This record is held by Archives: Wigan & Leigh

Details of D/D Wr. C
Reference: D/D Wr. C

Scarisbrick v Eccleston D/D Wr. C 1


Thomas Eccleston's will left the large estate in trust, without specifying particular heirs. The legal question involved in this case concerned interpretations of the will - was there a paramount general intention to prefer the Testator's male issue to his daughters and their issue, and, if so, was it sufficiently strong to break down the particular intention of keeping the estates separate? There were express limitations of 3 different estates in the will, but preference was also shown to the male issue. There are inconsistencies and vague clauses in the will, and, to clarify his position, Mr. Scarisbrick wished to have shifting clauses inserted in it operating between sons and daughters as separate classes. This would mean that all 3 estates would belong to him. The other party, the female issue, opposed this and asked for the will to be carried into effect as it stood, with the estates remaining separate.


The case went through three levels of judicial enquiry, and three judgements were given - two in favour of the female issue. The Master of the Rolls decreed in 1834 that Mr. Scarisbrick's claim was without foundation, and this was later upheld in 1835 by Lord Lyndhurst as Lord Chancellor just before he resigned the Great Seal. A final appeal was made to the House of Lords and a unanimous verdict was reached - reversing the previous decisions - in 1838. In 1839 Mr. Scarisbrick filed a Bill on the Chancery of Lancashire to have the accounts of the Trustees of the late Mr. Eccleston investigated. The Trustees were his previous opponents in the court case and other relations.


The correspondence is from January 1853 to December 1839 and consists mainly of letters from Shuttleworth, Hopkins and Riley, solicitors of Preston, to Edward Clifton, whose wife is one of the parties in the case. Other relevant letters from Wiglesworth, Ridsdale and Co., London solicitors, and Lord Skelmersdale are also included. Most of these are copy letters sent by T.S. Shuttleworth to Edward Clifton as part of his frequent bulletins on the proceedings of the case.


The main parties involved in the case were Charles Eccleston Scarisbrick, Elizabeth Eccleston and Mary Eccleston. Mr. Scarisbrick was the son of Thomas Eccleston. He had earlier used the surname of Dicconson, but when he succeeded to the Scarisbrick Estate he assumed the Scarisbrick arms. Elizabeth Eccleston was the wife of Capt. Edward Clifton and the sister of Charles. Mary Eccleston is referred to in the correspondence as Miss Dicconson, and is presumably related to the other two on the female line.


Eccleston Hall Correspondence D/D Wr. C 2


This consists mainly of letters from and to Basil Thomas Eccleston at the Hall concerning estate matters. 1754 - 1764


Wrightington Hall Correspondence D/D Wr. C 3


Mainly letters to the agent of Charles Scarisbrick, William Hawkshead Talbot, regarding properties on the estate. They were sometimes directed to Scarisbrick Hall, where he also had to carry out duties. 1691 - 1862


Miscellaneous D/D Wr. C 4


Correspondence from the 17th century to the 19th century, including a letter signed HRH supposedly from the Old Pretender, an anonymous account of the reading of the Papal Bull in Rome abolishing the Jesuits, and attempts to trace a Seth Rigby via the Governor of a workhouse in Staffs. Others refer to estate and property affairs, invitations and meetings. 1608 - 1873

Date: 1608 - 1873
Related material:

See also calendar of series DX 343-528 at Lancashire Record Office


For deeds, estate and household papers, a card index is available at Wigan Record Office


For rentals of Charles Scarisbrick's estate, see D/DZ A95

Held by: Archives: Wigan & Leigh, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Dicconson family of Wrightington

Physical description: 4 SUB FONDS
  • Wrightington, Lancashire
  • Eccleston, Lancashire

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