MARTHA – wife of JOHN CROSSLEY was born at Folly Hall near Ambler Thorn
On 23rd February 1775 and died at Dean Clough, Halifax
At 8 o’clock Sunday morning - May 26th 1854 in her 80th year.
Her great-grandfather on her father’s side was Thomas Turner who was born and lived at Upper Scout Hall, Shibden, a farm house then still existing at nearly the head of Shibden valley, on the same side as Mr. Stock’s house and not very far from it, about two thirds of a mile down in the valley. He was a farmer and had four sons and one daughter.
Mrs. Crossley’s narrative begins:-
My grandfather,*Abraham Turner, was born at Upper Scout Hall, Shibden, brought up to farming, weaving and combing in the house. He married Susannah. Says he lived about one year after with his father and then removed to Athersgate Farm, Shibden. After his father’s death he went back to the Scout – had two sons and one daughter – Abraham, Thomas and Martha.
*Abraham, the elder was my father, born at Scout, brought up to manufacturing and farming, but that he might get better acquainted with manufacturing was apprenticed to a large worsted manufacturing concern at Westfield, Warley, for four years. Then he went into partnership with his brother Thomas to make worsted goods. He married Sarah Appleyard of Shaw Booth, then dissolved with brother Thomas and went to Folly Hall Farm, near Ambler Thorn Bar. Here three years during which time Abraham and myself were born. Father then went to a farm called Lower Green Farm, Allerton, Abraham staying at Scout with grandfather. Produce at that time very low, butter 6d and 7d a lb., potatoes 4/- and 5/- a load, oatmeal 18/- a pack, but after father left Allerton oatmeal was 40/-. When grandfather died father came to Scout again. Grandfather made provision for grandmother for life, and she had separate furnished apartments – she lived six years after grandfather.
Reverend Joseph Cockin was minister at Kipping, Thornton, when we were at Allerton. He often preached at my father’s house to the neighbours – he was very popular and did great good. He was a true sample of life in earnest – he came to Square Chapel and we again had our favourite minister as we always attended Square when at Scout. (Reverend Joseph Cockin at Square from 1791 to 1827).
My father bought Scout Farm for £700 when he was 38 and lived on it till he died, when he was 58. He also bought Pule Nick Farm and gave it as dowry with my sister Mary to Reverend James Shackleton who, when my father died sold this farm (to John Turner of Lee Lane) for £700. My father when he died left us all alike. Scout farm sold for £1,800 and the coals under it for £1,000.
Thomas Turner, my father’s brother, married a widow named Grace Stevenson of the Limed House, Shibden - children Clarke Turner and Mrs. Ibberson.
Martha, my father’s sister, married Mr. Ogden of Denholme, manufacturer, in prosperous circumstances – seven sons – John, Edmund, Reuben, Joseph and William (twins) and Thomas.
Abraham, my brother brought up to farming: lived at Scout from the time my father went to Allerton till his death – married Betty Pulman of Pule Nick as first wife – she died seven years after – as second wife Susannah, sister of Robert Wainhouse, Northgate, Halifax. She lived about twelve years after and died about 63 years of age. When my brother laid dead in the house, my five sons went on the Sunday afternoon to see him, at that time they were all dressed alike in blue suits with round jackets. My brother was brought up to go to Square Chapel but afterwards became a Wesleyan.
Susannah, my sister, married Richard Holdsworth. They had four sons and one daughter – Robert, Abraham, John, Grace and George – my sister Holdsworth died about 14 years ago.
My second sister, Mary, married Revd. Mr. J. Shackleton, Curate at Thornton – themselves and children dead.
Thomas Turner, my brother, married – left a widow but no family.
Grace, my youngest sister, married James Wild, by whom she had 5 daughters and 2 sons.
