A CRABTREE FAMILY IN BURNLEY, LANCASHIRE
ENGLAND

Lancashire Rose

This is a compilation of all the current information from registers, census returns, registration certificates and monumental inscriptions, assembled with the help of Peter Crabtree.  Information has been included from a family chart obtained by my father's cousin, Benjamin Smith of Colne.  This chart contains many names but few dates or sources and the children's names are not necessarily in the right order.  However, where checked against the documentary evidence, such as census returns, the chart has not been found in error so the information may continue to be of value in helping to assign relationships. 

Thomas Crabtree spacer Jug
Thomas Crabtree, probably taken in the 1870s   Jug labelled "Thomas Crabtree 1835"

 

 

Thomas Crabtree, a blacksmith, the eighth child in Generation 2 was my GG Grandfather. The occasion for the production of the commemorative jug is not known but he would have been about 17 at the time.  The information on the family of Thomas's son Lawrence Crabtree comes from his descendant, Pamela Edwards of Burnley. Information on the family of Thomas's son Stephen and his daughter Mary Crabtree, comes from Rosemary Harrison in Somerset.  She is a descendant of Mary Crabtree, who married William Taylor and her maiden name was Rosemary Taylor Gregory. I have also been contacted by Elizabeth Clements in Virginia, who is descended from William Taylor and Mary Crabtree through their daughter Ada, who married John Stephenson. Pamela, Rosemary and Elizabeth are mentioned in the tree with bold type and an asterisk.

In Colne Public Library is a book of bound pedigrees entitled "North East Lancashire Pedigrees, Originating in the Office of Caleb Howarth, 1796-1879, Conveyancer of Marsden.  One of the charts relates to James Crabtree, blacksmith of Burnley, who married Mary Holt. No dates are given but the relationships match what we know for the family of James Crabtree.

Thomas Crabtree and the Chartists

I am grateful to Roger Frost of Burnley for an account of Thomas Crabtree's activities in relation to making pike heads at the time of the Chartist disturbances in East Lancashire. It comes from his book A Lancashire township: the history of Briercliffe-with-Extwistle, published by Rieve Edge Press, 1982, page 57.

"By tradition the maker of the pikes at Haggate was Th'Owd Blacksmith. There was a smithy in the village at that time. It was known as Th'Owd Smithy and stood beside the Sun Inn on what later was Burnley Road. We have some evidence of pikes made there in evidence taken before several local magistrates and forwarded to the Home Secretary.

In this evidence, John Procter, a shoemaker, of Tattersall Barn, described visits he had made to Thomas Crabtree, the blacksmith of Haggate. Procter told how he had asked Crabtree if he had ever made any of them pikes which were so much talked about. The blacksmith confirmed that he had and that he was willing to make one for Procter for two shillings. The price was agreed and the shoemaker handed the sum over, but then Crabtree gave him a penny back saying that the he would have the pike ready in a few days.

Procter went back to the blacksmith's shop to collect the pike on Tuesday 2 April 1839. When he got there he found that the job was not completed and he was asked to wait until Crabtree had finishes sharpening some stone getter's picks. That job completed, Procter was taken to the back of the smithy where the grind stone was kept. Crabtree then produced the pike head from under his coat or apron and the two men worked together. Procter turning the grindle stone and later the throw wheel. There was still a socket to be made and screw with a thread on it and Crabtree said that he would require about half an hour.

The shoemaker left the shop but returned in thirty minutes. He found the pike head in a small bag which had left at the smithy and being unable to find the blacksmith, Procter walked home with the weapon. When he arrived at Tattersall Barn he examined it and found that the socket and thread had not been made. In the afternoon Procter took the pike head to William Chaffer the Constable of Burnley, who advised that it be returned to Haggate so that the job could be completed.

Christopher Procter, John's fourteen year old son took the pike head back to Haggate where the job was finished. Then the weapon was taken back to the Constable. Christopher stated that while Crabtree was working on the pike several people visited the smithy but on each occasion the blacksmith was able to throw it into a hole out of sight until the persons left the shop so that nobody but himself saw him work at it."

Note that at this period there is not a police force so the constable mentioned would have been the parish constable. The government were afraid that there was a conspiracy among Chartists for a general uprising. In this case Procter appears to be working with the constable in an attempt to incriminate Thomas Crabtree. While the account refers to the old blacksmith, Thomas Crabtree, born in 1818 would only have been 21 in April 1839. Perhaps Th'owld blacksmith refers to his father, Henry.

