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For the purposes of the website, Manchester includes parts of the conurbation often today described as Greater Manchester, ie., the city itself and the mill areas to the east and south east comprising the towns of Ashton under Lyne, Stalybridge and Dukinfield (All now in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, previously in the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.) In addition to these are the nearby locations of Padfield and Glossop, both in Derbyshire, where ancestors lived. Although they were separate counties, in reality their places of residence were only a few miles apart.



The first association with this distant region (from Buckinghamshire) came with the government sponsored migration of Richard Crowton in 1835 to work in the cotton mill of Benjamin Waterhouse in Padfield.


Migrants were offered transport and a guarantee of a job and housing. A wage of between 24 and 30 shillings per week for a family of between five or six was quite possible compared with perhaps seven shillings that an agricultural labourer might have to live on. The improved lifestyle very often encouraged other villagers or family members to follow suit and move north.


The 1899 O.S. map of Glossop shows the Hawkshead Mill where Richard Crowton went to work, to the north of the town, near the Union Workhouse, on what is now Hawkshead Road. Benjamin Waterhouse worked the Hawkshead Mill from 1830 to 1837 (With Robert Holland until 1831). The mill was lit by gas and it is perhaps not surprising that in 1837 the mill burnt down and with that event Waterhouse’s interest ceased.


His submission to the 1834 Factory Commission Inquiry showed that he employed children as young as nine years of age, working a twelve hour day. Poor behaviour could be punished by fining and expulsion. Those over eighteen years might work up to sixteen and a half hours. There was a half an hour break for breakfast, and an hour for lunch, when operative would often go home. Tea was usually brought to the factory for employees by a family member. Four hundred people were employed at the mill. The loss of the mill in 1837 along with the alternating periods of boom and recession in the cotton industry would have meant that the family worked in a number of the eight or nine other mills within walking distance. Today nothing is left of the original Hawkshead Mill.


This increasingly industrialised area was very different from the then rural backwater of Cuddington but although variable, there was in general good demand for labour and the quality of housing was likely to have been better than that available at the time in the isolated villages of Buckinghamshire. Although ultimately there was some movement away from the mills the growing families appear to have numerically flourished and descendants are still to be found in the area today.


The Family of Richard Crowton


Richard Crowton b. Cuddington,1792; m1. Elizabeth Roadnight, Cuddington 1815 (d. Hayfield, 1848) m2. Hannah 1850, Hayfield, d. 1871 aged 80 years, Hayfield


Census Returns

1841 : Padfield – Waterside Street


Richard Crowton 49yrs  Size maker Not born in County
Elizabeth 49 yrs      Not born in County
Abraham 21 yrs    Not born in County
Ann 19yrs   Not born in County
Amos 17 yrs   Not born in County
Louisa 13 yrs   Not born in County
William 11yrs   Not born in County
Elizabeth 9yrs   Not born in County



1851 : Padfield – Waterside


Richard Crowton Head Mar 58yrs Size maker Cuddington,Bucks
Hannah   Wife  Mar  62yrs   Hepworth, Yorks
William  Son Unm 20yrs Piecer  Cuddington,Bucks
Elizabeth  Dau Unm 19yrs Twister in  Cuddington,Bucks
Amos Crowton Head   Mar  26yrs Labourer  Buckingham
Ellen Wife   Mar 26yrs    Suffolk
Ann Dau   4yrs  Labourer Padfield
Abraham  Son   1mth Scholar Waterside



Bross Croft


Abraham Crowton Head Mar 30yrs  Spinner  Cuddington,Bucks
Emma  Wife Mar 29yrs Wheeler Cuddington,Bucks



1861 : Padfield – Yorkshire Row, Station Road


Richard Crowton  Head Mar  68yrs Dough maker Cuddington,Bucks
Hannah Wife  Mar 73yrs Housekeeper Kirkburton,Yorks
Willam Son Unm 30yrs Railway Lab Cuddington,Bucks



Bross Croft Street


Amos Crowton  Head   Mar  36yrs Cotton Spinner  Cuddington,Bucks
Hellener  Wife Mar 36yrs Housekeeper Eye,Suffolk
Ann Dau   14yrs  Cotton Weaver Hadfield
Jane Dau   8yrs Scholar Hadfield
Jesse  Son    6yrs Scholar  Padfield
Thomas Son     3yrs Scholar Padfield
Elizabeth Dau   1yr Scholar Padfield
George Son    3mths    Padfield
Lydia Sagar Mother in law      62yrs        Eye,Suffolk



Bross Croft Street


Abraham Crowton  Head    Mar  40yrs Cotton Spinner Cuddington
Emma Wife Mar 39yrs Cotton Weaver Cuddington



1871 : Padfield – Bross Croft Street


William Crowton  Head Mar   40yrs  Labourer  Cuddington
Elizabeth Wife  Mar 46yrs  Housekeeper Oldfield,Yorks
Albert Ernest Son   6yrs Scholar   Bross Croft



1881 : Mottram


William Crowton Head  Mar 50yrs Plate Layer Railway Cuddington
Elizabeth Wife Mar 57yrs   Oldfield,Yorks
Albert Ernest Son     16yrs Pupil Teacher Padfield



1891 : Tintwistle – Tower Head (?)


Robert Dawson Head Mar   ? Farmer  ?
Hannah  Wife Mar  56yrs   ?
Albert Ernest Crowton Son in law Mar     26yrs Insurance Agent Glossop
Elizabeth Dau Mar  26yrs Dress Maker Hollingworth
William Boarder Wid  60yrs Farm Lab Cuddington


1901 : Hadfield St.Andrew, Glossop – 115 Rain(?) Road (Next to Temple St.)


