Robert Collier of Crawley

Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by wychwood, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. wychwood

    wychwood New Member

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    I am working on the history of Crawley and Crawley Mill in Oxfordshire, and have in effect reached a brick wall regarding Robert Collier (c.1790-1848) - does anyone have any information about this individual? i know that he went bankrupt around 1833 (source Jacksons Oxford journal), but how did Colliers manage to hang on to the blanket-making business after that date?
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Hello wychwood - welcome to Top Dog C|:-)

    Have you had a look at the Witney Blanket website, which has a section on Collier? (witneyblanketstory.org.uk/WBP.asp?navigationPage=Manufacturers&file=WBPPERS.XML&record=Collier)

    By the way, could you pop into your profile and update your location, please? Thanks. :)
     
  3. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Hello wychwood and welcome to Top Dog:)

    The Colliers are a most interesting family, and can claim to have begun making blankets in Witney for many years before the arrival of the Earlys. I do have many notes on them and the blanket industry, though much of what I have is still in storage since a recent house move.

    The Robert Collier you mention was, I think, the eldest son of Robert Collier and Mary Brooks, who married at Witney St Mary in 1784. I have a note that the father Robert died in 1829, leaving a will, but don't have a copy of the will to hand.

    Re. the mill history, have you tried looking at the Heritage Search website, which includes parts of the county record office's catalogue? The deeds for Worsham Mill may hold some clues. Document ref. P333/1/D/16 (dated 17 October 1832) relates to the 'Charging of Worsham Mills with sum of £2,000 to cover non-supply of blankets' and involves Robert Collier of Crawley Mills. Just a few days earlier Robert Collier of Crawley, blanket manufacturer, had mortgaged Worsham Mills for £1200 (P333/1/D/15).

    If I recall correctly there is an advertisement in JOJ in 1833 for the sale of Worsham Mill following the bankruptcy of Robert (and his brother Horatio?). Perhaps somehow they managed to hang on to Crawley Mill by selling Worsham. I think Crawley Mill was later in the hands of Horatio's sons James and Albert, until it was sold to Smiths. I've seen an inventory of contents at the time of the sale (late 1870s?), and will look it out for you.

    I presume you have seen the Victoria County History? In case not, the part about Crawley is online here:

    http://www.
    british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=116971

    Please excuse the bitty answer: I'll try to dig out more and get back to you.

    Best wishes

    Jane
     
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  4. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    There are references to a Robert Collier (who is described as the father of Horatio Collier) in The Blanket Makers, by Plummer & Early (1969), but it is unclear if this is the Robert Collier who went bankrupt in 1833. Collier & Co were said to have been able to produce 2,000 pairs of point blankets per month around 1814, which suggests a fairly large operation (presumably based in the Corn Street blanket factory and at Crawley Mill). Could Horatio Collier have taken over his father's debts at the time of the bankruptcy?
     
  5. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    According to my notes, Robert Collier senior (father of Horatio) died in 1829, so I think it must be Robert junior who was bankrupt in 1833.
     
  6. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    This entry from the London Gazette of 17 October 1834 announces a meeting of the creditors of Robert and Horatio Collier:

    http://www.
    london-gazette.co.uk/issues/19202/pages/1855

    There are references to a court case (Benbow and others v. Curling and others), and to Worsham Mill and other real estate, including property in Corn Street. Among the decisions to be made at the creditors' meeting are whether some of the property should be put up for sale by the assignees. Perhaps it was not deemed necessary to sell Crawley Mill?

    I note that some of the property was mortgaged to members of the Jones family. I believe they were related by marriage to the Colliers, so perhaps the extended family rallied round to bale out Robert and Horatio.
     
  7. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    There are several bankruptcy references in Jackson's Oxford Journal for 1833 which refer to Robert Collier, Horatio Collier, Samuel Collier the Elder and Samuel Collier the Younger - so the situation would seem to be far more complicated than expected. One of the advertisements refers to the sale of looms and other equipment at Witney and Crawley, and another mentions a three-floored warehouse in the High Street.
     
