Select Crowther Miscellany

Here are some Crowther stories and accounts over the years:

Crowther Lineages

Family Location Forebear Birth Date
England   -  Claverly Matthias Crowther 1612 circa

George Crowther 1665 circa

Isaac Crowther 1691
             -   Halifax
Samuel Crowther 1772 circa
             -   Sowerby
James Crowther 1786
             -   Huddersfield
John Crowther 1811
America   -  Utah
Edward Crowther 1535 circa
             -   Pennsylvania James Crowther 1765 circa 
Australia Joseph Crowther  1779 
New Zealand Samuel Crowther 1805 circa 

Jane Crowther's Almshouse

The almshouse and school in Halifax, near the parish church, was founded by Jane Crowther and her sister Ellen Hopkinson in 1613 for the residence of 21 widows and a schoolmaster.  Jane Crowther had left 5 per annum in her will be be paid to a schoolmaster for instructing the children.

Two shillings and six pence were to be paid each month to the widows out a church rates and they were to receive a gown once every two years.

Crowthers, Mill Owners in Huddersfield

The Crowther wool company was founded by John Edward Crowther in 1902.  But it traces its roots back to 1840 when John Crowther of Golcar set up a carding and spinning business in Linthwaite.  He founded a dynasty that was to dominate the woollen industry in the Colne valley.  In 1867 he had established Bank Bottom Mills.  Over the years, the company opened many mills in Marsden and the Colne valley.  In the 1920's, Bank Bottom covered 14 acres, used 680 looms and 43 carding machines, and was employing 1,900 people.  However, the slump of the thirties hit the company hard and JE Crowther shot himself.

The history of the Crowthers is believed to have inspired Thomas Armstrong's dynastic saga, The Crowthers of Bankdam.  The 1947 film, The Master of Bankdam, had its northern premiere at the Ritz in Huddersfield. The film starred such stalwarts as Dennis Price, Jimmy Hanley, and David Tomlinson.

The real Crowthers were as colorful as their screen counterparts.  In his book Colne Valley Folk, Ernest Littlewood wrote: "Among all the families concerned with the development of the woollen industry in Colne valley, that of Crowther must take prominence because of the many offshoots that had sprung from the original founder."

However, this history is now coming to a close.  Staff at John Edward Crowther were left reeling when the company announced its plans to sell the business.  There were also fears that the Marsden company would close if a sale could not be accomplished quickly.

Samuel Adjai Crowther

Samuel Crowther was born Adjai in the Egba group of the Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria.   When he was about fifteen he was captured by slave traders.  But the slave ship was intercepted by a British warship.  Adjai was taken to Sierra Leone where he was converted and baptized, taking the name Samuel Crowther.

He became convinced that evangelization of inland Africa must be carried out by Africans.  Ordained in London in 1843, he was appointed to a new mission in his own Yorubaland.  Among the first converts were his long-lost mother and sister. 

Crowther achieved mush as evangelist, translator, and negotiator.  He impressed many, including Queen Victoria, when he visited England.  The story of his life has been recounted in John Milsome's book, From Slave Boy to Bishop: The Story of Samuel Adjai Crowther.

Arnold Crowther and the Prediction

In the late 1930's, the magician Arnold Crowther became friends with Gerald Gardner whose interest was witchcraft.  Rubbing shoulders with him, Crowther soon became interested in the craft himself.  However, Gardner's coven was wary of any possible adverse publicity.  They felt that Crowther might use their craft information in his act.  Consequently they refused to accept him.  Gardner did predict that "a very special person with fair hair" would initiate him when the time was right.

Twenty years later, while travelling to perform his act, Crowther met a lady "with fair hair," Patricia Dawson. She was performing in the same show and they soon discovered a mutual interest in witchcraft.  Crowther offered to introduce her to his friend Gardner.  Over the following two years and regularly meeting with him, Gardner initiated Patricia on June 6, 1960 at his home in the Isle of Man.  Patricia in turn initiated Crowther and the prediction that Gardner had made to Crowther many years before had come true.  

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