The Last Countess – Lady Mary Booth

(c) National Trust, Dunham Massey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) National Trust, Dunham Massey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Mary Booth                                                b.1704 – d.1772.

(3rd Cousin 6 x removed to Carolyn Booth)

The last of the Booths of Dunham Massey and sadly the last of this noble dynasty that had lasted for more than 500 years.

Lady Mary was the heiress to the Dunham Massey estate. Unusually for the time, her father, the 2nd Earl of Warrington, wanted his only daughter to have full control of her property. He left it in trust for her benefit, rather than leaving it to her outright, so that when she married it wouldn’t automatically be transferred to her husband.

At the relatively late age of 32 in 1736 Lady Mary married her much younger cousin , Harry, Lord Grey Of Grosby. Shortly after the marriage his father died and Harry became the 4th Earl of Stamford, inheriting extensive estates in Leicestershire and Staffordshire as well as the family home in Enville near Stourbridge. Lady Mary becomes The Countess of Stamford.

This marriage brought the Booth and Grey family estates at Dunham Massey and Enville Hall, respectively, together.

Although it was probably an arranged marriage it seems to have been a succesful one. The Countess of Stamford was highly educated and intellectual, and the books with her bookplate in the Dunham library include natural history, poetry, plays and religious topics.

She also developed the New Park at Dunham, where she may have employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to create one of the newly fashionable landscape gardens.

(c) National Trust, Dunham Massey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The young Lady Mary Booth –  (c) National Trust, Dunham Massey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

George Booth-1675 -1758. 2nd Earl of Warrington and his daughter Lady Mary Booth-1704 -1772. Later Countess of Stamford.(c) National Trust. Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

George Booth-1675 -1758. 2nd Earl of Warrington and his daughter Lady Mary Booth-1704 -1772. Later Countess of Stamford.(c) National Trust. Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

When George Booth her father died in 1758, he bequeathed all his estates to his daughter and her successors. Trained by her father, it was she and not her husband who took up the reins of management at Dunham Massey, maintaining the house and grounds unaltered and she continued planting trees on the estate.

Apparently she had a more attractive disposition than her father and was described as “the Mistress of this House whose greatest joy is to make those belonging to her happy and easy”

Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford

`HENRY 4th. EARL OF STAMFORD' by unknown English artist c.1765. Painting purchased from Sotheby's in June 1996 and destined for Dunham Massey.

`HENRY 4th. EARL OF STAMFORD’ by unknown English artist c.1765. Painting purchased from Sotheby’s in June 1996 and destined for Dunham Massey.

Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford (18 June 1715 – 30 May 1768) was an English peer, styled Lord Grey from 1720 to 1739.

Harry Grey was born in Enville Hall, the eldest son of Henry Grey, 3rd Earl of Stamford. He was educated at Rugby and Westminster. In 1736, he married Lady Mary Booth.

They had 3 children: 

George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford (1737–1819)

Hon. Booth Grey (1740–1802), the MP for Leicester from 1774 to 1784. Married, with a son and daughter

Hon. John Grey (1743 – 12 July 1802), married and had issue

In 1738, he represented Leicestershire in the British House of Commons, but entered the House of Lords in 1739 upon inheriting the earldom. On 3 March 1744, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Lincolnshire, and on 8 March, of Staffordshire.

He had inherited the Grey estates at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire and Enville in Staffordshire but decided to make Enville Hall the family seat. The Bradgate house was therefore bricked up and the park there kept for hunting and game. The Enville grounds (750 acres) were significantly re-landscaped during the mid-18th century. His wife Mary Booth also inherited estates at Dunham Massey in Cheshire and Stalybridge near Manchester on the death of her father in 1758.

He died at Enville and was succeeded in the earldom by his son George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford.

The Countess Of Stamford

`MRS. MARY BOOTH, WIFE OF 4th. EARL OF STAMFORD' by an

MRS. MARY BOOTH, WIFE OF 4th. EARL OF STAMFORD’ by an Unknown artist c 1765.

The 5th and 6th Earls both married into wealthy aristocratic families,                                  the Cavendish-Bentinck and Charteris, which bought them even more land and money. In addition to the  estates of the Earl of Warrington at Dunham Massey, they aquired more land in Lancashire where they were instrumental in building the town of Ashton-under-Lyne in the late 18th century.

George Harry Grey, 5th Earl of Stamford (1 October 1737 – 28 May 1819), styled Lord Grey from 1739 to 1768, was the eldest son of Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford and Lady Mary Booth,  He was educated at Leicester School and Queens’ College, Cambridge.

As Lord Grey, he was Member of Parliament for Staffordshire from 1761 until 1768, when he succeeded his father as Earl. In 1796, he was additionally created Baron Delamer and Earl of Warrington, titles held by his maternal grandfather. He married Lady Henrietta Cavendish-Bentinck, daughter of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland.

This connection was very important as it tied the ancient Booths once again to the Cavendish Family and the surrounding estates including Chatsworth and Edensor.

The 5th Earl of Stamford and Warrington and his wife Henrietta Cavendish-Bentinck had nine children including:

Henrietta Grey (1764-)

George Harry Grey, 6th Earl of Stamford (1765-1845)

Marie Grey (1767-1767)

Louisa Grey (1771-1836)

William Booth Grey (1773-1852)

Anchitel Grey (1774-1873)

Henry Grey (1776-)

Sophia Grey (1777-)

Source: The Booths Of Dunham Massey  by David Eastwood 2004

Source: Dunham Massey Cheshire – An Illustrated Souvenir  – The National Trust

Source: Images of England Bowden & Dunham massey – Bowden History Society

Source: The Protector of  Dunham Massey  by Joyce Litter 1993

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