William Henry (Christie) Miller

(Christie Miller)

1789 - 1848

Eccentric politician. Born in England and educated at Cambridge, Miller inherited Craigentinny House and estates (Edinburgh) from his father. He spent most of his life in England, his main house being Britwell Court in Buckinghamshire. He became Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme (1830), but was somewhat of a recluse. In his later life he became a prodigious collector of books, but became known as 'Measure Miller' because of his curious habit of buying books on the basis of their precise size. Miller was also of peculiar appearance, described by Professor Daniel Wilson as having a "spare figure, thin treble voice and total absence of a beard", leading some to suspect he may actually have been a woman, which he kept secret because it might have prevented his inheritance and certainly would have stopped him for standing for Parliament.

Never married, Miller died in Edinburgh. Any secrets he had were well hidden, because Miller left instructions that he should be buried very privately in a 12m (40 foot)-deep grave on a remote corner of the Craigentinny Estate, with his coffin covered by a heavy stone slab. The grave is marked by the ostentatious 'Craigentinny Marbles', now incongruously squeezed between 1930s bungalows. He left his books to his Cambridge College, but the bequest was refused because of the complex conditions which Miller had applied.

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