Countess of Stamford's Case

Scope and Content

Mary Countess of Stamford explains her earlier, qualified, consent to the cutting of the Bridgewater Canal, and declares her present opposition to the Bill.

In 1760 M.C.S. permitted the Duke of Bridgewater's agents to carry out a survey in her lands and [Dunham Massey] Park, but she stated that she would never consent to the cut going through the Park, or through those lands between the Park and the highway, which her successors might wish to incorporate into the Park. The surveyors then tried a course to the north of the Park through the demesne lands, to which she did not object.

M.C.S. offers explanations for her consent. "People were then dazzled by the newness of an undertaking of that kind -carrying a River over a River &c". The advantages of the canal were magnified by the Duke's agents, and M.C.S. heard no objection from her steward or from others. M.C.S. signed her consent on 7 October 1760, but in the autumn of 1761 began to hear objections. After a meeting of gentlemen on 26 November 1761 M.C.S. gave her full attention to the matter, "and was thoroughly convinced of many disadvantages to the Country in general and to myself in particular unless such & such clauses were inserted".

M.C.S. could not oppose the Bill in general, having given her consent, unless the clauses were refused. The Duke's agents preferred to settle matters by private deed, which M.C.S. refused. For some time it seemed that the clauses would not be inserted, and M.C.S. and Lord Grey had a petition drawn up, ready to present against the Bill. Finally most of the clauses were inserted, and so M.C.S. did not oppose the Bill generally.

Now M.C.S. is represented on one side as opposing the Bill, on the other as supporting it. She therefore declares that, notwithstanding the insertion of the clauses, "I am so fully satisfied that the disadvantages it will be to the Country in general are so much greater than the Utility of it that I sincerely wish the Bill may not pass & am very sorry I ever gave my consent."

Written in the hand of Mary Countess of Stamford.

Endorsed: "Css of Stamford's Case 10 March 1762" (in the hand of Mary Countess of Stamford).

Acquisition Information

Received from Dunham Massey Hall on 24 January 1992; provenance: desk F335 in Lord Stamford's Study.