The Crompton Family


The Crompton Family

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        Jonathan Crumpton of Bridstow. Born circa. 1723 Married Mary unknown

             Jonathan Crumpton of Hereford. Born circa. 1756, Married Joan Hopkins



Jonathan Crompton Family Tree Close
First Generation Crumpton Tree

Over the years the family name has been recorded as Crompton, Crumpton and Crampton, the earliest records we have found in Herefordshire thus far are north east of Hereford at Pembridge and Kingsland. It may be a coincidence but it is interesting that these two villages are both riverside settlements. Kingsland is almost due north north of Hereford and has the River Lugg skirting its eastern boundary while Pembridge has the river Arrow. The Arrow rises in Powys, Wales, and runs east. A small section runs more or less north/south and acts as the boundary line for the English/Welsh border. The river then turns eastwards again into Herefordshire and through the town of Kington passing Lyonshall, Staunton-on-Arrow, Pembridge, Eardisland and several other small villages before reaching its confluence with the River Lugg south of Leominster, at Stoke Prior. The River Lugg, in turn has its confluence with the River Wye at Mordiford, about four miles south east of Hereford. It is extremely unlikely either river could sustain any serious trade throughout the year but at certain times the water levels would be high enough to allow a small shallow bottomed vessel to navigate some stretches of the rivers. This may be a coincidence as I said but the river Wye and some of its tributaries played an important part in the early period of the Crompton family.

Pembridge, Kingsland and Leominster

Img: 1, Pembridge, Kingsland
and Leominster

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Pembridge, Kingsland and Leominster

Early Christening records for Herefordshire point to Pembridge as the cradle of the Crompton family in Herefordshire, then recorded as Crumpton. The children's names have a distinct Latin and Germanic sound about them. Henricus and Johanna sired Walterus in 1569, Willmus, Phillipus, Johanna (female) and Ellenora, son's and daughter's of Willmi Crumpton and Johanna (female) born to Johannis Crumpton in February 1591. It was not unusual for the mother's name to be missing from the early records. A few miles away in Kingsland Thomas had fathered Grace in 1590. Already we see the names that would be Anglicised and be repeated generation after generation, John, William, Thomas and Henry, with Margaret and Eleanor. In the early 17th century Crumpton appeared in the marriage records at St Nicholas in Hereford and in Bromyard, a small town east of Leominster. Bromyard, now a thriving market town, enjoys the delights of the River Frome skirting it's eastern suburbs as it meanders through the Hereford countryside to join with the River Lugg near Hampton Bishop. The spread continued and gained momentum in the 18th century with the focus, perhaps unsurprisingly, being on the county town itself with Crumpton marriages taking place in St Peters, St Martins, St Nicholas Churches and out into the country at Leinthall Starkes, Wigmore and Little Hereford to the north of the county town and Goodrich, Bridstow and Mordiford to the south. The spread of the family to the north of Hereford meant they were moving away from the water with only the river Teme passing Little Hereford. Leinthall Starkes and Wigmore have no rivers close by which, in the absence of a specialised trade, left farm work as the main source of income. The family that moved south of Hereford all settled on the banks of the river Wye. Bridstow is a stones throw from Ross on Wye, with Goodrich a few miles further south and Mordiford is at the confluence of the Rivers Lugg and Wye. Across the border into Shropshire and the river Severn are significantly more Cromptons. Adam Crompton was a ferryman at Broseley in the Severn gorge during the 1600s, he built a house on the site to operate from. The house, over a period of time became the Dog and Duck public house and was the nucleus of a hamlet that grew into a row of cottages that survived until the mid 1900s. Later Cromptons were still operating the ferry and by the 1700s John Crompton was carrying iron ore on the river for the Coalbrookdale Company. At the end of the century Adam and his son Adam were carrying coal for the Madeley Wood Company and the ferry was being operated by William Cromptom in 1851.

