The Name and History

A very rare name and one that perhaps brings a smile to people's faces when they see our present day profession !

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 Name : A 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 = 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. Our family has about a 20% Viking DNA component.

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.

< Left : This piece of land near Chipping in northern Lancashire was once named as Crombewalholm

(See * below)

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, Lancashire. 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 * (see photo above) 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.

Our own Weymouth family descends from Richard Crombleholme of Dutton, Lancashire (born c 1490 - 1576) (Simon's grandfather x 11 ). He purchased lands belonging to Whalley Abbey shortly after Henry VII's Dissolution of the Monastries. Some he sold off afterwards. Our descent is via Richard Crombleholme of Crombleholme Fold (near Beacon Fell Park - Forest of Bowland, Northern Lancashire) (Simon's grandfather x 9)

A link to our Family History website :

Research by Richard Crumbleholme. (Simon's father)

Above : Huntingdon Hall, Dutton, Lancashire - originally built by Richard Crombleholme in 1619

Above : The engraved stone on lintel over entrance on Huntingdon Hall

R 1619 C

Above : Crombleholme Fold farmhouse in Goosnargh, Lancashire

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

William Crumbleholme (born 1788) moved from Lancashire to Frome in Somerset in the early 1800’s and worked as a "gilder & painter" on the nearby famous Longleat House. He died in 1828 as a “builder & innkeper” of the Packhorse Inn in nearby Frome (the Inn still exists). His son Richard Crumbleholme married a Weymouth girl in Crewkerne and 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 (born 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 Christmas 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 also 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. 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 in 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 Management) and worked during his vacations with the original company. After working for a national building contractor, he started his own building company in May 2001 and his partnership with Cliff Orman in 2008. This partnership was made into the present limited liability partnership (LLP) in 2013.

Below : Five generations of Weymouth Crumbleholme family !

Richard Crumbleholme


William Clarke Crumbleholme

(1877 - 1973)

Dick Crumbleholme


Richard Crumbleholme (retired MCIOB)

(1950 - )

Simon Richard Crumbleholme BSc

(1978 - )

Above : Handcart & trade bicycle which was lodged with the Dorchester County Museum

The company documents from the 1900's are lodged with Dorset History Centre in Dorchester (formerly DCRO)

100 years celebration in 1989 (Dorset Echo)

Crumbleholme WC cisterns, manhole covers and boiler plates are becoming rare now. We would be interested if you have any in your property !

Below right : Simon Crumbleholme often uses his great grandfather's lead tools

Above : Handcart in original condition in Dorchester Museum

Above : Handcart rebuilt by Simon Crumbleholme