Gladys Lilian Mills (1896-1984)

Lilian Mills

Lilian Barber [nee Mills]

Gladys Lilian Mills lived in a cottage [part of Time House] overlooking the village green in Low Street for many years and was known as Lily. Lily was the daughter of Robert Mills and his wife Harriet Pentney and after attending school in Hoxne worked as a draper’s assistant at Wightman’s in Bungay. Lily was very knowledgeable about the people and families of the village and was always seen at village events. During her earlier life she was in service in London and during the 1st World War was a nurse helping the elderly.

Lily had an elder brother William Harry Mills [1882-1976] who worked at Alnwick Castle for the Duke of Northumberland during his earlier years looking after horses at the stables on the Alnwick Estate. During the 1st World War William joined the Army Veterinary Corps in 1914, serving in France until he was demobbed. William had to be sent home as he was ill, spending 6 months in a hospital in Scarborough before he was well enough to return to France.

William Mills

William Mills

During the 2nd World War he was a fire watcher in London. William worked for Schweppes as a delivery driver with a horse drawn cart and afterwards for J Lyons until he retired in 1962 aged 80. William was born at Hoxne, but spent most of his life living in West Kensington, Hammersmith and Chiswick. William was married to Lucy May Brown [1880-1953] of Stoven, Suffolk and they were the parents of Edith Lilian Mills [b.1907] an only child.

The Mills Family

The Mills Family

In 1923 Lily was married to Richard Barber, who was a soldier in the 1st World War, but the marriage did not last and they parted shortly afterwards.

Richard Barber

Richard Barber

Lily kept herself busy as a cleaner in the village, as a flower arranger and as an active member of Hoxne British Legion. Lily’s mother Harriet [b.1859] had a sister Agnes who was married to Mr Newstead and Maria who was married to Mr Woods and her brother Harry Pentney who lived at Oakley. Her grandmother was Harriet Pentney [nee Cobb] [1831-1892] who was the village nurse in Hoxne for the Oakley Park Estate. Harriet was married to John Pentney [1830-1865] in 1852, sadly John died in 1865 aged 35. In 1882 she was living at Heckfield Green with her second husband William Hines whom she had married in 1882.

Lily’s mother Harriet [b.1859] was a nursemaid in Kensington in 1881 and in 1882 was married to Robert Mills of Hoxne who worked as a bricklayer. At this time bricks and roof tiles were being produced at the Hoxne Estate Brickworks situated on the Eye Road.

Robert and Harriet Mills

Robert Mills and his wife Harriet Mills [nee Pentney]

In her later years Lily helped the elderly residents of the village with cleaning, shopping and caring for them. She was to be seen at the Church Fete, British Legion Dinner and at village functions at St Edmund’s Hall and on the Village Green especially the Harvest Breakfast.

William Mills and his sister Lily

William Mills and his sister Lily Barber

Details obtained from the Mills and Pentney families with the help of Pauline Rimmer.

Article and photographs provided by Stephen Govier