Downstream at Mordiford on the river Wye, another Crompton family were already well established on the river, as the will of Jonathan Crompton of Mordiford attests, he died in 1774 and his will lists barges and small boats, presumably bequeathed to his son Richard

Jonathan Crumpton of Bridstow

Waterside barn at Bridstow

Img: 2, Waterside barn,
Bridstow.

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Waterside barn at Bridstow

Our particular branch of this family we originally thought was native to Hereford town, but now we believe they moved to Hereford from Bridstow, a hamlet on the banks of the Wye about 15 miles south of Hereford near Ross. But Bridstow does not appear to be anything more than a a brief sojourn as neither Jonathan or Mary were born there and they did not marry there. Where are they from? We shall probably never know.

For the purpose of identification in these pages we shall refer to Jonathan Crumpton of Bridstow, Mary's husband, as Jonathan #I and Jonathan Crompton of Hereford, Joan's husband and the father of Mary, as Jonathan #II.

Jonathan #II, the father of Mary was thought to have been born about 1750 (but that could easily be ten years either way) and the records show only two families producing children around that period. Thomas and Mary Crompton produced ten children over a period of twenty one years, seven girls and three boys. Only two of the boys survived, Thomas and William. Of the girls, Diana, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Jemima, Pamela and one unnamed girl, we know nothing at this time. Their last child, Pamela, was christened in 1770. The other Crompton family was Jonathan #I and Mary.

Both Thomas and Jonathan #I were recorded as Crumpton in the 1761 Hereford poll book. Both were Victuallers with no reference to a connection with the water and may well have been brothers. In the 1774 poll book only Jonathan #I was listed, he was still living in Hereford but owned freehold property in Bridstow. Assuming the poll books of 1761 and 1774 refer to the same Jonathan Crumpton it seems likely that Jonathan #I and Mary had moved from Bridstow to Hereford at some point before 1761. The christening records of Bridstow parish Church record five Crumpton children born to Jonathan and Mary, Luke in 1748, (who lived for only five days) Elisabeth[sic] in 1749, Jonathan in 1751, Mary in 1754 and John in 1756. Naming a second son John suggests the first child did not survive. There were no more children after this date at Bridstow. But then to Hereford, in January 1759 we find Adam, christened Addam at St Owen's Church, Hereford, to Jonathan and Mary Crumpton. After Adam came Mathew 1761 and Ann in 1765, both christened at St Martin's Church, Hereford and between the two Susannah, who, like Adam, was christened at St. Owen's in 1763. On the strength of this evidence it seems more than likely Jonathan Crompton of Hereford, was the son of Jonathan and Mary Crumpton, formerly of Bridstow.

Wye Barge

Img: 6, Wye Barge

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The beginnings of Jonathan's #I association with the water are not clear, it is quite likely he was already making a living by the river at Bridstow or Ross and continued doing so at Hereford. The first clue to his occupation came in the poll book of 1761. The traditional definition of a victualler is a seller or provider of food and provisions i.e. a grocer or cafe, but if he was a licensed victualler that could make him an innkeeper/publican as well.

The book "Herefordshire's River Trade - Craft and Cargo on the Wye and Lugg" written by Heather Hurley goes into great detail about the rivers Wye and Lugg and the folk that lived their lives on and by them. The Crumpton/Crampton/Crompton family is frequently mentioned and the book has been very informative for us writing these pages, we shall refer to the book again and again. Regarding the Cromptons, Heather discovered, in 1784, a Jonathan Crompton was recorded as the landlord of The Anchor in Hereford (which she believes may have been in Little Castle Street). She also found a bargeman with the same name. In 1784 Jonathan #I would have been around the age of 60 years, at that age it is unlikely he would have been a bargeman but a landlord is certainly more than plausible and it tallies with what we already know. Jonathan Crompton the bargeman is more than likely his son, Jonathan #II age 28. (Bargemen were casual crewmen, usually hired by the bargemaster for a specific journey). As a licensed victualler Jonathan #I would be dealing with wine merchants and brewers and in a business that involves the buying and selling of goods, a dependable supply line is an asset. Many Hereford traders became involved in river transport either directly as outright barge owners or indirectly as shared owners thereby putting themselves in a strong position to look after their own interests.

