Townships: Crumpsall

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Townships: Crumpsall', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 262-264. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]

In this section


Curmisale, 1282 (copy); Curmesalle, Curmeshal, 1320 (copy); Curmesale, 1405; Cromshall, 1548.

This township lies to the south-west of the Irk, and has an area of 733 acres. The surface is hilly, a ridge which attains 280 ft. over the Ordnance datum occupying the southern side, and sending out numerous spurs towards the Irk. The township has in the main become urban; the Manchester workhouse with its land occupies a large part of the eastern side, in a place formerly called the Bongs or Banks. Adjacent stands the Prestwich workhouse. To the west is Crumpsall Green. The population in 1901 was reckoned with Cheetham.

The Manchester and Bury road passes along the south-west boundary, and has two important offshoots —on the eastern side to Blackley, and on the western to Middleton. There are numerous cross streets. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway from Manchester to Bury passes north-west through the centre of the township, with a station.

John Blackwall, a naturalist, died at Crumpsall in 1881.

A local board was constituted in 1854. (fn. 1) In 1890 the township became part of the city of Manchester, and was absorbed in the new township of North Manchester in 1896.

A school board was formed in 1875. (fn. 2)

There is a Jews' cemetery at Lower Crumpsall.

In 1666 the hearths liable to the tax numbered fortyseven. (fn. 3) Though the township is now mostly residential a number of industries exist. Mills, print works, and chemical works stand by the Irk; there are also brick works and a rope walk. In 1852 there were a cotton mill and print, bleach, and dye works. (fn. 4)


In 1282 the lord of Manchester had ten oxgangs of land in CRUMPSALL in bondage, the farm of which was 40s.; the rent of certain assarts there amounted to 10s. 2d. (fn. 5) The more detailed survey of 1320–2 shows that three of the oxgangs were held separately by villein tenants at a rent of 5s. 2d. each; (fn. 6) the other seven, with 108 acres of land, appear to have been in the lord's hand. (fn. 7) There were 40 acres of moor, in which all the tenants had common of pasture. (fn. 8) The tenants of the hamlet were bound to grind at the mill of Manchester. (fn. 9) The feoffees of Lord La Warre in 1405 released to him three messuages and 800 acres of land in Crumpsall, lately parcel of the manor of Manchester. (fn. 10)

After this the lordship appears to have been granted to the Radcliffes of Radcliffe at a quit-rent of 10s. a year, (fn. 11) and they held it down to 1548, when it was sold by the Earl of Sussex to John Reddish. (fn. 12) It descended in the Reddish and Coke families (fn. 13) until 1789, when Thomas William Coke, (fn. 14) afterwards Earl of Leicester, sold the greater part to Lord Grey de Wilton, who added it to his Heaton estate. (fn. 15) It has descended to the present Earl of Wilton, who owns about two-thirds of the land.

The remaining portion was sold in 1794 to William Marsden, a Liverpool merchant. After his death this part was again sold in 1819 to several purchasers. (fn. 16)

For a long period a branch of the Chetham family held lands in the township, (fn. 17) their residence, at least in later times, being known as Crumpsall Hall, (fn. 18) famous as the birthplace of Humphrey Chetham, one of the most notable benefactors of Manchester, as founder of the hospital and library bearing his name, and in other ways. Humphrey, the fifth son of Henry Chetham of Crumpsall, (fn. 19) was born in 1580, (fn. 20) and in 1598 was bound apprentice to Samuel Tipping of Manchester, linen draper. (fn. 21) Afterwards he became partner with his brother George, who had established a business in London as a 'grocer' or 'mercer.' (fn. 22) In 1619 Humphrey is found managing the Manchester branch of the business, the joint stock being valued at £10,000. (fn. 23) Shortly afterwards Clayton was purchased, and Humphrey resided there. (fn. 24) He was the principal legatee of his brother George, who died in 1627, (fn. 25) and continued to add to his lands and wealth, Turton being acquired in 1628. (fn. 26) He compounded in 1631 on refusing knighthood, (fn. 27) and wished to avoid being appointed sheriff in 1634; (fn. 28) he acted, however, and it became his duty to collect the ship-money. (fn. 29) During the Civil War period he was appointed treasurer for the county; his wealth and business capacity pointed him out for the office, the choice further indicating that he was an adherent of the Parliament. (fn. 30) He showed himself a pious and liberal man; for many years he educated a number of poor boys, and founded his hospital to continue the same charitable work. (fn. 31) He died at Clayton Hall on 20 September 1653, (fn. 32) in possession of a large landed estate and other property. (fn. 33) He bequeathed £7,000 for the endowment of the hospital, and £500 for the purchase of the college building, if it could be purchased, as in the end it was; he left £1,000 for founding a library, and £100 for the building; also £200 for 'godly English books' for the parish churches of Manchester and Bolton, and the chapels of Turton, Walmsley, and Gorton. (fn. 34) There is a portrait of the founder in the Chetham Library; (fn. 35) and in 1853 a statue was erected in the cathedral as a memorial of him, (fn. 36) a stained glass window being also placed there.

