Research of Sarah Tanner


Charles William Green 1811-1884

Charles William Green    1811-1884


Charles William Green was born in 1811 at Thurnham in Kent, and was the third son of John & Ann (nee Turner). His father was a papermaker working at Chafford Mill at Fordcombe near Tunbridge Wells.  His mother, Ann, was the sister of William Turner who owned Chafford Mill[1] at the time.


His father, John, purchased Hayle Mill near Maidstone in Kent from John Pine in 1817.  Pine, in partnership with Thomas Smith built what was then considered a state-of-the-art papermill between the years 1805 and 1808.  When Charles was old enough he joined his father and elder brother, John Jnr[2], in  the business.


In September of 1818, during an extensive tour of paper mills in Kent,  Alexander Cowan and his son Charles, of Valleyfield Mills, Penicuik  “were invariably received with much kindness, often with a cordial welcome, particularly by Messrs Green at Hayle Mill, and Mr Allnutt at Ivy Mill, near Maidstone”.[3]   When the Cowans  mechanized their mills[4] they had a great deal of their handmade orders made by the Greens - indeed they were one of their best customers


Although successful in the trade, a number of related circumstances contributed to the decline of their businesses[5] and in 1838 John Green snr. John Green jnr. and Charles were declared bankrupt.  From a letter written during the 1930s, John Green senior’s granddaughter wrote that she was told by her cousin, “that the cause of the bankruptcy was that John Green jnr believed that he was discovering better ways of paper making, and although many of the new ideas were clever and promising, the fault lay in interrupting the regular work and stopping producing paper in the profitable old ways”[6]. There may also have been other reasons for the failure.  The winter weather in 1836/37 was harsh and in 1838 “was a season of singularly severe and protracted frost, I believe about eight weeks' duration, it in consequence got the name of the Canadian Winter”[7], and these conditions may well have caused problems with paper production.


 John Green snr's brother, Samuel, managed to pay all of his brother’s debts and purchased the Mill from the receivers. A surveyor by trade, he had little knowledge of papermaking and kept his brother on as Mill manager with the understanding that he would train his son, John Barcham Green, to take over the business, which he did in the 1852.   Having lost control of the family business John jnr. and Charles were forced to find work elsewhere.  John Green jnr. became a paper agent travelling the country extensively, and in the 1860s formed the company of John Green & Sons Paper Agents at 48a Moorgate E.C. He and his sons continued to trade with his cousin J B Green at Hayle Mill and there are many surviving letters and orders in the company archive revealing the extent of their business dealings.

Unfortunately, Charles career from this period was somewhat chequered.  Initially he moved to the West Country and in 1841 was shown as a paper master in the Silverton district, possibly working at Cullumpton Paper Mill.  By 1843 when he married Jemima Young, who came from Llandago, Monmouthshire, south east Wales,  he was shown as an accountant at Brockweir, both places being adjacent to the Whitebrook Valley.


By 1843/44 the newly married couple moved to Penicuik, where Charles had secured a job working for the Cowan family. He was eventually made foreman in Valleyfield Mill paper mill.  Their children were born in Penicuik - Charles Edward in October 1844, Catherine Maria in February 1850 and John Henry in December 1853.  It appears that Charles had finally settled down roots and according to an account in the history of Penicuik Cricket Club[8].


“Cricket was introduced to Penicuik by an Englishman from Kent called Charles W Green. He was a foreman papermaker at Valleyfield Mill and, with the support of some local gentlemen, formed the Club in 1844.  The first team was made up entirely of papermakers and Charles captained the Eleven for many years and had considerable success.  He was a good bat and round-arm bowler (the only one in the team as most men bowled underarm). From personal reminiscences of other players CWG was described as being an enthusiastic and energetic man who had a keen sense of humour, and was known to have worn clogs, which was common at the time. The first extant Penicuik scorecard is of a match in 1853 at home to Dalkeith, when both sides had only 10 players. Dalkeith scored 18 and 46 while Penicuik made 60 and 6 for 2, winning by 7 wickets. Green opened the batting in the first innings and was bowled for 9.”[9].  The description of his personality was somewhat at odds with what was written in later letters, either from him to members of the family or about him.