  8. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Samuel senior and junior did go bankrupt as well, but I don't know if there was any direct connection with Robert & Horatio Collier's bankruptcy.

    Jackson's Oxford Journal of 21 July 1832 announces the forthcoming auction of stock, machinery and furniture of Samuel Collier and Son, blanket manufacturers, bankrupts. The machinery to be sold 'includes 3 double engines, with willies, scribblers, and jacks; two third shares in a fulling mill, and 2 water wheels; 3 racks in drying ground, &c. &c.'

    I'll have to dig a bit deeper to see if I can identify which fulling mill that was. I can't at the moment find my notes on the family of Samuel Collier and son . . . need to do some more housework. :(
     
  9. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    There are some very detailed references to Worsham Mill, which contain a full list of the equipment. The Crawley auction reference mentions looms, etc., but many of the items on offer are purely domestic. Another announcement mentions Corn Street blanket factory but there is not much in the way of detail. I don't know if "Wychwood" has examined all of these references (?)
     
  10. wychwood

    wychwood New Member

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  11. wychwood

    wychwood New Member

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    Many thanks for all the information. I have seen the auctions in Jackson's Oxford Journal including the one of 1833 when Robert (junior) would appear to be living in Crawley, found him on the 1841 census living at Crawley Farm (now The Farmhouse).
     
  12. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    But there were about four different auctions in 1833, involving at least four different members of the Collier family, including Robert, Horatio and two Samuels.
     
  13. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    There's another snippet about Crawley Mill in the London Gazette of 17 February 1818:

    '. . . about nine o'clock on the evening of Monday the 20th January last, some evil-disposed person maliciously fired a gun, loaded with a leaden bullet, at Mr. William George, foreman to the journeymen Fullers, employed at Crawley-Mill, in the county of Oxford, the property of Mr. Robert Collier, jun. whereby the life of the said William George was in imminent danger . . . '​

    http://www.
    london-gazette.co.uk/issues/17333/pages/335

    which puts a Robert Collier junior at Crawley Mill in 1818. This may well be the same person who was bankrupt in 1833, though one does have to be careful in interpreting the terms 'senior' and 'junior' as one person can have both titles at different times during their life.

    I don't know if the unfortunate Mr William George succumbed to his injuries, or whether the culprit was ever caught.
     
  14. D Collier

    D Collier Member

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    Hello Wychwood.
    I might be able to help. I have some history of the Collier's of Witney.
     
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  15. D Collier

    D Collier Member

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    Hello Wychwood.
    Looking at some of the information I have, I think that branch of the Collier's went from Southleigh in the 1600s to Brize Norton and to Corn Street. Horatio was named after Nelson. One of the Colliers from Brize Norton was killed at Trafalgar on board HMS Defiance.

    Derek
     
  16. D Collier

    D Collier Member

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    Hello Wychwood
    My information on Crawley, Asthall and Worsham Mills. I hope it's of some help.
    Derek

