The gentry families of East Cheshire once held sway over people's lives in a way unimaginable today. This situation lasted for nearly nine hundred years, from the Norman Conquest in the mid eleventh century to the mid twentieth century.
During the time that these gentry families were in power in Cheshire, they married and sued each other, plotted in local and national politics and did their best to out-do each other in a whole variety of ways, yet remaining aware that they were the upper crust of the county and that they ran Cheshire. A very few of these families, such as the Leghs of Adlington, are still in residence in their own homes. However the great majority of the rest have gone and in some cases, their houses have gone too. Yet the landscape they made is left behind. We shall look at these families and the estates they created and consider their histories and the legacy they have left us.
Among the families and landscapes we shall be studying will be:
The Booths at Dunham Massey and Altrincham
The Stanleys at Alderley
The Leycesters at Tabley, Toft, Alderley and Mobberley
The Leghs at Lyme Park
Among the themes we will be considering are the ownership of land; the powers of the lord of the manor; landscape for leisure and use; and the impact of emparking, enclosure, agricultural management, tree planting and industrial exploitation.