1200 Info 2: From the Norman origins to the Tudors
The village of Crompton

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The modern location of Crompton

Crompton, a small industrial town, once a centre of the cotton industry, with Shaw as its main modern centre, lies at the very edge of Lancashire. The Pennine hills and Yorkshire are situated to the east, by Saddleworth Moor, and Oldham three miles to the south. In 1969-1970 the Crompton Way by-pass was constructed to reduce traffic passing through the town, which had increased as a result of the new M62 motorway two miles away.

A modern map locating the village of Crompton - Kb gif
Above: A modern map locating the village of Crompton

Description of the area

The township of Crompton [midway between Oldham and Rochdale] has an extreme length of about 3 miles from east to west, with a breadth of a 1 miles. The River Beal runs northward through a central valley; to the east the ground, broken by one or two cloughs, rises continually until 1,300ft. [398m] 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 825ft [220m]; 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 2 864 acres. (Victoria County History of Lancashire (VCH) p.108)

Crompton was never granted manorial status but was made up of a collection of estates, owned by absentee landlords. It consisted of large areas of forest, moor land and swamp,upon which were a collection of small hamlets and farms. Between 1480 and 1500 people were making references in their wills to wool working equipment such as spinning wheels, cards and combs some of which were capable of producing large amounts of cloth. In 1524 the local coal seams first recorded when Richard Wild paid rent of 16d (denary=pennies) to dig coal. In later years this may have encouraged the advent of steam machines in the cotton mills. By 1782 water wheels were being used to produce woollen cloth and small factories, not much bigger than the surrounding cottages, began to spring up. The area had a population of 2 500. Seven year later ten ‘factories’ were recorded. In the early 19th century manufacturing changed from wool to cotton and this was followed by a rapid development of the industry. (Stott, 1996)

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One hamlet, Shaw, was later to become the most important. Page 2 shows the remain names associated with the original Crompton settlement, these being High Crompton, Low Crompton, Crompton Fold and Crompton Moor.

Click to open A4 map of 1817 Crompton  88Kb-gif   Crompton Hall and surrounds  36Kb-jpg
Above: The location of Crompton Hall and Crompton Moor on Butterworth's 1817 map
Click on the map to open an 88Kb A4 landscape map.
  Above: The tower of Crompton Hall, about 1930, with the family lands of Crompton rising in the background. Source: Stott 1996

In the early 1870s Wilson described the township as:

CROMPTON, a township and a sub-district in Oldham district, Lancashire. The township is in Prestwich parish, and within Oldham borough; lies near the Oldham and the Rochdale railways, three miles north of Oldham; contains the villages of High-Crompton, Cowlishall, and Shaw, the last of which has a post office under Oldham; and is divided into the chapelries of East Crompton and Shaw. Acres, 2, 864. Real property, 22,972; of which 2,779 are in mines, 1,060 in quarries, and 350 in gas-works. Population, 7,032. Houses, 1,460. Many of the inhabitants are employed in collieries and in large cotton mills. The sub-district is conterminate with the township. (Wilson)

From its peak of 36 mills the cotton industry of Crompton declined until eventually the last cotton to be spun in Crompton was in 1989 at Lilac Mill, which closed in June 1989, and Park Mill, which closed in December the same Year. ... Many of the disused mills have now been demolished and replaced with small industrial units and housing estates. [In 1996] seven mills still remained, five of which [were] used as warehouses for mail order companies, providing employment for some of the 21,093 [1991 census] inhabitants of Crompton. (Stott 1996 p.8/9)

Right: Crompton Mills in the 1930s.
At the top of the photograph can be seen Park [1834-1991] and Woodend Mills [1859-1968]. To the right are Wye Mill No. 1 built in 1914 and Wye Mill No. 2 which was the last mill to be constructed in Crompton in 1925. Both mills were demolished in 1974 after remaining empty for several years. Behind them is Smallbrook Mill [1875-1964]. These mill sites have been redeveloped for housing. To the left is Trent [1908-1967/9] and Duchess Mill [1884- 1935]. Their sites are now occupied by an industrial estate. In the foreground is Crompton Cricket Club.

Source: Stott 1996 p.41
Crompton mills circa 1930s - Kb jpg
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In 1974 Crompton became part of Oldham Metropolitan Borough and administrative control passed from Crompton Urban District Council to the new Borough Council. Some degree of local autonomy was returned in 1987 when Crompton was granted Parish Council Status.

A modern map locating the Crompton properties - 192Kb gif
Above: A modern map locating the remaining Crompton names and the property in Whetstone Hill

Sources
Stott F, ‘The Changing Face of Crompton’, Oldham Education and Leisure, 1996
Victoria History of the County of Lancashire (VCH) - pp. 108 to 110
Wilson, John Marius, 'Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)'


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This page was created by Richard Crompton
and maintained by Chris Glass
Version A2
Updated 07 May 2013