Francis the Miller

The Bewleys of Cumberland and my Family History

Home Francis Bewley Ann Bewley Francis' Mills Curthwaite


David and Francesí son, Francis (my great great grandfather) married Ann Rudd on 1st June 1840 in St Mary's Church.  They then took the mill at Monkhill in the parish of Beaumont, 5 miles west of Carlisle.  Their first born George, is recorded as christened in that Parish on 30th May 1841. 

By 16th January 1843, when my great grandmother Mary was born, they were living and working at Upperby Mill, on the outskirts of Carlisle.  They were to run this mill for  some 18 years, the mill is now replaced by a contractors yard

The 1851 census shows that, as well as Francis and his family, Francisí brothers John aged 23 and David aged 13 also lived and worked at Upperby Mill.  John went on to become the manager of the Carlisle Coop Mill and later was a Grocer and Provisions Merchant with a shop at 98, Botchergate and a house at 66, Aglionby Street, Carlisle.

The 1861 census finds Francis and Ann Bewley at Thursby Mill, nr Carlisle, they were to stay here for some 26 years.  The mill still exists as a private dwelling and is situated midway between the villages of Thursby and Curthwaite.

Their daughter Mary Bewley was my great grandmother and her son Francis, my grandfather, was born at Thursby Mill on 29th November 1864.  Unfortunately, he was born illegitimate and this could have been the end of my research as I have not been able to identify his father, however, I decided to continue down the female line and was able to show my great grandmother Mary to have been a courageous, loyal wife and good mother, despite her secret past.

Francis was raised by his grandparents, as their own, at Thursby Mill.   As we shall see Mary, his mother was later to marry Robert Reay an iron miner of Hensingham, Whitehaven and emigrate to Kingston, New Mexico with their 7 children.

The 1881 census shows my grandfather Francis aged about 16 years, his grandmother Ann, his uncle George and his family, at Haltcliffe Mill near Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck (the very area from which Sir Edmund Bewley's family line originated).  Why they went there, we may never know as Francis remained at the Thursby Mill some 9 miles away, perhaps they were helping George and his family to become established.  Francis and Ann lived in the millers house by the mill with its 3 acres of land, and the farm, and the water driven sawmill.  George and his family lived in a cottage nearby called Bishops Pot.  They do not appear to have stayed long as my grandfather married on 29th November 1885 and was then living back at Thursby Mill.

Towards the end of old Francis' life, between 1886-8 the family gave up Thursby Mill and moved to Gamelsby Mill where Francis died in July 1890.  At the moment we do not know why because it was a less desirable than Thursby Mill.

The linked pictures show the earliest photographs of my ancestors Francis and Ann Bewley.  These copies originated from photos taken by my Great Grandmother Mary to New Mexico, America.  Other Pictures show the various mills and the area of Curthwaite.