Records relating to Seamon's Moss School

Scope and Content

By a codicil to his will, dated 23 August 1755, Thomas Walton bequeathed the residue of his personal estate to his executors, to be laid out by them for such charitable purposes as they thought fit within the townships of Dunham Massey, Bowdon and Altrincham (see EGR8/1/1/1 above). Mary Countess of Stamford expended a large proportion of the bequest in building and endowing Seamon's Moss School on Oldfield Brow in Dunham Massey.

Mary Countess of Stamford appointed herself, and after her death the owner for the time being of Dunham Massey, as the school's sole visitor, with powers to nominate and remove the master, to nominate the governors, to settle disputes among the governors, to make rules, and to admit and discharge pupils. Pupils were to be children of persons dwelling within the townships of Dunham Massey, Bowdon and Altrincham. Children were admitted between the ages of 8 and 11, and had to be able to read a chapter of the bible. Scholars were not permitted to remain beyond the age of 14, except in the case of exceptionally gifted pupils who were preparing for university (see EGR8/3/1/21 below).

When the school was established it was administered by the Countess of Stamford, and later by the Earls of Stamford, without a formal trust deed. Accounts were kept and the surpluses used for distribution of bedding to the poor (see EGR8/4 below). However, after a report from the Master in Chancery directing that the school should be vested in trustees, on 12 December 1837 the 6th Earl of Stamford transferred the school buildings and its endowment (£5241 13s 2d) to four trustees: himself, Edward Jeremiah Lloyd of Oldfield Hall barrister, Rev George Heron of Carrington, and Rev William Henry Mann of Bowdon. Source: Altrincham Borough Library, transcript of trust deed, Pamphlet 84.

The constitution of the school was amended in 1882 under a Charity Commission scheme for its administration whereby the school was designated a non-denominational elementary school for boys; the Earl of Stamford for the time being, if over 21, was to be Life Governor, and six other governors were to be appointed. Source: Altrincham Borough Library, Charity Commission scheme for the administration of Seamon's Moss School, 1882, T AL 361.76 CHA. Further amendments to the constitution were drafted in 1905, whereby the Earl of Stamford for the time being, if of full age, was to be Life Trustee. In 1837 approximately 40 boys received education at the school. After over a century at Oldfield House, in 1867 the school moved to new premises with accommodation for 90 boys. Several years later there were further extensions, and in 1909 the accommodation was increased to 270 places with the building of new classrooms. In 1935 180 boys attended the school which was administered by the Altrincham, Bowdon, Hale and District Administrative Sub-committee for Education. Source: Nickson, Bygone Altrincham, pp. 226-227. The school closed in 1938.

The records below consist of a bundle of papers relating to the foundation and building of the school (EGR8/3/1), a bundle of annual accounts of expenditure on the free scholars at the school (EGR8/3/2), a bundle of annual returns of pupils' attendance (EGR8/3/3), and a single letter (EGR8/3/4).

[Among the executorship papers EGR8/1 above, EGR8/1/6 contains numerous records relating to Seamon's Moss School: annual accounts of John Davenport, schoolmaster, for expenditure on the school, 1792-1801 (EGR8/1/6/1, /5, /9, /15, /20, /29, /36, /44, /49, /51, /54); bills for repairs to the fabric of the school, 1793-1801 (EGR8/1/6/10-11, /16, /30, /43, /47, /53); receipts for yearly payments of rent by the trustees of the school to the Earl of Stamford, 1793-1801 (EGR8/1/6/7, /12, /17, /22, /35, /37, /46, /48, /56). Among the records relating to Little Heath Charity School, EGR8/2 above, there is a single account of John Davenport for expenditure on Seamon's Moss School, 1812 (EGR8/2/6/1).]

[Among the Household Records from Dunham Massey Hall are accounts for repairs to Seamon's Moss School, 1772-90 (EGR7/14/1). The subfonds EGR9, Records relating to the Earl of Warrington's Charity, includes several accounts of John Davenport, schoolmaster, for books, schoolmaster's salary etc. at Seamon's Moss School and for repairs to the school, and accounts for ground rent and pew rent from the school trustees, 1786-1816 (EGR9/1). The subfonds EGR11, Papers from Dunham Massey Hall relating to the Cheshire and Lancashire Estates, contains similar accounts within three bundles of vouchers for Hugo Worthington's general account with the Earls of Stamford, 1817-19 (EGR11/2/5-6 & /8). The miscellaneous papers from Dunham Massey Hall include notes by the 6th Earl of Stamford on Little Heath and Seamon's Moss schools, 1843 (EGR13/26/5).]

Related Material

Cheshire Record Office: SL 235, Seamon's Moss School records (minutes 1837-1931, admission registers 1782-1866, various records 1757-1909).

Trafford Metropolitan Borough, Altrincham Library: school managers' minute book, 1903-1936, T AL-A 372.24 SEA; printed rules of Seamon's Moss School, 1867, Pamphlet 84; calendar of trust deed, 1837, Pamphlet 84; Charity Commission scheme for the administration of Seamon's Moss School Foundation, 1882, and draft scheme, 1905, T AL 361.76 CHA.