Humphrey Chetham 1628-1653
HUMPHREY CHETHAM 1628-1653
The name of the last Orrell to own Turton Tower was the same as the first there, William. At first William set out to seek a loan of £1,000 from the Manchester banker and textile merchant, Humphrey Chetham. Not many months later, in 1628, Chetham paid him £4,000 for the Tower, the estate, the Lordship of the Manor and all the rights associated with it.
Humphrey Chetham was a wealthy man. He had already acquired a manor house at Clayton Hall on the other side of Manchester and he kept this as his first home.
So when a King's Messenger arrived at the Tower one summer's day, three years later, the owner was nowhere to be found. Thismessage was left for him,
"Mr. Humphrey Chetham of Turton,
You are by virtue of a Warrant directed to me from the Lords of the Most Honourable Privy Council being Commissioners appointed by His Majesty's Commands with those not appearing at His Majesty's Crownonacon to take upon them the Order of Knighthood. You are therefore to appear before their Lordships at Whitehall on the XXth day of October next: whereof you are not to fayle as you will answere the contrary at your perill.
Dated at yor howse this 30th day of August, 1631.
Your loving friend to Comand
One of the Messengers of His majesty's Chamber".
In the reign of King Charles I the offer of a knighthood was less an honour than an imposition for which one had to pay. Like many other men, Humphrey Chetham chose to reject the knighthood and be fined. Four years later he could not refuse the duty of serving for a year as High Sheriff of Lancashire. The usual burden of this office was to have to pay for the board and lodging of the Justices attending the Assizes at Lancaster.
Humphrey asked George, his nephew in London, to send him all he needed that was not available in Manchester, and he sent his steward, James Walmsley of Turton, to negotiate the best terms he could with the Keeper of Lancaster Castle.
As Sheriff, Humphrey suffered a more onerous year than most in being responsible for collecting King Charles's "Ship money" from the county. This was another attempt by the King to raise funds independently of Parliament.
It is not surprising that, when the Civil War broke out in 1642, Humphrey Chetham was found on the side of the Roundheads. As one of Manchester's leading financiers, he was appointed treasurer for the cause in Lancashire. As Lord of the Manor he raised and equipped Turton's soldiers and the Tower was used for quartering Roundhead troops. In 1645 he recorded, "In free quarters at Turton to maiors and captaines by 2 or 3 at a time for divers times and to Troups sometymes 12 sometymes 16, sometymes 20, sometymes more. And likewise in foot sometymes 60 or 70 a night and daily relieveinge of horse and foote especiallie at that tyme when Preston was regained from us to the enemy, at wch tyme for divers weeks my servants were forced to brew and bake almost everie daie for the reliefe of the afforesaid Souldiers that came to my howse of wch it is impossible for me to give a p'fect accompt."
Humphrey took an interest in Turton. In the Civil War correspondence was often addressed to "Humphrey Chetham of Turton" or "Humphrey Chetham att Turton". When he died in 1653 he left funds for the education of children in Turton and a library, which still survives, in the Parish Church.
But whereas Humphrey tended to use Clayton Hall in Droylsden as his home, he left Turton Tower for the use, in 1648, of his nephew, George.
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