Pipe Lane, Hereford.

Img: 13, Pipe Lane, Hereford.

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Pipe Lane, Hereford.

The first significant wharf to be built at Hereford was in 1728 and has been credited to Joseph Trumper and Phillip Symonds. Castle Quay was built between Castle Hill and the river bank and had the luxury of stone steps leading up from the waters edge. Other minor unloading places existed along the banks of the Wye but gradually from small beginnings wharves were built on the south bank of the Wye, east of the bridge (timber), on the north and south banks, west of the bridge (coal) and one of the original landing places at Eign on the eastern boundary of the castle where Mill Street now joins Nelson Street. The map to the left (image 13), surveyed in 1885, shows the probable extent of the Pipe Lane riverside and warehouse buildings at North Wharf (later called Crompton's Wharf). North wharf had been in use since the early 1700's and benefited from unusually deep water. It was developed by Crompton and others to the point it could process "thirty to forty barges at one time". North wharf was bordered on the east by the grounds of the Bishop's Palace, north by Pipe Lane (marked in yellow) and south by the River Wye. On the map the western boundary shows buildings between the compound and Bridge street, these may have been shops or small businesses fronting on to Bridge Street, a prime position for trading, with rear access into the compound, or they may be warehouses for the storage of goods. Either way, it raises the question of access rights. Was the compound a public highway or an enclosed and secure area? Private or not it was certainly a prime position. Goods could be loaded or off-loaded at the wharf which had enough frontage to accommodate up to forty traditional size barges. The cargoes could then be delivered directly into the centre of the city or stored until required. A more detailed account of the Pipe Lane site follows later

The Pipe Lane Site

Img: 3, The Pipe Lane Site,
2015

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The Pipe Lane Site

Former warehouse in Gwynne Street, 2015

Img: 5, Former warehouse in
Gwynne Street, 2015 Open image in a new window

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Former warehouse in Gwynne Street, 2015

Alongside are two photographs taken during a visit in 2015. Image 3 depicts a low lying, two storey warehouse type building that could easily date from 1800s but probably much earlier. It stands within a compound off Gwynne Street, (formerly Pipe Lane) in the position I have marked with a green border on image 13 above. Image 5 depicts another warehouse, five storeys high with a hoist. This warehouse, actually called The Warehouse, appears to have been converted into living accommodation and stands in Gwynne Street close to the entrance of the same compound. Pipe lane was renamed Gwynne Street around 1855, and claimed by many to be the birth place of Eleanor Gwyn [or Gwynne], better known as Nell Gwynne, a favourite of King Charles II. The first printed reference to the name Crompton's Wharf we have found was dated march 1794. It appeared in an advertisement for Mr Jones's Cider House, (image 8) and gave his address as Crompton's Wharf, so were there other businesses trading in the compound? or was this a case of goods being transported but the legal recipient found to be unable to pay on collection as the contact address is an attorney at law

Mr Jones's Cider-house

Img: 17, Mr Jones's Cider-house

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Mr Jones's Cider-house

In 1795 an advertisement placed by a Chepstow wine merchant in the Hereford Journal named Jonathan Crompton of Pipe-lane as the Hereford outlet for their prime porter now on sale. In another business arrangement a few years later, this time with a Bristol boat owner, Jonathan offers his services in transporting goods from Bristol to "...Hereford, Kington, Hay, Talgarth, Builth, or the intermediate places directed" it continues "...steady and punctual Masters and good warehouses for storing all kinds of goods". In 1801 Jonathan himself placed an advertisement in the Hereford Journal announcing the imminent sale of a quantity of casks left in his warehouse by the cider merchant William Yapp in 1799. The casks were to be sold to defray the costs of storage and handling for the period of almost two years. Jonathan's address was again given as Pipe-lane, Hereford. The Jonathan Crompton referred to in these advertisements are we suggest, more likely to be #II. We have not found a death date for Jonathan #I but if he was still alive he would be 70 years and beyond it would seem more likely he would be taking it easy.

