Elizabeth Proud, Woollen Mill Owner and Manufacturer, Hard Bank Mill Hayton

Elizabeth Proud (née Ellwood) of Cumrew, outside Carlisle, came from a farming family. A Betty Ellwood, the daughter of John Ellwood and Elizabeth Dodd, was baptized at Cumrew on 12 November 1786.

Nothing is then heard about Elizabeth Ellwood until her marriage to John Proud, a wheelwright, from Haltwistle on 15 October 1806.[1] When signing the register, Elizabeth wrote her name as ‘Elizabeth Brand (late Ellwood)’. This might imply that she had been married previously, or that for some reason she had been adopted by a family named Brand, even though her father was still alive. As Elizabeth was a minor at the time of her marriage to Proud, her father John gave consent to his daughter’s marriage.[2]

John Proud may be the same John Proud listed as a corporal in the Coldstream Guards in 1815.[3]

There are no records of children being born to John and Elizabeth Proud until 1815. All the children were baptised in Hayton, near Hard Bank Mill.

Jane (1815–51), baptized14 May 1815.

Elizabeth (1818–73), baptized 28 June 1818.

John (1819–38), baptized 14 February 1819.

Mary (1821–21), baptized 20 May 1821.

Edward (1823–1901), baptized 10 August 1821.

John Proud died in 1823.[4]

An announcement regarding the sale of ‘Proud’s Hards Bank Mill’ in the Carlisle Express and Examiner in 1874 states that the mill had been established in 1823, the year John Proud died.[5] This raises the possibility that either John Proud had only recently acquired the mill before his death, or that Elizabeth had entered the premises after his decease. As there was no announcement in the local newspapers to say that Elizabeth intended to continue the business after her husband’s decease, the latter scenario is a distinct possibility. Attached to the mill was a farm of 51 acres.

In 1824, Elizabeth took parish apprentices to work in her mill as the following entries in Parish of Hayton Register Book for Parish Apprentices, 1806–1833 show.[6]

24 December 1824 William Nixon 15 (son of Thomas Nixon and brother of John Nixon 14) workhouse, apprenticed to Elizabeth Proud weaver Hardbank term of apprenticeship to 21 years, no fee, overseers parties to indenture Wm Graham, Jno Brown, John Westgarth, John Wilson, Wm Barker William Penrith. Magistrates attending Thos Lowry John Heysham.

24 December 1824 William Brown 13, Jane Brown mother, workhouse, apprenticed to Elizabeth Proud weaver Hardbank term of apprenticeship to 21 years, no fee, overseers parties to indenture, Philip Bushby, John Brown, John Westgarth, John Wilson, Wm Barker William Penrith. Magistrates attending Thos Lowry John Heysham.

In Pigot’s 1828–29 directory, Elizabeth Proud is listed as a woollen carder and spinner at ‘Hardbank Mill’.[7] As a manufacturer, she supplied a basic grey cloth and yarn to the parish poor and workhouse. [8]

She also occupied a house and shop in Front Street, Brampton, next to the Pack Horse Inn. Consisting of a shop with two rooms above, it was offered for sale in 1829.[9]

There are several entries for Elizabeth Proud, manager of Hard Bank Mill in Carlisle’s newspapers, although as both she and her daughter, also called Elizabeth, ran the mill it is difficult to determine, at times, which one is being referred to.[10]

One report in the Carlisle Patriot in 1832 concerns the appeal for relief of a certain Elizabeth Tinniswood, a pauper, single and with child.[11] Tinniswood been brought up in Hayton Workhouse until she was eleven. She was then sent into service with Mrs Proud and it was ‘fair to assume she had been hired’. Elizabeth Proud stated that the pauper had ‘lived with her and her husband for four years, and had worked for her meat; but she had never been hired, and was at liberty to go away whenever she liked: when witness parted with her, she merely told the overseers that she had no more occasion for her’. Tinniswood too stated that she had worked ‘in the woollen mill for her meat and clothes but never was hired’. Assuming that this is the same Elizabeth Proud, these events must have occurred before the death of John Proud in 1823. The case was adjourned.

In the Carlisle Journal in 1848, Elizabeth Proud was mentioned as the manager of ‘Hard Bank Carding Mill’ in the prosecution of William Graham. Graham was accused of stealing a number of fleeces, selling them subsequently to Proud.[12]

The 1841 Census rounded down adult ages to the nearest five. For Hardbank Mill it lists the following people.[13] Elizabeth Proud the elder is not listed, although she was still alive.

Jane Proud 25 Wool carder
Elizabeth Proud 20 Wool carder
Edward Proud 15 Wool carder
William Hamilton 20 Weaver
William Brown 25 Weaver
Richard Creighton 25 Wool carder
William Dalton 15 Wool carder
William Watson 13 Wool carder
Jane Watson 15 Wool carder
Barbara Creighton 12 Wool carder
Elizabeth Newton 60 Independent


It may be that weaver William Brown is the same as the one apprenticed in 1824.

Elizabeth Proud of the ‘Carding Mill Hayton’, was buried on 13 March 1851.[14] She was 64.

This blog has been researched by Ellie Berry, William Bundred, Margaret Dean and Angie Davidson.

[1] CAS, DHN/C/612/222, Howard Family of Naworth papers.

[2] Carlisle Marriage Bonds, 7 Oct. 1806, p. 133.

[3]https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/namesearch/?FirstName=john&Surname=proud [accessed 21 Sept. 2021].

[4] National Burial Index of England and Wales, 26 Nov. 1823.

[5] Carlisle Express and Examiner, 6 June 1874, p. 4.

[6] CAS, PR102/125, Parish of Hayton Register Book for Parish Apprentices, 1806–1833.

[7] Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 1: Cheshire – Northumberland] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), p. 66.

[8] CAS, PR102/110.

[9] Carlisle Patriot, 23 May 1829, p. 1.

[10] Carlisle Journal, 11 Nov. 1848

[11] Carlisle Patriot, 7 July 1832, p. 2.

[12] Carlisle Journal, 11 Aug. 1828, p. 4.

[13] TNA, HO107/168, 1841 Census.

[14] Hayton Parish Register.