The Traffords of Trafford

The Trafford tradition is that the family were settled at Trafford as early as the reign of Canute. Radulphus, or Randolph, who is said to have died in the reign of Edward the Confessor, appears in the pedigree as the father of Radulphus, who “received the King's protection from Sir Hamo de Massey, about the year 1080.” From the daughter of Hamo, Richard de Trafford had that entire lordship. To this early and obscure portion of the annals we must refer the tradition of the Trafford Crest, of which Arthur Agarde writes thus in 1600:—“The auncyentteste I know or have read is, that of the Trafords or Traford in Lancashire, whose arms [crest] are a labouring man, with a flayle in his hand threshinge, and this written motto, ‘Now thus,' which they say came by this occasion: That he and other gentlemen opposing themselves against some Normans who came to invade them, this Traford did them much hurte, and kept the passages against them. But that at length the Normans having passed the ryver came sodenlye upon him, and then, he disguising himself, went into his barne, and was threshing when they entered, yet beinge knowen by some of them and demanded why he so abased himself, answered, ‘Now thus.'” At the fancy dress ball in connection with the Preston Guild of 1823 “Mr. Trafford was remarkably dressed in his own crest: a Clown in parti-coloured clothes, a flail in his hand and a motto, ‘Now thus.'” A similar crest was borne by the Asshetons and the Pilkingtons. The legend was told of a Pilkington to Fuller, who has given it a place in his “Worthies of England.” It is now impossible to tell if it has any foundation at all in actual fact. Another undated tradition is that of a “duel” between John of Trafford and Gilbert of Ashton, in which the latter was slain and buried by his antagonist in a field called Barnfield Bank, near Urmston Hall. Following the order of the pedigree we have as holders of the Trafford estates Radulphus, Radulphus, Robertus, Henricus, Henry, Richard, of whom little or nothing is known. They are followed by a succession of five Henrys, of whom the two last were knights. John, the son of the fifth, having died young, the estates passed to the grandson of the old knight. This sixth Henry came of age in 1336, was knighted, and, dying about 1370, left seven sons, and was succeeded by another Sir Henry, who died about 1386. His son, the eighth Henry, who did not attain to the knightly dignity, died in 1396, leaving a son six years old, who died about 1403, and was succeeded by his brother Edmund, who was knighted by King Henry VI. at Whitsuntide, 1426.

In 1422, the parish church of Manchester was collegiated by the action of the last rector and lord of the manor, Thomas de la Warre. The parishioners were gathered together at the sound of the bell to confirm and accept the arrangements he had made for the better service of the church. After Sir John le Byron and Sir John de Radcliffe, the first gentleman named is Edmund Trafford. Then follow representatives of the families of Booth, Longford, Holland, Strangeways, Hyde, Barlow, Hopwood, and others. Sir Edmund Trafford married Alice, the daughter of Sir William Venables. This union took place in 1409, when the bride was but eleven years of age. The little lady was co-heiress with her sister, Douce or Dulcia, of the lands of her brother Richard, the last male heir, who was drowned in the Bollin at the early age of eight, in the year 1402. She was born at Worsley and baptised at Eccles Church. One who witnessed the ceremony was David le Seintpier, and the ceremony was impressed upon his mind by the uncomfortable circumstance that he was setting out on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Walsingham when he was thrown from his horse and broke his leg. This form of artificial memory, though effectual in his case, can hardly be recommended for imitation. Sir Edmund de Trafford was in the confidence of Henry VI., whose dreams of avarice he fanned by visions of the philosopher's stone, and of the possibility of changing all the baser metals into gold and silver. On the 7th of April, 1446, the King granted a patent to this Trafford and to Sir Thomas Ashton, setting forth that certain persons had maligned them with the character of working by unlawful arts, and might disturb them in their experiments, and, therefore, the King gave them special lease and licence to work and try their art and science, lawfully and freely, in spite of any statute or order to the contrary. The King, in issuing this commission, was overriding the provision of 5 Henry IV., c. 4. Sir Edmund lived until 1457, and if he succeeded in finding the aurum potabile , he carried the secret with him to the grave. In 1435, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edmund Trafford, married Sir John Pilkington. The deeds are still extant by which Pilkington endowed his bride at the porch of the collegiate church of Manchester. He entered into a bond to pay 200 marks in silver, and also “swere upon a boke” that he stood “sole seiset in his demene as of fee simple or fee tail, the day of weddynge,” of the lands of his father, including the dower land of his mother, dame Margery.

