Croasdell Family - Potted Histories



James Croasdell

James and Hannah
James & Hannah

was my great great grandfather and the earliest family member for whom a photograph has survived.

He was born at Elingharth on 1st March 1813 and baptised at Finsthwaite on 4th April. Unlike his forbears he seems not to have earned his living working with wood but developed his standing in the community through his endeavours as a husbandman who later became a substantial farmer and owner of a lime quarry. James married Hannah Wood on 31st March 1834 at Hawkshead and their early married life was spent in that area. Two children were baptised there and the third at her mother's family home in Bootle, on the Cumberland coast. But by 1842 the family had moved to farm at Lower Hawthwaite, Broughton in Furness where the last five children were born. (See 1851 census)


Plumpton Hall
Around 1858 James became tenant farmer at Plumpton Hall near Ulverston on the Furness coastline. The property supposedly originates from around the 12th century and is sited on the edge of the sands looking out towards Chapel island. It features in the story of the haunted lantern in Myths and Legends. James and the family flourished and he became a well respected pillar of the local community. The 1861 census shows that he was farming 400 acres as well as operating the quarry to burn lime. There were 8 servants in the household, most of them employed on the farm such as the hedger, carter, 2 ploughmen, a dairy maid, and of course a full-time mole catcher! One of James's achievements was the rearing of a prize bull which was captured in paint and the picture later bequeathed to his granddaughter Hannah Croasdell (married Robert Geldart Battersby). Unfortunately the portrait of the bull was apparently burnt some time later.

James was remembered by his sons and grandsons as being stern but fair and two sides to his character are evidenced by two different items in the Ulverston Mirror of 26th January 1861. On the one hand he has taken an errant servant to court for leaving service before working out his time. But on the other hand he has taken in to the newspaper offices the first primrose of the season, a particularly early flowering.

Whilst James and Hannah were at Plumpton Hall another article in the Ulverston Mirror recorded the launching of a ship named the "Hannah Croasdell" from Mr Wilson's yard at nearby Canal Head.

Family remembrance is that James paid for all his sons to establish themselves in a trade or profession of their choice - but then they were on their own - with varying results! By 1871 the size of the farm had been reduced slightly to 365 acres and there was no mention of the lime quarry. Most of the children had left home and shortly afterwards James and Hannah also left Plumpton for Hammerside Hall.


James and Hannah's grave
Here Hannah died in June 1873 when she was buried at St Mary's Ulverstone. There is a tombstone just beyond the lych gate to the right of the pathway.

On 1st October 1878 James married for a second time at St Mary's Applethwaite, Windermere, to Susannah Huddleston nee Atkinson. Susannah was the widow of the landlord of the public house at Canal Foot, not far from Plumpton Hall. The couple spent the next few years in Windermere at Oak Villa and in 1881 Susannah's son Robert Huddleston and James's son Isaac were also with them.


Violet Bank
But James had returned to Hawkshead by 1890 when he died at Violet Bank, the house next to the family farm of Skinner How, by then being farmed by his nephew. He was buried at Ulverston with his first wife Hannah and received a glowing obituary in the local press. He left a will containing some interesting personal information

Family census information from 1841 - 1881 (1851)

James and Hannah had 7 sons and 1 daughter, all but one living to adulthood.



To continue with the line of descent see John 1847 - 1941