Thomas Kelleway , his amazingly fertile wife and the shortest-lived windmill on the Isle of Wight.
|In 1804, Thomas Kelleway took out a mortgage with Thomas Ayrton for £800 on a property in West Cowes. It was described as:
All that messuage or tenement with a piece of land thereto belonging situate in said Parish of Northwood as apportioned to said Thomas Kelleway in a partition and division of land by said Thomas Kelleway and Thomas Ayrton by Indentures dated 29th and 30th September 1802 and bounded by the other part of land apportioned to said Thomas Ayrton by said indentures on the east by a piece of parcel of a close therein after described on the west by land of Mr Thomas Day on the north and by Mr Edmund Green on the south.This indenture mentioned a "windmill", which was located on a plot of land called Maynards and, as will become apparent, was distinct from the windmill that was located at the top of Mill Hill Road.
|Before 1798, the area under consideration was part of Lord Edgcumbe's lands in the Isle of Wight. It was leased out to a series of farmers as a holding called Wall's Broadfields. In 1789 this area had passed to Admiral Sir Hugh Cloberry Christian, who died in 1798, leaving his landed estate to be disposed of by his executors. In October 1799, they sold Maynards and a small additional plot for £605 to Thomas Ayrton, linendraper, Linn Ratsey, shipbuilder, and Thomas Kelleway, baker, who each received a third share. The wording of the indenture stated that the holding was
All that close or parcel of land called South Down otherwise Down Close otherwise Maynards containing by estimation 5 acres or thereabouts bounded on the east by lands belonging to Thomas Day and on the west north and south by lands belonging to Edmund GreenOn the same day as this Maynards lease, Thomas Day, merchant, bought Maunds for £620. The indenture described the holding as:
All that close or parcel of land called Mawns Grounds otherwise Maunds containing by estimation 5 acres or thereabouts (more or less) situate near West Cowes aforesaid and then in the occupation of David Dallimore bounded on the east by the road leading from West Cowes to Newport on the west by lands belonging to Thomas Kelleway and others on the north by lands belonging to [blank] and on the south by lands belonging to Thomas Kelleway and othersIn December 1799, Linn Ratsey sold his third share in Maynards to Kelleway and Ayrton for £200. A year later, in December 1800, Kelleway and Ayrton entered into an agreement whereby Maynards was split into two by a "rail fence" running from west to east. Kelleway received "All that the south or most southerly part thereof containing by admeasurement 2 1/2 acres or thereabouts together with a road or way 9 feet wide from the west end of the north part of the said close of arable land next adjoining the hedge and leading from the gate there to the said south part of the said close of arable land ..." [Lease and Release, 25 & 26 December 1800] Ayrton took the north portion.
In 1802, Kelleway and Ayrton split the small additional plot, adjoining the south side of Maunds. Kelleway received the west part and Ayrton took the eastern portion. By 1804, Ayrton had built a "new erected messuage tenement or dwelling house" [later known as Mill Hill] at the west end of his northern portion of Maynards [opposite where Grove Road joins Mill Hill Road], which he sold to Admiral Samuel Osborn for £1500 in September 1804, along with his north part of Maynards. Mill Hill House was one of the large residences that were being built at this time further up the hill but away from the main part of the town situated at the foot of the hill next to the shore. Pigot's directory of 1828 highlights this on-going development that had been gathering pace since the turn of the century:
In January 1804, Kelleway borrowed £800 from Ayrton putting up his Maynard property as security. The indenture for this transaction is quoted at the start of this page. Possibly this was to allay the costs of building the windmill on part of Maynards close. Judging from the Poor Rate and Highways Collection books, the windmill seems to have been constructed in the summer of 1804. Thomas Kelleway was paying a rate for a mill from October 1804 onwards.
In the indenture between Kelleway and Osborne, the holding was described as:
All that messuage or tenement together with a part or parcel of land thereto belonging situate in the Parish of Northwood in the Isle of Wight as same were apportioned to said Thomas Kelleway by said Indenture of 30th September 1802 bounded by the other part or parcel of land apportioned to said Thomas Ayrton (deceased) as aforesaid on the east by a piece or parcel of a close of land thereinafter described on the west by land then of Thomas Day on the north by land then or late of Edmund Green Esquire on the southThis indenture locates the windmill on the south portion of Maynards [demised to Kelleway in December 1800. Ayrton received the north part.]
In 1812, Thomas Day (the owner of Maunds) was declared bankrupt and at an auction, held on the 30th June 1813, Samuel Osborn bought Maunds for £1200, adding it to his other estates of Maynards, Upper (Further) Star Coppice, Lower (Hither) Star Coppice and Hat Field, which had been "heretofore part of a larger close of land called Upper Star Coppice".
In 1816, Samuel Osborn died, leaving "a house and outbuildings a windmill the said cottage called Laurel Cottage and a barn with the apputenances called Mill Hill" to his two brothers, Vice Admiral John Osborn and Vice Admiral Edward Oliver Osborn [5 Feb. 1816; proved 14 Oct. 1816].
In 1841, after the death of Samuel Osborne's wife, the Mill Hill estate was put up for auction; two classified adverts in The Times describe the property, while one of them mentions "a stone-built prospect tower".