I was born at Folly Hall Farm, near Ambler Thorn, 23rd February 1775. From five years old I could knit a stocking as long as myself, did from that time knit all the stockings for my father and all the family – nearly killed by a horse kick in field when five years old – also soon after by falling downstairs at 3 o’clock in the morning. I went to three schools – got my head badly beaten at Catherine Slack School, because of bad spelling – taken away to school at Booth Town. I went to service at 13 ½ years old to Miss Oldfield’s, Stock Lane, Warley – went to Liverpool after situation at Blue Coat’s Hospital, Liverpool. Did not get it; Mr. Shackleton, Chaplain. Mr. S. very rude to me when I cried at not getting it – threatened to put me out of gates, etc. Tried at Squire Mannering’s, Broomsbury Hall, Cheshire. On the boat crossing I asked a butcher if he knew the Squire; said the Squire was all right but his wife was a French woman and a very devil almighty – found that for £6 a year I should be required to milk as well as do housework. Footman said if I went I should rue it. Went back to Liverpool.
Mr. Shackleton wrote me a good letter to Miss Oldfield who by return post sent me a hearty invitation to go back. I went home to Scout, got my clothes washed and after a short time went off on horseback to Stock Lane. When my mistress saw me she was perfectly delighted – “Welcome, welcome Patty – you are the girl to make me happy”. Mr. Cooke gave me a hearty welcome and told me I was the Queen of haymakers. My sister Susy, who had been doing my work in my absence, rode back home on the horse I had come upon.
When I first went to Stock Lane I had 1/3 a week for two years. When Miss Sally died my wages were raised to 1/6 a week and there was no advance until I had been nine years and then my mother came and said if I had not £6.6s.0d a year she would take me away, and it was with difficulty that my mistress was induced to give me so much, but out of these wages I saved £30 during the period I was at Stock Lane Farm.
When I went to the gate one evening there was a young man standing there who asked me if I wanted a sweetheart? I said “Not I marry! I wanted no sweetheart”, and went back into the house and left him. I saw the same young man frequently about, but did not speak to him for 2 years after. His name was John Crossley, and when my mistress ascertained his object, she did all she could to set me against him and told me that she went to school to a person of that name whose husband’s name was Tom Crossley and that he was grandfather of this young man and that a wilder, idler, scapegrace she never knew. My mistress always said “That’s yond Tom Crossley come again”, and one day I received a love letter from him which I could repeat word for word.
I had several other suitors – one was Mr. Sam Wood – but none so persevering as John Crossley – he pressed me to have him very much. At last he sent me a letter to say that a house was empty in the Lower George Yard, just close to the works and that it was a great chance to meet with one so convenient and wished to know if he might take it. When he came again I told him I was going home to spend 5th November and I would pass that way and look at the house, which I did and when I got home I asked my parents for their consent. They did not object much to it at the time, but I had not been at Stock Lane more than a day or two before they sent over my sister Grace to say that they should not give their consent to the match and that if I insisted upon being married to John Crossley they would never look on me again. I replied that I was now old enough to judge for myself. I happened to meet my sister Grace before she reached Stock Lane and I turned her back, so that my mistress never knew of her visit at all, but as soon as she had left I returned in distressful feelings to my bedroom and opened my book that was preparation for the Sacrament and the first place at which I opened the book I read these words, “When my father and my mother forsake me then the Lord will take me up” (Psalm 27.10). This comforted me very much and I felt that the Lord was with me in this matter, that I would no longer doubt which was the path of duty. I told John Crossley that I had no objection to him, but that I did not like his family. He said he only asked me to marry him and not his family.
My mistress had tried all kinds of persuasions to persuade me from being married. She said that if I would remain with her during her life she would leave me something handsome in her Will, but some time before this Miss Oldfield’s nephew and wife had come to live with her, and before they came I told my mistress that I did not think it would suit me, but I would make a trial of it. I did not like it well after they came and decided to accept the offer and we were married 28th January 1801.
