A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Cromton, 1278; Crompton, 1292. (fn. 1)
The township of Crompton has an extreme length of about 3 miles from east to west, with a breadth of a mile and a half. The River Beal runs northward through a central valley; to the east the ground, broken by one or two cloughs, rises continually till 1,300 ft. is attained on Crompton Moor on the border of Yorkshire; while on the west the highest points near High Crompton and Whitfield, which are separated by a valley, rise to 700 and 825 ft; from them the surface slopes away in all directions, but most rapidly to the north. The Irk rises on the boundary between Crompton and Royton. The area is 2,864½ acres; (fn. 2) the population in 1901 was 13,427.
Two roads from Oldham meet near the southern boundary at Shaw Side and Cowlishaw, and go north along the Beal Valley, passing through the small town of Shaw and Woodend. From Shaw the road to Rochdale goes west to High Crompton, thence descending north-west by Burnedge to Rochdale; to the east a winding road goes through Clough into Yorkshire. Crompton Fold lies above Woodend to the east; and Whitfield Hall above the same hamlet to the north-west. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's Oldham and Rochdale branch railway line runs northward along the valley, crossing and recrossing the road, and has a station at Shaw, called Shaw and Crompton. Electric tramways connect the place with Oldham. To the south-east of Shaw is Birshaw, anciently a separate manor.
The soil is clay, with veins of sand ; the land is mostly in pasture. There are numerous cotton mills, and some collieries, (fn. 3) with quarries, and some minor industries.
A local board was formed in 1863, (fn. 4) and was in 1894 replaced by an urban district council of twelve members, chosen by four wards—North, East, South and West. The town hall, situated in Shaw High Street, was built in 1894. There are public baths. Gas and water are supplied to Shaw by the Corporation of Oldham. There is a cemetery between Shaw and High Crompton, formed in 1891.
In 1666 no house had as many as six hearths liable to the tax, the largest being James Buckley's, with five. The total number of hearths was seventy-nine. (fn. 5)
Philip Gilbert Hamerton, painter, art critic, and essayist, (fn. 6) was born at Shaw in 1834; he died at Boulogne-sur-Seine in 1894.
Like Oldham, from which probably it was only gradually separated, CROMPTON formed part of the thegnage estate of Kaskenmoor held of the king by Roger de Montbegon and William de Nevill in 1212, and under them by a number of tenants. Gilbert de Notton, lord of Barton, held 4 oxgangs of land of Roger and 4 of William, the annual services being 3s. and 3s. 4d. respectively; while Henry de Scholefield held 1 oxgang by a rent of 10d. (fn. 7)
No proper account can be given of the descent of these manors or portions of manors. From the inquisitions of the 15 th and 16th centuries it appears that the Trafford family held WHITFIELD in Crompton of the king as Duke of Lancaster, as of his manor of Salford, by fealty and the rent of 3s. 4d. (fn. 8) Whitfield Hall was in 1787 in the possession of John Milne and brothers. (fn. 9) The Chaddertons of Lees in Oldham held High Crompton of the king as duke by knight's service and the rent of 3s. 2d. (fn. 10) The Chethams of Nuthurst also had an estate in Crompton of similar tenure, the rent being 3s. (fn. 11) The Langleys of Agecroft also had an estate, including Birchhaw or BIRSHAW, in Crompton and Oldham, (fn. 12) of which the tenure is variously stated, though it is identified with the unnamed estate of Henry de Scholefield (fn. 13) in 1212.
