Portrait of George Mills

Name: George Mills

Burial Number: 0412

Gender: Male

Occupation: Fishmonger; Landowner;

Born: 02/05/1820

Died: 07/05/1903

Buried: 11/05/1903


George was born on May 2nd, 1820 in Hastings, Sussex, he had an older sister, Matilda, born in 1818. His parents were John Mills (b.1787) and Elizabeth Maria, (b.1795) and they owned a fruit and vegetable shop at 15, High Street.

As a young man he opened a fish shop and bought his stock on the beach at Hastings, then he would take the fish to neighbouring villages in a small cart drawn by dogs.(This practice was outlawed in 1854 by Parliament as using dogs as beasts of burden was considered animal cruelty.)

George became highly successful as a fish salesman and moved his business to Billingsgate, London. He was rewarded for this success with admittance to the Freedom of the City of London in the Company of Fishmongers on 22nd October 1858. In 1840, aged 20yrs,

George married Jane Tyhurst of Hastings and their daughter, Georgiana, was born in 1842 (died 1843) followed by George Jonathan 1844, and John Rous 1846 (died aged 21yrs 1867) and their last child, William Percy 1870 (died aged 6yrs 1876).

On 29th April 1872, Jane Mills died in London, aged 51yrs. In 1875, George Jonathan Mills, aged 55yrs, remarried, his wife was Georgiana Riches, aged 27yrs. George was already a grandfather and his new wife was younger than his surviving son. They were married at Carlton Coleville, Norfolk, and when they moved to 62, Gratwicke Road they called their house Colville.

George and Georgiana had six children, all born in Worthing, Georgiana 1875, William 1876, Jean 1880, James 1881, Robert 1885, and Frank 1887. George had begun buying and selling land in 1856 and with business friends he was part of a syndicate, buying at auction and selling to developers in Hastings, St. Leonards, Lowestoft and Worthing.

He moved to Worthing in 1867 and was responsible for planning and developing a large part of East Worthing, Farncombe Road was named after one of his business partners. Almost the entire length of Chapel Road and the west side of South Street to Montague Street consisted of fields and gardens when he first came to Worthing but under his influence the land was quickly covered with shops and private residences.

He donated land for the building of St. George’s Church in East Worthing, and later helped with the building of Holy Trinity Church in West Worthing, becoming its first Churchwarden.

When St. Botolph’s Church was rebuilt he presented the tenor bell. He joined forces with Edmund Lephard, another Worthing property owner and together they developed the area of Heene.

On his birthday in 1882, the town council held a public banquet in his honour at the Steyne Hotel, presenting him with a magnificent silver epergne in appreciation of his generosity to the town. By the end of his working life he was reported to be the largest landowner in both Lowestoft and Worthing.

He was still attending property auctions into his 80s and was a well known and popular figure walking around the town. George died on 7th May 1903 at Colville, Gratwicke Road, Worthing, aged 83yrs. Probate was granted to Georgiana Mills, widow, and William Riches Mills, barrister-at-law. Effects £129198 13s 8d. “value 2020 – £15.8m.”

Researcher: Unknown

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: NES Row: 6 Plot: 17

Exact Location (what3words): bags.zips.years

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


George Jonathan Mills died 7th May 1903 aged 83 years "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy mightl Eccles 9.10" "Abide with us for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. St.Luke 24.29" Also of Georgiana his wife who entered into rest January 16th 1913 aged 65 "Then they ar glad because they are at rest and so he bringeth them into the house where they would be. Psalm 107.30" In loving memory of James Webb Mills, Priest, born 5th February 1881 died 30th August 1950 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121.1" In loving memory of Robert Henry Mills who entered into rest January 10th 1963 aged 77 years "Love was the hallmark of his life"

