Lady Mary Booth's 'La Catechisme de l'Eglise Expliqué'

  • Reference
      GB 133 French MS 145
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      182 x 143 mm. 1 volume. 66 folios, paginated [xii] + 110 + [x]. Medium: paper. Binding: bound in contemporary panelled calf, gilt tooled, gilt spine with morocco title label, all edges gilt.
  • Location
      Collection available at John Rylands Library, Deansgate.

Scope and Content

A translation of the Catechism into French by Lady Mary Booth (1704-1772), only child of George Booth (1675-1758), 2nd Earl of Warrington. Entitled 'Le Catechisme de L’Eglise Expliqué par les preuves tiré de l’Ecriture Sainte. Traduite de L’Anglois par moy Mary Booth'. This charming manuscript was written by Lady Mary Booth in 1717, when she was only thirteen, presumably as an educational exercise. The text and hand-ruled page borders have been slightly cropped, indicating that the volume was bound after it was written, perhaps in the 1720s.

Script: written in brown ink in Lady Mary Booth's formal, rather child-like hand.

Decoration: the title page is decorated with childish pen flourishes.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lady Mary Booth (1704-1772) was the only child of George Booth (1675-1758), 2nd Earl of Warrington, and his wife Mary Oldbury, the daughter of a wealthy London merchant, who brought him a fortune estimated at £40,000. The marriage was not a happy one, and it failed to produce a son to continue the Booth line at Dunham Massey. Instead the 2nd Earl of Warrington appears to have focused all his affection and concern on his only daughter, Mary (1704-1772), who was trained to assume responsibility for the management of the estates. In 1736 Mary Booth married Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford, the two families already being associated by the marriage in 1644 of George Booth (1622-1684), 1st Baron Delamer, to Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the 1st Earl of Stamford.

Under Lord Warrington's will Dunham Massey and the Booth estates were vested in two trustees, George and Thomas Hunt, on behalf of Mary during her lifetime (as a woman she could not own the property herself), subject to a proviso that her husband should have no power or control over them. Whatever the legal position, Mary Countess of Stamford was the de facto owner of the Booth estates and took a keen personal interest in their development. On her death in 1772 Dunham Massey passed to her son, George Harry Grey (1737-1819), 5th Earl of Stamford.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The manuscript was purchased from the bookseller Christopher Edwards of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, in May 2010, for £850.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the manuscript can be supplied for private research and study purposes only, depending on the condition of the manuscript.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the manuscript. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The volume bears the bookplate of Lady Mary Booth on the front free endpaper. Her signature appears on the first leaf, dated 1724/5. Below that is the inscription: 'Given by J. Grey to Lady H. Grey May 25th 1773'. The donor was undoubtedly Mary's youngest son, the Honourable John Grey (1743-1802), who had perhaps inherited it on his mother’s death the previous year; the recipient was presumably his niece Lady Henrietta Grey (1764-1826), daughter of his eldest brother the 5th Earl of Stamford; she was only nine at the time. Lady Henrietta later married Sir John Chetwode, bart, but there are no later indications of provenance and the book has remained essentially untouched since the late 18th century.

Related Material

The Library holds the papers of the Grey family, Earls of Stamford, from Dunham Massey, and of their predecessors, the Booth family. These include the papers of Lady Mary Booth (GB 133 EGR3/7). The Library also holds a volume of plant specimens collected by Lady Mary Booth at Dunham Massey in 1725 (GB 133 English MS 1545).

Geographical Names