Isaac Croasdell and Mary Cummings

Isaac Croasdell 1794 - 1844 was the youngest of seven children of Henry Croasdell and Fanny Bragg. He had six older brothers and one older sister. Isaac was baptised on 23rd September 1794 at Finsthwaite and when his father died in 1807 he went to live with his elder brother James at Elterwater Hall. At the age of 28 Isaac married Mary Cummings at Holy Trinity church in Kendal on 5th May 1823. Mary, the daughter of Thomas & Agnes Cummings, had been born at Greav(e)s, Old Hutton near Kendal on 11 October 1801, being baptised on 16 December at the Old Hutton chapel in the same parish of Holy Trinity. Mary had at least one older brother, William, baptised in 1799 at the same chapel. Isaac and Mary spent their early married life in the Kendal area before moving to Furness. In the early days Mary ran a shop at Sea Wood, Bardsea, whilst Isaac worked as a hooper. Eventually the family settled in Haverthwaite, in the parish of St Anne's - where some of their present day descendants still live and run the business.

Bridge End House

The family house (said to have been bought by Isaac in 1830) was at Low Wood, Bridge End near to the Low Wood gunpowder works where Isaac worked as a hooper making barrels for the powder.
An extract from information supplied by Tom Park, Isaac's descendant, explains that the family timber business was founded from here - Isaac was first a coppice wood merchant supplying wood to make barrels for the very active gunpowder industry. Wood for ships fenders and timber for crates was supplied to Liverpool. Much of this would be transported by boat from the River Leven.

Sadly two of Isaac and Mary's sons died in their twenties, another son at 36 and their married daughter died at 37. Isaac himself was only 49 when he died but Mary lived to the good age of 80. Thankfully, their remaining son, James, married and prospered and established several family lines which have been traced to the present day.

By the time of the 1841 census the whole family was living at Bridge End and Isaac was described as a Hoopmaker whereas son Henry was described as a Hooper. Ten years later in 1851 Mary was a widow aged 49 and had taken over the occupation of hoopmaker, employing 3 labourers. Son Henry had died by this time, Thomas was working away and Elizabeth had married and so only James and Isaac were living at home. James too was a hoopmaker and the household was extended by 2 cartdrivers, described as servants, an apprentice hoopmaker and a lodger who was also a hoopmaker. One 14 year old house servant appears to have been looking after them all and 52 year old Elizabeth Hetherington described as a cousin and unmarried was also in residence. In 1861 Mary was living at Bridge End Cottages with just her youngest son, Isaac who was a hooper. However, Mary's occupation was by this time described as a Farmer of 8 acres. James had married by this stage and was living with his wife and family at Tom Cragg. But the smallholding had decreased to 4 acres by 1871 when the census recorded Mary simply as living in the village of Bridge End. She was being kept company by a visitor named Sarah Huddleston, a 20 year old domestic servant from Ulverston. By the time of the last census in which she appeared in 1881 Mary was described as a retired farmer and her grand-daughter Mary Agnes aged 20 was with her, possibly acting as companion to her grandmother since her occupation was a housekeeper.

Isaac died on 27th January 1844 at Liverpool, reportedly killed when a bale of cotton fell on him from an overhead hoist, and was buried at Haverthwaite, in the old chapel ground, aged 49, on January 30th. His memorial stone describes him as a faithful husband and a tender parent. Interestingly the parish register records his burial as Isaac Croasdell but this has been blotted and crossed out and changed to Croasdale. Isaac didn't leave a will but an administration was granted on 26th June to his widow, together with James Field, shopkeeper and Robert Field, solicitor, both of Cartmel.

Mary died on 12th December 1881 and was buried at Haverthwaite, aged 80, on 16th December, with her husband and at least one of the 4 children who had pre-deceased her. The memorial inscription commemorates 3 of them. Mary left a will, made 5 years previously in 1876, of which her remaining son James was executor. James was the main beneficiary but Elizabeth's four children and James's six children were all left £30 each

Isaac and Mary's five children were

Throughout the written records members of this branch of the family of this generation spelled their surname Croasdell. But in the next generation most of the children of James Croasdell and Eleanor Coward changed the spelling to Croasdale. There are at least two theories current in the family about the reason for the change - which is documented in the marriage register of St Anne's church, Haverthwaite, on the occasion of the marriage on 25 April 1883 of Isaac to Hannah Kirkby. One account is that there was an argument between father and son about some property and the second theory is that the change was made to facilitate a claim to some money in Chancery. (See The Scarlet Woman in Myths & Legends) The notice placed in the Times requesting claimants to come forward did, however, appear in 1875 - so the name change would have been rather a delayed reaction. Nevertheless there is correspondence to prove that other branches were still seeking missing fortunes in the 1890s


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