Crompton's Wharf

Img: 7, Boat Races at
Crompton's Wharf, 1802.

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Crompton's Wharf

On offer at Mr Jones's Cider House was an array of ciders as you would expect, "Golden Pippin, Tainton Squash, Oldfield Perry, and one hogshead the famous Styre cider, all fit for bottling and two years old last making..." The advertisement also offered "...empty bottles, a lead pump, trams, tubs and other utensils belonging to the business of cider making," so it appears Mr Jones was giving up making cider. The name, Crompton's Wharf reappears from time to time. It was traditionally the staring point for Hereford's annual boat race, whereby boats were rowed from Hereford upstream to Belmont and back. The races, run over two days, were a great event for the town, with marquees, music, refreshments and to start the festivities a public breakfast on the river bank. The boats competing were categorised into first or second class by their size, type, number of oars, construction and condition, the first class boats competing on the first day and the remainder on the second day. The first prize was a silver cup worth five guineas, and second prize was a suit of colours, worth two guineas, the same prizes for both classes. The name Crompton's Wharf was still in use in 1821 with a slight variation, it was then called Mrs Crompton's Wharf, as then it was in the hands of Mrs Jane Crompton, the widow of William the son of Thomas and Mary. Crompton's wharf was originally called North wharf.

Jonathan Crompton of Hereford 1756 - 1833

Jonathan Crompton Family Tree Close
Jonathan Crompton Family Tree

Jonathan's first born child, Mary, was born in Hereford but Joan, his wife came from over the English/Welsh border. In the days before civil registration very little information was recorded on the marriage certificate so we can never be absolutely sure of the facts. The christening records of Jonathan's children record the mothers name as Joan, Joanna and Jane and we have found a marriage between Jonathan Crompton and Joan Hopkins in Boughrood (or Bochrwd in Welsh) on the banks of the river Wye in the old county of Radnorshire, Wales, about thirty miles west of Hereford. The marriage took place on 20th November 1785, almost a year to the day before Mary was born. Was it Jonathan Crompton the Hereford merchant who married Joan Hopkins? Probably.

Jane Crompton's notice

Img: 9, Jane Crompton's notice

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Jane Crompton's notice

After Mary came Elizabeth [1789], Henry [1791], Jonathan [1793], Eleanor [1795], William [1797], Edmond [1801], Edwin [1802] and Frances [1803], all christened at St John the Baptist, Hereford. The entry for Jonathan Crompton in 1793, records his mother as Mary. It seems very hard to believe this is not an error in transcription, as we have experienced in the past. Notes taken during the day are written up at a later time and errors often occur. Unlike today, christenings were customary and would have taken place successively, with many families involved on the same day. In a busy church clerical errors were not uncommon.

The Bell Inn, Pipe Lane.

Img: 15, The Bell Inn, Pipe Lane.

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The Bell Inn, Pipe Lane.

Jonathan's brother, Adam, married Margaret and together they had nineteen children. Much of his life was spent on the water, with his sons following suit but he was also the licensee of the Star public house in Pipe Lane. The Star, formerly the Seven Stars, and soon to become the Bell, dates back to the early 1600s and could be one of the houses Adam's father, Jonathan, plied his trade, and it was passed down. However, Adam was finding business difficult and in 1807 the Star and accompanying store rooms, granary, wharf and other buildings were sold by auction. Two years later Adam sold his barge, the Betty but still found himself in a debtors prison in 1812. Whilst there he was described as a Bargemaster rather than a Barge-owner. The winds of fortune changed for Adam as the 1818 poll book records Jonathan, Adam and his son (also called Adam) as barge owners and Henry Crompton (probably Jonathan's son) as a waterman.

