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In the Domesday survey Macclesfield Hundred is Hamstan Hundred. Before the Norman Conquest it belonged to the Saxon Earl Edwin, son of Algar, earl of Mercia, known as the Earl of Chester. William the Conquerer made the Flemish knight, Gherbod, with the title and privledges, Earl of Chester. However, Gherbod soon found himself embroiled in rebellion in Flanders and eventually in prison. The men of Cheshire allied themselves with the Welsh and rose up in rebellion against the Norman William. William raised an army, and marching from York he crossed Derbyshire and proceeded to Chester. He ravaged the countryside. Farm lands and forest were burned and plundered. The famous Norman knight, Hugh Lupus, Hugh the Wolf, joined William from Leicester and was made Earl of Chester and therefore was lord of Hamstan Hundred. The earl retained in his own hands the manors of Macclesfied, Adlington, Gawsworth, Merton, Chelfourd, Henbury, Capesthorne, Henshall, Tintwisle, Holingworth, Werneth, and Romiley. His barons received the following: Robert Fitz-Hugh, baron of Malpas held Butley near Adlington; Richard de Vernon, another baron, held Bredbury; William Fitz-Nigel, the first baron of Halton, held one-half of Over Alderley; Hugh de Mara held Bosley and Marton; Hamo de Masci (Massy) held Bromhall, Bigot held Norbury; Uluric, a Norman of lower rank, held part of Buley near Adlington, Mottram and Alretune; Gamel held Chadkirk and part of Mottram. Prior to the Normans, Saxon thanes who were freemen were Bernulf, Godric, Godwin, Brun, Hundin, Haccom, and several more. They were either killed or driven off. These thanes were replaced by Normans named Robert, William, Hugo, Gamel, and other Norman soldiers.
Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, held unlimited power and his reign of terror desimated the countryside. The Doomesday survey indicated that Hamstan Hundred was void of population and Alderley, Adlington, Bramhall, Dunham, Macclesfield, Mottram, Norbury, and Werneth were described as lying in waste. Nicholas was appointed by Hugh Lupus as baron of Stockport with unlimited power.
By the 17th century Cheshire still retained a landed gentry descended from Normans, including Venables, Mainwarings, Davenports, Leghs, and Masseys. These families also controlled trade, legal and civil affairs, and tended to marry only amongst themselves. The English Civil War in 1641 brought sieges of Nantwich, and Chester, resulting in devastation. Chester remained a Royalist stronghold, while market towns such as Stockport, Knutsford, Nantwich, Congleton, Middlewich and Northwich remained in Parliamentarian hands. Macclesfield Hundred includes Prestbury and Stockport. During the mid 16th Century a Gee family became established in the area of Cheshire known as Macclesfield Hundred.
Macclesfield Castle was built by John de Macclesfield in 1398. Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham purchased the land in 1444 and it passed to the Stanley family, Earls of Derby after 1485. Built of sandstone, alterations were made in the 15th century, and by 1585 it was in ruins. The entire castley was probably no more than 140 yards by 39 yards.
In the old Macclesfield Hundred was the Parish of Prestbury, served by St. Peter, which was built in Norman times. Prestbury lay a few miles north of Macclesfield which was equally a few miles north of Gawsworth. Within Prestbury Parish, St. Peter served Prestbury Township as well as Adlington, Upton, Kettleshume, Herdsfield and Newton near Prestbury.
Adlington Hall lays 5 miles north of Macclesfield and north of Prestbury. It is on the way to Bramhall on the Stockport road. Adlington Hall has been held by the Legh (Leigh) family since 1315. Prior to this, the manor had been purchased by John de Warren, of Poynton, from the Stokeport family, for whom Stockport is named. The Legh (Leigh) family arrived with the Normans and initially was seated at High Legh, in Knutsford, Cheshire around 1215. The Legh family held other estates, including land throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The Adlington Estate was formed by fencing parcels of land and building farm houses and buildings for stock. Cottages were built for farmworkers, gamekeepers and other staff. Agriculture was the main industry and all the farms around Adlington were tenants of the Hall. Adlington was a Royalist garrison during the Civil War, and the moat around the hall was used to defend against the Parliamentarian forces. The Hall was taken by the Parliamentarians, but it was returned to Colonel Thomas Legh the Younger by 1656.
