The origins in 1588


The story of the House of Croft begins over four centuries ago in the city of York which at the time was one of England’s principal centres of trade. 

Aerial photograph of York
Since 1581 the monopoly of the city’s commerce had been held by the Merchants Company of York. In 1588, Henry Thompson, member of a prominent Yorkshire family, was admitted to the Company and set up a successful business trading in wine. This firm was to become the Port house that we know today as Croft.

The Croft family were also distinguished members of the merchant community in York and the Thompson and Croft families certainly knew each other. However it was not until later that the Crofts would become involved in the Thompson business.

In the meantime, the Thompsons’ wine firm prospered. By 1647 the company had acquired wine cellars in Bordeaux and had also established itself in Hull, London and Amsterdam. Like other wine merchants of the time, the Thompsons did not trade only in wine. The vessels that they chartered to transport wine from the vineyard regions to northern Europe carried other goods such as textiles on the return journey.