Author Topic: How far would a miller go?  (Read 7395 times)

Offline phill100

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How far would a miller go?
« on: Tuesday 17 November 09 21:18 GMT (UK) »
It seems that young millers in the early 1800s would have had to move away from their hometown in order to either get a job in a mill or take charge of a mill (unless they were lucky enough to move into a father's or relative's business).

How far might a young miller travel to take up a new position?

I wonder if readers have examples of millers moving within a county, from neighbouring counties or across the country? If the method of travel was known, that would also be of interest.

The context of this question is a miller who moved to a mill in Markfield (Leicestershire) about 1807, from an unknown location.

Phill

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Offline ainslie

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 17 November 09 22:22 GMT (UK) »
Outskirts of Edinburgh to ditto of Liverpool around 1860.  Nothing known about transport, but he soon had his brothers in law [from the same area] working with him and the family group stayed very close for 40-odd years.

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Offline Old Bristolian

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 18 November 09 09:52 GMT (UK) »
Hi Phil

I have an ancestor, William Noyes (c1785-1850) who was a miller. He married in the Parish of Stoke Lane (Stoke St Michael) in Somerset in 1805, although he wasn't born there. His wife was from the parish & there was certainly a mill there, so I presume he moved there for work. He seems to have moved around the north-east area of Somerset, various children being baptised near Frome and one at Wells. His wife received an inheritance in the 1830s and they appear in Bristol in 1841, living with a son and his family - William still gives his occupation as miller - but may of course be retired in the modern sense

Steve
Bumstead - London, Suffolk
Plant, Woolnough, Wase, Suffolk
Flexney, Godfrey, Burson, Hobby -  Oxfordshire
Street, Mitchell - Gloucestershire
Horwood, Heale Drew - Bristol
Gibbs, Gait, Noyes, Peters, Padfield, Board, York, Rogers, Horler, Heale, Emery, Clavey, Mogg, - Somerset
Fook, Snell - Devon
M(a)cDonald, Yuell, Gollan, McKenzie - Rosshire
McLennan, Mackintosh - Inverness
Williams, Jones - Angelsey & Caernarvon

Offline phill100

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 18 November 09 18:21 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks Ainslee and Steve,

From Edinbugh to Liverpool would have been quite a distance, but I assume that train services would have made that length of trip quite possible.

It begs the question about how it was known in Edinburgh that there was a mill or mill position available in Liverpool - I suppose there may well have been advertisements in newspapers, or perhaps the info was passed by word-of-mouth.

Steve, how far did William travel to get to the mill/town in the first place? Did he move there to start his new position and then married in the parish? I wonder if moving several times within the county was a normal thing, depending on demand for labour in the various towns in the district.

The reason for my questions would probably be clear - my miller moved into Markfield (and then married later), but I do not know from where. It would be handy to assume that he did not move very far to take up his position, however he could have moved from as far away as Scotland.

Many thanks again

Phill

Offline Old Bristolian

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 19 November 09 09:51 GMT (UK) »
Hi Phil

Sorry but I've no idea where William originated - the Noyes surname is fairly common on the Somerset/Wilts border area, but I've not traced his baptism yet. He was about 20 when he married, so he could have been working for six years or more. I always assume that mills in rural areas mean corn mills - but of course they could be industrial (tucking mills in cloth areas for instance). Edinburgh & Liverpool would also imply industrial mills I would have thought

Steve
Bumstead - London, Suffolk
Plant, Woolnough, Wase, Suffolk
Flexney, Godfrey, Burson, Hobby -  Oxfordshire
Street, Mitchell - Gloucestershire
Horwood, Heale Drew - Bristol
Gibbs, Gait, Noyes, Peters, Padfield, Board, York, Rogers, Horler, Heale, Emery, Clavey, Mogg, - Somerset
Fook, Snell - Devon
M(a)cDonald, Yuell, Gollan, McKenzie - Rosshire
McLennan, Mackintosh - Inverness
Williams, Jones - Angelsey & Caernarvon

Offline phill100

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 19 November 09 16:56 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Steve,

It sounds as if you are in the same predicament as me; that of not knowing where our miller was born. It is tempting to assume that millers did not move a great distance in the course of seeking work in a corn/grinding mill, however it also seems that it might not be prudent to make that assumption.

In terms of determining the type of mill, the Mills Archive is a handy source (/www.millsarchive.com/1about/portal.aspx), though I dare say you know that already.
One of the references on the Mills Archive (or it may have been a link from there) mentioned that millers often passed on their skills to a son.

Another point of interest to me is the status of a miller in the town. One reference mentioned that millers had a "high status" because they could "read, write and use numbers" and were often quite well-off. Another reference said that they were considered to be rogues, because they could use their skills with numbers to underpay farmers.

Thanks again for your response

Phill

Offline newburychap

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 25 November 09 12:17 GMT (UK) »
The Mills Archive Trust is doing a great job - but are short of volunteers to help catalogue their vast collection (which is still growing far more quickly than they can catalogue it).  If you live near Reading and can spare some time to help I am sure they would love to hear from you.

They are also very interested in receiving information about millers and their families. If you have any millers in your family let them know.
Latest project - www.westberkshirewarmemorials.org.uk
Currently researching:
 Newbury pubs  & inns - the buildings, breweries and publican families.
Member of Newbury District Field Club - www.ndfc.org.uk

Offline Arranroots

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 25 November 09 12:28 GMT (UK) »
Mine went from Dumfries to Dunbarton (100 miles), then later to Arran.

The first move was for an apprenticeship, so they must have had good mill-community contacts across the country to arrange such things - maybe?

Edited to add - the travelling miller's father was also a miller - don't know why he didn't get apprenticed to his dad!
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SOM: BIRD, BURT aka BROWN
HEF: BAUGH, LATHAM, CARTER, PRITCHARD
GLS: WEBB, WORKMAN, LATHAM, MALPUS
WIL: WEBB, SALTER
RAD: PRITCHARD, WILLIAMS
GLA: RYAN, KEARNEY, JONES, HARRY
MON: WEBB, MORGAN, WILLIAMS, JONES, BIRD
SCOTLAND: HASTINGS, CAMERON, KELSO, BUCHANAN, BETHUNE/ BEATON
IRELAND: RYAN (WATERFORD), KEARNEY (DUBLIN), BOYLE(DUNDALK)

Offline aelf

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Re: How far would a miller go?
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 25 November 09 12:53 GMT (UK) »
John Gatford, miller, was born 1829 in Cuckfield, Sussex; miller's assistant 1851 in Henfield, Sussex; then 1861 at Midhurst, Sussex; 1871 at Botley, Hants; 1881 at Westbourne, Sussex and 1891 at Lower Stanton, Wilts.

His brother William, born 1835 went with him as far as Midhurst and stayed there as a journeyman miller until his death in 1902.


Another point of interest to me is the status of a miller in the town. One reference mentioned that millers had a "high status" because they could "read, write and use numbers" and were often quite well-off. Another reference said that they were considered to be rogues, because they could use their skills with numbers to underpay farmers.

Millers seem to have been unpopular in England from the Middle Ages, when villagers were compelled to have their corn ground at the lord's mill.  There was a suspicion that they got less flour back than they ought - as in Chaucer's Reeve's Tale.

It's said this is the reason the surname Miller is relatively less common in Britain than in the US where many Miller families were originally Mullers from Germany.

Though I've never worked out why Germans were so much more trusting...

Larry
Cannell, Cutting, Lawrence in Norfolk
Gatford anywhere
French in Devon
Kirton in Durham
Donaldson, Hunter, Mckenzie in Clackmannanshire/Stirling
Watson in Renfrewshire