Price's Hospital, 2016

Img: 16, Price's Hospital, 2016

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Price's Hospital, 2016

Interestingly the 1818 poll book also records a William Crompton of Chepstow who was a "clerk to a boat" so the river theme continues weaving its way through the family. Not recorded in the poll book was the barge owner and coal merchant William Crompton, probably the son of Thomas and Mary. What is interesting is William is now the licensee of the Bell public house (formerly the Star) in Pipe Lane, taking over from Adam and keeping the business in the Crompton family. Image 15 shows the location of the Bell public house in Pipe Lane and its position relative to the river. Note the three sets of steps leading down to the river, the set to the right leads to the Bishop's Palace, the centre steps lead into the compound and the steps to the left lead into what may be warehousing behind the Bell Inn. It is not clear from the map if the compound and the buildings to the rear of the Bell Inn are separate properties but we know this area was later expanded to become the preeminent wharf in Hereford. The Bell Inn remained in the family until after 1841 when the landlord was record as Robert Crompton, the son of Adam. William died in 1819 compelling his widow, Jane, to place a notice in the local press assuring his customers the business would continue with their eldest son (William) taking the reins. Adam senior however, lived a long and probably hard life, dying in Price's Hospital, Hereford in October 1832.

Goodrich Ferry and Castle in 1882  by W.A. Frank

Img: 4, Goodrich Ferry and Castle
in 1882 by W.A. Frank

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Goodrich Ferry and Castle in 1882 by W.A. Frank

Trade on the River Wye

Through the notes of the meetings of the Committee for Improving the Navigation of the river Wye we can get some idea of the trade between Hereford and Gloucester. Imports to Hereford included cheese, coal and grates from Coalbrookdale; ironmongery from Birmingham and Sheffield; from Manchester goods and tea; from London, Bristol and Worcester goods, salt pottery, hemp, tiles, glass, bottles, deals, mahogany, wine, spirits and a variety of other goods to the extent of 15,700 tons. Exports from Hereford were wool, corn, meal, cider, timber and bark, 27,500 tons, all to Gloucester. In addition 9,000 tons of corn and meal with 2,000 tons of cider went to Bristol.1

Navigation on the River Wye from Chepstow to Monmouth had always been possible in some form or another, beyond Monmouth however, navigation has been problematical but possible. Even prior the eleventh century there are records detailing the movement of goods up and down river, though no evidence of a vessel substantial enough to carry a significant load has been found to date. "... the water above Monmouth is so small that at the best time in the year a boat cannot get to Hereford but when there is a flood occasioned by rains1". Small fishing boats however, were not uncommon, Hereford Museum has a coracle type boat made by William Dew of Kerne Bridge, he called it a "truckle". Various acts of Parliament were passed to try and improve the navigation on the Rivers Wye and Lugg, some mills were closed, weirs taken down and trees cut back but opposition to the new laws from those who saw their livelihood threatened was fierce. An undated tale of the prosecution of one "Mr Crompton of Brock-wear" gives us an indication of the rivalries between different parties who's livelihood depended on the rivers at the time. Crompton was the master of an unnamed Hereford barge moving down river from Ross. His crime was to cut the rope of the Goodrich Ferry. In his defence he citied the legislation and stated the ferry ropes "...impeded the free navigation of the Wye". The response from the prosecution was to produce a grant and seal from the hand of King Henry IV giving him the rights and possession of the ferry. The grant, handed down through the generations, was now in possession of a Mrs. Clarke. The ferryman had been granted the rights by King Henry IV as a reward for being the bearer of good news. The King was taking the ferry on his way to Monmouth as the Queen (Mary de Bohun) was there and about to give birth. Whilst at the ferry the king asked if there was any intelligence from Monmouth regarding the Queen, to which the ferryman gave him the news of the birth of his son, and the well being of the Queen. The King, overjoyed at hearing the news asked the ferryman what he, the King, could grant him in return for the happy news. The ferryman, naturally, asked for the rights and possession of the ferry, thereby ensuring himself and his children a living for the life of the ferry.20 The grant was dated August 1387. Clearly the story has altered over many years of telling but in fact Richard II was the King of England in 1387 and remained King for a further twelve years. Regardless, Mr Crompton paid a very large sum in legal expenses.

