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Week 29: My ancestor was a miller

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  • Week 29: My ancestor was a miller

    Week 29: Miller

    Fittleworth watermill​

    Did someone in your tree work in a windmill or a water mill, or even a gunpowder or paper mill?

    This is an opportunity to showcase a miller from your family tree, you might want to offer a short biography and speak about their work eg
    Birth location/date
    Family background
    Where you've found them on the census
    Their workplace/employer
    Any tips on researching this occupation?

    [Next week: Glass worker/glazier]

  • #2
    Joseph Botting my husband's 2x great grandfather was a miller's loader at the watermill at Slaugham in Sussex. He was born in 1818 at Shipley, Sussex which has a famous windmill once owned by Hilaire Belloc and which featured in the TV series Jonathan Creek.

    In 1851 he was living at the Mill House, with his wife and three children though later moved a few hundred yards to Slaugham Green where he and his wife Elizabeth Ann had 15 children, 13 of whom made it to adulthood. He was still working at the age of 72, but as a builder's carter. After his wife's death he moved to 6 Warren Cottages in Handcross in 1901 then lived with his son Amos in Handcross High Street until his death aged 98 in 1916.

    Joseph's third child Elizabeth was my mother in law Brenda's granny who in old aged lived with Brenda's parents, consequently some personal memories were handed down, he was a very small man and used to stand on the fender to see the clock, and was somewhat deaf in his old age, someone remarked it was frosty and he said "Whisky? I don't mind if I do".


    • #3
      James Harland was a miller, either at Cockhaise Mill near Lindfield or at the mill at Horsted Keynes, (both in Sussex and a couple of miles apart.) All the details about his work come from the baptisms of his children the first of whom, Robert who was baptised in Horsted Keynes in 1820, James had married Horsted Keynes farmer's daughter Elizabeth Jenner at St Marylebone in London the previous year.

      He dabbled in other things too, his next child bapt at Horsted Keynes in 1823 says he was a cowkeeper of St Georges Bloomsbury and at his son Jenner Harland's baptism, he was a coal merchant in 1825 in Southwark (one of his sisters lived there). He was declared bankrupt in 1830, the London Gazette gives his address as George Street Bloomsbury, formerly of Horsted Keynes and later Lindfield and has him as a corndealer, mealman and milkman.

      The next baptism for daughter Charity Harland was in Horsted Keynes in 1835, abode Brighton and his occupation was miller. In 1840 at the baptism of his youngest child Mary Ann at Horsted Keynes he is described as a labourer. In 1841 he and the family were in Lindfield living in the Gravelye colony started by philanthropist Quaker William Allen whose sponsors financed cottages and smallholdings for the poor at low rents as an alternative to emigration to America, he also provided an industrial school which trained youngsters in trades such as printing.

      James hanged himself from a pine tree on 4th Jan 1848 "state of mind unknown", his death certificate says he was a miller. The Rev Sewell prevented a funeral service as was church policy at the time, he was buried at night at Lindfield. His brother had met the same fate in 1840. His widow lived in their cottage for another 30 years.