Papers relating to the Case of Crewe v. Falkner

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 EGR14/77
  • Dates of Creation
      1755-1758
  • Physical Description
      5 bundles containing 163 pieces.

Scope and Content

The series contains papers relating to a case brought by John Crewe of Crewe esq against Isaac Falkner, a tenant and servant of George Booth (1675-1758), 2nd Earl of Warrington. Crewe, who as a minor was represented by his guardian Samuel Egerton, alleged that Falkner had committed trespass by entering a close called Davenport's Green in Hale and felling and removing timber.

The action appears to have been brought as a test case to determine the ownership of the manor of Hale, which had been the subject of a long-running dispute between the Crewe and Booth families (see EGR3/3/3/1, EGR3/7/1/4/3). Falkner pleaded not guilty: he admitted the material facts of the charge but claimed that Davenport's Green was waste, part of the manor of Hale and the barony of Dunham Massey, which belonged to the Earl of Warrington. Crewe replied that he, not the Earl of Warrington, was seised of the manor of Hale. As well as adducing acts of ownership, such as the holding of courts, the defence used the evidence of deeds to prove that Dunham Massey, Hale and Altrincham were one manor.

The case was to have been heard at Chester Assizes in August 1755 but the notices of trial were twice countermanded, in 1755 and 1756, and the case was not heard until August 1757, with judgement being delivered in the Court of King's Bench in November 1757. The jury found that Falkner was not guilty of trespass; that the Earl of Warrington was seised of the manor of Hale; and that he was seised of the close called Davenport's Green, which was part of the barony of Dunham Massey. The plaintiff sought leave to have the verdict overturned and to obtain a new trial but the King's Bench upheld the verdict.

The series comprises five bundles which contain correspondence between Isaac Shaw, the Earl of Warrington's steward at Dunham Massey, John Jackson, the Earl's legal and financial adviser in London, and others; and legal papers relating to the case, including briefs for the defence, opinions of counsel, plans, abstracts and copies of title deeds, notices of trial, pleadings and copies of proceedings, verdicts, bills of costs and lists of witnesses. There are also original verdicts or records of proceedings at sessions of the court leet held for the borough of Altrincham in the seventeenth century, with subsidiary papers. These were probably used as evidence of the Booth family's title to the manor of Hale.

Arrangement

The bundles contained an assortment of documents, in no apparent order. Many appear to have originated in John Jackson's office. As many documents are undated it was not feasible to rearrange them chronologically and the original order has been retained.

Acquisition Information

All items were received from the Stamford Estate Office in Altrincham on 24 January 1992.