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Dale Papers

Date range: 1702–1975.

Papers of Messrs William Dale & Sons, a firm of agricultural engineers from Sandle Bridge near Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

The firm was first recorded in 1737 and during its long history it operated as agricultural engineers, blacksmith, farrier, wheelwright, millwright, stonemason and carpenter; it was one of the best-known agricultural engineers in the region.

Business records comprise thirty-four day books recording in detail the firm’s sales to many individual customers (1794–1921).

The collection also contains records of the Overseers of the Poor (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries) and Surveyors of the Highways (nineteenth century) for the township of Marthall with Little Warford, Cheshire, and records of the Overseers of the Poor (eighteenth to nineteenth centuries) and Parish Council (nineteenth to twentieth centuries) of Great Warford.

In addition, there are personal papers of three members of the Dale family, including:

  • an account by James Dale of a tour of Europe undertaken by Lady Warburton of Arley in 1818
  • a minute book of the Alderley Society friendly society, 1752–74
  • catalogues for the sales of nine estates in Cheshire between 1842 to 1938

The collection contains much material of interest to local historians of Cheshire, and to social and economic historians.

It is particularly relevant to studies of the Poor Laws, friendly societies and other charities, and of the workings of local government in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Associated with the Dale Papers are the records of the Knutsford District of Foresters Friendly Society and its predecessor bodies, the Ancient Order of Shepherds and Ancient Order of Foresters, 1821–1948.

Finding aids

Catalogues of the Dale Papers and Knutsford District of Foresters Friendly Society are available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

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