'The Mill, St. Benet's Abbey' is thought to date to the early 1820s. The inscription '1876' in the lower right corner represents the watercolour's inventory number in the catalogue system Cotman used to record his teaching watercolours and drawings. He lent these works to his pupils to copy. The series was begun in 1806 when he first advertised his services as a teacher in Norwich. It was continued, by Cotman and his children, right up until his death and grew to include over 2000 works.
The remains of St Benet's Abbey stand close to the north bank of the river Bure, south of Horning in Norfolk. This view is from the south, diminishing the bulk of the gatehouse, which is virtually all that survived when this watercolour was made.