At that time my husband was manager and partner with a Mr. Job Lees at a carpet manufactury, Lower George Yard, Halifax and in order that you may understand what our position was at that time I will explain who and what Mr. Lees was. Mr. Job Lees had been brought up as a gentleman and had seen better days. He had once failed but his creditors were so satisfied with him that they had not sold him up but allowed him to go on. On Mr. Lees’ affairs being wound up, my husband had £20 to receive and as Mr. Abbott was the largest creditor, it was arranged that a new firm consisting of Robert Abbott, John Crossley and Francis Ellerton should take the plant and carry on the carpet manufacturing business under the firm of “Abbott Crossley & Co.”, which was continued for 20 years. Mr. Ellerton being a clerk in receipt of a good salary with Mr. Rawson, he did not wish his name to appear in the firm but merely as a sleeping partner. Mr. Abbott advanced £600, Mr. Ellerton £600 and my husband £100, but in consideration of my husband being the only one who had a knowledge of the business his £100 stood as £200 and was considered as though he had put in £200, and the profits were divided accordingly, say 7 shares, and my husband’s one share cleared him the first year £70. Mr. Crowther of Elland spun the woollen yarn for wages and my husband spun the worsted yarn upon two spinning frames at the paper mill under North Bridge. The second year my husband strongly recommended the firm to spin their own yarn at the paper mill, but the third year, owing to having had to start machinery and other causes did not answer so well and Mr. Abbott threw all the blame upon having adopted my husband’s advice and said it answered far better when they knew what they were doing in paying so much per week and he asked my husband if he would take the spinning and dyeing into his own hands and dissolve the partnership still retaining the same name for the firm and charge the firm by the pack for the spinning and dyeing. He said he had no objection from that time to do so, and had 18/- for managing the loom department and went on spinning at Mr. Crowther’s prices and had so much per pack for dyeing the various colours. The fourth year Mr. A. built the new market shop. They then required so much more yarn that a larger mill must be had.
At this time Dean Clough Mill was unemployed and had been empty for two years. Mr. Waterhouse had built it for himself and occupied it for a time, but for some reason or other had given it up – my husband and Mr. Travis – but Mr. Waterhouse said he would let it to my husband but would have nothing to do with Travis. My husband told Mr. Abbott that he was in treaty with Mr. W. for the mill and had bid him £230 a year for it – whereupon Mr. A went unknown to my husband and offered £250 for it. Mr. W. told my husband that he did not consider Mr. Abbott had behaved handsomely in the matter, but that if he gave the same sum as Mr. A. had offered, he should have it. The reason why Mr. W. acted so kindly in this case was that Mr. W. knew me very well and he had come to Stock Lane to see Miss Oldfield when she was quite a little girl and had a high opinion of me. My husband took the mill at the price, and paid £250 a year for 20 years, owing to Mr. A. having bid for it in that way. My husband then went into partnership with James Travis and his own brother Thomas Crossley at worsted spinning in a portion of Dean Clough Mills. My husband found money for two spinning frames, James Travis for two and Thomas Crossley for two, but apart from this business my husband had the woollen machinery and the worsted frames which he brought from the Paper Mill and he had these upon his own account. He took Dean Clough Mills in the year 1802 on a lease of 20 years and went into the above partnership with James Travis and Thomas Crossley for 20 years.
It was about this time he engaged the late Joseph Wild who had been at Mr. Turner’s at the Longbottom – we gave him 24/- a week for managing the woollen department and the two worsted spinning frames, and the partnership concern of Crossley, Travis and Crossley allowed him 6/- per week for keeping their books; this made his salary 30/- a week. My husband continued to go on spinning and dyeing yarns for the Abbott & Ellerton concern, and managing their looms during the 20 years they were in partnership, but four years before this expired, Mrs. Drake who was Mr. Ellerton’s sister, came to sit with me and told me that ifMr. Abbott might have his will, we should neither have yarn spinning, dyeing or anything else – for she had heard Mrs. A. say to Mr. Ellerton that she did not see it was any use continuing John Crossley for if Bill Thomas could do work for him(J.C.)he could do it for their firm, and as to spinning, dyeing, she thought they would be better served elsewhere for we seemed to be swimming in money. Mr. E. seemed much grieved to hear Mrs. Abbott talk in this way and when he could bear it no longer he got up, took his hat and said that when John Crossley goes out of this concern, I go out – but she said he shall go when the 20 years are up, I am determined on that. My reply to Mrs. Drake was: “The Lord will provide, the earth is the Lord’s, the fullness thereof and the cattle upon a thousand hills are His. He can feed us – sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. All went on as usual for the remaining four years and nothing was said. Mrs. Abbott kept coming to sit with me as usual and I made no difference, but in process of time it came to pass when 20 years were ended our cart went as usual for wool to spin and dye, but without one word of notice the carter was told that there was no wool to spin or yarn to dye, it was all going elsewhere for the future. Then I felt that a cloud had burst over our heads. The large mill at Dean Clough and the dye house had very little if anything to do – but my husband began to send black and coloured yarn to Kidderminster and also to London to make rugs of, and about seven years before this occurred, Thomas Crossley, my husband’s brother, succeeded to the carpet factory of John Webster of Clay Pits and the yarns were all supplied from D.C. Mill and my husband took all the carpets he made and sold them and eventually bought the looms and took all into his own hands.