Adlington Hall, Cheshire
Built in 1581 by Thomas Legh
Bramhall and Sutton Hall
The manor of Bramale (Bramhall), in Stockport, was given by William the Conqueror to Hamo de Masci, the first baron of Dunham Massey. In the 14th century the Davenports inherited the manor from the Bramale family who had obtained the manor in the 12th century. The Davenports were originally in Astbury, near Congleton. Ormus de Davenport was given what became the Manor of Davenport from the Venables of Kinderton, Norman feudal Lords. His son Richard became the chief forsester for Leek and Macclesfield. The post of Magistrates Sergeant of the Forest of Macclesfield Hundred was taken over in 1266 by Vivian de Davenport. Sir Humphrey Davenport in 1574, a younger son of the family of Davenports from Bramhall, married Mary Sutton of Sutton Hall. The Sutton Hall estate had been granted for the performance of duties in the Forest of Macclesfield and gave its name to the family who founded it. In 1601 Mary’s brother, Richard Sutton, was killed in Chester. Their sister, Ann, born in 1581, married Rowland Mosely of Hough in Lancashire, who was to become the Lord Mayor of London. Bramhall remained in the Davenport family until 1877 when it was purchased by T. H. Neville.
St. Michael’s in Macclesfield was a chapel that served Macclesfield Township and the hamlets of Kettleshume and Herdsfield.
Gawsworth sets between Macclesfield and Congleton. Gawsworth was a very small hamlet even in the 19th century. St. James Chapel served Gawsworth. It was an area of pasturage and woodland and the people were involved in cloth making. Gawsworth was held by the Fitton family. Thomas Fitton, born in 1402 in Gawsworth, married Ellen Mainwaring, the daughter of Randell Mainwaring and Margery Venables. Their grandson John Fitton married Ellen the daughter of Andrew Brereton and Agnes Leigh. Edward Fitton III (1550 – 1606) and Sir Walter Raleigh were friends.
In 1597 it was mandated that every parish have a parchment book to record the dates of births, deaths and marriages. The residents of Gawsworth evidently resisted being incorporated into the register of St. Peter, the mother church of the Parish because they had their own register in their ancient church of St. Michael. In August 1599, … an order was taken … by Sir Peter Leighe, Knight, Sir Edward Warren, Knight, Thomas Leighe, and Randell Davenporte, Esquires, that within the whole parish of Prestbury, six years of serage silver was to be laid and gathered towards the maintaining of the suit against the town of Macclesfield refusing to pay towards the buying of a Register book in parchment.
Gawsworth Hall, Cheshire
Gees of Macclesfield Hundred, Ancient Parish of Prestbury
The earlist male members of the Gee family to be recorded in Prestbury Parish were Thomas and Edward, who most likely were sons of John Gee of Manchester who died in 1559. Their sister was Alyse Gee who married George Pendleton. The will of Alyse Pendleton, of Manchester, which was written in 1588 and filed in 1591, noted Raphe and Alyce Gee children of her brother Edward. Alyse also left a gift to the wife of Thomas Gee, her brother.
Edward Gee, Sr. of Gawsworth, son of John Gee of Manchester
Edward, son of John Gee who died in 1559 is absent from the early Manchester records, however an Edward Gee appeared in the Gawsworth, Cheshire records of St. James Church with the birth of several children: Agnes in 1557, Marie in 1560, Humfrey in 1562, Anne in 1564, and Margrett in 1568. In the records of nearby Prestbury is the birth of Rauffe in January of 1574 and Alice in 1577. Unfortunately the parentage is not given, but they are likely the same Raphe and Alyce noted in Alyse Pendleton’s will. Edward evidently is also the father of Edward and William Gee who resided in Gawsworth. It is likely that Edward Gee was a tenant of the Fittons of Gawsworth Hall. The death of Edward Gee son of John Gee of Manchester was noted in the Manchester Cathedral records on May 27, 1598.
