Robert “Parsley” Peel - 1723 - 1795

Born in 1723 the son of William Peele and his wife Jane Walmesley, Robert with his father William were yeoman farmers in    Lancashire, who were engaged in the infant textile industry, then organised on the basis of the domestic system (most of the work being undertaken in the home).

In 1743 Robert married Elizabeth Howarth, he had seven sons and one daughter: in c.1760 he went into partnership with his brother-in-law Jonathan Howarth. Four years later they began a small calico printing factory at Brookside,  Oswaldtwistle; William Yates, the publican of the Black Bull Inn, was brought in to provide warehouse space and additional capital. Their  earliest   success  was the production of a simple parsley leaf design from which Robert Peel earned his trade nickname, "Parsley" Peel.

On the death of his father William, Robert  inherited the Peel Fold estate. It was with him and his brothers that the name was first spelt Peel instead of Peele.

In 1772 Peel gave his 3rd son Robert £500 to start a business on his own account.

He continued to exploit and improve on Richard Arkwright's  new   system of factory spinning and quickly expanded the number of mills.

However, in 1779, Peel's mill in Altham was caught in series of riots against machinery, specifically the carding machines and spinning jenny. Due to the unrest within the workforce, he decided to establish a new factory in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Peel’s new cotton  factory was a great success and the business expanded rapidly.

In 1794, Parsley Peel obtained the grant of a coat of arms, including a shuttle held by a lion, a bee signifying business and a new family  motto “Industria”.

Robert “Parsley” Peel died on 12th September 1795, and was buried in St John's Church, Manchester. His estate was split equally between his eight children, valued at £17,500 each (about £1.25 million today).