The information in the following table is drawn from the survey of land ownership carried out in all counties in England in 1873 and published in 1875 by Her Majesties Stationery Office. There is a copy at the Cheshire County Record Office. At this time the census shows that the population of Cheshire was 56,1201. There were 502 parishes, with 110,449 inhabited houses. The survey of land ownership was initiated by Lord Derby to try to rebut the claim that land ownership was in the hands of a very small number of people. The result was a resounding defeat for Lord Derby's view. Cheshire was among the counties where the old gentry families maintained their position very strongly to the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. In this table, I have not included all those with more than 1000 acres but I have included entries for the gentry families discussed elsewhere on this site. Some of the land owners had land in other counties. In Cheshire, those with more than 10,000 acres were John Tollemache (25,380), the Duke of Westminster (15,001) the Marquess of Cholmondeley (16,842), Sir H. D. Broughton (13,832), and Lord Crewe (10,148).

There is a good discussion of this topic in The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannadine, published by Papermac in 1990, ISBN 0-333-65218-5. By 1873 some families were not in a good financial position because of the decline in farm incomes caused by imports of grain from North America and of meat from South America and Austalasia.  Estate land could not be sold as it was usually tied up in complex wills and trusts. The result was that the land owning families could own huge tracts of land but be in serious debt.  Eventually an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the break up of entailments and the sale of estate land.  The situation worsened in the last few decades of the 19th century and death duties contributed to the financial problems. The great sell off of land started in the 1880s and reached its climax in 1919.   The Times of London announced "England for Sale" as dozens of estates were put up for sale; it was the biggest exchange of ownership since the Dissolution of the Monasteries. By this stage there were also important social changes brought on by the Great War. Women had worked in industry in large numbers during the war and were not going to return to low paid work in service at the great houses. During the 19th century domestic service was the single biggest source of employment for women.


Surname Forename or Title Residence of Owner Acreage Gross Rental
Aldersey Thomas Aldersey 2,340 3,132
Antrobus John C. Eaton near Congleton 1,371 3,651
Armitstead Lawrence Cranage 1,620 3,807
Ardern Hon. Miss and Earl and Countess of Haddington   1,379 2,668
Barbour Robert Bolesworth Castle 3,376 6,115
Barry Arthur A Smith Marbury Hall 3,124 6,910
Brooke Henry Church Minshall 1,835 2,904
Brooke Sir R. Norton Priory 4,788 10,433
Brooke T. W. L. Mere 3,535 6,740
Broughton E. D. Wistaston Hall 1,530 3,372
Broughton Sir H. D. Doddington Hall, Nantwich 13,832 19,723
Cholmondeley Marquess of Cholmondeley Castle 16,842 26,991
Combermere Lord Combermere Abbey 8,310 12,504
Crewe Lord Crewe Hall 10,148 18,809
Davenport W. B. Capesthorne 9,259 16,923
Delamere Lord Vale Royal 5,611 15,046
Derby Earl of Knowsley Park 9,202 6,460
De Trafford Sir H Trafford Park 1,990 3,361
Dixon John Astle Hall Chelford 1,526 3,322
Egerton Lord Tatton 8,876 18,636
Egerton Sir Philip de M. G. Oulton Park 8,840 14,676
Glegg Col. Ed. Holt Backford 1,595 2,693
Glegg John B Withington 3,702 7,293
Greenhall Gilbert Walton Hall, Warrington 916 2,936
Haddington Earl Arderne Hall Eaton 3,447 6,830
Harrington Earl of Macclesfield 8,138 11,096
Hayhurst Rev T. F. Davenham Rectory 7,353 17,469
Jodrell T. J. B. Yeardsley Hall, Whalley 3,078 2,733
Kilmorey Earl of Shavington Park 5,087 8,108
Leche J. H. Carden Park 3,799 5,977
Legh C. R. B. Macclesfield. 5,812 11,284
Legh J. P. Isle of Wight 1,186 3,395
Legh William Lyme Park 1,633 2,482
Legh William John Stockport 5,109 8,550
Leigh Egerton (MP) Jodrell Hall, Twemlow 3,946 8,391
Leigh George C. High Leigh 3,510 7,079
Leigh Lord Stoneleigh Abbey 1,198 2,381
Leycester Ralph Toft 3,756 6,808
Lyon Thomas H. Appleton Hall 1,287 3,771
Mainwaring Sir H. Peover 1,898 3,690
Mainwaring S. K. Ellesmere, Salop 1,553 2,565
Naylor Richard C. Hooton Hall 2,744 5,960
Poole C. H. Marbury Hall 1,516 2,538
Shakerley Sir C. W. Somerford Park 5,978 11,109
Shrewsbury Earl of Alton Towers 8,640 16,375
Stanley Lord Alderley 5,011 12,082
Tabley Lord de Tabley House 6,195 14,647
Tollemache John Tarporley 25,380 27,602
Tollemache Wilbraham Dorfold Hall 3,348 5,959
Warburton R. E. E. Arley Hall 7,029 14,834
Westminster Duke of Eaton 15,001 29,249
Wilbraham Geo. F Northwich 3,997 7,948
Wilbraham Randle Rode Hall Odd Rode 2,032 4,514


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