When this blow came, I could not sleep at night thinking which way we must turn. I told my husband I would get up and talk with Joseph Wild and see if he could suggest anything. I got up at about 4 o’clock in the morning and came quietly up Daisy Bank at D.C. so that Travis would not hear me, and tapped prattily at Joseph Wild’s door, and he came to the door and said “Eh, mistress, whatever has brought you here at this time of morning?” I told him I had come because I could not abide in bed for thinking whatever was to become of us now that Abbotts had taken their work away without a minute’s notice. I told him that if something was not done, and that soon too, we must be ruined with all this rent and wages. Molly sat up in bed and said “Hey mistress, don’t be downhearted, there will be something done. What! The world is not going to be at an end”. She got up and we chatted together and I went home in quite better spirits – and what with the Clay Pits concern and yarn sent to Kidderminster and London and our own increasing the carpet looms, we began to get on much better than my fears bade me at first expect.
When the 20 years partnership of Crossley, Travis and Crossley expired there was a saving to be equally divided amongst us of £4,200, say £1,400 each which came in very useful. In addition to the carpet manufacturing of Shalloons and plainbacks, the whole of which I managed myself so far as putting out the warps and wefts and taking in from the weavers. We had at one time as many as 160 hand weavers on these goods. We sold the principal part of them to Mr. William Edwards of London. We had also about four looms weaving Brace web and body belts, the produce of these looms I sold principally to the Irish who made them up into braces and hawked them about the country. I also made and stitched with assistance, all the carpets that we sold retail – and formerly warped Scotch warps. By getting up by 4 o’clock and being very diligent I have earned 2/- before breakfast by the time my neighbours were coming downstairs.
Mrs. Abbott came in as usual soon after the work was taken from us and at that time my daughter Martha, was dandling my son Frank in her arms and William Shaw, Mr. Ellerton’s nephew was throwing or putting an orange against the window outside and Frank did not understand how the glass prevented his getting at it and as this kind of play was going on Mrs. Abbott said, pointing to Wm. Shaw, “that’s the snake in the grass”. I replied: “Ah, Mrs. Abbott I always understood that you were not satisfied with us”. I then repeated what Mrs. Drake told me four years before and said I had not spoken about it till I lived to see it come true to the letter. I told her Mrs. Drake was dead and gone to her long home, but those were the very words she had used. Mrs. A. said it was not true and if it had been, how could I have given her my countenance the last four years. I said I could easily do that for I owed her no grudge about it. I had no doubt all would work together for the best – but I must say I thought it hard we must be envied and grudged every shilling we had after it had been earned.
Mr. John Abbott succeeded his father in the carpet trade and went on for some time when my husband took the looms at a yearly rental from him and eventually bought them out and out.
I have now told you some of the principal events of my life up to the time that my sons can recollect for themselves.
*Martha’s grandfather, Abraham Turner, died September 1782 aged about 66 years. Grandmother Turner died January 1788 aged about 72 years. Martha’s father, Abraham Turner, died January 25th, 1805 aged 58 years. Her mother, Sarah Turner, died February 3rd 1814 aged 73 years. All were interred at the Parish Church, Halifax, within the outer gates on right hand side.