Elizabeth Senior Head  Widow  68yrs     Cuddington
William Crowton Brother  Wid 70yrs Stone Quarryman  Cuddington


1911 : Hollingworth – Woolley Mill


Albert Ernest Crowton  Head  Mar 46yrs Nightwatchman
(Calico Bleach Works)
Elizabeth  Wife Mar 44yrs   Hollingworth 
William  Son    18yrs Clerk (CBW) Tintwistle
Hannah  Dau    17yrs    Tintwistle
John Son     14yrs Plaiter  Tintwistle
Charles Son   10yrs Scholar Tintwistle
William Father Wid  80yrs  Retired Platelayer Cuddington
Hannah Dawson Mother in law   76yrs    



Ashton Under Lyne (Dukinfleld and Staleybridge)


At about the same time that Richard and his family went to work in the cotton mills of Padfield, Robert (b. Cuddington, 1800) and Thomas (b. Cuddington, 1802) went to work in the cotton mills of Staleybridge, probably under a similar sponsorship scheme.


The type of location to which Robert and Thomas were moving can perhaps best be visualised by reference to Alan Rose in his book, 'Stalybridge and Dukinfield, Stalybridge and Dukinfield are children of the Industrial Revolution. The coming of a factory based cotton industry at the end of the eighteenth century transformed an area of scattered farmhouses and homesteads into coherent and self-confident towns. .......This mushroom growth took place on both sides of the River Tame, which from earliest times had divided Lancashire and Cheshire......The cotton mills and associated engineering works were concentrated along the River Tame, with the Huddersfield canal close by, and when the railway arrived in the mid nineteenth century, it followed much the same route.

'This disgusting filthy town' is how Friedrich Engels described Stalybridge in the 1840s and there is no indication that he would have been any more complimentary about Dukinfield. ........Stalybridge in particular became a byword for turbulence and unrest. In 1842, the men of Stalybridge were at the fore in the 'Plug Riots', an attempt to close down all the cotton mills by drawing the plugs of the steam boilers.

Staybridge was to witness the worst violence anywhere during the 'Cotton Famine' of the 1860s, when an angry mob smashed windows and stole food, at a time when almost every mill was either closed or on short time.

The manufacture of cotton and the mining of coal, which did so much to define these communities, are now past and gone....slum clearance, the need to provide more open road junctions and find space for car parks have opened up the central areas. There is now a blurring of the long-standing contrast between the bare open moors and the tightly packed streets around the mills.


The migrants from rural Buckinghamshire must have found the move north to be quite a culture shock. Fortunately there was family around and the certainty of employment and housing.


Stalybridge Mill strikes, 1863




Chorlton cum Hardy


Although the reasons for the move are less clear, there was further migration north when Charles Wesley CROTON, (b. Westminster, 1866) and son of John CROTON (b. Cuddington 1836) settled in Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester in about 1890. John and his wife Elizabeth were working at the Wesleyan Training College, London in the 1860s and at the time of the 1871 Census John is listed as a coachman there. In 1881 they were lodging at 6 Mendora Road, Fulham, with John's occupation given as a carman. Ten years later they had returned to Oxford, where John worked for the Post Office in Aldgate as a caretaker. John died in 1897 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, whilst Elizabeth died ten years later in 1907. They were both members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in New Inn Hall Street, Oxford.


It is still unknown what caused Charles to move north to Manchester but at the time of his marriage to Ann Preston at Oxford in 1886, she is recorded as being a resident of Greenheys, Manchester. He was resident in Littlemore and recorded as being a butcher. Here is a link with Manchester but how did they meet? He born in London and living in Oxford and she born in Cockermouth, Cumbria and living in Manchester? There first two children were born in Oxford but by 1890 they were in Manchester where Harold John was born. The 1891 Census shows that Charles Wesley was still working as a butcher but within quite a short period of time established himself as a hansom cab owner and eventually he purchased a motor cab and became well known in the Chorlton district of Manchester. He operated from a small holding on Sandy Lane, Chorlton which he tenented from the Egerton family of Tatton Park, Cheshire. He was famous in the locality for the noisy geese he kept. They apparently made a tremendous noise on anyones approach and were excellent at guarding the place. At this time Chorlton was still semi-rural and had not been totally enveloped by the ever growing city. Although most have now moved away, some of the descendants of Charles Wesley CROTON continue to live in the north of the city today, well over a hundred years after his first arrival.  




South side of Sandy Lane, Chorlton cum Hardy, c.1910



West end of Sandy Lane, farmhouse of Charles Wesley Croton



Charles Wesley Croton, c.1900, with hansom cab in Chorlton cum Hardy




Chorlton cum Hardy Station, c. 1900


Chorlton Station was on the main line from Manchester Central to London St. Pancras and in it's day extremely busy with commutors. Charles Wesley was often to be found either dropping off or collecting passengers from the station. The station buildings have long since been demolished and it now has a much smaller platform and is part of the Manchester Metro System.


Chorlton National School, Chorlton Green, c. 1900. This is likely to be the school that Charles' children attended.


1911 Census Sandy Lane, Chorlton cum Hardy


Charles Croton
Cab Proprietor
Works for father
Electric Dept. M/c Corporation
Shop Assistant
Shop Assistant



Charles Wesley Croton died in Manchester in 1926 at the relatively young age of 60 years. Reginald, as the eldest son, took over the family business, whilst Harold went on to take charge of a Manchester Corporation owned electricity station in the days before electricity supply was nationalised after the second World War. Harold retired early, having suffered a thrombosis and died in 1963. He regularly played crown green bowls and was a strong supporter of Manchester City Football Club, firstly watching them at Hyde Road and then at Maine Road following their move there in 1923. His wife Ellen (nee Goldsworthy) died in 1977.


Reginald Croton, on left, c.1920, Chorlton station


Harold Croton and Ellen nee Goldsworthy, Manchester, 1955