The next holder of the estate, Sir John de Trafford, “belonged to the great Earl of Warwick,” and with his retainers fought for the Red Rose of Lancashire under the banner of the King-maker. His allowance was twenty marks yearly, in addition to the wages usual for one of his degree. For some reason now difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain, he resigned his estates to his son Edmund, the offspring of a marriage with the daughter of Sir Thomas Ashton, of Ashton-under-Lyne. One of his sisters married Sir John Ashton. Sir John Trafford transferred his estates in 1484, and died in 1488. Edmund Trafford married the young widow of John Honford, and had the guardianship of her first husband's only son and heir. This was granted to him in a document which is worth quoting as an example alike of the customs and language of the time:—“Be hit knowen to all men wher now of late the Warde and marriage of the landez and Body of William Honford son and heir of John Honford esquier perteynet and langet to me John Savage th' elder knight by cause ye sayd William at that tyme beinge tendur of age that is to witte under ye age of xxi yerez. I the said John Savage giffe and graunte the seid Warde and Mariage of the Body and landez of ye seid Willm during all his seid nonage to my Son in lagh Edmund Trafford esquier and my doghter Margaret his wife they to have all the seid Wardez and to marye hym at their pleasurez, worshipfullye, they takinge the profetez of all the seide Wardez and mariage during his seid nonage to their owne usez. And this is my Will and grawnte without any manner interrupcon or lett of me, myn herez, or of any other by our makyng, procuringe counsaile or assente. In wythence whereof to this my writinge I the saide Sir John Savage have sette my seall Theressez witnessez Thomas Leversege, John Sutton, William Savage the elder, Thomas ffaloghys.”

The boy became a bold soldier, and was slain at Flodden Field in 1515, and with him ended the male line of the ancient family of Honford. His daughter Margaret married, before she was twelve, Sir John Stanley, the stout knight, whose life forms a curious episode in mediæval biography. He was the son of James Stanley, the warlike Bishop of Ely, and Warden of Manchester, who was blamed by Fuller for “living all the winter at Somersham, in Huntingdonshire, with one who was not his sister, and who wanted nothing to make her his wife save marriage.” Young Stanley took part in the battle of Flodden, and is thought to have been knighted in the field. Notwithstanding his prowess he appears to have been “sicklied o'er with a pale cast of thought,” his favourite mottos being those of the preacher who declares vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas . In 1523, he became engaged in a dispute with one of the Leghs, of Adlington, who had married the daughter of a reputed mistress of Cardinal Wolsey. That haughty prelate summoned Sir John to London, and committed him to the Fleet until he surrendered his lease. Sir John founded a chantry in the church of Manchester, and arranged his estates for the benefit of his wife and child. Then by mutual consent a divorce was pronounced between him and Dame Margaret, and he became a monk of the Order of St. Benedict in the abbey of Westminster. His wife, when the divorce was arranged, intended to enter a nunnery, but anticipating the sentiment of a once popular song, she altered her mind, and married Sir Urian Brereton. When Stanley settled his property he directed that his son was not to be married until he was twenty-one, and then he was to choose his own wife by the advice of the Abbot of Westminster and Edmund Trafford.

The guardian of the monk's childhood carried forward the fortunes of the Traffords, for in 1514 he was created a Knight of the Bath by Henry VIII. His son, the second Sir Edmund, was born in 1485, and died at the age of forty-eight, leaving behind him five sons and five daughters. Sir Edmund was one of the first feoffees of the Manchester Grammar School. When the school was built the east part of it adjoined “a stone chymney” of George Trafford's.

