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Sketch by I. Jackson.

George Ormerod was born (1785) in Manchester and educated first privately, then briefly at the King's School, Chester, before continuing his education privately again under Rev Thomas Bancroft, vicar of Bolton. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1803, graduated BA in 1806 and received the honorary degree of MA in 1807. He became involved with research into the history of Cheshire and to make this task easier he bought Chorlton Hall and estate, which was four miles from Chester. He lived in this house from 1811 to 1823. When his historical work was completed he moved to Gloucestershire, buying the Barnesville estate at Sedbury which he renamed Sedbury Park. He lived there from 1828 until his death in 1873. Ormerod was the father of ten children and one of his daughters was a noted biologist.


The full title of his major work is "The history of the county palatine and city of Chester... incorporated with a republication of King's Vale Royal and Leycester's Cheshire antiquities". An extremely rare initial print in two volumes with duplicated plates was followed by a general subscription in ten parts, which formed three volumes, between 1816 and 1819. Much of his research was from documents held in Chester Castle. He also relied on documents collected by William Cowper. Ormerod himself only wrote between a quarter and a third of the book, the rest being simply copied from earlier works and records, including the work of Daniel King. The first edition of his most famous work is, unfortunately, full of errors, especially as regards the family trees which make up a large part of it. It is therefore prudent always to check information given in Ormerod against a second source whenever possible. Ormerod is also very weak on geophysical features: his discription of the course of the river Gowy bears only a passing resemblance to the actual route taken and contains some obviously improbable assertions.

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