The Hospitallers (fn. 14) and the Abbeys of Whalley (fn. 15) and Cockersand (fn. 16) had small estates in the township, at Whitfield, Gartside, and Crompton Park respectively. The Byron estate in Crompton seems to have been regarded as part of Royton. (fn. 17) There was thus no resident lord of the manor, and little is known of the other holders of land, but the names of Buckley, (fn. 18) Crompton, (fn. 19) Prestwich, (fn. 20) Scholefield, (fn. 21) and Wild (fn. 22) occur. A survey of the township was made in 1623. (fn. 23) The moors were surveyed in 1640. (fn. 24)
In 1787 the principal individual owner was Mr. Pickford of Royton, who contributed about a seventh part of the land tax. (fn. 25)
SHAW seems to have given a name to a landowner in 1370. (fn. 26) The people of the place are noted for their love of vocal music; a musical society was formed in 1740, and continued almost to the present time. (fn. 27)
The 'free chapel' at Shaw, now known as Holy Trinity, is said to have been called anciently St. Patrick's Chapelon-the-Moor. (fn. 28) Its origin is unknown, and the ornaments found there in 1552 show it to have been but poorly furnished. (fn. 29) There was no endowment, but after the Reformation it appears to have remained in occasional use, a 'reading minister' being supplied, and a lecturer being added, probably by the contributions of the people. (fn. 30) The Commonwealth authorities took advantage of the 'delinquency' of Edmund Ashton of Chadderton, who had the tithes of Oldham, to make him settle an endowment on the chapel. (fn. 31) This of course lapsed at the Restoration.
The Nonconformist Oliver Heywood preached at Shaw Chapel several times between 1663 and 1669; but ten years later he was molested after the conclusion of the services and brought before the magistrate. (fn. 32) At the Bishop of Chester's visitation in 1669 it was reported that considerable numbers of Nonconformists assembled constantly at Shaw Chapel, forcing the doors open when locked. On one Sunday, being prevented, they adjourned to Royton Hall. In 1671 Joshua Wilde, 'pretended clerk,' was presented for presuming to preach.
In 1719 it was recorded that ' no certain salary belongs to the curate, but the rector generally allows £5 per annum, and the neighbouring inhabitants about £13; augmented 1718 with £200 given by Mr. Ashton, rector of Prestwich.' (fn. 33) Grants from Queen Anne's Bounty were secured and laid out in lands, which in 1778 were producing £46 a year; the chapel was then regularly served every Lord's Day. (fn. 34) The chapel was rebuilt in 1739 and enlarged in 1798, (fn. 35) and again rebuilt in 1870. A district was assigned to it in 1835. (fn. 36) The following have been curates and vicars, the rector of Prestwich presenting:—
|1699||James Makon (fn. 37)|
|1701||John Halliwell, M.A. (fn. 38) (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1712||John Kippax, (fn. 39) M.A. (St. John's Coll. Camb.)|
|1727||Joshua Stopford, B.A. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1761||James Wild, B.A. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.)|
|1766||James Mashiter (fn. 40)|
|1795||Joseph Hordern, M.A. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.) (fn. 41)|
|1819||Joseph Hordern, M.A. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.) (fn. 42)|
|1823||James Hordern, B.A. (St. Mary's Hall, Oxf.) (fn. 43)|
|1841||Daniel Brammall, B.A. (fn. 44)|
|1866||Samuel Edwin Bartleet, M.A. (fn. 45) (Trin. Coll. Camb.)|
|1875||James Hamer Rawdon, M.A. (fn. 46)|
|1877||Samuel Edwin Bartleet, M.A.|
|1878||George Allen, M.A. (St. John's Coll. Camb.) (fn. 47)|
|1902||James Wilkinson Pinniger, M.A. (Wadham Coll. Oxf.)|
|1907||Walter Muirhead Hope, M.A. (Hertford Coll. Oxf.)|
St. James's, East Crompton, (fn. 48) was built in 1847; the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester present alternately; there are auxiliary services at Crompton Fold and St. George's Schools. St. Mary's, High Crompton, built in 1872, consecrated in 1878, and since enlarged, is in the Bishop of Manchester's patronage. (fn. 49)
The Congregational church at Shaw originated in services begun in 1847, but suspended for a time. A small chapel, purchased from the Wesleyans, was opened in 1856 to serve for Shaw and Royton. Shaw became separate in 1861, but afterwards the work ceased. A fresh start was made in 1886, an iron chapel being erected, followed by the present building. (fn. 50)