In 1842, Elizabeth [Edward Osborn's wife] and their two sons, John and Edward, sold the whole property to Major General John Richardson for £6000. The sale indenture is dated 21st April 1842 and the text reads as follows:
All that messuage or dwelling house commonly called or known by the name of Mill Hill with the yards, gardens and closes or pieces of land thereunto adjoining, containing together 10a 3r 24p, more or less situate in the Parish of northward aforesaid and lying on the south side of a private road commonly called the Mill Hill Road, the eastern part of which closes including the site of said messuage and the yards and gardens consisted of two closes formerly called respectively, South Down or Down Close or Maynard's Close estimated to contain five acres and Mauns or Maunds cap Grounds estimated to contain five acres or the greater part of those closes respectively and the western part of which closes theirinbefore described and released, consisted of a triangular piece of land called Hat Field and formerly part of close called Upper Star Coppice, the residue whereof was hereinafter describedAlthough the windmill is no longer mentioned, plans accompanying an abstract of title to the estate make it clear that the windmill had become a viewing platform called Prospect Tower, used for pleasure by the Osborn family. This is the tower to be seen lower down the slope in the engraving of West Cowes by George Brannon, shown in the title image at the top of this page.
[large scale plan - 346KB]
In November 1853, the estate was sold to Thomas Morland of Croydon Esq. and Conrad Wilkinson of Beckenham Kent Esq. for £6,184 19s 6d. and they started to develop the area. The 1862 Ordnance Survey map shows no trace of Prospect Tower remaining. Presumably it had been cleared to allow Bellevue Road to be laid down.
The Kelleway Family
In 1790 Thomas Haskell conveyed a holding called the Black Prince to Charles Kelleway, a baker. This was situated on the west side of the High Street on the site of the Cut. In 1796, Thomas Kelleway leased this property to James Buckett, a shopkeeper, for 11 years at £10 per annum under the proviso that Buckett bought all his flour, bread and other baking goods from Kelleway himself.
The first mention of Thomas Kelleway in the Northwood Poor Rate books is in 1787, when he is paying 1 shilling for a property in Cowes. Kelleway married Sarah Young in 1785 and produced a large family.
In 1807, Thomas took out a lease on a piece of land in Ryde situated on the west side of modern Nelson Place. It was then known as "Rope Walk or East Nelson Place". The land was described as "Piece of Land, Part of North Field, containing from North to South on East and West sides, 229 feet, and from East to West on the North side 77 feet, and on the South side 93 feet.". By 1814, Thomas Kelleway was occupying a property on the west side of Ryde High Street [LIND 351], where Woolworths is situated today [see red dot on plan below]. It is uncertain whether this Thomas was the father or the son. It does seem likely that Thomas Kelleway of West Cowes was setting up a new bakery business for his eldest son, Thomas, in Ryde, an area of expanding opportunities at that time.
Thomas Kelleway of West Cowes died and was buried at Binstead on 4 April 1817. He was described at time of death as "of Ryde", suggesting that he had indeed transferred his sphere of business to Ryde.
On 26 Jan. 1828, Thomas, the son, took out a lease on the High Street property:
Lease and counterpart of one messuage, bakehouse and garden on west side of the High Street at Upper Ryde, bounded on north by land assigned to John Denham, on south by messuage and land demised to ___ Carter and on west by part of Chappells bargain in consideration of the surrender of a former lease to James Potts dated 1 Dec. 1776. Lives of lessee (38) Hannah Kelleway his wife (42) and James Potts the younger of Ryde, mariner (45)A Census Enumeration dated 27 May 1821 for the town of Ryde lists "Thos. Kelleway: males 3 females 2 total 5". This included his wife, Hannah, but the other female may have been Thomas's mother, Sarah, who died in 1831 and was buried at Binstead. In Pigot's Directory of 1828, Thomas Kelleway is listed as one of eight bakers for Ryde. In The Vectis Directory of 1839, the Ryde listing contains the following entry: Kelleway, Thomas, baker and grocer, High-street.
In 1844, Thomas also leased a property adjoining his bakery on the south, containing one messuage and premises [1 Oct. 1844. LIND 356]. Thomas died in 1847 and was buried in the newly opened Ryde cemetery along with his wife Hannah, who was buried in June 1851.
Thomas Kelleway, in a slightly viscious technology race against David Davis to set up the first windmill in West Cowes, borrowed money to build the first windmill in Cowes. However, his fertile wife had produced a financially frightening amount of children and the crushing economic pressures of bringing up lots of children, coupled with the stiff competition from the newly built, and more efficient windmill at the top of Mill Hill Road, induced him to close down the mill. His rival's windmill, being at the top of Mill Hill, meant that it was in a more advantageous position as far as wind coefficients, directions and dynamics were concerned. The crippling result of Kelleway's windmill venture left him in debt and so he sold Maynards to Admiral Osborne, who paid through the nose for it. Kelleway struggled on for a few years but, due to the high cost of teenage children, was finally declared bankrupt in 1811.
However, Kelleway was a wily old fox and wasn't defeated yet. He realised that Ryde was a fast growing town with huge development opportunities. Buildings were springing up everywhere and this meant people. People meant food and food meant bread. He felt another windmill venture coming on. He found a plot of ground on the east side of the expanding town for the site of his windmill at what is now Nelson Place. But, oh dear, he had fallen into the same old trap as before: his site was some way down the slope of the large hill upon which Ryde is built. Windmills were built by more technologically knowledgeable rivals at the top of Ryde. Kelleway realised his mistake and never built his windmill. For the last years of his life, he remained in Ryde, a broken miller, running a small bakery business in the High Street.
And yet, in one way, he was a success. Little did he know that he was in fact the builder and operator of the shortest-running windmill in the history of the Isle of Wight and possibly the whole of England.
|Original research by Alan Stroud.
Produced by Rob Martin.
Hosted by Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeology Society.
Created: October 2005.