Crabtrees in Australia and Tasmania

I am grateful to Carole Fiori in Enfield for information regarding the possible first marriage of Stephen Crabtree in generation 4 below. According to the family tradition, Stephen went to Australia in a gold rush in the 1850s, returned some time later and then emigrated again on the death of his first wife, Dorothy. Dorothy is buried at Haggate Baptist Chapel near Burnley. Carole found two shipping entries that correspond to Stephen in the records of Victoria. A Stephen Crabtree aged 20 arrived in December 1858 in the Ellen Stuart and there is a second entry for a Stephen Crabtree age 44 in October 1882 on the Austral. These dates fit with Stephen being born in 1838. Carole has identified the marriage of Stephen Crabtree, journeyman and bachelor of full age to Dorothy Softley, widow of full age, on 14 May 1865 at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, Buckland, Spring Bay, Tasmania. Carole is descended from Dorothy's brother and has been looking into the colourful life of Dorothy, who was transported to Australia from England for stealing a coat. An article was published in 'Practical Family History' by Carole's colleague Barbara I. Thompson in Issue No. 70, October 2003 and a follow up letter describing the recent work was published by Carole Fiori in Issue 72, December 2003.

I am grateful to Peter Heap for many details from the census and registers of St. James Briercliffe for the family of Lawrence Crabtree and Alice Heap in generation 3 below and their descendants.

Gilly Holt has provided me with details of the family of Henry Crabtree and his wife, Mary Duerden, from the British Vital Records Index.

I am grateful to Kristian Baxter for additional details on the family of Edith Taylor and William Sutcliffe.

For the sake of simplicity not all the branches of the families with other surnames have been included beyond generation 5.  Birth years have been excluded for the current generations for privacy reasons.

Abbreviations:

C41    Census of 1841 etc. in Burnley unless otherwise stated, also C51, C61, C71, C81 & C91.
FC      Family Chart.
BSP    Burnley St. Peter, the parish church.
HB     Haggate Baptist
MI      Monumental Inscription.
BC     Birth Certificate
MC    Marriage Certificate.
DC     Death Certificate
NELP North East Lancashire Pedigrees from Caleb Howarth 1796 to 1879, conveyancer.
marr.  married
bapt.   baptised
b.        born
c.        about
 

Footnote 1.   I have been contacted by Alan Holt in Perth, Australia, who informs me that James HOLT was married twice, 1st : Mary HEAP, died 22 November 1831, 2nd : Elizabeth ? (probably the Betty SMITH shown in the chart) died 1 March 1858. The monumental inscriptions are C110 and F50 at Haggate and Hill Lane. Based on the birth years of the other children, (8 in total as far as Alan knows), Alan suggests that Mary was the child of James and Mary rather than James and Betty (Elizabeth) as indicated in the Caleb Howarth note.

Footnote 2. A burial record has been found for a Henry Crabtree aged 83 of Haggage at Haggate Baptist Chapel near Burnley on 22 November 1848 indicating a birth for this Henry of about 1765. It is a possible fit as the family were using this chapel from the early 19th century. We know that Henry survived at least to 1841 from the following census information showing his son and two grandsons. This record would put Henry's birth about 1767 to 1771 as the ages of adults were usually rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5 in 1841 so Henry could have been as old as 74. The only baptism record for Henry so far fits neither year exactly. It is for Henry Crabtree of Extwistle, bapt. 20 Nov. 1768 at Burnley St. Peter's. However, given the uncertainty in Henry's age, this could be the correct record. More work is necessary to abstract baptisms and burials from St. Peter's records.

1841 Census: Film HO 107/506/15; ED 25; F 13; page 17; Briercliffe & Extwistle, Hag Gate

Henry Crabtree 70, blacksmith, born in Lancs
Mary Crabtree 65, born in Lancashire
Thomas Crabtree 20, blacksmith, born in Lancashire.
Stephen Crabtree 3, born in Lancashire
Lawrence Crabtree 1, born in Lancashire.

Footnote 3. Carole Fiori has obtained the following Australian immigration records for Stephen Crabtree from the Public Record Office in Victoria.

Name Date Ship Port, Fiche & Page
Stephen Crabtree, aged 20 Dec 1858 Ellen Stuart B  154 4
Stephen Crabtree, aged 44 Oct 1882 Austral B  409 3
Footnote 4.

Pamela Edwards abstracted the following information from the census about Henry Crabtree from the 1891 and 1901 census returns.

Henry Crabtree head, 48 blacksmith Briercliffe
Sarah Crabtree wife, 47   Great Marsden
Mary Ann dau, 22 weaver Great Marsden
Dorothy dau, 19 weaver Great Marsden
Eliz. Annie dau, 17 dressmaker Great Marsden
Nanny dau, 14    
Tom son, 10    

 

1901 Census Gt. Marsden ED17 RG13/3881 F.59 p.32 at 132 Barkerhouse Road

Henry Crabtree head, 57 blacksmith
Sarah wife, 57  
Pollie dau, 32 weaver
Dorothy dau, 29  
Eliz. Ann dau, 27 dressmaker
Fanny dau. 24 winder
Tom son, 20 moulder at Iron factory
Conrad grandson, 6  

Footnote 5

Kerryn Linklater in Australia has contacted me; she is the daughter of Stephen Freeman Crabtree, who was the son of Stephen Horace Crabtree.

Ends

An archive of Crabtree data in Burnley is being collected


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