The Esk at Penicuik and Cowan & Co.'s Valleyfield Mills around 1835[10]





However, by 1854 he had left Scotland travelling to Canada to take up the position of foreman at the Valleyfield Mill in Quebec. No evidence has yet been uncovered why he decided to leave the Cowan’s employment.  From a letter written in November by  his sister Elizabeth it appears the family did not go with him, his daughter Katie was living with her Green Aunts who wrote We still have little Katie with us and we all feel very glad that Mrs Charles Green has been prevailed upon to delay her voyage to Canada till the Spring”[11] 


The move to Canada did not appear to work out well and by November 1856 he had returned to Kent. A letter written by his nephew John Philip Green reveals that  The next morning I walked over to Tovil to see Uncle Charles whom I thought looking thin and anxious.  They say that the Canada visit has had a very injurious effect on him.  He seems to have liked the place and would have stayed but the climate was too changeable & severe. I do not fancy he will stay much longer where he is & wish he may soon find a more comfortable settlement which I am sure he deserves.  He told me that one of the Cowans said to him that since he had been with them their paper had improved 10 per cent which on a capital of £80 or £90.00 is a large sum and it seems hard that Charles should not have had more benefit from the services he rendered”[12]


It is likely that his cousin, John Barcham Green, recommended him for the job of foreman at Upper Tovil Mill at Loose near Maidstone, and from March 1856 until late 1859 there are many communications between the cousins and their respective mills. 


Watermark J Green & Sons 1853



Sometime during this period he became involved with another cousin, Charles Courthorpe Green and his partner Harry Rawson trading as Messrs. Green, Rawson, and Co, at Whitebrook.  This partnership was dissolved in September1860[13] and the mill was taken over by George Courthorpe Green.


Fernside Mill, Whitebrook c1970[14]


In February 1860 Charles William Green wrote to John Barcham Green from Bow where he and the family had moved as by then he was working for Lloyds Engineering Works “Shall be some months before we start here at Bow it is a nice Mill in some respects, but there will be one difficulty I anticipate & that is water. I think something is likely to be done with Whitebrook, but whether it will be advantageous to GC Green or the Creditors I can’t say. All I say is the Creditors ought to look well to the settlement on GC Green’s wife if the Mill is either sold or let for a greater amount than the cost”.[15]    In December his brother John jnr writing to their cousin at Hayle Mill remarked “The affair at Whitebrook has certainly been disastrous for all Parties – I am very glad that I had nothing to do with the matter directly or indirectly,  as far as Charles is concerned I rather think he has an opening for an engagement that perhaps may after all be better for him than a ‘mastership’ ”[16]. 


This job also did not appear to go well and in a letter from J Millington to John Barcham Green in March 1861 he wrote   Mr C. W. Green is like a fish out of water here, he has no pulp - nor cannot smell Bleach, he wishes to be remembered to you”[17].   By January 1862 C W Green wrote to his cousin from Bow saying “Having agreed to go to a mill in the West on more advantageous terms than I obtained at Lloyd’s Mill and having to go there in March. Some time ago I gave Lloyd notice of my intention to leave in three months, Lloyd at this communication got into a rage, denied that he agreed to a notice for 3 months, had told me he should have nothing more to do with me, but said that he was quite satisfied with the starting of the mill, and way things had gone on. We certainly did get better boiled stuff here than any I saw at Simpson’s[18] with 90lbs tho here we only had 50lbs and less alkali. The way Lloyd has treated me has led to great inconvenience to me after that horrid Whitebrook affair, which I had pretty well got over, and was hoping to be able to pay the money you so generously lent me I am ashamed to ask you to favor me with the loan of 15 or 20£, but as I shall better myself by the change if you will stand my friend I will pay you in quarterly instalments. I hope you will not be angry with me for this request – which I would not on any account make if I had not good prospects and I feel some delicacy in applying to the party to whom I am going.  I have had advice and they say Lloyd is bound to pay me.”[19]


Later in the month he wrote again “A friend of mine when I was at Whitebrook offered to lend me a few hundreds, which I did not avail myself of as G Green did not keep his accounts in good enough order to enable me to arrive at a conclusion as to when I could repay it as I don’t want to write to him for a small sum myself & you say you are a borrower, I shall have much pleasure in writing to him for the loan of a few hundreds if it will be of any service to you as I have no specific object in view to employ capital to any amount at present. With thanks for past favors[20]   


It is not clear what happened next.  In February 1867 his elder brother, Henry,  who was by then the Unitarian Minister of Brook Street Chapel at Knutsford in Cheshire,  when writing  to John Barcham Green,  told him that “My brother Charles yesterday began an engagement with the Wrigleys of Bury,  Lancashire, and I am hopeful it will be a permanent one[21].     However, once again permanence was not to be,  and by August Charles wrote from the Oil Mills at Lower Tovil near Maidstone to Thos. H Brooke of Bridge Hall Mills, Bury,  asking him if he would call at Brenchley’s Brewery to enquire if they had a ‘Public’ to let as he was ‘disgusted with foremanship’. If not a public house could he inform him what he would recommend for the investment on business of a small capital[22].


