showcased and a study/bedroom four.

Views from the windows are just breathtaking, over the water from both sides. Another two bedrooms, one with a dressing room and a bathroom, is on the second floor with the master bedroom and en suite bathroom on the top floor. At the centre is the most beautiful oak staircase, an example of craftsmanship, winding gently round taking you to each of these floors.

I loved the statement bath tub fitted ingengiously into what would have been the lucum. I also loved the little balcony created off the master bedroom overlooking the water at the rear of the building but with just enough room for a table and two chairs. Up there, it’s utterly private and so peaceful.

This is a triumph in so many ways; the resulting home is just beautiful but it represents much more than aesthetics. This was a chapter in one man’s life which is just about closed. It was at times a struggle, at times required patience and determination, the willpower not to give up and thanks to all of this, Aylsham now has a very fine converted watermill which enhances the surrounding area.

Wagtail, Aylsham Watermill is for sale for with Arnolds Keys on 01263 738444.

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Meet the Editor

Caroline Culot


I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.