Henry Trafford, the younger brother of Sir Edmund, who died in 1537, was rector of Wilmslow, and built the chancel and placed stained glass in many of the windows. He was the youngest son of the Sir Edmund Trafford who died in 1514. His monument in Wilmslow Church represents a tonsured priest in ecclesiastical costume. The inscription, now illegible, set forth his clerical honours as “licensed doctor of divinity,” formerly Chancellor of York Cathedral, and rector of Bolton Percy, Siglisthorne, and Wilmslow. He was succeeded by Henry Ryle, who, in 1542, resigned to make way for another Henry Trafford, who was rector of Wilmslow for nearly fifty years. He died in 1591. His will contains several interesting provisions. He was anxious to be buried in the same tomb as his uncle and predecessor, and left 6s. 8d. to be paid for his funeral sermon. Evidently disapproving of sable trappings, he desired that there should be no mourning gowns at his funeral, but that a “worshipful dinner” should be made for the friends that should happen to attend. His best gown he left to the curate of Wilmslow, and the furniture of the parsonage was to remain for the use of whoever should be his successor.[6]

The third Sir Edmund, born in 1507, was knighted by the Earl of Hertford, in Scotland, in the thirty-sixth year of King Henry VIII. He was with the King at the siege of Boulogne, and died in 1564. He married a daughter of the knightly house of Radcliffe. His brother Thomas was the founder of the Traffords of Essex. Sir Edmund, in 1542, paid tax on £80 as the value of his Lancashire property. In Mary's reign he was captain of the military musters of Salford hundred, and High Sheriff of the county. “Between 1542 and 1558,” says Mr. J. E. Bailey, “Sir Edmund Trafford was interested in promoting, in the church, the advancement of the following persons, who, belonging in some cases to the families of his tenants, were ordained at Chester upon the knight's title: Dns Alexander Chorlton; Dns Alexander Hugson (or Hudson); Dns Robert Williamson; Dns Johannes Gregorie; Dns Willm's Trafforde; Dns Jacobus Walker. Thomas Acson, of the diocese of Chester, an acolyte in April, 1546, soon afterwards became sub-dean, deacon, and presbyter on the title of Edmund Trafford, co. Lincoln, gentleman. The Trafford family had connections in Lincolnshire. George Trafford, a younger son of the Sir Edmund who died in 1514, had lands in Lincoln, but lived in the neighbourhood of Manchester, and in dying left provision for certain copes and vestments (which had been bought by his father-in-law) ‘to be restored again for the service of God.'” In 1564, a curious legal document was executed between Edmund Trafford, of Trafford, Esquire, and John Boothe, of Barton, Esquire, by which it was agreed that Edmund's son (also Edmund) should marry Marget Boothe, daughter of the said John, and if she died before the union was completed he was to marry Anne, and in her default any other daughter of Boothe's who might be her father's heir. If Edmund died his next remaining brother in succession was to take his place. Moreover, if Boothe had any male issue a similar marriage was to be arranged with a daughter of the house of Trafford. In point of fact the feelings and dispositions of the young folk were not dreamed of as being of any account, and the future of their respective offspring, born and unborn, was dealt with by the seniors in the most arbitrary fashion, with the sole view of joining together the great estates of the two families. The fourth Sir Edmund was born in 1526, and died in 1590. His first wife was a sister of Queen Catharine Howard. By his second marriage, with Elizabeth, the daughter of Ralph Leicester, of Toft, he had three children. In 1586, the marriage of his daughter was celebrated with great pomp at Trafford, the Earl of Derby, the Bishop of Chester, “with divers knights and esquires of great worship,” were present, and the wedding-sermon, which still survives, was preached by William Massie, B.D., who dedicates it to Sir Edmund. “I having right honourably received,” he says, “by your good means, great courtesies, both in the country and at my studie at Oxford.” He was a Fellow of Brasenose College, and had been helped in his education by Sir Edmund. The conclusion of the dedication is worth quoting:—“For your selfe as you have long been a principal protection of God's trueth and a great countenance and credit to the preachers thereof in those quarters, and have hunted out and unkenneled those slie and subtil foxes the Jesuites and seminarie Priests out of their celles and caves to the uttermost of your power, with the great ill will of many both open and private enimies to the prince and the church, but your rewarde is with the Lorde, and as you have maintained still your house with great hospitality in no point dimming the glory of your worthy predecessors, but rather adding to it: So I pray God stil continue your zeale, your liberality, your loyaltie and fidelitie, to your Prince, Church, and Common Wealth, that here you may live long with encrease of worship and after the race of your life wel runne here you maie be partaker of those unspeakable ioies in the kingdome of Heaven which be prepared for all the elect children of God, unto whose blessed protection I recommend you and al yours. Amen.”