Brooke passed this letter to Frank Green[23],   Charles nephew,  the son of John Green jnr, which resulted in Frank writing to his uncle  requesting he repaid the loan he had made him sometime before.



By now Charles was a widower in his mid fifties with his job prospects still uncertain and only having his youngest son John still at home[24]. In the 1871 census he is listed as being employed in a paper mill, living at Bank Mill Lands, Penicuik with his son John shown as also working in the Mill.  It seems likely that if he had to repay his nephew and settle other debts,  he decided that a return to working in Scotland would be advantageous for his son giving him the opportunity to serve an apprenticeship. His son John was remembered as a very quiet man who did not appear to have shared his father’s passion for cricket.  How long father and son continued to live at Penicuik has not yet been established,  but in a later  reference in the cricket history,  the author writes, after describing a cricket match, 'Many years after, when Green was an old man, I asked him about the match.'[25]    


By 1881 both Charles and his son had moved south and the census lists Charles as a Gentleman,  living with his daughter Catherine and two of his sisters[26] in Teignmouth, Devon.  John is shown as a clerk paper maker living in Mile End and by 1891 as a papermaker living in Islington.


After a somewhat troubled career Charles William Green died aged 74 and is buried in the Old Cemetery at Teignmouth alongside his two sisters Elizabeth Ellis and Maria Louisa Green.  From surviving correspondence Charles appeared to have had to ask for loans on many occasions but despite this he did leave an estate valued at  £290.15s.1d. which in this century would have had the purchasing power of about £14,000.



My thanks to Maureen Green for her help and input.  Penicuik Historical Society for information about Valleyfield and Penicuik,  and Simon Green for allowing reproduction from letters in the Hayle Mill Archive.



[1]The Turner Family and Chafford Mill No.389. The Quarterly No.52 p15 [see under papermills]

[2] John Green jnr born Penshurst Kent 1803. Died London 1880. Buried at the Bessels Green  Chapel, Sevenoaks, Kent.

[3] Reminiscences by Charles Cowan of Logan House, Printed for Private Circulation, 1878, p. 66

[4] The Cowan family installed a Fourdrinier machine at Valleyfield Mill in 1821

[5] The family also leased Otham Mill near Maidstone

[6] Reminiscences of Isabella (nee Green) Jamieson.  Born Knutsford 1841. Died London 1937. []

[7] Reminiscences by Charles Cowan of Logan House, Printed for Private Circulation, 1878, p.112

[8]One Hundred Summers 1844-1944: Penicuik Cricket Club publication.

[9]One Hundred Summers 1844-1944', Penicuik Cricket Club publication


[11] Elizabeth Matilda Green 1812-1902. Married Charles Ellis 1861 at Sidmouth

Letter in Jamieson Archive.

[12]  Jamieson Archive (see letter

[13] Notice of the partnership between George Courthope Green, Harry Rawson and Charles William Green  in the trade of business  of Paper Manufacturers at Whitebrook in Monmouth and elsewhere, under the firm of Messrs. Green, Rawson, and Co was this day dissolved by mutual consent, and in future the business will be carried on by the said George Courthope Green on his separate account, and who will pay and receive all debts owing from and to the said partnership in the regular course of trade 3 September 1860. London Gazette

[14] Wikipedia

[15] Hayle Mill Archive February 1860 7/2/68

[16] Hayle Mill Archive December 1860 7/2/69 

[17] Hayle Mill Archive March 1866 7/2/73

[18] Wm Simpson was running Upper Tovil Mill when CWG was working there.

[19] Hayle Mill Archive January 1862 7/2/85

[20] Hayle Mill Archive January 1862 7/2/85

[21] Hayle Mill Aarchive February 1867  7/2/168

[22] Hayle Mill Archive November 1867  7/2/177

[23]  Frank Green was created a Baronet in 1900 and became Lord Mayor of London 1900-1901

 He died 3  December 1902

[24] It appears that Charles wife Jemima had died sometime between 1861 – 67 but no death information   has been found.

[25] One Hundred Summers 1844-1944', Penicuik Cricket Club publication.

[26] Louisa Maria Green born Penshurst 1812 died London 1903 and Elizabeth Ellis see FN 13.



Edited  25 November 2014

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Copyright Sarah Tanner 2008