Reward notification

Img 10:Reward notification.

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Reward notification

An advertisement that seems strange to us today appeared in the Hereford Journal in November 1807. A reward of two pounds was offered to anyone finding and returning seven pounds lost in Kivernoll [a village south-west of Hereford]. The notes, one five pound note and two one pound notes were of Bodenham's Bank and the five pound note was endorsed Thomas Pritchard with the initials TP. It concludes "...it is requested that if any person tenders a Five Pound note with such endorsement, it may be stopped." Seven pounds in 1807 was a substantial amount of money and the reward of two pounds would have fed a family for a long time. Unfortunately there is no follow-up record of the success or otherwise of the advertisement. However, worthy of note is Jonathan's address once again is Pipe-lane.

Improvements to both the Wye and Lugg were made over a period of time but the rivers by their very nature could not be relied upon. In times of drought or low water barges would be marooned but instances like this were becoming rarer rather than the norm. Brockweir was the last tidal quay on the Wye and along with Mordiford and Leominster became important inland ports where cargoes could be transferred from large vessels of 100 tons and upwards to wagons and pack horses or the smaller flat bottomed Wye barges. These barges had a single square sail fixed to a mast that could be lowered enabling the vessel to navigate through low, narrow bridges along the river but sails are only effective with a breeze. Traditionally Wye barges were towed by teams of men called Bow hauliers.

Bow hauliers at work

Img: 8, Bow hauliers at work

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Bow hauliers at work

The hauliers, described as "dangerous, untrustworthy and inefficient men"4, worked in teams. Dependent on the conditions, the size of the barge and the weight of the load, it could take from six to fifteen men working against the current to haul a loaded barge. At times of low water they would naturally be expected to haul the barge over shallows and obstructions. As a rule of thumb the ratio of one man per two tons of load was the norm. The tow rope was fixed to the top of the mast rather than the bow and be played out by the barge master. The following eyewitness account of bow hauliers at work on the Wye was written by Charles Heath21 in 1804, beginning with a rather archaic paragraph stating that a regular service of river transport on the Wye was still a long way away:

"Employed on this river, which may be deemed our earliest carriers, fail regularly from Monmouth to Bristol every fortnight, called the Spring, viz. At the full and change of the moon, – that city receiving large supplies of corn, among other articles, from this county...."
"...It should be observed, that 5 men can return with a barge unladen from Brockweir to Monmouth, but it requires the proportion of 15 men to haul it up when laden. The rapidity of the current in many places renders this employment a work of great labour, particularly in dry seasons. In passing the different wears [weirs], they are then obliged to fall, with all their force, flat on the ground, which is done by the shout of "Yo, ho!" In which position they continue for a short space, when on another shout being given, they rise up, and securing their step, fall down a second time, and so on, till they gain a more peaceful and greater depth of water.

The price of labour on this river is as follows, viz

From Hereford to Chepstow, with delivery of cargo, and returning back, per man - £1 8s 0d
From Hereford to Brockweir, with ditto ...................................................................£1 1s 0d
From Monmouth to Brockweir, with ditto ..............................................4s 6d
Returning from Brockweir to Monmouth unladen,.................................2s 6d
From Brockweir to Bristol (with the Trows), with, ditto .......................18s 0d"

Customs

"A curious custom prevails at all the ports on the river Severn, but only at Monmouth on the Wye, between the owners and the watermen. Every man, when hired for a voyage, receives a pint of ale, as earnest for his services, which is called “Mugging,” and if he does not fulfill the labour stipulated for, he is liable to three months imprisonment. Also if the master refuses afterwards to employ the bargeman, the servant has the power to demand the wages from him, as tho' he had performed the voyage. Hence when a man is a little “how came you so?” we say, that “he has been MUGGING himself”"21

