Monday 16 April 2012

The BBC - George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington

I am a great fan of the BBC's Antiques Road Show and take great pleasure when an antique catches my fancy. Last evening's Road Show proved to be an absolute delight when their second visit to Manchester Town Hall (an heraldic delight in its own right) turned up an armorial panel which used to be housed in Mottram Church but found its way by a circuitous route to a biscuit factory!

The company which is now the proud owner of the panel purchased an old cotton mill for use as a biscuit factory in 1980 and the panel was discovered when the junk left by the previous owner was being sorted out and disposed of. The panel has been hanging in the reception of the biscuit factory ever since its discovery.

Valued by the Road Show's Elaine Binning at between £12'500 to £15'000, the panel, said to date from 1694, is inscribed with the words " The South Side of Mottram Chancel is repaired by and belongs to the Earl of Warrington, as Lord of the Manor of Staly". Mottram Church is in the village or Mottram between Stalybridge and Glossop.


The company representative stated that the panel is thought to have hung in the chancel for about one hundred and fifty years until it was moved by a Mr. Chapman, a wealthy mill owner, who acquired ownership of the chancel in approx 1854 and felt that he was wealthy enough to remove all the existing accouterments in the chancel and replace them with his own; the panel disappeared at that time and it is thought that everything else in the chancel was simply destroyed!

Warrington Panel

George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington (May 2, 1675 – August 2, 1758) was the son of Henry Booth, 1st Earl of Warrington by his wife Mary, the daughter and sole heiress of Sir James Langham, Bart. As the eldest surviving son, he inherited the title of Earl of Warrington on his father's death in 1693.

It's proud owner declared that it was not for sale.

These are the same 48 quarterings as those in the the armorial bearings of Booth which are displayed as a monument to Langham and Henry Booth seen in the Dunham (or Booth) Chapel at Bowdon Parish Church.


  1. Splendid but are they really theirs? The firm has no real right to display them, thus giving the impression that they are entitled to them.

    There is probably a legal descendent who has a claim to ownership but I am not a lawyer versed in Property Law.

  2. In response to the question "are they really theirs" perhaps we should split this question into two parts. Does the panel belong to them? I would say that it does. Looking back at the provenance, although originally the contents of the chancel belonged to the Earl of Warrington, he, or more likely, his estate, undoubtedly disposed of the chancel by sale at some point. It can be safely assumed that with the sale of the chancel the contents were included; if not then they would have been removed and ownership retained by the Booths or their heirs.

    Ownership of the chancel and its contents was then clearly vested in Mr. Chapman, who removed the armorial and either disposed of it or forgot about it. Either way, it came to be a part of the property which was the mill and its contents which was purchased by McVities in 1980. Therefore McVities have an undisputed claim to the ownership of the panel.

    As to their right to display, my view is that they may display the panel as long as they do not claim that the arms are theirs. They can not be accused of usurpation because it is plainly obvious that the arms are those of the Earl of Warrington and they do not claim otherwise.


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