Follow the Samuel Crompton trail

The Bolton News: Firwood Fold Firwood Fold

A GROUP of 25 walkers is setting off today on a special trail to celebrate the life of one of Bolton’s most famous sons.

It is exactly 260 years since the birth of Samuel Crompton — the man who invented a remarkable new way of spinning which helped kickstart the Industrial Revolution in Lancashire and made the region and the country wealthy.

The Crompton Trail, created by Bolton Council, follows the life and times of the man who revolutionised the cotton industry.

And today, an organised free walk with a Blue Badge guide will take local people — including some called Crompton — around some of the important milestones in his life.

These include:

FIRWOOD FOLD: The tiny hamlet, still an isolated and remarkably unchanged place in 2013 with its cobbled streets and period cottages, was where Crompton was born at No 10.

The small cottage, the last remaining in Bolton with a thatched roof, was his home until 1758 and where his family made their living from farming and spinning.

The cottage dates from the 17th century and had been owned by the Cromptons for generations before young Samuel lived there.

His father, George, later mortgaged it to the Starkie family, who already owned Hall i’ th’ Wood, and eventually sold the cottage to them although the Cromptons continued to farm the land round about.

HALL I’ TH’ WOOD MUSEUM: This was originally built as a half-timbered hall in the 15th century and Samuel and his family moved there as tenants.

His mother, Anne, used to spin each day to supplement the family income, but was frustrated by the soft yarn that frequently broke.

Samuel, still only a teenager, was determined to do something about this and worked for five years on creating his own Spinning Mule using the two most common spinning machines of the time. In 1779, he perfected his machine which made large amounts of strong yarn and transformed Britain’s textile industry. Today, his former home is a museum to the young man with vision.

NELSON SQUARE: Although Samuel Cromp-ton failed to prosper from his invention in his lifetime, even though many others did, he was appreciated by his fellow Boltonians.

After Crompton died in 1827, his health and spirit broken, the public paid for a statue to be built in his honour.

This was unveiled amid great crowds on September 24, 1862. Today, Crompton still looks out from this lofty spot over the town he helped to make rich.

BOLTON PARISH CHURCH: Crompton was 74 when he died a poor man at his home in King Street. He was buried at the Parish Church — the church where he also married his wife, Mary — and his original gravestone was very simple. It’s said that many people attended his funeral, including some of Bolton’s factory owners who had good cause to thank God for the life of this pioneering individual. Certainly, the textile industry knew his worth and in 1861 local workers paid for a granite monument to be placed over the grave.

The life of Samuel Crompton

  • Samuel Crompton born December 3rd 1753 on a farm at 10, Firwood Fold, to George and Betty (nee Elizabeth Holt of Turton) Crompton
  • Later the family moved to, and his father was caretaker, at Hall'i'th'Wood. Samuel had two younger sisters.
  • He was educated at “The School of Mr Lever” in Church Street and was put under the then well known master William Barlow.
  • Samuel was 15 when he started working on a spinning jenny at Hall'i'th'Wood.
  • Spinning was the family occupation and Samuel’s mother needed a certain amount of work each day.
  • Frustrated at the soft yarn that frequently broke, he spent his spare time combining Hargreave’s spinning jenny and Arkwright’s water frame.
  • After five years working in secrecy from machine wreckers, the Spinning Mule was born in 1779.
  • Samuel married Mary Pimlott  at Bolton Parish Church in February, 1780.
  • He spent the rest of his life trying to gain redress for the prosperity his invention brought to the industry which was a five fold increase in production.
  • He died at his home in King Street, Bolton, on June 26, 1827 a poor and broken man.

Comments (1)

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5:44pm Tue 3 Dec 13

boltonnut says...

Firwood Fold is as enchanting a place as you will see any where.When we were kids we would look through the tiny windows and conjure up all kinds off images,sometimes they were quite scary,one time I looked through the window and saw a wizened old lady in a white bonnet,she shook a crooked walking stick at me I ran like heck and never went back.We also tried to capture a glimpse of the ghost on horse back that supposedly haunted the cobbled lane that lead to the Crompton museum.
Firwood Fold is as enchanting a place as you will see any where.When we were kids we would look through the tiny windows and conjure up all kinds off images,sometimes they were quite scary,one time I looked through the window and saw a wizened old lady in a white bonnet,she shook a crooked walking stick at me I ran like heck and never went back.We also tried to capture a glimpse of the ghost on horse back that supposedly haunted the cobbled lane that lead to the Crompton museum. boltonnut

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