Warnings to bargemasters

Img: 12, Warnings
to bargemasters

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Warnings to bargemasters

A Wye barge could carry up to thirty tons of cargo in times of flood which would reduce to less than ten in the dry summer season. The ability to transport goods between Hereford, Gloucester and Chepstow was likely to be a money spinner for anyone who could provide a regular, reliable service at a reasonable cost, as true then as it is today. Attempts to tame the river Wye over a period of many years have only ever met with partial success. The river for the most part is shallow and calm, rising in the Welsh mountains it meanders through Wales into England passing through Hereford, the only city on its course. Some of the difficulties with navigation are caused by the rains in the mountains, collecting in streams, many of which find their way to the Wye. The sudden body of water converges on the river causing a torrent that rushes headlong down river to the sea. Land owners, farmers and mill owners also had a claim in the use of the water, many had built weirs or diverted the flow of water through channels to power mills, grind corn, power pumps, irrigate land and a myriad of other uses long forgotten. These were the chief objectors to any proposed improvements. However, improvements did eventually come little by little. One of the less obvious was a tow path laid between Hereford and Wilton Bridge, near Ross. On the 15th January 1811 it opened for general use and it was an instant success. A record of the event was referred to in the book Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley edited by Heather Hurley22 "The first through Wilton Bridge was Jonathan Crompton's Barge the "Henry", William Hoskyns Master with Coal. Second J Cromptons "Fanny", Thomas Jones Master with Two Horses each". The barges were flat bottomed, drawn by a string of men and had a square sail for use in favourable winds." A toll "not exceeding 6d per mile for each horse" was set for the use of the path. Image 14 demonstrates how important this seemingly minor improvement meant to the city with bells ringing and bands playing to celebrate the arrival of two barges to the city. The underlying message from the writer of the article brings home the real meaning of just how important a good, reliable transport system means to an inland community and just how important the price of fuel can be. A nice touch by Mr. Crompton to name the barges after his children.

The new towing path

Img: 14, The new towing path

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The new towing path

In September 1814 Jonathan's eldest daughter, Mary, married George Crisp, the comedian from the Hereford, Worcester and Chester theatre circuit. Crisp would lodge with Miss Crompton at her house on Wyebridge Street when the Hereford theatre was open. Earlier, in July 1814 the estate of Samuel Sirrell, a bankrupt farmer of Wistesten Herefordshire, was signed over to William Bach of Leominster, and Jonathan Crompton of Hereford, his two main creditors. His estate was to be used for their benefit and the benefit of any other creditor who can prove their debts. The following year the tables were turned and Jonathan Crompton was required to surrender himself to the commissioners at the City Arms Hotel Inn at eleven o'clock on the twenty second and third of November and the twenty sixth of December 1815, to face his creditors and make full discovery and disclosure of his estate and effects.

Premises to let advertisement

Img 11:Pipe-lane premises
to let 1816

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Premises to let advertisement

A more complete picture (though probably not the full extent) of Jonathan's Crompton's business activities becomes more apparent with the advertisement printed in the Hereford Journal in March 1816. In the legal notices printed he was usually described as a Coal Merchant and at least once a Coal merchant, Dealer and Chapman, but there was so much more besides, his fingers seem to have slipped into many other pies. The advertisement alongside I have captioned as the Pipe-lane premises although that is not confirmed at any point but as the premises detailed are riverside, it seems most likely to be the Pipe-lane address. The premises detailed in the advertisement include a large and commodious wharf, two warehouses, four corn rooms, a crane for heavy lifting, stabling and a meadow for horses and a roomy dwelling house. Not included in the deal were the barges, coal carts and other implements used in the carrying trade that may be had on moderate terms. An earlier advertisement, dated August 1814, was placed by an auction house offering the Pipe-lane address as Lot 10, describing it as

"...more valuable than any in the neighbourhood, lying close to the City, and to the navigable River Wye and having been made use of in the Bark, Timber and Coal trade for upwards of one hundred years, the landing places for the Timber being below Wye Bridge, and possessing more advantages than any landing places in the County, the water being of great depth so that with the greatest ease from Thirty to Forty barges may be loaded or unloaded at any one time."

