Though Richard Crossley was arguably one of the most important manufacturers of flatware in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, very little is known about him.
Asked by an interested collector what it was possible to find out about him, I started from his Will, a complicated document some sixteen pages long. It gives many details concerning his estate but, perhaps more interestingly, specifies that ‘I desire that my body may be buried at Wooburn in the County of Bucks near to the remains of my first wife and daughter & that my funeral be organised in such manner as my trustees and ex[ecut]ors hereinafter appointed shall think proper’.
Though much worn on arrival at St. Paul's Church, Wooburn we found the tomb in the corner of the cemetery and there was enough of the inscription remaining to identify the tomb as that of Richard Crossley. Crossley’s executors had followed his wishes, erecting a substantial monument to him and his wife Sally.
Ongoing research may provide a fuller transcript — there are many points of interest in what we were able to decipher:
Sacred to the memory of Richard Crossley of Paradise House Islington
29th April 1815
And on the other side — the inscription to his wife:
Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Sally Crossley
Also of Miss Sarah Crossley
Subsequently a visit to Buckinghmashire Record Office provided the following from a full transcript made of the tombs in Wooburn Church Yard in the first half of the nineteenth century:
Richard Crossley Esqr late of paradise
House Islington in the parish of Middlesex
and formerly of London Goldsmith, the third son of
John Crossley of Hilton in the County of Derby
who by Persevering Industry with the Strictest Integrity
realised considerable Property which he bequeathed
amongst his collateral relations and departed this life
a Widower without leaving any Issue Surviving him
on the 29th day of April 1815
aged 75 years.
I am hoping that a forthcoming visit to Hilton may reveal further information from local archive material — and perhaps more informative gravestones...
P.O Box 227, London N6 4EW, England.