He was, like his father, a staunch Protestant, and is credited with special activity against the partisans of the old faith. Lancashire was regarded as a hot-bed of Popery, and Manchester was thought a convenient place “wherein to confine and imprison such Papists as they thought meet, and to train up their children in the Protestant religion.” Chaderton, Bishop of Chester, was a resident in the town, and some of the children of the Roman Catholic gentry were committed to his charge. In 1580, Trafford wrote to the Earl of Leicester complaining that the state of Lancashire was lamentable to behold, for mass was said in several places, and if harsh measures were not used “our country is utterly overthrown. I know no lenity will do any good by experience.” Towards the close of 1582, Sir Edmund apprehended a priest named John Baxter, who, “for the more ease of Sir Edmund Trafford,” was committed to the common gaol until the next assizes. The zealous priest-hunters were “righte hartelie” thanked by the Privy Council for their activity. The persecuting spirit was exhibited in 1583, when, at the quarter sessions held in Manchester, two priests, Williamson and Hatton, who had been arrested by Sir Edmund, and James Bell, a priest, who had been apprehended by the Earl of Derby, were indicted for high treason for “extolling the Pope's authority, &c.” Bell and a recusant, named Finch, were condemned to death, and executed at Lancaster. Their heads were placed on the steeple of the Manchester Parish Church. At the same sessions, Sir John Southworth and seven other gentlemen were fined for recusancy, each having to pay £240. The same fine was imposed upon a number of priests and “common persons.” Of four women it is remarked that, “although they be very obstinate, and have done great harm, yet being indicted it was not thought good to arraign them.” The next year, 1584, we find Trafford, at the instigation of Bishop Chaderton, making a descent upon Blainscough, but finding that Mr. Worthington had fled, they proceeded to Rossall to the house inhabited by the widow of Gabriel, the brother of Cardinal Allen. That lady having received a friendly hint had fled, but the High Sheriff found £500, which was secured on the plea that it was intended for the use of the Cardinal. Her three daughters, of whom the eldest was but sixteen, hearing that it was intended to convey them to prison, made their escape at midnight, and luckily finding a boat ready, crossed the Wyre and found refuge with friends. Ultimately, and after many hardships, they escaped to Rome, where they lived upon the bounty of Cardinal Allen. The Rev. James Gosnell, writing from Bolton about 1584, says:—“Here are great store of Jesuits, Seminaries, Masses and plenty of whoredom. The first sort our sheriff (Edmund Trafford, Esq.) courseth pretty well.”

