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Gill Brothers and Betton Hall

The following Information was kindly supplied by Edward Gill, who lived at the Hall for some time during his stay in Norton as an evacuee.

Betton Hall passed into the Crompton family who had a paper making business in Bury, Lancashire. The firm was James R Crompton which had been established in 1856. The Crompton family in Bury was quite extensive and included Samuel Crompton (1753 – 1827), inventor of the spinning mule for use in the textile industry. I sat on a chair in the Hall which had belonged to him.

Before the war the family lived in Bury where they had a large house in Chesham Road.

Rosemary, who looked after us at Betton Hall during the war, told me that they were also related to the Author Richmal Crompton, who was born in Bury and whose mother Clara, was a Crompton. Richmal Crompton’s father Rev.Edward John Sewell Lamburn was a Master at Bury Grammar. At the time of Richmal’s birth in 1890, the family was living in Manchester Road, Bury but in 1896, they moved to spacious Malvern Villa in also in Chesham Road. She was a famous author of children’s books in the ‘Just William’ series and had books published from 1922 to 1970.

Ralph Crompton always referred to Betton Hall as his ‘cottage’ which I think was simply their place in the country; places like Betton Hall were fairly cheap in those days – you could get lot for £6,000.00. I believe they bought it in the 1930s. Mrs. Crompton lived there during the week with her daughter Rosemary and companion Miss Baylis; Mr. Crompton used to motor down at weekend, usually on a Friday. Their sons, Philipp and John were up at Oxford University and both were in the University Air Squadron. I’m not sure whether Ken went to University, possibly not as he was in 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force which was formed at Hendon in February 1936 but moved to Speke in May of that year. It could be that Ken worked in the family business in Bury. They certainly all came to Betton at weekends. They also had a younger daughter called Barbara who came and went. She married Randell Frederick Hicks Darwall-Smith who was a teacher and occasionally played cricket for Surrey.

Mrs. Crompton died in 1943 and her husband Ralph in 1958. Following Mr. Crompton’s death, Betton Hall was sold and the building still stands in 2013. Barbara died, Rosemary was in a Convent at Monmouth and Philipp, the only surviving son, then living in Cheshire, continued to run the business. He played polo for Tarporley and hunted with the Cheshire Hounds. He died in 1981, whilst out riding a horse – he probably suffered a stroke. Rosemary died at Ty Mawr Convent in 2006, having been there almost 60 years. Whilst Philipp was head of the firm, they established a factory at Lydney in Gloucestershire. I’m not sure when Philipp sold out or to whom but by the time he died, the family had severed all connection with it.

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