Court Baron for the Manor of Ashton upon Mersey

Scope and Content

The extant records of the court baron of the manor of Ashton upon Mersey date from the period when the manor was held by the owners of Dunham Massey. There are two series of material: verdicts, 1757-1777 & 1851 (EGR2/4/1), and suit rolls, 1781-1839 (EGR2/4/2).

[In addition to the records listed below, there is a single estreat for the court baron of the manor of Ashton upon Mersey, dated 1832, enclosed within a suit roll for the manor of Carrington (EGR2/3/2/8 above), and a jury list for Ashton upon Mersey in 1804 was found enclosed within a verdict for the manor of Carrington (EGR2/3/1/5/8).]

Administrative / Biographical History

The inquisition post mortem of John Carrington of Carrington esq records that on his death in 1554 he held one-third of a moiety of the mesne manor of Ashton upon Mersey from William Booth, as of his manor of Dunham Massey (see EGR1/2/2/8). Ormerod speculates that the other two-thirds of the moiety may have been settled so as not to come to the attention of the inquisition. The other moiety was held by the Ashtons, or Asshetons, and later the Breretons of Handforth, from the Boydell family, as of their manor of Doddleston.

The Carrington moiety of the mesne lordship either fell into disuse or was sold to the Breretons of Handforth, lords of the other moiety, for in inquisitions dating from the late sixteenth century this family are stated to have held the whole of the mesne manor. In 1674 the Breretons sold the entire manor to Sir Joshua Allen, ancestor of John Lord Viscount Allen who sold the manor to George Booth (1675-1758), 2nd Earl of Warrington, in 1749. In 1852 the 7th Earl of Stamford sold the manor to Samuel Brooks esq of Manchester, banker, who devised it to his son Sir William Cunliffe Brooks, MP (Ormerod, vol. 1, pp. 558-61).

Ashton upon Mersey fell within the jurisdiction of the court leet held for the barony of Dunham Massey, and a separate court baron was held for the manor. Leasehold tenants of the Earls of Stamford in Sale also did suit and service at the court baron. In the period 1759-1777 the annual session of the court baron was held in early December, but in the 1780s it moved forward to early November, and later to mid October. The court was habitually held at public houses in Ashton upon Mersey, in 1759 and 1764-1777 at the house of James Davis, victualler, and in the 1780s and '90s at the house of James Collier, victualler. The names of the stewards of the court are recorded in the introduction to EGR2 above.

The business of the court largely consisted of orders or presentments made by the jury for the repair of hedges, fences, gates and stiles, the scouring of ditches and watercourses, the cropping of trees, and the upkeep of roads, cart lanes and footpaths. One of the principal concerns of the court was the upkeep and repair of field banks along the course of the River Mersey, in order to prevent or control flooding.