Crumbleholme - The Name and History

It appears that the Crumbleholme family originated from the Forest of Bowland area in northern Lancashire (much family history has been researched back to C14th). Popular family christian names from the earliest times have been Richard and William.

The NameA number of early records survive which actually identify the tract of land which by its topography became known as:

 "Crombilholme/Crombewalholm".

As both Old English (OE i= pre 1150 AD) components of the name are of Germanic/Norse base, it could be conjectured that the land was originally named in Norse by those settling on it. The place name adhered and in time it was then taken as a surname perhaps by their descendants. It is very likely that the family has a Viking DNA link although this is not established at present.

The OE "cromb/crumb" meaning bent or crooked derived from the low German "crom/crum" with the old Norse equivalent being "krumr". The "b" is what is known as an intrusive growth since then. Crumb would have almost certainly been pronounced "croom". The OE "holm(e)" is widespread meaning a flat piece of land often being a water meadow. 

Bring the two together and  the name literally describes a flat piece of land in the bend of a river.

The various spellings of the name seem to occur at all periods and there does not appear to have been a distinct trend in the manner in which it has been recorded. Phonetically the spelling of the name as "Crombleholme", "Cromleholme"  or "Crumlum" does  not really  alter the pronouncation. 

The earliest record found to date of the name being  given to a person is in 1334 with Elias Crumbilholme being recorded as a chaplain in Ribchester. A century later another chaplain of the same church is William de Cromelholme

The name is also recorded as a place name:  From the accounts of John de Radeclif, Keeper of Clitheroe Castle in the year 1341-2 the entry for Bashall ward:

"...............John de Plesington for three waste plots called Crombewalholm*, Swaynesholm, and les Leghes"......27s 4d.

A waste was land used commonly by tenants and was usually on manor boundaries.  This piece of land* can be identified as being the area where today the well cultivated farms of Stakes and the Lees are situated near the town of Chipping.

Some members of the family worked as carpenters in the nearby deer park : 

Costs of the Lodge of the Park of Lathegryme 1435/6 : Edward Crumbeholm working on the mending of sundry defects of the lodge there in carpentry work for the day - 6d.; Alexander Huntyngdene plastering of sundry walls of the lodge for two days per day 4d. - 8d.;

Richard Boys scything of the rushes for making thak (thatch) for covering of said lodge for two days - taking per day 6d - 12d.; cartage of rushes, price of cartage -1d- 6d.; Alexander thatching of houses within said lodge for ten days, taking per day -4d - 3s 4d.; And in stipend of Thomas Penhulton, his servant for ten days, taking per day - 3d - 2s 6d.; and in stipend of same working upon the riddying od said houses for eight days, taking per day 4d. - 2s 4d.

Costs of Ditch of Lathegryme: And payment to Richard Merseden and his companions working upon  the making of 160 roods of new ditch in the circuit of the park there - width eight feet, and depth four feet, and half planted with white thorn in three courses, taking for each rood 8d - 106s 8d.; and payment to Edward Crumbelholm for the making of 160 roods of paling placed upon said ditch, both old and new palings - 2d a rood - 26s 8d.

A link to our family history website :   https://sites.google.com/site/crumbleholmefamilyhistory/


A brief history relating to the our family's building activities since the early 1800's :

William Crumbleholme (b 1788) moved from Lancashire to Frome in Somerset in the early 1800’s and worked as a "gilder & painter" on Longleat House. He died in 1828 as a “builder & innkeper”  of the Packhorse Inn in nearby Frome (the Inn still exists). His son Richard moved to Weymouth in the 1840’s and was listed as a painter.

In turn, his son, another Richard, worked as a plumber and started trading in his own right as a plumber (R. Crumbleholme & Son) from Great George Street, Weymouth in 1889. His son, William Clarke Crumbleholme (b Nov 1877) joined him and both became Registered Plumbers in 1901. William Crumbleholme took over after his father's death in 1909.

William with his wife Ethel (they married on Xmas day 1909) built up the business and acquired adjoining properties in Great George Street as premises. The main trade was still plumbing but by the 1920's other building trades were also employed. During WW2 a skeleton staff was retained and war damage works etc undertaken. William & Ethel's son Richard "Dick" Crumbleholme (attended Brixton School of Building late 1930’s) returned to Weymouth after WW2 serving with the Royal Engineers) and took over the running of the company from 1946. The family homes (23 Greenhill, & 24 Melcombe Avenue, Weymouth) were completed in 1939 and 1947).

In 1947, the company employed 70 men and undertook all building works of a repair, maintenance and refurbishment nature but with plumbing and heating being the speciality.

From 1971, Dick Crumbleholme was joined by his son Richard (also attended Brixton School of Building 1968-71 - Member of Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB) from 1973). In 1974, his younger son Bill Crumbleholme  joined the company. Many larger building & mechanical services contracts (heating systems in public buildings etc) were undertaken from this time. 

The company worked throughout Dorset with the Dorset County Council as one of its major clients. (major contracts at many sites including County hall, Wey Valley School, Blandford School and the New Weymouth Library). Other clients included Lloyds Bank, WH Smith (Booksellers), various housing associations and larger building contractors. Mr Dick Crumbleholme retired in 1981 leaving Richard & William as the fourth generation to run the company.

The company was finally wound up in 1998 and William Crumbleholme became a potter and Richard Crumbleholme a senior surveyor with the Dorset County Council (now retired). Dick Crumbleholme died in September 1998. The company premises at Great George Street, Weymouth were sold by the family in early 2002.

Richard’s son Simon Richard Crumbleholme attended Weymouth College and Glamorgan University (BSc in Building Technology and Mangement) and worked during his vacations with the original company. After working in a national building contractor, he started his own building company in May 2001 and his present partnership with Cliff Orman in 2008.


Exhibition in Weymouth's Sidney Hall c 1928
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Handcart & trade bicycle lodged with the Dorchester County Museum 
(company documents lodged with Dorset History Centre in Dorchester (formerly DCRO)


Local press cutting at 100th anniversary in 1989

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Richard Crumbleholme (1850-1909)         William Clarke Crumbleholme (1877-1973)        Dick Crumbleholme (1918-1998)                                
(started R Crumbleholme & Son 1889)                  
Richard Crumbleholme (started RCS) - my great GF  Vi gave to me 7/98
William C Crumbleholme  c 1910 ??  (rear of photo  J Forse 8th sept 1928 - may be framing date ?  William was  51yrs old in 1928)
Dick Crumbleholme c 1950  ?
Richard Crumbleholme (1950-       )