Isaac Wiggill, SV/PROG

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About Isaac Wiggill, SV/PROG

Letters 556 Painswick, Gloucestershire October 23, 1819

My Lord

           It is with humility that I come before your Lordship at this time to state my long expectation of an opertunity to go as a settler to the colony at the Cape of Good Hope.

Permit me therefore my Lord to say that I have been making prepareations nerely the whole of the time since the breaking up of Parliament. I have a Letter before me at this time date August the 13 from my corrispondant in London whos name is Thomas ROWLS, stating that he had attended the state office on that day, and that he was approved as my representative. In consequence of which statement, I have made every prepareation nesecary for the voyge and with the help of good friends have made up the deposit money.

           I beg leav further to state to your Lordship that I have made away with my goods, and done my work, so that I shall be much disappointed if not totally ruined if I cannot be permited.  The reason my Lord why I have not [obscured] before is because I have seen in the newspaper that the transports would leave this country November and have never found to the contrary.
           I can recommend myself with confidence as a [obscured]ly person to be of use in that colony as I am Hous Carpenter, Millright or Wheelright and understands the farming trade. It is the ardent desire of my wife as well as myself to go to the cape. My family is 4 children 3 boys 1 girl all under fourteen years of age

I am your Lordship humbel servant


P.S. The only thing remaining is what weight of tools or tunag [tonnage] I may be allowed to take with me as I have many I should be loth to part with.


South African Garden & Home, July 1985 - page 113

7. Bradshaw's water-mill was erected by Samuel & Richard BRADSHAW (not correct - it was erected by Isaac WIGGILL in partnership with the Bradshaw brothers), weavers from Gloucestershire, and was equipped with spinninging-jenny and loom. It was recently restored by the Simon van der Stel Foundation. Bradshaw's Mill was the earliest textile mill in the Colony. It was burned by the Xhosas in the war of 1834-1835.


1. "The Cotswolds to The Cape" - "Isaac Wiggil 1820 Settler" by Theo Newton Wiggill

2. Isaac Wiggill was born in a cottage - 62a Far End Road, Sheepscombe

3. The Sheepscombe Church was completed in 1820

4. Bradshaw Party of 1820 Settlers. Isaac, his wife Elizabeth (Grimes), sons Eli, George, Joseph and daughter Elizabeth - set sail from Bristol (Bristol Channel known as the King Road on the mouth of the river Avon) on Jan 10 1820 aboard the "Kennersley Castle". On Mar 28 1820 the ship entered Table Bay. Final port Algoa Bay on Apr 29 1820.


Newspaper Cutting from the Eastern Cape – W THE FLOOD Shared by Waylands Country House, Aug 2019. Winterberg, 10th Feb 1848 The recent flood has done, I am sorry to say, immense damage in this neighbourhood. The water rose so rapidly that it was impossible to remove any effects from buildings situated near the river. That fine water mill belonging to Mr. WIGGLE Sen. has been completely demolished, the water rushing down with such violence that it carried one of the stones a distance of 700 yards. This stone is nearly eight inches thick and four feet in diameter.My wagonmaker's and smith's establishment, which was carried on at the mill under the superintendence of Mr. WESTERBAR, is quite broken up, the whole of my property there having been swept away, namely – 2 new wagons just painted and completed, 4 do. nearly finished, wagon wood for 15 wagons, the whole of my smith's and wagonmaker's tools, new wagon chests, household furniture &c, amounting to at least £800 sterling. In addition to the foregoing I have lost 300 sheep by death, with some damage done to my buildings at the farm on which I reside. Poor Mr. WESTERBAR is deserving of much sympathy. He has lost his all, only escaping with life and that of his family, and what clothing they wore at the time. He is now dependent on charity, not having saved any tools to recommence his business with. Information has reached us that some portion of the property thus lost has been picked up along the banks of the river. Should this be the case it is hoped that it will be restored, and any person giving information which may lead to the recovery of any of the lost articles will be rewarded for their trouble. W. BEAR

------------------------------------------------------------------------------ WIGGILL Herald, 25 July 2005 Fascinating story behind old mill ruins. by Ivor Markman

Those were not the days for one persevering soul who seems to have found his hell instead of his earth in the Eastern Cape. The new immigrant had to deal with the consequences of unpredictable winds, drought and fire.