From Warden Herle the Traffords received, about 1574, some ambiguous leases of the tithes of Stretford, Trafford, and half of Chorlton, which were ultimately decided to mean possession for ninety-nine years after twenty-one years. This transaction is probably the origin of the right of the family to nominate one churchwarden and two sidesmen, and to appoint the parish clerk of Manchester. When Peploe was warden these leases were the occasion of much trouble, and it was with great difficulty that the Fellows obtained their surrender. The fifth Sir Edmund was thrice High Sheriff of Lancashire. In 1603, when James made his progress into England, he was received at York with great pomp and state by the Lord Mayor and burgesses. A seminary priest was sent to prison for presenting a petition, and a number of gentlemen were “graced with the honour of knighthood.” Amongst these was Edmund Trafford, who, like his father, was a hater of Roman Catholics, and employed a spy named Christopher Bayley to ferret them out. Sir Edmund died in 1620. His first wife was a Booth, of Barton. In a second marriage he espoused Lady Mildred Cecil, the second daughter of the Earl of Exeter. A daughter received the name of Cecilia, and a son the name of Cecil, in honour of the mother's family. In 1584, there was a levy of 200 men for the service of the Queen in her Irish wars, and that the Lancashire lads might not be committed to strange captains who “for the most part” had not used their soldiers “with the love and care that appertained,” one of their own shire, Edmund Trafford, eldest son of Sir Edmund Trafford, Knight, was appointed their commander. Two years later an entry in the Court Leet book shows that the town paid £16 to Mr. Trafford and Mr. Edmund Assheton for the “makeing of soldiers into Ireland.”

Sir Cecil Trafford, who was born in 1599, and knighted by King James at Houghton Tower in 1617, succeeded his father in 1620. Leonard Smethley writes from Manchester, 10th May, 1620, that Sir Edmund Trafford was buried on the 8th at Manchester Church by torchlight, and had a funeral sermon by candle-light, leaving a will so ambiguous that the heir who should inherit could not be known. Sir Urian Legh, of Adlington, and Sir Peter Legh, of Lyme, were expected to meet for the ordering and establishing of quietness amongst the four brethren. Smethley, with a keen eye to business, wanted to secure Sir Edmund's “hearse-cloth” as a perquisite of the College of Arms, whose minion he was. From the Reformation the Traffords had been staunch Protestants, and Sir Edmund in particular was a vigorous hunter of recusants. In his earlier years Sir Cecil was thought to be tainted with Puritanism, and in an excess of religious ardour engaged in an attempt to bring back a convert, Mr. Francis Downes, who had gone over to Rome. This entry into the thorny fields of controversy had an unexpected result. Sir Cecil found himself converted by the very arguments he had sought out only to confute. Sir Cecil married a daughter of Sir Humphrey Davenport, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and his daughter Penelope, named after her mother, became the wife of John Downes, of Wardley, the brother and heir of the man whose reclamation the Knight of Trafford had attempted with so curious a result. His grandson, Roger Downes, was the young rake whose tragic fate has given rise to the story of the “skullhouse.” The death of the Rector of Ashton-on-Mersey, who was drowned on Good Friday, in 1632, “being, as it is feared, somewhat overcharged with drink,” the suicide of the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge on Easter Day, and the controversy between two Fellows of the College as to the nature of sin, seemed to new converts like Trafford and Downes “signal evidences of God's anger and wrath, and presages of the ruin of the reformed religion.” It has, however, been claimed that the re-conversion of the Traffords, the Downes, and the Sherburnes was the work of Richard Hudleston, a Lancashire Benedictine monk, who prosecuted the dangerous mission of keeping alive Roman Catholicism in England, and died in 1655, at the age of seventy-five. In 1580, there was at Trafford a priest of this English mission, but no particulars respecting him are known. In religion a Roman Catholic, in politics a Royalist, Sir Cecil played a busy part in the troublous period of the Civil War. Ship-money, perhaps the most momentous impost in its results ever levied, was the subject of a letter from Sir Cecil to Humphrey Chetham, then High Sheriff of Lancashire, which for its quaint formalism may be worth quoting:—

