The knotty history of M. A. Craven’s

If you go for a wander on the internet looking for a history of the old York sweetie firm Craven’s you’ll find very little information. Thousands upon thousands of words have been written about the Rowntree family, but there’s barely a page or two for seekers after the Cravens. This seems strange to me because once you start to dig you find that there the Mary Ann Craven was the one link that united all the major confectioners in York.

I’m working on a longer series of posts about the history of Mary Ann Craven, her business, and all the business that she connected, but for the moment I’m publishing the known facts about it just in case this helps out any other researchers who (like me) have been looking for these dates. I have more, but I’m waiting until I can verify them to add the Alex The Archivist stamp of approval.


  • 1793 – Joseph Hick born
  • 1807 – Frances Craven born in East Acklam
  • 1810 – George Berry made Freeman of York as Grocer
  • 1817 – Thomas Craven born to William and Elizabeth Craven, farmers, East Acklam, East Riding of Yorkshire
  • 1822 – Joseph Hick set up in business as a confectioner at 48 Coney Street (he was 29)
  • 1829 – Mary Ann Craven born
  • 1833 – Thomas Craven (aprox. 16) bound apprentice for seven years to George Berry & Thomas Hide, Confectioners
  • 1835 – Thomas Hide takes up freedom of the City
  • 1840 – 24th February (less than three weeks after completing his apprenticeship) Thomas Craven takes oath of Freeman
  • 1843 – Craven’s business is listed as Confectionery wholesale and retail
  • 1843 – Frances Craven, wife of Thomas Hide, dies 27th August aged 36. Her husband dies a few weeks later
  • 1843 – 21st October Thomas Craven advertises that he has taken the shop next to his late brother-in-law and is in wholesale and retail confectionery, and tea and coffee warehouse, 19 High Ousegate. Advertising to recruit four staff.
  • 1851 – Thomas Craven is employing 63 men and 60 boys
  • 1857 – Thomas Craven marries Mary Ann Hick
  • 28th February 1860 – Joseph Hick dies
  • 1867 – Mary is listed as running the business across three different premises
  • 1900 Mary Ann Craven dies aged 71

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