It seems by the placement of this advertisement Jonathan Crompton was either selling up and preparing for retirement or was trying to raise money to clear his debts. With Mary about to marry George Crisp that left two daughters, Elizabeth of 25 years or so and Frances of eleven years. His four sons of fifteen years and upwards would surely have been working with him so leaving a viable business for the future provision of all his children and grandchildren would unquestionably have been his primary focus, but it was not to be. The untangling of Jonathan Crompton's business activities proved to be a long drawn out affair, it was not until January 1819 that the notice went out to his creditors who had proved their debts. The first dividend of two shillings and sixpence in the pound was to be paid upon application to the banking house of Messrs. Bodenham, Phillips and Garret.

Whitehouse, Treberva, and Poolspringe Farms

Img 31: Whitehouse, Treberva,
and Poolspringe Farms.

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Whitehouse, Treberva, and Poolspringe Farms

After the sale of his business assets and house at the Pipe Lane address Jonathan appears to have moved away from Hereford and west to Crasswall, a small village in the foothills of the Black Mountains. We assume after all his debts were paid and a moderate income from the rental of the barges, coal carts and other implements there was enough money left for a comfortable retirement. After a short time in Crasswall he moved back east to a farm in the parish of St. Margaret's on the western outskirts of Hereford near Turnaston in the Golden Valley. Whitehouse Farm stood in one hundred and sixty acres of arable, pasture and meadow land with its own granary, kilns and folds. Whilst here, his eldest daughter Mary gave birth to her daughter Heriott who was baptised at St. Margaret's Church. Mary's husband, George Crisp, had left Herefordshire several years earlier working around the provinces before heading south to London. His last booking been at Sadler's Wells theatre in Islington, working with such favourites as Joseph Grimaldi. It is an assumption that Mary had toured with her husband rather than remaining in Hereford. That being the case their two children, George and Mary Anne, would surely have been with them. It may be the experience of life on the road and on the stage inspired the two young ladies to follow in their father's footsteps and make their way in the world in a like manner.

By 1821 Jonathan was again ready to move. An advertisement was placed in the Hereford Journal and part of the farm was put up for let, particulars were to be had from Mr Harris, Solicitor, St. John Street, Hereford. On the same page and directly above the advertisement for Whitehouse Farm was another advertisement for two farms in Much Birch, currently in the possession of Mr. Thomas Thomas. The farms, "Poolspringe" and "Treberva" were both available for let from Candlemass,30 1822 and together covered around 230 acres. Much Birch is six miles south of Hereford Town.

On 2nd July 1826 Henry, Jonathan's eldest son, died at the Much Birch address. He was about thirty five years of age and seems to have remained a single man. Jonathan Crompton died 2nd November 1833, aged 84 years at Little Birch, a hamlet about a mile north east of Much Birch and his wife, Joan, died three years later at the same address.




1] See Hereford Council's website Herefordshire Through Time -Navigation of the River Wye by Miranda Greene here.
4] Page 36 of the fascinating and informative book "Herefordshire's River Trade - Craft and Cargo on the Wye and Lugg" written by Heather Hurley
20] See "Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Ancient and Present State of the Town of Monmouth" written by Charles Heath. Chapter "Particular Passages in the Life and Reign of King Henry V" The Ferry sailed for the last time during 1861, possibly as a result of a bridge being built nearby but reopened a year later as a result of local demand and a campaign by Dr Jones of Trebandy House, Ross.
21] See "Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Ancient and Present State of the Town of Monmouth" written by Charles Heath. Chapter "The Small Craft"
22] "Landscape Origins of the Wye Valley". Edited by Heather Hurley and published by The River Wye Preservation Trust.
30] Christian Festival, February 2nd. Candlemass is derived from the ceremony which the Church of Rome dictates to be observed on this day; namely, a blessing of candles by the clergy, and a distribution of them amongst the people, by whom they are afterwards carried lighted in solemn procession. The more important observances were of course given up in England at the Reformation; but it was still, about the close of the eighteenth century, customary in some places to light up churches with candles on this day. See The Book of Days by Robert Chambers, 1802-1871