21st October 21

Most Commonly Asked Questions To Our Archivist – Part 1

Dr. Simon Harris has worked through the archives on the history of Adlington Hall and the Legh family for a number of years. As you can imagine during his time with us he has been asked many, many questions with regards to not only Adlington Hall and the Legh family but also things relating to the local area. He has kindly written a few of the most commonly asked questions and also the answers below;


I believe that I am distantly related to the Leghs, do you have any records that would substantiate my connection?
The Legh family has been at Adlington since the mid-fourteenth century, and has passed through many generations. It established ties with many other Cheshire landed families, and some further afield. Many generations produced several additional sons and daughters to those that ultimately inherited the Estates, so it is quite possible that you might be distantly related to the Leghs.
Unfortunately, it is often difficult to trace all the members of the Legh family from the Estate records, though there are good printed genealogies produced by Helsby and Earwaker.


The Legh Family of Adlington Hall – Family Tree showing the Legh family all the way back to Edward 1st.


The composer Handel has frequently been linked to Adlington Hall and the Legh family, are these links genuine?
There are no formal records that actually prove that Handel visited Adlington actually surviving in the archive. However, there is a piece of music that is believed to have been composed by Handel, with words by John Legh. A copy of this survives at Adlington, and the links to the Leghs and Adlington have frequently been discussed in academic publications. It is certain that Elizabeth Legh, sister of John Legh, knew Handel well, and her books and music collections were bequeathed to an academic institution.
The link of Handel to Adlington is also entwined with the presence at Adlington in its great hall of an early pipe organ that, following its restoration in the late 1950s, has been strongly linked to the German master organ maker ‘Father’ Bernard Smith (Schmidt) (c. 1630 – 1708).


Pictures on display at Adlington Hall, showing the connection to the Great Hall’s Organ, Handel and the Legh Family.

George Frideric Handel. 1685 – 1759. German Composer, English Citizen. Composed 40 Operas, 23 Odes and Numerous Songs.

Genuine, handwritten by Handel himself, manuscript of Hunting Song, a piece of music composed by Handel at Adlington Hall. Words by Charles Legh.


I am interested in the local history of the area, are there any records that would help at Adlington?
Because the Leghs were the main landholder in Adlington, and also in Prestbury and Butley, it would be impossible to consider the local history of the area without the Legh archive. Not only were the Leghs great local landowners, they established marital ties with other local landed families, and also were involved in business transactions with these families, in some case purchasing the estates of other families that were dying out, as they did in Butley, Newton and Handforth.


Map showing the Adlington Estate c1800.


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