    1800 birth of Edward Smith Collier s/o Robert and Mary at Crawley Mill.
    1818 Crawley Mill property of Robert Collier junior.
    1822 Robert of Crawley and Horatio late of Witney but now late of Worsham Mill. (Dividends paid)
    1825 Robert s/o Charles and Ann of Worsham Mill baptised.
    1826 Robert junior of Crawley, Astall Mill. (Freeholder)
    1826 Charles of Astall Mill.
    1828 John son of Charles & Ann Collier of Worsham married Emily Westell Bateman of Asthall Manor.
    1829 Edward Smith Collier son of Robert married Mary Ann Dolley of Witney.
    1830 Charles of Witney High Street and Worsham Mill
    1830 Robert of Corn Street, Crawley and Worsham Mills
    1830 Robert and Horatio of Crawley Mill
    1830 Robert of Crawley and Worsham Mills
    1831 Charles of Worsham Mill died aged 37
    1832 Robert of Crawley Mill
    1832 Robert of Crawley Mill Mortgage for Worsham Mill
    1833 Sale of Worsham Mill.
    Blanket & Spinning Factories, Fulling and Grist Mills at Worsham. Two newly erected spinning factories of 2 & 3 floors, copper and zinc roofs; altogether 110 feet long by feet wide. Breast shot wheel, 12´ diameter and 14´ wide. The most powerful Mill in or around Witney. A detached Stock House or Fulling Mill with a separate wheel 14´ diameter by 8´ wide. Large weaving shop and outbuildings. A modern Dwelling House with blanket store room. Also a large Corn and Grist Mill driving 3 pairs of stones which could be run from the factory. Adjacent is a Millers House of sizeable proportions, stabling for 5 horses, hovelling, sheds, piggeries, and a good garden in front. 5 double and 3 single carding and scribbling engines, 9 mules and a wool willey machine. All buildings recently erected accept the Corn Mill which is let at £100 per year. (Jacksons Oxford Journal)
    1832-33: The voyage of the ship Boston [Captain Bancroft] belonging to Perkins & Co, to Canton. The Boston left Boston, c1 Jun 1832, with a cargo for Hamburg. After discharging the cargo she went to London, where she loaded a cargo of cotton and woollen cloth, purchased by Barings. Russell & Co, of Canton (HC6.1.8), managed the sales in that place, and reloaded the ship with tea.
    The documents include Perkins & Co’s indents for goods to be bought by Barings and the negotiations of the latter with Benjamin Gott & Sons of Leeds (HC3.50), Craft & Still of Manchester, Robert Collier of Witney, and other, for the provision of cotton cloth and woollen blankets; with some samples of the cloth (See also HC5.2.10)
    1835 Robert of Crawley Mill bankrupt
    1835 Horatio late of Worsham bankrupt
    1835 Edward Smith Collier at Worsham Mill
    1850 Charles blanket manufacturer of the High Street and Worsham Mill. Not sure if this can be correct.
    (Information from Hudson Bay Records).
    Robert Collier & Son, supplier of blankets to Hudson Bay, York Factory fur trading post from 1822-25.
    Robert Collier supplier of blankets to York Factory from 1826-33.
    Red River Settlement in 1827.
    Horatio Collier supplier of blankets to York Factory 1836, 1838-42, 1844, 1847, 1850, 1852.
    Red River Settlement, 1838, 1842, 1844, 1847, and 1852.


    Of all the Mills once held by the Collier’s; by 1852 Charles Early & Co. had taken over Collier’s part of Witney Mill, the rest of the Mill was occupied by his son Richard. Farm Mill was in the hands of Edward Early, and Worsham Mill was with Richard Early jun. Horatio Collier was the only Collier still holding a Mill, that being Crawley Mill, together with the weaving shops in Corn Street. Not sure what had happened to Thomas and his 6 weavers, which could have been the property on the east side of the High Street, (?now Boots the Chemist) but it looks as if was taken over by Samuel Collier, who must have closed it in around 1853/4.
     
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  17. D Collier

    D Collier Member

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    Hi Wychwood

    Thought I would tell you that after Horatio Collier died his sons James and Albert also traded with the Hudson Bay Company. The last record they have is for Albert who supplied blankets to them in 1874.
     
  18. peter cameron

    peter cameron Member

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    Can any contributor suggest why Edward Smith Collier born in 1800 had the middle name Smith? Was there a family connection with the Smiths?
     
  19. Sandiep

    Sandiep Successfully Supports Searches!

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    don't know why his middle name was Smith......but he was convicted of fraud in 1840 2 counts and was imprisoned for 2 months
     
  20. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    There could be any number of reasons why the chap's middle name was Smith. It might be a family name going back generations - or it might be unrelated, as mentioned here about WS Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame).
     

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