“Mr. Sheriffe,—I hope you will excuse mee for my late sending you venison, for in truth I was ashamed my keeper cold doe noe better, though he had Mr. Fox to help him. I have in recompense of your patience sent you a quarter of a hinde, & if you need more venison I pray lett me knowe and you shall have assoone as it will be kild. I have perused our directions from his Maty and the Llds for the levying of men & money within this County & compared it with Cheshire, & find that some time Cheshire hath byn equall to us, sometyme deeper charged, & sometymes this County hath borne 3 parts and Cheshire 2. Yet I clerely hold equallity is the best rate betweene the Countys, though Cheshire be lesse yet it is generally better land, and not soe much mosses and barren ground in it. Mr. Adam Smiths is now with me and acquainted mee with your desire, which I will as willingly perform as you desire, if God make me able; for I have byn a little troubled with rewme in my head this two dayes, though I am better to-day; I have looked for the Coppy of the letter from the Llds of the Councell for providing a Shipp in this County, but yet I cannot find it; but I find this proclamation for the discharge of it, and by my remembrance in writing on the back of the proclamation you may see the charge of money demanded by the Kinge and Llds because the shipp could not possibly be provided in time. I shall further acquaint you with my booke of Lieutenancy wherein are those few notes of remembrance. I desire to know your tyme of going, and I will prepare myself for you accordingly, and thus with my harty commendations to you I rest

Your well wishing ffrend,
Cecyll Trafford.

Trafford the third of January, 1634.

To the right worll. my very good freind Humfrey Chetam, esq.

High Sheriffe of the County of Lancaster at his House at Clayton these present.”

These worthy gentlemen discuss the matter of Ship Money with an exclusive eye to its purely business aspect, and seem quite unconscious of the momentous issues beneath these details, and yet the freedom of England was involved in the settlement. Sir Cecil writes from Trafford, 16th February, 1638, to William ffarington that “wee” have enrolled all the able men between sixteen and sixty, “a great number,” out of which levy may be made for the King. On the 11th of March he writes again that he has been to the houses of various gentlemen as requested, to see who would help with arms or money for the Kings cause, and that “few denyed.” In 1639, Sir Cecil, in conjunction with other Loyalists, “suspecting that sundry in the towne did favour the Scots, did charge the towne of Manchester with more arms than ever before in the memory of man it had been charged with, which war being composed they had their arms in their own possession.”

In 1642, Sir William Gerard, Sir Cecil Trafford, and other recusants represented to the King that they were disarmed, and asked for his Majesty's protection, and that their arms might be “re-delivered in this time of actual war.” Charles immediately issued a commission to the Lancashire recusants “commanding them to provide with all possible speed sufficient arms for the defence of his Majesty's person or them against all force raised by any colour of any order or ordinance whatsoever without his Majesty's consent.” This was answered by the Parliament sending down Sir John Seaton, and by the issue of orders for “putting down associations of Papists in Lancashire, Cheshire, and the five northern counties.” In December, 1642, Sir Cecil was imprisoned as a recusant by the Parliamentarians, probably in the same prison to which his relative had consigned so many for recusancy. The death of Sir Cecil's two eldest-born sons caused the estates to pass to the third, who received the name of Humphrey from his grandfather Davenport. Another brother was John Trafford, of Croston. The eldest of Humphrey's sons died unmarried at Angiers; the second, Humphrey, was married at Manchester in 1701 to a daughter of Sir Ralph Assheton, but the numerous offspring of this union left no children. In 1670, Henry Newcome's heart was sorely troubled about the fate of his son Daniel, who was on a voyage to Jamaica. News came that the ships, with their two guardian men-of-war, had, after a two days' fight, been captured by the Turks. The first imperfect rumour reached him on Saturday, and it was not until the succeeding Thursday that, when visiting Dunham he saw the story told more plainly. He enters it thus in his diary:—“That seven Turkish men-of-war set upon them two ships and other merchant ships near the Cape de Gat, and that the captains were slain, but they fought it out two days, and the Turks were glad to desist from their engagement. This satisfied me that there might be no captivity in the case; but then I knew not but that my child might be killed in the fight; and so it rested with me till Saturday. Then going to Trafford, I discoursed of that part of the news, and Mr. Trafford showed me that Cape de Gat was in the midst of the Mediterranean, and 150 miles within the Straits; by which it was apparent that the Amity bound for Tangier was gone off before.” Dan was not carried into Turkish captivity, but returned to Manchester, and his father was mortified at not being able to obtain employment for him with “Mr. Trafford.” It is to be remarked that at this date Sir Cecil was still living. He was buried 29th November, 1672.