Chetham. Argent a griffon segreant gules within a bordure sable bezanty.

The Chethams of Crumpsall were leaseholders under the Prestwich family, until in 1622 James Chetham, eldest son of Henry, purchased the holding. (fn. 37) His son George ultimately inherited not only the property in Crumpsall, but the Clayton, Turton, and other estates of his uncle Humphrey. These seem to have descended like Turton, (fn. 38) until the division in 1770, when Crumpsall was given to Mary wife of Samuel Clowes, and was bequeathed to her grandson John Hilton. (fn. 39) It was afterwards sold in parcels. (fn. 40)

George Clark, another benefactor of Manchester, was a resident in Crumpsall. (fn. 41) A branch of the Oldham family also had an estate. (fn. 42) Bishop Oldham is sometimes said to have been born there, but the connexion of his family with the township began very much later than his time. (fn. 43)

In 1655 there were eighteen ratepayers in Crumpsall, including George Chetham, esq., Thomas Percival, 'the wife of Old Oldham,' Thomas Oldham, Robert, Richard, and James Bowker, four Pendletons, &c. The number of houses in 1774 was fifty-seven. (fn. 44)

Among the more recent landowners and residents of Crumpsall the Delaunays may be mentioned. Angel Delaunay, from Rouen, in 1788 introduced Turkey red dyeing into Crumpsall and Blackley, and built up a great business. His sons acquired part of William Marsden's estate in 1819, later known as the Cleveland estate. They built a bridge over the Irk for their coach road from Blackley to Cheetham Hill. (fn. 45)

A school was built in 1850, and licensed for the worship of the Established Church. (fn. 46) In 1859 St. Mary's was built, and rebuilt in 1875. (fn. 47) There is a mission church.

The Wesleyan Methodists in 1809 opened a preaching room, which was replaced in 1815 by a more substantial building; this was followed by a larger one in 1837, repaired and enlarged in 1844. There is a burial-ground attached. (fn. 48) Another Wesleyan chapel was built in Lower Crumpsall in 1838. (fn. 49) There is also a place of worship belonging to the United Methodist Free church.


