The Gater family owned Lapford Mill until about 1820 when it was sold to William Croote.
We can’t be sure of the reason that the Gater’s left Lapford but it is possible that the mill was no longer needed as a source of family income following the 1822 marriage of Anne Gater, great granddaughter of Lapford miller William Gater, into one of Yorkshire’s wealthiest families, the Danby’s. On her husband’s death Anne inherited the grand Swinton Castle (pictured above) and it’s 200 acre estate. She would later also inherit the estate of her second husband. By the time of her death in 1879 Anne’s estate was worth around £35 million in today’s money, one of the richest woman in the country.
The Gater’s rapid social climb from the mill at Lapford was quite incredible, although Anne’s first husband, the author William Danby, quite underplays his wife’s status in one of his best knowns works:
YES, my sweet Anne, you ought to have been elevated
to a much higher rank, as you well deserve it,
than be the wife of a Yorkshire Squire
From Thoughts, Chiefly on Serious Subjects, 1821
Despite her immense wealth Anne is not buried in the grand family mausoleums of either of her husbands but in a quiet spot in Lapford churchyard together with relicts of both husbands.