The Agecroft Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of title deeds and miscellaneous documents relating to Agecroft Hall, which was located in Agecroft, Pendlebury near Manchester, and the Dauntesey and Langley families who owned the Hall.

Administrative / Biographical History

The original owners of the manor of Pendlebury were succeeded by the Prestwiches, who owned the adjacent manor of Prestwich. Joan, the daughter of Jordan de Tetlow and his wife Alice, daughter and heiress of Adam de Pretwich, married Richard de Longley c 1360, thereby bringing the manors of Pendlebury, Prestwich and Alkrington together. The Longleys or Langleys were an important local family throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. When Sir Robert Langley died in 1561 his estates were divided between his four daughters. He left Agecroft and the adjacent lands to his daughter Anne, who married William Dauntesey. The Dauntesey family held the estate into the 20th century.

Agecroft Hall was probably built around the end of the reign of Henry VII, or the beginning of that of Henry VIII. By the end of the 19th century the Hall had fallen into disrepair, and in 1925 it was sold at auction to Thomas C Williams Jr and transported to Richmond, Virginia. It is now an educational trust cared for by the Agecroft Association.


At a meeting of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society dated 10 Apr 1886, J. P. Earwaker read a paper concerning his work on the Agecroft deeds and charters. The report on this meeting states "These deeds when placed in Mr Earwaker's hands were in a state of great confusion. They were unindorsed, and were lying loose in boxes without order or arrangement. They have now been classified in chronological order, and endorsed. Altogether there are 450 documents, and they have been arranged in twelve sections". The sections, or series, used by Earwaker are detailed in his article for the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society.

Based on Earwaker's arrangement but not duplicating it, the Archivist has created 13 series in this catalogue. Although some changes have been made to Earwaker's arrangement, the physical order of the collection has not been altered. A number of documents not catalogued by Earwaker appear in this list. The reference numbers written on the documents have not been altered, and still follow the bundle and deed number order assigned to the documents by Earwaker and earlier cataloguers.

A number of documents catalogued by J. P. Earwaker are not held by Chetham's Library. Please consult the Archivist for more information.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to this collection. Viewing is by prior appointment. Please contact

Custodial History

J. P. Earwaker listed the Agecroft charters and deeds in 1885, when they were preserved at Agecroft Hall. When the Hall was sold these documents were removed and deposited in a Manchester bank. They were subsequently deposited in Chetham's Library. However, in 1955-56 a considerable number of documents were removed from Chetham's Library by members of the Dauntesey family. In 1977 the family presented a representative selection of 28 deeds to the new Agecroft Hall in America. In addition, the Agecroft Association have recently purchased a number of documents. Their address is The Agecroft Association, 4305 Sulgrave Road, Richmond, Virginia 23221.


  • J. P. Earwaker, 'An Account of the Charters, Deeds, and Other Documents, Now Preserved at Agecroft Hall, co Lancashire', Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, volume IV (1886), pp. 199-220.
  • The Victoria History of the Counties of England, volume iv, pp. 397 et seq.