Papers relating to the Wilmslow Estate

Scope and Content

The series contains records relating to the sale of the Wilmslow estate, including notices advertising the sale, particulars and conditions of sale, schedules of lots, rentals, draft conveyances, correspondence and accounts; records relating to the enclosure and allotment of Lindow Common, and attornments made by occupiers of encroachments made onto Lindow Common, 1847-1855 (EGR14/17/3, /10-16, /18, /22, /25 & /31-32); a bundle of papers relating to the sale of land to the London & North Western Railway, 1844-1849 (EGR14/17/26); correspondence and plans relating to the Stamford Trustees' residual interest in the 1890s (EGR14/17/32-33); and a bundle of plans of the Wilmslow estate, 1850s (EGR14/17/35).

The series comprises: a bundle of copy counterpart leases, 1850s (EGR14/17/1); two conveyances in fee, 1855 (EGR14/17/2-3); bundles of draft conveyances, 1853-1858 (EGR14/17/4-6); a bundle of conditions of sale and purchase agreements, 1853 (EGR14/17/7); bundles of copy abstracts of title and abstracts of leases, 1854-1855 (EGR14/17/8-9); bundles of papers relating to the enclosure of Lindow Common and to the sale of the Wilmslow estate, 1845-1857 (EGR14/17/10-11 & /14); bundles of cases for counsel and copy opinions of counsel, 1846-c.1853 (EGR14/17/12-13); a bundle of draft deeds of partition, 1854 (EGR14/17/15); a bundle of letters relating to the Lindow Common, 1843-1852 (EGR14/17/16); a bundle of abstracts of title and abstracts of leases, 1850-1859 (EGR14/17/17); a bundle of draft conveyances and other legal instruments, 1851-1857 (EGR14/17/18); a bundle of papers relating to the sale of the Bollin Hall estate, 1855 (EGR14/17/19); a bundle of copy requisitions on title, 1855-1856 (EGR14/17/20); a bundle of correspondence relating to the sale of the Wilmslow estate, 1852-1857 (EGR14/17/21); a bundle of copy agreements relating to the division of Lindow Common, c.1850 (EGR14/17/22); a bundle of rentals, 1845 & 1853 (EGR14/17/23); minutes of Wilmslow deeds destroyed by fire, c.1855 (EGR14/17/24); a bundle of bills of costs etc. relating to Lindow Common, 1849-1854 (EGR14/17/25); a bundle of papers relating to the sale of land to the London & North Western Railway, 1844-1849 (EGR14/17/26); bundles of draft conveyances, 1853-1858 (EGR14/17/27 & /30); a bundle of miscellaneous papers relating to the Wilmslow estate, c.1796-1894 (EGR14/17/28); a bundle of vouchers for the sale of the Wilmslow estate, 1850-1863 (EGR14/17/29); a bundle of attornments from occupants of land on Lindow Common, 1850 (EGR14/17/31); two bundles of miscellaneous papers relating to the Wilmslow estate, 1840-1897 & c.1840-1909 (EGR14/17/32-33); particulars and conditions of sale of the Wilmslow estate, n.d. [1853] (EGR14/17/34); and a bundle of plans of the Wilmslow estate, 1850s (EGR14/17/35).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Fitton family anciently held the lordship of Fulshaw, later termed the lordship of Bollin (or "le Bolyn"), which constituted Wilmslow parish. Hamo Fitton died without male heirs in circa 1374, and his estates subsequently passed to the Venables family by the marriage of Joan, sister of Hamo Fitton, to Richard de Venables. On the death of Richard de Venables, grandson of Richard and the last male heir of the Venables family, the manors and estates were divided between his two sisters and coheiresses, Alice, wife of Sir Edmund Trafford of Trafford in Lancashire, and Douce, wife of Sir Robert Booth (d 1460) of Dunham Massey. Source: J.P. Earwaker, East Cheshire: past and present, 2 vols (London: privately printed, 1877 & 1880), vol. 1, pp. 41-168; Ormerod, vol. 3, pp. 586-603.

The partition deed of 1421 (EGR1/3/1/2) records that the Trafford moiety of the lordship of Bollin comprised Chorley, Hough in the township of Bollin Fee, Morley in Pownall Fee township, and sundry rents and services. The Booth moiety of the lordship of Bollin consisted of Styal in Pownall Fee, Dean Row in Bollin Fee, Bollin mills, the manor of Fallibroome, and lands in Norcliffe in Pownall Fee. A court leet and view of frankpledge for the manor and fee of Bollin cum Norcliffe was held jointly in the names of the Booths and the Traffords until 1646. Thereafter there is a gap in the records until 1681, when the court was held on behalf of George Booth (1622-84), Baron Delamer, alone (see EGR2/5).

The Wilmslow estate remained in the hands of the Booth family and their successors, the Earls of Stamford, until it was sold by the 7th Earl of Stamford in the 1850s. In September 1853 almost all of the Wilmslow estate was sold at auction. The estate, comprising 2750 acres of land, numerous farms, and some 200 cottages, houses and shops, was divided into 113 lots. The largest number, together with the manorial rights, were purchased by John Clarke Prescott of Manchester co. Lancs esq. The main Manchester to Crewe line of the London & North Western Railway ran through the estate, and the consequent potential of the property for development was emphasized in the publicity for the sale which stated that, "The estate presents many valuable and highly picturesque situations near the railway station, for villa residences & other houses."

A small number of lots remained unsold and a second auction was held in 1857 to dispose of the residual property. However, in the 1890s doubts arose as to whether the Stamford Trustees retained some interest on Lindow Common. Most of the once-extensive Common had been enclosed in the 1850s, when the 7th Earl of Stamford and Sir Thomas Joseph de Trafford bart took action against those persons who had made unlawful encroachments onto the Common. A small area on the site of the former racecourse was converted into a public recreation ground. Henry Hall at the Stamford Estate Office in Ashton under Lyne maintained that the Stamford Trustees had no property on the Common, but Sir Thomas Wright, solicitor to the Countess of Stamford & Warrington, believed that they did. It was admitted that "the whole condition of things in Wilmslow is shrouded in mystery" (EGR14/17/33/48). In 1897 Wright transferred the management of the estate, so far as it existed, from Henry Hall to W.D. Bullock at the Stamford Estate Office in Altrincham.

Arrangement

Bundles EGR14/17/1-23 are numbered from "2" to "32", boldly written in blue pencil on the wrapper or uppermost piece, or on a separate paper label. The numbers were probably applied in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. However, there are gaps in the numerical sequence, while numerous bundles are unnumbered; it is possible that some bundles may originally have been numbered on wrappers or labels that have disappeared. While there is no obvious rationale behind the numbering system, the numbered bundles have been arranged and listed according to their original order, followed by the unnumbered bundles (EGR14/17/24-35).

Separated Material

John Rylands Library, Rylands Charters 3850-4310: some 460 leases for lives for Styal and Dean Row and related documents, 1675/6 to 1833, presented to the John Rylands Library by the 10th Earl of Stamford in March 1942; Rylands Charters 4311-7: court book and suit rolls for the court leet and view of frankpledge for the manor and fee of Bollin cum Norcliffe, 1647-1832, presented to the John Rylands Library by the 10th Earl of Stamford in March 1942.