Old Photo of the Real Maria

Maria Clegg 1820 – 1890

My great, great Aunt Maria (pronounced Mariah) Clegg was a formidable woman. She stood a full four feet eleven inches in height, and weighed approximately seven stones, but though she was “good of figure,” we read that she was also “hard of body” with a hard face and a steely determination. Truly a member of what were once referred to as ‘The Iron Cleggs.’

She was born in 1820, the second of nine children, and between 1850 -1870 she became convinced that the Whitewall Estate in Walmersley, Lancashire, should be returned to Clegg family ownership following the cessation of a lease in 1845.

She had carried out extensive research, and believed that the Cleggs had leased the estate to the family of James and Mary Lancashire in 1745 for a period of ninety-nine years. However, the Lancashire family disputed this assertion and claimed that they had purchased the estate in 1745, not leased it.

Naturally Thomas, Maria’s father, and then Maria following his death in 1850, did everything in their power, to discover the truth about ownership, and the real ‘Maria’s Papers’ were the incredibly numerous and diverse documents that she amassed in her pursuit of the truth.

The papers, thanks to my cousins John Clegg and Alan Finegan were carefully researched, catalogued, and preserved for posterity and may yet help future members of the Clegg family uncover the truth that Maria so badly, but so unsuccessfully, wanted to attain.

The now named Whitewall Farm exists to this day, and happily, Annie Haworth and Joyce Booker, her daughter, are good friends of the author, and they would be happy to allow any interested parties to visit.

If you too are a member of the Clegg family or its branches and can provide me with any further information; if you believe any of this to be incorrect, or if you would simply like to contact me, please turn to my contact page or click on my links to Facebook or Twitter below; I would be delighted to hear from you.