Elizabeth Gaskell's silver set to go under the hammer

Chris Surfleet, from Partridge’s, with Gaskell’s silver

Chris Surfleet, from Partridge’s, with Gaskell’s silver

First published in News by

SOME silver that once belonged to the husband of Knutsford author Elizabeth Gaskell is to be auctioned at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Macclesfield.

William Gaskell, born in Latchford near Warrington in 1805, was assistant minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester when he and 21 year old Elizabeth Stevenson were married in 1832.

Elizabeth had grown up in Knutsford with her aunt Hannah Lumb after the death of her mother when she was very young. Knutsford had a big influence on her writing and she famously based her best known work, Cranford, on the town.

After returning from their honeymoon in north Wales, the couple settled in Manchester where William was made minister at the Cross Street Chapel.

Known for his charity work in the area, William was keen to improve the conditions for the people living in poverty in Manchester where some of the poorest areas in the country were located.

He was also a teacher and lectured at Manchester Mechanics' Institute and Manchester New College, as well as teaching at Sunday schools with Elizabeth.

The silver items that are to be sold were given to the Cross Street Chapel by William Gaskell during his time there. Included are communion cups, flagons, and patens, most of which are engraved with a family crest and the words ‘Ex dono N-Gaskell’ meaning it was gifted from the Gaskell family.

The chapel have kept the silver for 150 years and have now decided to sell it to raise funds.

“The Gaskells were an important family in the north west and Knutsford is very closely associated with them,” said Adam Partridge.

“There is a Gaskell Society and several roads named after Elizabeth and her works so their connections there are still present. The silver is valued between £100 and £6,000 and with the excellent history behind it; it’s going to be a great sale.”

The items will be sold at Adam Partridge’s Macclesfield branch on March 6 and 7. For details visit adampartridge.co.uk or call 01625 431 788.

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