The next squire of Trafford also bore the name of Humphrey. He married a daughter of Sir Oswald Mosley, but the union was childless. In the very curious “Characteristic Strictures,” written by the Rev. Thomas Seddon, and consisting of remarks on an imaginary exhibition of portraits of Lancashire and Cheshire notabilities, we have the following picture of him as “the good Samaritan”: “That universal benevolence is an enemy to restraint, and that character is not the effect of an illiberal spirit, is here most laudably expressed. The pure motives of compassion cannot be restrained by religious tenets; the manner in which these sentiments actuate the Samaritan to relieve his fellow-creature in distress, is most beautifully sublime, and every after-stroke gives lustre to the whole. The formality of the habit is the only fault in this performance, as it is better calculated for a recluse than a travelling character.”

By a will dated June 5th, 1779, the estates were devised by Humphrey to his collateral cousin, John Trafford, of Croston, who settled at the ancient home of his race, and obtained an act of Parliament in 1793 giving him power to let lands on building leases, and to lease the waste moss lands in the parishes of Manchester and Eccles for ninety-nine years. Mr. Thomas Joseph Trafford, who in 1815 succeeded to the estate, was the fifth son, and was born at Croston in 1778. His marriage, in 1803, with the daughter of Mr. Francis Colman, of Hellersdown, Devonshire, resulted in a family of fourteen children. He was a county magnate of high consideration, served as High Sheriff in 1834, and was in 1841 created a baronet and received the royal authority to revert to an old method of spelling the family name. Sir Thomas Joseph de Trafford died in 1852, and was succeeded by Sir Humphrey, who was born in 1808, and in 1855 married the Lady Mary Annette Talbot, the eldest sister of the 17th Earl of Shrewsbury. The numerous issue of this union are the bearers of a name that has endured for so many centuries that some of the families entered in the peerages look but like parvenus beside it. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Humphrey, who in consequence of the contiguity of the Manchester Ship Canal, found it desirable to leave the old home of the family.[7]

The possessions of the family in Lancashire were thus set forth in the return of landowners in 1873, which is generally credited with under rather than over-estimating the value of the estates of the larger landowners:—

    Gross estimated rental.
Sir Humphrey de Trafford 6,454 2 38 22,158 7
J. R. de Trafford (Croston)1,157 0 32 2,773 8
Paul Trafford (Liverpool)9 1 12 14 10
Randolphus de Trafford (Croston Hall)265 3 14 453 10

The family of Trafford in bygone centuries did good service in the public work of the nation, and if for some generations it sought obscurity, the motive was honourable and the blame for it rested upon those laws, alike mistaken and mischievous, which made creeds the test of citizenship. The most impressive fact about the ancient race of the Traffords of Trafford is their permanence. It is a thoroughly English attribute, and nowhere will it attract more respect than in that place which successive generations of the Traffords have seen developing from the Saxon village to the busy, bustling, modern city of Manchester. The Traffords survive and flourish, but they are Traffords of Trafford no more.


6. When the Rev. Joseph Bradshaw was in extremis , Mr. T. J. Trafford sold the next presentation of Wilmslow for £6,000 to Mr. E. V. Fox, who nominated the Rev. George Uppleby, B.A. The Bishop of Chester arguing that this was a simoniacal transaction, refused to induct, and a see-saw litigation ensued, ending in a judgment of the House of Lords in favour of Mr. Fox!

7. Those who desire to follow the fortunes of the Traffords in greater detail will find it recorded in Richmond's “History of the Trafford Family,” a magnificent volume privately printed for the present baronet. The General Indexes of the Chetham Society also supply abundant evidences of the influence and consideration of the family.