Letter in the Attic

Letters of William Vine (1778-1836)

About this contribution:


These scanned documents consist mainly of the letters of William Vine and his family. Most of them are from William Vine, written from Brighton to his daughter Rhoda Waterman who lived in Brenchley, Kent with her husband John Waterman, a farmer and maltster. There is also a letter from William Vine to William Savory appointing him as Minister of the Salem Chapel, Bond Street, Brighton. They date mostly from 1835-36. There are also a number of photographs / paintings. William Vine was clearly a very religious man and the letters reflect this and contain a lot of spiritual/religous instruction.

Most of the letters have been transcribed. Most of the transcripts are in the form of scans of typewritten documents; a few are in the form of Word documents.

Biographical information

William Vine was born in Heathfield in East Sussex in 1778 and married Mary Bradford on 23 May 1803. Untill 1813 William Vine worked at Windoor or Windover Mill in Wilmington, East Sussex, where he kept a meteorological diary called 'Wheather' ( the business of a mill owner being very dependent on the weather) a copy of which can be found at the East Sussex Record Office (see AMS 6130). On October 8th 1813 William Vine took over the Patcham windmill in Brighton with his brother-in-law James Muggeridge, the husband of his sister Philidelphia, before buying the windmill in Clifton Hill, Brighton, on 18th August 1818. The mill became known as 'Vine's Mill' and was thought to be located in the area which eventually became the car park of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, however it is now believed that the mill was located on the corner of Powis Villas and Powis Grove. The mill was painted several times by John Constable. The millworkers' cottages were nearby in what was known as Mill Place but became Vine Place named after William Vine, and William himself lived at 1 Vine Place and wrote many of the letters from that address. Vine Place still stands as of 2008, it is a twitten behind Clifton Terrace in Brighton. William Vine worked Vine's Mill until his death in September 1836 when his wife Mary Vine and son James Vine took it over. William Vine was buried in the family vault in the Hanover Burial Ground in Brighton. William Vine was a devout Baptist and an Elder of the Salem Chapel which used to stand in Bond Street in Brighton. William and Mary Vine had 6 surviving children; Sarah; Mary; Rhoda; Martha; Esther and James. Further information can be found at www.williamvine.net.

Name of creator(s)

Vine, William (1778-1836); Vine Mary; Vine, Esther b 1822; Vine, Martha b1815; Tilly, Pollie

Dates covered by the material


Extent and form of the material

23 letters; 1 receipt; 3 scanned photographs of paintings

Access conditions



The original documents are in the care of the family. Some of the originals still show the original wax seal used by WV.


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