  • 1. Lond. Gaz. 14 Apr. 1854.
  • 2. Ibid. 15 Jan. 1875.
  • 3. Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9. The largest houses were those of Giles Siddall (with six hearths), and Thomas Percival (with five).
  • 4. J. Booker, Blackley (Chet. Soc.), 213.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 245.
  • 6. Mamecestre (Chet. Soc.), ii, 281; the names of the tenants were Richard son of Maiot, William son of Maiot, and Richard son of Roger. The same services were rendered as at Ardwick. The value of the works of the natives was 5s., and their rents amounted to 69s. 8d.
  • 7. Ibid. ii, 363; 3½ oxgangs were worth 16s. 1d. each; 2 oxgangs, 8s.; 1½, 8s. 1d.; a cottage with a rood of land was worth 6d. a year. There were four bleaching grounds (polia) worth in all 21s. 6d. for 76 acres.
  • 8. Ibid. ii, 291, 369; there were 18 acres of heath, valued at £3 6s. 5d. a year.
  • 9. Ibid. ii, 281.
  • 10. Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Hen. VI, no. 54. The bounds began at the boundary between the hamlet and Thurstan Holland's tenement in Heaton under Blackley, followed the Irk on the side of Crumpsall as far as the boundary of Cheetham, and thence along the boundaries of Cheetham, Broughton, and Prestwich to the starting point. The lands were held of the king as of his duchy of Lancaster, and were worth 66s. 8d. a year. After the death of Lord La Warre, Crumpsall was to remain to Thomas de Langley, clerk, and Henry de Langley his brother; Deeds in possession of Manch. Corp.
  • 11. It was perhaps purchased from the Langleys. James Radcliffe held Crumpsall at the rent named in 1473; Mamecestre, iii, 483. Lands and rent in Crumpsall are named among the other Radcliffe possessions in 1500 and 1517; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 149; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 148. In the inquisitions the lands in Moston, Crumpsall, and Manchester are all placed together, and said to be held of the lord of Manchester by a rent of 10s., viz. that due for Crumpsall alone; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 98; iv, 7.
  • 12. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 194.
  • 13. The purchaser, John Reddish, in 1553 granted a messuage to his brother Thomas for life, with reversion to John and his heirs; the rest of Crumpsall descended to a grandson, John Reddish, who died in 1569 holding it (together with lands, &c., in Manchester) of the executors of Lord La Warre in socage by suit of court and a rent of 10s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, 32. After the death of Alexander Reddish it was stated that the lands in Crumpsall and Manchester were held of the king by the 200th part of a knight's fee; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 253. In 1606 Crumpsall was sold or mortgaged to Anthony Mosley; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 70, no. 82. Sara widow of Clement Coke was one of the heirs of Alexander Reddish. Her father-in-law, Sir Edmund Coke, was seised of various farms, messuages, &c. in Crumpsall and Heaton, 'called the manor of Crumpsall,' with its members and appurtenances, lately acquired of Sir William Sedley, deceased; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvi, 53. From this it would seem that Crumpsall had been sold or mortgaged, and then recovered by Sir Edward Coke. It appears in later settlements of the Reddish estates; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 179, m. 92; 217, m. 20. Among the Manchester Free Library Deeds (no. 107) is the transfer of a lease (granted by Sir Edward Coke in 1694) from James Pendleton of Crumpsall to John Wright as security. See further in the accounts of Reddish and Prestwich.
  • 14. In 1787 he paid £14 out of the total land tax of £19.
  • 15. Booker, op. cit. 196.
  • 16. Ibid. 196, 197.
  • 17. Thomas son of Hugh Chetham of Crumpsall occurs in 1417; Final Conc. iii, 85. A pedigree appears in the printed Visit. of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 87; and cf. Life, 106, and an account of the family is given by Mr. E. Axon in his Chetham Gen. (Chet. Soc. new ser.), 35–56, of which use has been made. There are further details in the Life of Humphrey Chetham by the late Canon Raines and Mr. C. W. Sutton (Chet. Soc. new ser.), which has been followed in the text; it is cited as the Life.
  • 18. For views see Life, 4; Booker, 210; also N. G. Philips, Old Halls, 103.
  • 19. Henry was the son of James Chetham of Crumpsall, whose will is printed in Chetham Gen. 38–41, and who had lands in Kersal and Manchester as well as in Crumpsall. James died in 1571; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. i, 142. Henry Chetham died in 1603, holding lands in Kersal, Ashton under Lyne, and Manchester; James his son and heir was over thirty years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 2; Chetham Gen. 42; Ct. Leet Rec. ii, 194. His will is printed in Piccope's Wills (Chet. Soc.), iii, 164–6.
  • 20. Life, 9.
  • 21. Ibid. 10.
  • 22. Ibid. 12.
  • 23. Ibid. 14.
  • 24. Ibid. 19.
  • 25. The will of George Chetham is printed in the Life, 22–5. He desired the sum of money he had yearly paid 'to the two preaching curates in Manchester Church' to be continued for ever.
  • 26. Ibid. 31.
  • 27. Ibid. 73. The composition was £25; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 223.
  • 28. Life, 74; P.R.O. List, 73.
  • 29. A full account of the difficulties and troubles resulting from this tax and its collection is given in the Life, 77–89, 95–98. The sum to be raised was £3,500, and Humphrey Chetham also levied £96 to cover possible expenses in collection; this levy appears to have been illegal, and as the actual expenses were only £50 he was required to repay the balance. He was again approved as sheriff by the Parliament in 1648, but contrived to excuse himself; ibid. 158, 159. As sheriff he considered it fitting that he should use a coat of arms; this also led to trouble, Randle Holme of Chester giving wrong advice; ibid. 98–111.
