The Cripps Family:
The association between the Cripps family and the Wheatley mill has lasted for about 150 years. In 1857 a miller George Cripps who owned the post mill across the road from mill took the opportunity to purchase the more profitable tower mill. He operated the mill from then onwards with only a seven-year gap where the mill was lost due to bad debts. George Cripps was married to Ellen Croxford and they had ten children.
George's son, Obadiah, was in great demand as a fiddler for dances in local villages and it is even recorded that he played his fiddle while 'taking the grist cart round'.
Eventually the mill passed to one of his sons, Ezra, who continued to operate the mill until 1914. After the economics of the time forced the mill to close he continued to work in one of the mills in the city centre. Ezra married Rosina Bannister and had a son and a daughter.
Rosina was famous for the dress with a hundred pockets that she would wear to local fetes. She took part in many amateur musical productions and pantomimes, and in 1953 she was Coronation Queen of Wheatley, leading the procession through the streets. She and her husband celebrated their diamond wedding in 1956 and she lived to be 96.
After his death in 1957 the mill passed to his son Leonard. The mill has remained in the hands of Leonard's family until the current day. In this time Leonard witnessed its decline and restoration, yet through it all he never lost his passion for the mill. Leonard was married to Phylis Shurmer and they had a son Roy and a daughter Mavis who still lives in the mill cottage.
It is a curious fact that R.D. Blackmore chose the name Cripps for his story of 'Cripps the Carrier', set in the Beckley area, and that his characters shared the custom of using Old Testament names. The miller's family also included Ebenezer and Amos.
||Ezra and Leonard Cripps