The CRICKX, family of millers during 150 years.

There were several mills in Uccle. The Seigniory of Carloo had its mill. Probably that Pierre CRICKX was a miller of the Lord Roger Wauthier van der Noot, because this one was godfather of one of his children, Roger Walter Crickx. What amplifies this conviction on the belief of Pierre CRICKX, it is that his wife, Catherine OF GEYNST, come from a family of known millers.

In the same way, the HERINX (François HERINX is a senior of the millers in 1725), the PASTEELS (Philippe PASTEELS, main miller, will marry Marie Herinckx, widow of François CRICKX, in 1717), the CROCKAERT, the DE BONTRIDDER (husband of Marguerite CRICKX, girl of Pierre and Cath De Geynst), miller in Vilvoorde and CEULEMANS Anne (Anne Bogaert, widowed Jean Crickx, wife Corneille CEULEMANS of which children: Theodore, born in 1716, Jean Francois, 1710, François 1719, and Anne, 1721).

Jacques CRICKX, son of Jean and Catherine VAN ROSSUM, is itself designated as Master miller in the birth certificates of his children, just as Master Jean Crickx and Master Nicolas Herinx.

In a historical act of June 1755, putting end at ceaseless quarrels between the millers and the bakers, we find quantity of names of millers connected to the CRICKX or witnesses in the marriages and baptisms: SPELTINCKX, PASTEELS, OF CONINCK, VAN DIEVOET, VANDERELST, ORTS, HERINCKX, Verheylewe-gen, BOGAERTS, VAN NERUM, VAN DER BORGHT, OF VLEESCHOUWER, OTS, CEULEMANS, VANDESANDE, MARAS.

The millers thus marry very often between them: it is also necessary to take into account many alliances which we found between all these families.

During nearly 150 years, we find millers in family CRICKX. We note that they move a lot. That is due to the fact that the contracts were signed for 3, 6 or 9 years, and that many conflicts were born between millers and their customers... (see "the trade of miller")

The House of the Millers

At the Town square of Brussels, the Trade of the Millers had his house, like many of other Trades and Corporations. In the great whole known as "of the Dukes of the Brabant", with the n° 16 of the Town square, we find a house called "the Windmill" which carries the escutcheon in relief of a windmill and a water mill. This room was mainly the traditional room of the Nation Saint Christophe, but also partly of the Holy Oath George at the 16th century, then later again to the Glovers. After the bombardment and the destruction of the Town square in 1695 by the French, the Millers rebuilt their house of corporation courageously. In their ledger, one raises the enormous sums which they devoted each year to pay the architect, the contractor and the artists charged to rebuild it. One also finds in accountancy that they rented a part with the Fruit-lofts to hold their meetings to with it. After the revolution and the abrogation of the corporations by the republic, we see that Victor HUGO, in exile, placed in this house, become furnished, from January 5, 1852 to February 1, 1852, when it moved in to the 27 on the same place. we also found in the 11, street of the Gold Head, a pub caleed "the House of the Millers" or "Moldershuys", demolished in 1857, which will give its name to the street "of the Millers". Karl Marx founded "democratic Association there" on November 7, 1847.

The Mills

The proximity of a river was essential for the exercise of many activities, among which flour-milling. The Seine, in its crossing of Brussels, actuated several mills, only genuine machines which multiplied with the Middle Ages. Since 1175, there are at least six water mills on the territory of the city, while to XIVe century, their number passed to twelve. The majority of them will remain until the XIXe century. It is not impossible besides that the arms of the Seine, such as they are known by the foregrounds of the city, were arranged especially with an aim of feeding a maximum of mills in the heart of the city. The mills are indeed economic infrastructures of foreground. They attract with them the farm surpluses of the surrounding campaigns, quickly redistributed on the markets of the city, and get to the duke of the Brabant, to lord of the city, a considerable income by the means of a tax called right of grinding. Of course, the mills take care of the grain, if statement is dared, but they also fill of different multiples tasks. They has a presentiment of the oleaginous ones, sharpen weapons and knives, crush the bark of oak to extract the tan essential to the tanners from it and, starting from the beginning of XVe century in our areas, they triturate the rags which will be used to make the paper pulp. Later still, they will ensure certain stages of textile manufacture (pressing, dyeing, impression...). At the end of XIVe century, the driving capacity of the Seine will intra muros is exploited to the maximum. There is not then practically more only one place which is still favourable with the mill installation of, with less of transformations which would be likely to put at evil the operation of the river downtown. By modifying the water levels, they would cause floods or would prevent the existing mills from turning suitably.

As, it is from now on apart from the enclosure of Brussels that the "machines with water" will multiply. At that time, it is possible to count an about sixty mills established in the communes which constitute the Area of Brussels today, this figure which can be changed to eighty approximately if one takes into account the communes of the economic hinterland of Brussels in the broad sense (mainly Linkebeek and Rhode-Saint-Genèse in the south like Woluwe-Saint-Etienne, Zaventem, Vilvorde and Diegem located in the valley of Woluwe at the North-East). The density of the mills in the immediate surroundings of the city is explained only by the existence of Brussels in the heart of this nebula.

Today, it is with the extreme margins of the area, in the second crown of Brussels, which it is permissible to admire the last witnesses of this disappeared industrial inheritance (Mill of Neckersgat with Uccle or Lindekemale with Woluwe-Saint Lambert), even if many "way" or "street of the Mill", at Uccle, Anderlecht, Saint-Josse, Watertnael or Auderghem, still preserves the memory of it. The introduction of the machine using vapor to the xlxe century, joined to the thickening of urban fabric, was right quickly of the secular water mills.

In a more general way, the proximity of water or the possibility of an easy provisioning was sought by many craftsmen and manufacturers. Water was a key component, or even a genuine raw material in considerable industrial processes used formerly. Such was the case in the textile industry which made the fame of Brussels lasting of long centuries, in particular during operations of bleaching or dyeing. The position of the streets of the Laundry (district of the Marsh) and of the street of the Dyers (Saint-Jacob district), located in the wet valley of the Seine, precisely points out the narrow association of these trades with blue gold. In the industry of leather and skins (tannery, furriery, corroiery...), the maceration of the parts hanging of the days, even weeks or months, in baths added with tan or lime, made the supply regular essential water. The craftsmen did not hesitate besides to reorganize the secondary hydrographic network with their profit by arranging drains, channels, derivations... around their workshops. Many tanners of Brussels, for example, were established in the district "De la Chapelle" and the High street, irrigated well by several small brooks which descended the steep slopes of the hill. The brewers also maintained them the close links with points of water and their breweries were often equipped with goten, i.e. conduits of water conveyance, for which they were to generally pay a royalty with the sovereign, the duke of the Brabant or, later, at the City. The factor water is not obviously the only one to have influenced the localization of the professions in the city. Other factors, of nature more directly economic, also played of the determining roles. (Extracted from "archaeology, the Neolithic era to the industrial revolution" published by the Area of Brussels-capital at Mardaga)