  • 30. Ibid. 137, 150, &c.
  • 31. Ibid. 191–202.
  • 32. Ibid. 204; the funeral certificate and charges are printed, pp. 204–7, and the latter at length in the Appendix, 278–301.
  • 33. He appears to have made large profits by lending money; many particular are given in the Life, 112–21.
  • 34. His will is printed in full; Life, 228– 62. The private bequests include lands in Bolton by Bowland to his nephew George Chetham [of Turton], to his brother Ralph's children, and £2,000 to his nephew Edward Chetham for the purchase of lands. The inventory of his goods at Clayton, Ordsall, and Turton follows, 263–77; a note on his books is appended. The books he recommended for his church libraries were 'such as Calvin's, Preston's, and Perkins' works; comments or annotations upon the Bible or some parts thereof,' the choice being left to Richard Johnson, Richard Hollinworth (former fellows of Manchester College), and John Tilsley (Deane).
  • 35. Reproduced as a frontispiece to the Life. See also pp. 226, 227; Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xxii, 188, where Bishop Nicolson (1704) says it was 'drawn at a guess.'
  • 36. Ibid. 224–6; a view is given. The Chetham Society may also be regarded as a memorial to him; it was established in 1843.
  • 37. Chetham Gen. 47; it consisted of a messuage and fourteen closes of land. In 1478 Ellis Prestwich granted to feoffees messuages and lands in Crumpsall held by William Tetlow, Edward Chetham, Hugh Chetham, Henry Siddall, and Adam Pendleton, together with other properties; De Trafford D. no. 89. Ralph Prestwich in 1444 had three messuages, 90 acres of land, 12 acres of meadow, and 6 acres of wood in Crumpsall; Final Conc. iii, 111. Another Ralph Prestwich about 1504 complained that certain persons had broken into his close at Crumpsall and stolen three pieces of linen cloth; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 41. James Chetham, who in 1631 compounded for knighthood (Misc. Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches. i, 215), was twice married and had a numerous offspring; the principal were his sons George (of Clayton and Turton) and Edward (of Smedley); Chetham Gen. 47–9; see also Ct. Leet Rec. iv, 134, where there is an abstract of his will.
  • 38. See the account of Turton.
  • 39. Chetham Gen. 60, 61; Booker, Blackley, 203. James Hilton, the brother of John, had Nuthurst.
  • 40. The following is Mr. Booker's account (op. cit. 206): 'About this time [1775] the hall and its adjacent lands had become the property of John Gartside, esquire, who some years later (in 1806) disposed of it by sale to Thomas Blackwall, esquire, of Manchester; the estate thus transferred being in extent about 60 statute acres. … Mr. Hilton still continued to retain the residue of the Crumpsall property devised to him under the will of his grandmother and died seised thereof in the year 1814. By his will, dated 31 May 1814 (proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 19 April 1815), he gives and devises to his nephew Sir John Richard Hilton, knight, a lieutenant in the royal navy, the third son of his brother James, all his estate called Crumpsall. Sir John Richard Hilton was born 27 December, 1785, and is described as of the city of Chester. He appears to have completed the alienation of this portion of his family inheritance by disposing of the remainder of his estate in Crumpsall to Edward Loyd, esquire, and George Faulkner, esquire.'
  • 41. Booker, op. cit. 211. George Clark, haberdasher, died 9 Jan. 1637–8, holding six burgages, five shops, &c., in Manchester, and four messuages, 40 acres of land, &c., in Crumpsall. In 1636 he had settled his estate for the relief of the poor of Manchester, one moiety being reserved to his wife Alice for her life. His nearest heir was Henry son and heir of Henry Clark, brother of John father of George; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 258; see also Funeral Certs. (Chet. Soc.). In 1631 he had paid £10 on refusing knighthood; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 216. The deed founding his charity is printed and an abstract of his will given in Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. iii, 301–14. Accounts of the estate may be seen in the Char. Com. Rep. of 1826 (Rep. 16, pp. 138, &c.), and in Booker, 211, 212. About a century ago the land was eligible for building purposes, and 88 acres were disposed of on ground rents amounting to over £1,100. The present income of the charity from lands in Crumpsall and Manchester is £3,129; it is administered by the lord mayor of Manchester.
  • 42. See the account of Ancoats in Manchester. From the Visit. of 1664 (p. 224) it appears that Robert Oldham of Manchester, of the family of Bishop Oldham, married Elizabeth daughter of Henry Shepherd of Crumpsall; he was eighty years old in 1664. His sons Adam and Thomas married daughters of Richard Bowker of Crumpsall, and Thomas is described as 'of Crumpsall.' 'Oldham's tenement' was in the part of the Reddish estates purchased by William Marsden, and in 1854 was in the hands of his executors; it was also known as the Bongs Farm. A curious wall painting of the time of Elizabeth was discovered in it; and the Oldham arms, with R.O. 1662, were also in the cottage; see Booker, op. cit. 197–200, where a view is given, and Baker, Memorials of Oldham's Tenement, in which are photographs of the paintings. The building was taken down in 1864 to make way for the workhouse. An Edward Shepherd, 'late of Crumpsall' (1651), had a messuage in Deansgate, Manchester, which descended to his three daughters; Ct. Leet Rec. iv, 60.
  • 43. a See the deeds quoted under Ancoats in Manchester.
  • 44. Booker, op. cit. 215.
  • 45. Manch. City News, 1900.
  • 46. Booker, op. cit. 216; the building was in Lower Crumpsall. St. Thomas's Church there is within the boundaries of Cheetham.
  • 47. The district was assigned in 1860; Lond. Gaz. 30 Oct.
  • 48. Booker, op. cit. 214, 215.
  • 49. Ibid. 215.