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Footprint on the Ridge - Sir Philip de Malpas Grey-Egerton


This week's 'Footprint on the Ridge' relates to Sir Philip de Malpas Grey-Egerton, the 10th Baronet, who was educated at Eton and Oxford and who served as an MP for various Cheshire constituencies from 1830. In addition to Oulton, he also owned Broxton Old Hall, one of the finest Tudor buildings on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. In 1873 he commissioned the Chester architect John Douglas to extend the Hall as a dower house.

Grey-Egerton's greatest passion, however, was palaeontology. He developed an interest in geology at Oxford and became particularly interested in the study of fossil fish, assembling a fine collection. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1831, and was a Trustee of the British Museum. His work on the structure and affinities of various species was published by the Geological Society of London and various learned journals. Thus he became an important contributor to 19th Century upheaval in thinking about the fossil record and the evolution of life on earth upon which Darwin was to build. Grey-Egerton's collection of fossils is kept at the Natural History Museum.

He also had an interest in archaeology, contributing to the Archaeological Journal in 1845 notes about the Seven Lows barrows in Delamere.

The 18th Century house at Oulton Park burned down in 1926. During World War II the site became an Army staging camp and General Patton was based there before the Normandy Landings. It was converted into the present motor racing track in the 1950s.

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