The Shrigley Heiress Abduction of 1826
Visiting Shrigley Hall in August for Frank Beswick's son's wedding put me in mind of the famous story connected to the former owners. Here is a tale which shocked Georgian England when Shrigley's wealthy 15 year old heiress Ellen Turner was abducted from school and deceived then forcibly married to a fortune hunter.
Shrigley Hall stands in beautiful Cheshire countryside high above the Cheshire plain and looks out over stunning views. It was built by “Cottontot” Mr William Turner, a new money cotton mill owner who held his businesses in Blackburn, Lancashire which is North of Cheshire.
William Turner demolished the Old Shrigley Hall and had his mansion built to launch himself into Cheshire society. The house is magnificent with a central staircase and a beautiful blue and gold ceiling in the hall.
It reads like a Mills and Boon bodice ripper but it is absolutely true. Incredible. These days no school would hand a child over like that to someone who turned up to collect them .
Ty for posting.
What an amazing story. It seemed double tragic that she should then die so young. The house looks amazing. Thanks, Veronica.
I used the photo because I had wanted to show the staircase that Ellen would have used but yes. The story is absolutely true but it does read like a melodramatic novel. Isn't the ceiling gorgeous?
The photo was taken at Frank's son's wedding. The girl in the beautiful blue dress is my gorgeous daughter-in-law.The baby is her daughter, my lovely granddaughter aged 9 weeks. I don't think I have seen many baby girls more beautiful than she is. But of course ... grandma would say that!
Veronica, Let's hope that he didn't get any ideas from Sense and Sensibility!
That is a lovely family picture on the central staircase. Who are the two girls with you? One of them has a beautiful blue dress or skirt on.
Indeed. We must not use 21st C standards for 1826 though.
The legal age for marriage for girls was 12 years old in Britain until around 1928. Ellen was 15 and so well above marrying age and not considered to be a "child". There would have been very few schools for girls and those that were available would have been private ones. Now, it would be nothing to commute Shrigley, Macclesfield to Liverpool each day ; approx. 90 mins. Then, going by the remote Speke Road would have taken hours in a horse and carriage.
It is commendable that The Turners wanted an education for their daughter and did not consign her to a home governess.
The problem arose with the propensity of parents to dump their offspring onto boarding schools. Nevertheless, child safety was compromised.
I wanted to look at a different aspect of Cheshire and not just a stunning location but something about the people in the past and a little known event.
Your articles on Cheshire contain fascinating information. As I have said before, you have followed good practice by establishing a niche for your writing.
Yes indeed and what a good job too!
As a teacher, I can't imagine handing a child over to a stranger who came to collect her.
Things were different when communications were difficult. Today, one call would be enough to get matters right before a child is released to a stranger.