Further Information


Name: George Jonathon Mills

Gender: Male

Born: 02/05/1820

Town: Hastings

County: Sussex

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: //1840

Spouse First Name: Jane

Spouse Last Name: Tyhurst

Town of Marriage: Unknown

County of Marriage: Unknown

Country of Marriage: Unknown

Marriage Date: //1875

Spouse First Name: Georgiana

Spouse Last Name: Riches

Town of Marriage: Carlton Coleville

County of Marriage: Norfolk

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 07/05/1903

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: Colville

Address line 3: Gratwicke Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


Worthing Gazette – Wednesday 13th May 1903 – Interment at Heene Cemetery – The respect in which the deceased gentleman was held was seen in the numerous assembly at his funeral on Monday afternoon. The first portion of the service was held in Holy Trinity Church, conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. C. J. Hollis, and the Rev. G. H. Johnson. It commenced with the hymns, “Art thou weary; art thou languid?” which was succeeded, after the lesson, by the hymn, “Now the labourer’s task is o’er,” the music being led by the boys of the Choir, under the direction of Mr. C. Pratley, the Organist, who, as the funeral cortege left the Church played the impressive voluntary, “O rest in the Lord.” At the Graveside – The interment took place at the Heene Cemetery, the mourners being met at the entrance by the Rev. J. P. Fallowes, the Rector of the parish, while the Rev. C. J. Hollis again officiated at the graveside. The grave was partly lined with moss and flowers, and the remainder was brick lined. The funeral was conducted by Mr. W. A. Hewer, of Rowlands Road; the coffin, of polished elm, with brass mountings, bearing the simple inscription: “George Jonathan Mills. Died 7th May 1903. Aged 83 years.”

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £129198 13 s 8 d

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


living in St. Clements, Hastings, Sussex – George Mills, 20yrs, Fishmonger, wife, Jane Mills, 20yrs,


living at 3, Billingsgate, London – George J. Mills, 30yrs, Fish Salesman, son, John Rous Mills, 4yrs,


living at 7, Lower Thames Street, Billingsgate – George J. Mills, 40yrs, Fish Factor, wife, Jane, 40yrs, son, George, 17yrs, Fish Factor, Mary A. Tyhurst, mother-in-Law, 76yrs, James Meadowy, 16yrs, nephew, Fish Factor, Amelia Meadowy, 8yrs, niece, Matilda Meadowy, 19yrs, niece, Housekeeper


living at 4, Seldon Terrace, Worthing – George J. Mills, 50yrs, Fish Factor, wife, Jane, 50yrs, grandson, George J. Mills, 2yrs, Matilda Meadowy, 29yrs, niece, Mary A. Tyhurst, 86yrs, mother-in-law, plus a Cook and Housemaid,


living at 33, Gratwicke Road, Worthing George J. Mills, 60yrs, Landowner, wife, Georgiana, 33yrs, children, Jane, 2yrs, James, 2 months, they employ a Cook, Nurse, and Domestic Servant


lodgers in Lowestoft – George J. Mills, 70yrs, retired Fish Factor, wife, Georgiana, 43yrs, daughter, Georgiana, 15yrs


living at 33, Gratwicke Road, Worthing – George J. Mills, 80yrs, living on own means, wife, Georgiana, 53yrs, son, Frank, 14yrs, , plus Ladies Companion, Cook, Parlourmaid and Housemaid.

Miscellaneous Information

Anecdotes and Obituaries of George Jonathan Mills 1820 -1903 – Daily Express – The life of Mr. George Jonathan Mills, whose funeral took place in Worthing on Monday, is a romantic contribution to the annals of individual commercial effort. Born of humble parentage at Hastings, and originally intended for the shipbuilding trade, he persuaded his father to let him try his luck on the beach as a fish buyer, and on the first day realised 5s. for some flat fish which cost him 2s 6d. This was a fitting start to his commercial career, which next took him to London, where in Thames Street he started a dry goods establishment, which he made second to none in the trade. In 1856 he purchased land in Hastings, was a large purchaser at Sir Morton Pete’s sale at Lowestoft, and then turned his attention to Worthing, the development of which during the last thirty years is largely due to his marvellous shrewdness as a bargainer. His property is expected to realise a quarter of a million of money. Mr. Mills has for many years been a large owner of property at Lowestoft.

Daily Telegraph & Courier – 9th May 1903 – “The rapid development of the town (Worthing) five and twenty years ago was largely due to his extraordinary energy and shrewd foresight.”  George Jonathan Mills, to whose enterprise the locality owes more than to any man living.

Hastings and St. Leonard Observer – 20th June 1903 – “He never entertained the idea of failure. Even in the dark days of 1893 Mr. Mills’ faith in the future of Worthing was unshaken due to his perseverance, his sound judgement, and his originality of thought.” But above all these things, we remember now the respect in which Mr. Mills was held by all classes. In his long life no breath of dishonour ever reached his name. His word was taken as his bond.

Land Registry Property Register for 7 St Michael’s Road:

Part C: Charges Register.

1. A Conveyance dated 2 August 1877 made between (1) the Heene Estate Land Co. Ltd. (2) George Jonathan Mills (Purchaser) contains covenants the details of which are set out….

It goes on about responsibility to repair and maintain the frontage and about the erection of 2 villa residences costing not less than £750 each in labour and materials, or pairs of semi-detached dwelling houses…..

It looks as if George Mills sold that piece on to George Baker by 1880.  All sorts of restrictions and covenants etc. Fascinating. Glad we kept it!

Evidently George Mills bought the land to sell on!