In the 1592 will of Francis Warren, of Prestbury, a relative of the Fittons, bequests were left to his servant Raphe Gee and Raphe’s wife, Alyce. Raphe received one dublett of million fustian one jerkin and one paire of nether stocks. Alyce received iiij shillings.
In London, on Oct. 5, 1597 is recorded the marriage of Margaret Gee, of Stepney Middlesex , daughter of __Gee, late of Gawsworth, Chestershire, husbandman, deceased, to James Lether, of St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London, innholder. It would appear Edward went to Middlesex where he died.
Children of Edward Gee, of Gawsworth
Edward Gee of Gawsworth
Edward was born before 1556. In 1589 he married Ellen (Helen) Walker, in St. James Church, Gawsworth Hamlet. In August, 1591 the Cheshire Quarter Sessions notes Edward Gee of Gawsworth, yeoman. Also noted in 1591 in these records was Humfrey Gee.
Humfrey Gee with John South, esquire, Edward Phyton, esquire Hugh Harrison, Thomas Hammond, and eight unknown others presented a riotous assembly and were stealing bark from John Leigh, gentleman, on July 17, 1591 at Aldford. They assaulted John Browne, late of Chester, gentleman and William Massye, yeoman of Huxley, and Robert Smyth of Chester, goldsmith, Rad. Key, Chester draper, John Davenport, Chester shoemaker, Thomas Hey, Chester shoemaker, and John Chusham, Chester shoemaker, who all came at the request of John Leigh to help John Browne and William Massye. Signed Hugh Caulveley, Richard Birkhened, Peter Warburton, Henry Birkhened.
Edward likely inherited the lease of his father as these were often life estates for two or three generations. His brothers Humfrey and Rauffe do not appear to have remained in Gawsworth, as there are no records for marriage or children. Edward and Ellen Gee were recorded in St. James, Gawsworth for the birth of a son Edward in 1591 (mother noted as Helen) and a daughter Marie in 1593. The will of Edward Gee of Gawsworth was filed in Chester, Cheshire in 1609. Their son Edward married Ellen Brereton, widow at Gawsworth in 1624.
These children are recorded for Edward in the St. James Register, but it is unclear if he is the same Edward or a grandson: 1651 a daughter Maria; 1667 a daughter Rebecca; 1669 a daughter Hannah; 1674 a son Edward.
William Gee of Gawsworth
William Gee was born before 1556. His marriage to Pernell (sic) Whitacors at Bosleye was recorded in 1579. Their children were recorded in the registry of St. James, Gawsworth: Edward, 1588; Mary, 1590 her mother is noted as Parnell; John, 1593 who appears to be the father of John born in 1630 and William born in 1633. Their births are noted in St. James, Gawsworth. John is also likely the father of Richard and Hugh. 1596 a son Rodger, who is likely the Roger Gee, husbandman of Gawsworth whose will was filed at Chester in 1676.
Additional entries at St. James Church, Gawsworth, Macclesfield Hundred
1658 a son Francis
1661 a dau Dorthy
1664 a son Francis
John married 1656 Jean Cutler
1659 a dau Margrett
1660 a dau Anne
1662 a son John
1669 a son Jonathon
1671 a son William
1672 a son Edward
1674 a son Richard
1676 a son Robert
1663 a son Richard
1672 a dau Martha
Thomas Gee of Adlington, son of John Gee of Manchester
In 1562 the marriage of Thomas Gee was recorded in the records of St. Peter, in Prestbury Township to Ann Lowe. It is likely that she was his second wife, as the death of Ales Gee, who was buried at Poynton, was recorded in the Prestbury Records in 1561. Alyse Pendelton’s will, written in 1588 and filed in 1691, left a gift to the wife of Thomas Gee, her brother.
The registry at Prestbury and St. Michaels in Macclesfield does not begin until 1560, but it is clear that a family, residing in Adlington, was well established before this time. Thomas Gee would have been a tenant of the Legh (Leigh) family of Adlington Hall. Thomas Gee was likely the father of the Gees whose early marriages were recorded in these registries.