Standing alone on a barren hillside above the Waterkloof, north of Adelaide, are the ruins of an old mill. It doesn't look like much, but it's origins are fascinating.

Isaac WIGGILL was one of Bradshaw's party who arrived with his wife and four children in the Eastern Cape in 1820. Like many of the settlers, he struggled to make a success of his farm and, eventually, being a wheelwright and wagon-maker by trade, he moved to Grahamstown.

WIGGILL decided to erect a windmill on the crest of a hill on the south side of town, beyond the old Albany Hospital. It was a round timber tower, surrounded by light boarding. His residence and workshop were included in the design.

One day Isaac and his son, Eli, went to the woods some kilometres away to collect timber for use in their trade. At the same time Isaac's wife decided to go into the town to do some shopping. Unfortunately, the design of the house was not good and the fireplace, which was used for a multitude of purposes, was built too close to the building. A sudden gust of wind sent embers flying onto the mill and by the time the family returned home, all they found of their home was a pile of smouldering charcoal. The main building, the pillar, the millstones and the sails of the mill remained for a while after the collapse.

Thanks to the research of Eric TURPIN, an eyewitness account exists of what followed next. "The sails, fanned by the wind, flew round with frantic velocity like some giant, fighting with the fire until, becoming burnt at the bottom, they came down with a crash," said a local old-timer, Mr. C. WEBB.

The WIGGILLs lost everything including most of the tools of their trade. The Landdrost took pity on the family and offered assistance. WIGGILL asked for some land in the valley to the west of the town so that he could build a watermill. Without thinking too much about the future, the well-meaning Landdrost granted his wish and gave him a piece of land that became known as the Waterkloof, possibly somewhere below the Grey Reservoir.

"Now WIGGILL," said the Landdrost, "you can consider this your property as much as if you had bought it."

So WIGGILL built a little watermill close to the water. He also built a millpond and millrace with which he could drive the mill. The system worked well for a while, but eventually the Landdrost was transferred to Cape Town and one of the periodic droughts set in causing the streams to turn into a trickle.

Now there wasn't enough water to fill the millpond without depriving the local inhabitants of their share of the water. Obviously, they protested and the water fiscal was sent to break down the millpond wall. Undaunted, WIGGILL built another windmill, not far from the watermill and when the drought ended, he was given permission to rebuild the millpond. Apparently Isaac was able to earn quite a decent living by running both mills.

Later, WIGGILL decided to convert the watermill into a residence of sorts. Together with the windmill he let them out to a Berkshire man. All went well for a while till WIGGILL asked that a young man be allowed to grind his load of corn. The Berkshire man agreed, but when the young man ground his corn he was in too much of a hurry. He dumped his grain in the hoppers and set the sail to spin as fast as the wind would drive them. The older man kept telling him to slow down. "Don't put on so much power," he said, you'll set the mill afire."

The youngster refused to listen and by midnight the corn was ground. The young man hopped on his cart and drove away. An hour later the mill was ablaze. A strong west wind was blowing in the direction of the thatched cottage and very soon embers had set the other building on fire as well. Fortunately, the Berkshire man was able to get his family and belongings out in time. So ended another of WIGGILL's endeavours.

WIGGILL was a persevering soul and he decided to move on. Detail and dates are scanty, but by 1843 he was in the Kaal Hoek Valley on which both a windmill and watermill were erected on the farm Thorn Valley, off the Bush Neck road to Fort Fordyce. The windmill had a rather unusual design in that instead of having rotors in front of the building, they were situated on top, turning like a helicopter's blades. This way, no matter which direction the wind blew, it could always be utilised.

