Most Commonly Asked Questions To Our Archivist – Part 2
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. Today we bring you the second part of his most commonly asked questions and also the answers below;
An ancestor of mine worked at Adlington Hall, do you have any records about him/her?
The employment records for Adlington Hall are patchy until recent times. Incidental references to those employed on the Estate can be found in records as far back as the seventeenth century, with greater quantities of more specific records in the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. However, there is no complete record. A note has been kept of those employed on the Estate when they are encountered.
It should be remembered that large numbers of individuals were employed on the Estate directly and many more indirectly. There were those who worked directly for the Legh family, and this includes Estate officials, as well as the household servants. Others would have been employed in the stables, and working on the Home Farm. Many others were contracted to work on the Estate as skilled and unskilled people. This latter group is far better documented than those who worked directly for the Leghs because large numbers of bills and receipts survive recording their work.
Another way to trace those employed by the Legh Estate is to use the Census returns. The census was held every ten years from 1841, and would record all of those living at Adlington in that particular snapshot. It is possible that if no record survives at Adlington itself you might be able to find evidence in the census.
I believe my property was once part of the Adlington Estate, do you have any records about it?
The archive at Adlington contains large quantities of records relating to property currently or forerly held by the Legh family. The core family estates were held at Adlington, but they also held lands in neighbouring townships such as Prestbury, Butley cum Newton, Pott Shrigley, Poynton and Woodford. The earliest Estate records for Adlington date to the mid-twelfth century, and they extend to the present time.
In addition, in the later sixteenth century the family acquired the manor of Prestbury and the advowson of the parish church of Prestbury, all of which had formerly belonged to the Abbey of St Werburgh at Chester. This acquisition meant that they not only obtained further land in Prestbury but became impropriate rectors of the parish of Prestbury and entitled to extensive tithes in the parish of Prestbury. The parish of Prestbury was a very large parish and included townships that extended towards Stockport and over to the Derbyshire and Staffordshire borders at Macclesfield, Macclesfield Forest, Bosley and Wincle. Extensive records survive in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries recording the landowners and tenants who owed tithes to Prestbury.
Several Estate surveys survive. The earliest ones are from the seventeenth century, but more detailed ones accompanied by maps survive for 1742 and for the late eighteenth century.
Through marriage the family acquired estates in several other counties in England, and established connections with families by marriage in Scotland as well. Records for some estates can be found for the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, and Oxfordshire. The family had ties with families from Kirkcudbrightshire.
If your property was formerly part of the Adlington Estate it is very likely that records of it will survive at Adlington. However, it should be remembered that if your property is of recent construction, then records may only survive of the land on which it was built.
Reproduction of Coats of Arms Canopy at Adlington Hall, showing all the coats of arms of families in and around the Adlington Estate.