Records relating to Thomas Walton's Bequest

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 EGR8
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      4 series. Physical composition: all items and pieces are single sheets of paper unless otherwise stated.

Scope and Content

The subfonds contains papers relating to the executorship of Thomas Walton's will, among them the executors' account books and a quantity of material relating to his financial transactions. There are also records relating to the schools founded with Walton's bequest at Little Heath and Seamon's Moss in Dunham Massey township. The records of the former include the trustees' minute book cum account book, printed copies of the rules of the school and the form of morning and evening prayers, and bundles containing vouchers and minutes of trustees' meetings. For Seamon's Moss School there are papers relating to the building of the school, annual accounts of expenditure, and annual returns of pupils' attendance. Finally there are registers and accounts for the charitable distribution of bedding to the poor in Altrincham, Dunham Massey, Bowdon and Bollington.

Related Materials in Other Subfonds

The subfonds EGR3, Papers of the Booth Family, contains the following material relating to Thomas Walton: a letter of attorney whereby Sir George Warburton of Arley appointed T.W. as attorney for the purchase of a messuage in Great Budworth, 1739 (EGR3/6/2/14/16); an account of T.W.'s leasehold estates at his death, 1757 (EGR3/6/2/14/43); a letter from John Jackson to Mary Countess of Stamford discussing T.W.'s estate, 1757 (EGR3/7/1/1/2); a letter from Isaac Shaw to Mary Countess of Stamford announcing T.W.'s death, 1757 (EGR3/7/1/6/1); correspondence relating to T.W.'s claim to property leased by his uncle Thomas Walton in Dunham Massey, 1758 (EGR3/7/1/10); and three letters from George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington, to his daughter Mary Countess of Stamford recording Walton's death and discussing the executorship, 1757-8 (EGR3/7/3/3/3-5).

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Walton of Dunham Woodhouses within Dunham Massey gentleman died on 6 February 1757, leaving securities and cash worth £15,000. The source of his wealth, to what extent it was inherited or the product of his own industry, is not entirely clear; he owned extensive lands in Cheshire, and he had an interest in salt workings in Dunham Woodhouses in the township Dunham Massey, bequeathing his salt-making equipment to George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington (EGR8/1/2/1). In George Booth's will Walton is described as his servant.

In 1754 Walton nominated as the executors of his will George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington, Booth's daughter Mary Countess of Stamford (1704-1772) and her sons George Harry Grey (1737-1819) Lord Grey, later 5th Earl of Stamford, and Booth Grey esq (1740-1802). When Walton died the other executors declined to act and Mary Countess of Stamford became the sole acting executrix; only after her death in 1772 was the executorship assumed by her sons.

In his will Walton left £1,000 for charitable purposes in the district. The money was used to found and endow the Little Heath Charity School in Dunham Massey. By a codicil to his will Walton also left the residue of his personalty for charitable purposes at the discretion of his trustees. A large portion of the bequest was expended on the founding of Seamon's Moss School in Dunham Massey; the remainder of the money was invested to provide an annual income for the school, and for the charitable distribution of bedding to poor people in Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Bollington and Bowdon. Mary Countess of Stamford, and later her sons, were closely involved in the administration of all these charities.

For a detailed study of education in Cheshire see Derek Robson, Some aspects of education in Cheshire in the eighteenth century, Chetham Society, 3rd series, vol. 13 (1966), which includes a list of schoolmasters at Little Heath and Seamon's Moss schools on p. 192.


The subfonds EGR8 contains 4 series:

  • EGR8/1: Executorship records, 1740-1816
  • EGR8/2: Records relating to Little Heath Charity School, 1760-1891
  • EGR8/3: Records relating to Seamon's Moss School, 1761-1843
  • EGR8/4: Records relating to the distribution of bedding, 1786-1842

Acquisition Information

The majority of items in EGR8 were transferred on deposit from Dunham Massey Hall to the John Rylands University Library by the National Trust on 12 September 1978. A small amount of additional material was deposited on 24 January 1992. Unless otherwise stated items formed part of the 1978 deposit.

Custodial History

Among the items within EGR8 was found a note written in the hand of the 10th Earl of Stamford: "These papers relating to the Earl of Warrington's Charity & Little Heath School, were given to me by Mr H.G. Hall [agent at the Ashton under Lyne Estate Office] in June 1922. They are my own personal property and do not form part of the family papers handed over to me on loan by the trustees. Stamford." Their custodial history prior to 1922 is not known.