A visit to the Waterkloof area led to the discovery of the mill and the meeting of the present farm owner, Brian MILES. "My father, who is quite old now, remembers talking to an old man when he was a youngster and he described the blades as being horizontal, not vertical," said MILES. "Unfortunately, I don't know if there are any paintings of the mill. All that is known is that it was a ruin by the end of the Eighth Frontier War," he said.

Isaac WIGGILL survived the Frontier Wars and was eventually compensated by the government for the land confiscated in the Waterkloof in Grahamstown.

Isaac WIGGILL died at Uitenhage on February 21, 1863, at the age of 73.

SOURCE: Grahamstown - Hub of the Eastern Cape, 1967, by Eric W Turpin.


Death Notice KAB 1863 237

1820 British Settler

Isaac Wiggill 30, Carpenter, together with his wife Elizabeth Grimes 29, and their 4 children, were members of Samuel Bradshaw's Party of 64 emigrants on the Settler Ship Kennersley Castle.

Party originated from Gloucestershire.

Departed Bristol, 10 January 1820. Arrived Simon's Bay, Cape Town - 29 March 1820. Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 29 April 1820.

Area Allocated to the Party : Lemon Valley on the Torrens River - New Gloucester

Children :

  • Eli Wiggill 9
  • George Wiggill 7
  • Joseph Wiggill 3
  • Elizabeth Wiggill 1



"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"

  • Name: Isaac Wiggall
  • Gender: Male
  • Christening Date: 17 Aug 1789
  • Father's Name: Daniel Wiggall
  • Mother's Name: Arabella
  • Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C02769-1
  • System Origin: England-ODM
  • GS Film number: 425389

Citing this Record

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Jul 2013), Isaac Wiggall, 17 Aug 1789.

Biographical Summary:

"...Isaac Wiggall was born in England in 1789. On January 10, 1820, Isaac, his wife Elizabeth and four children, Eli, George, Joseph and Elizabeth left England for South Africa. At that time over 4000 British men, women and children went to Southern Africa as “The 1820 Settlers”. The Family arrived in Algoa Bay, South Africa on April 29, 1820. At that time the spelling of the family name somehow got changed from Wiggall to Wiggill. All of the records for Isaac and all his descendants from this time on (eight more children were born in South Africa) show the name spelled WIGGILL. A large number of the Wiggill Family still reside in South Africa.

Eli Wiggill, the eldest son of Isaac Wiggill, converted to Mormonism while in South Africa. In 1861 Eli and his wife Susanna left South Africa for America to settle in Salt Lake City, Utah. (There is a fascinating 60-page autobiography of Eli Wiggill and his life from England to South Africa to Salt Lake City). All of the descendants of Eli Wiggill have the WIGGILL spelling of the name. Most of these descendants live in the western United States area of Utah, Montana, Oregon and in southern Alberta Canada..."



Isaac married Elizabeth Grimes December 31, 1809

Isaac Wiggill had a third wife and she was a Mary Ann Brown , born 14 Sept 1812 in Peterborough, England and died in South Africa on 26 July 1867, at age 54. Her marriage to Isaac Wiggill was 11 March 1845 and she was then 32 years. Her parents were Stephen Brown and Sarah Ann Hillman



No MERGES or UPDATES please.


"South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), South Africa > Cape of Good Hope > Bathurst > image 4 of 239; Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Grahamstown.

--------------------------------------------------------------------- Grahamstown Journal – 1863 – January – March Written by Sue Mackay Tuesday 24 February 1863 DIED at Uitenhage on the morning of the 21st February 1863, after an illness of 14 days, Mr. Isaac WIGGILL, in the 73rd year of his age. Deceased was one of the Settlers who came to the Colony in 1820. Friends and relatives will please accept of this notice.

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Isaac Wiggill, SV/PROG's Timeline

August 17, 1789
Cranham, Gloucestershire, England
Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire, England
November 5, 1810
Painswick, Gloucestershire, England
May 17, 1813
Painswick, Gloucestershire, England
June 23, 1816
Painswick, Gloucestershire, England
October 4, 1818
Stroud, Gloucestershire, England
July 1, 1821
Cape, South Africa
December 22, 1825
New Gloucester, Albany, Cape, South Africa