John Hacking

Death 10 Nov 1805 (aged 64–65)
Burial Altham, Hyndburn Borough, Lancashire, England
Memorial ID 21167467 · View Source
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Altham commemorates an early pioneer of the Lancashire cotton industry, whose claim to distinction has often been overlooked. A gravestone in the Altham churchyard records the names of John Hacking, age 65, and Ellen, his wife, died December 1, 1823, age 85. The rear of the stone bears the following inscription: "To the memory of John and Ellen Hacking, who invented and made the first carding engine, and turned it by hand. They carded cotton wool for their neighbors in Huncoat in the year 1772."

It is of interest to notice cotton wool as the material for carding, as it was not then realized that cloth could be composed exclusively of cotton. It was not until after the period of Hacking's invention that cloth manufactured of cotton solely was introduced. It was not long before it became more widely known, and Hacking's carding engine cme into general use.

John and Ellen resided in a cottage that stood on part of what is now the old Baptist chapel yard, near Town Gate, Huncoat. The sons of John Hacking helped in the business of constructing their father's carding engines, as well as building small mills to house them, which were known as carding engine houses, the machines being too large to find accomodation in the loom houses. In 1790 there were several of these carding engines in use in the neighborhood. Thomas Turner and Benjamin Wilson both used one at Baxenden in their carding engine houses.

The fame of John Hacking as the inventor of the carding engine was commemorated by the east window of Altham Church, being placed there as a memorial to him by members of the Manchester Royal Exchange at the time of the restoration of the church in 1859, fifty four years after his death. Hacking brothers became the principal builders in the district during the early nineteenth century. Their achievements included the erection of At. Mary's Roman Catholic Church at Clayton-le-Moors; Dunkenhalph rebuilding 1816-1817, when Leonard Hacking was said to have been engaged there for twenty years wood carving etc.; while Read Hall was being built by them in 1825.

The present east window in Altham Church was installed in place of the aforementioned window in painted glass in memory of John Hacking, the inventor of the carding engine. The old window, which was in bad condition, was replaced by the present one by the Hacking family, who commemorated in addition their father and mother, the late Joshua and Eliza Simpson Hacking, who died in 1925 and 1928 respectively.

John and Ellen Hacking are buried in the Altham Churchyard where the commemorated tombstone is laid.

Gravestone with a Lesson
Southland Times , Issue 19220, 5 December 1903, Page 1
Parish of Altham



  • Created by: Rhonda
  • Added: 25 Aug 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21167467
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Hacking (1740–10 Nov 1805), Find a Grave Memorial no. 21167467, citing St James Church, Altham, Hyndburn Borough, Lancashire, England ; Maintained by Rhonda (contributor 46869790) .