a Crabtree Family
The earliest CRABTREE reference is to John who was a carline-maker when his son James was baptised in 1745 at St Lawrence Church in Denton, Lancashire. It is unclear what this occupation might have been, other than the link to the thistle of the same name that might have been used in the production of felt fabric used in the local hatting industry.

John married Ellen Moor , daughter of James Moors, at Manchester Cathedral in April 1744. She was born about 1725 and was baprised on 25 July 1725. Their eldest son, James, was born on 3 June, 1745.

James married Ann at St Lawrence Church and the couple had five children - James, Sarah, Joseph, Samuel and Ellen. Joseph later gave his place of birth as Bredbury in Cheshire and he was baptised at Heaton Norris, Stockport, in 1790. He married Dinah ROWLAND on Christmas Eve in 1810 at Manchester Cathedral and the couple settled in the Town Lane area of Denton where the CRABTREE family remained for several generations. Joseph appeared on several census records, the last in 1851 when he gave his occupation as 'formerly Felt Hatter, now recupified in the house'.

Denton St Lawrence
Denton St Lawrence

Joseph worked as a hatter, the prominent industry in the area for many years. He and Dinah had five children, the third being James CRABTREE. He married Elizabeth STANSFIELD in 1844, the daughter of John STANSFIELD and Esther RILEY. It is unclear where she was born. In the 1851 Census, she gives Denton, but in later censuses, she gives Newton Heath in Manchester as her place of birth. See the STANSFIELD home page for more information.

The couple married at All Saints in Glossop, Derbyshire. Both were living in Dinting and Elizabeth unhelpfully failed to confirm if her father's name was Richard and the only information she gave was that he was deceased. It is not clear why James would have been living there. He was a hatter like his father, but there is no evidence of that industry in Glossop.

Their second son, Samuel, was born in 1847 at Bentley's Houses, Broom Lane, Haughton. The rate books show that the properties took their name from the owner from whom they were rented and they were close to a small hatting factory where James might have worked. At the age of 13, he was working as an errand boy, but by the time of the 1871 Census, he had followed his father into hatting, as did his brothers, John and Joseph. Only his younger brother William broke with tradition by becoming a printer lithographer.

Edward Crabtree
Edward Crabtree

Samuel married Alice WARDLE at St Paul's Church in Stockport in 1866. Both were living in the parish, although they were soon to be found at Town Lane in Denton. Alice was the daughter of Joseph WARDLE and had been born in Hayfield, Derbyshire, although I have struggled to find any earlier church ir census records of her. She joined her husband in the hatting industry, working as a hat trimmer. They had four children, the youngest being Edward CRABTREE. It was to be he who broke the link with Denton, as did his brother Harry and sister Ann who married in Ashton.

Edward married Rebecca RIDGWAY who was born on Manchester Road, Hyde, the daughter of Charles RIDGWAY and Emma HOWARD. The couple lived at 119 Nelson Street in Hyde for most of their lives, Edward dying there in 1949 and Rebecca in 1953. They had four children - George, Emma, Robert and the youngest, Arthur, my father-in-law.

Arthur Crabtree Arthur Crabtree

Arthur was born at 119 Nelson Street on St George's Day, 1920. At the age of 20, he joined the Royal Navy and served throughout World War II. You can find some wartime photos on this site, plus a diary of Arthur's service, although not written by him.

On being demobbed, he married Freda MOLESDALE at Hyde Register Office. She was the only daughter of Edward MOLESDALE and Lena WALKER who did not fully approve of the marriage. Arthur spent a few years working as a glove-cutter, but in 1948, he joined the Cheshire Fire Brigade where he was to stay for 26 years. He was based at Stalybridge Fire Station and the family lived nearby on King Street. He and Freda had two daughters - Hilary and Patricia who married me in 1987.

Pat was educated at Hertford College, Oxford, where she studied psychology and philosophy. She was also a keen rower, representing Oxford and once leading to the disqualification of a men's team she rowed - "Bow! Are you a woman?"

I would like to thank Peter CRABTREE of Canada who has been an important source of information. His 'one-name' research may be of use to other CRABTREES out there, particularly his online BMD Index

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