1564 Agnes Gee married Richard Howleye at Adlington
1573 John Gee married Ales Barton at Mottrom
1581 Richard Gee married Katherine Birtels at Byrtels
1584 Ales Gee married Thomas Higgenbotham at Adlington
1588 Margaret Gee married Thomas Roades
Thomas and Ann Lowe were likely the parents of Ellen, born in 1564. St. Peter, at Prestbury also recorded births from other townships, which makes it impossible to reliably sort out the family groups without additional documentation. However, I believe that the first generation after Thomas Gee included George, John, Richard, and Thomas. 1581 George Gee is noted in a suit in Cheshire, but no township location was given. In 1599 the will of Roger Gee of Adlington, Yoeman was filed. His son was probably the Roger born in 1596. In 1654 John Gee married Katherine Bradburne. The will of John Gee, wheelright, of Adlington was filed in 1664. Two years later the will of Katherine Gee, widow of Addlington, was filed.
St. Peter, Prestbury (1560 –1690) and St. Michael’s, Macclesfield (1572-1651)
There is no register of births for the period after 1636, at St. Peter, but there are marriage records
St. Peter, Prestbury
Burials and births no parentage noted, some note residence township
1561 Ales Gee was buried at Poynton
1562 John Gee was buried at Adlington
1564 Ellen born at Macclesfield
1571 George Gee was buried at Adlington
1573 Jane born
1574 Rauffe, in January, born
1575 Anne at Adlington born
1576 Elizabeth Gee, pauper, was buried at Prestbury
1577 Alice born
1578 George born at Adlington d. 1578
1580 Rodger born
1582 John Gee buried at Adlington
1582 Ellen Gee buried at Adlington
1582 Thomas; mother is Margaret
1582 Elizabeth born at Adlington
1584 John born
1586 Jone Gee, pauper, burial at Bollington
1586 Anne alias Bate born
1586 Robert born
1599 Roger Gee buried at Adlington
1600 Thomas born
1601 Richarde born
1602 Marie born at Adlington
1605 John born at Adlington
1607 Rodger born at Adlington
1609 Elizabeth born at Adlington
1611 Thomas Gee born at Adlington
1625 Alice wife of Roger died at Adlington
1627 Jane Gee, widow, at Adlington
Roger and Alice
1614 Anne at Adlington
1615 Thomas at Adlington
1619 Alicia at Adlington
1621 George at Adlington
1623 Elizabeth daughter died at Adlington
1629 Roger,a son, died at Adlington
1630 Roger,a son, died at Adlington
1562 Thomas m. Anne Lowe at Macclesfield
1564 Agnes m. Richard Howleye at Adlington
1573 John m. Ales Barton at Mottrom
1579 William m. Pernell Whitacors at Bosleye
1581 Richard m. Katherine Birtels at Byrtels
1584 Ales m. Thomas Higgenbotham at Adlington
1588 Margaret m. Thomas Roades
1596 Anne m. Humfrey Hadfeild at Adlington
1600 Thomas m. Jane Gepson at Adlington
1600 Rodger Gee and Alice Pymlotte at Butley
1601 Richarde m. Ane Gatlye at Henbury
1602 Alice m. William Bourges at Adlington
1607 Richard Gee, Parish of Prestbury m. Anne Leigh, Chapelry of Macclesfield, Chester at Macclesfield
1615 Marie Gee, Parish of Prestbury m. John Blagge, Chapelry of Macclesfield, at Prestbury
1618 Marie m. John Broadhurst at Poynton
1621 Richarde m. Lea Bruerton
1621 Elizabeth m. Richard Chantler
1624 Edward m. Ellen Brereton
1625 Marie m. Henrie Alstonne
1626 Rodger m. Ellen Burges
1629 Anne m Thomas Moulton
1644 Radus Gee m. Elena Linnie
1654 John m. Katherine Bradburne
1677 Rebecca m. William Fallelove
Wills filed at Cheshire:
1599 Roger Gee Yoeman of Adlington
1664 John Gee Wheelright of Adlington
1666 Katherine Gee Widow of Adlington
1676 Roger Gee Husbandman of Gawsworth