Kelsall is a Cheshire name and it is to be expected that there have been many connections with the county seat, Chester. Among early recorded connections, William Kelsall was Sheriff of Chester in 1335 (Hinchcliffe, confirmed by Lord Mayors of Chester website). Hinchcliffe also reports that Stephen de Kelsall was Mayor of Chester in 1350. This is also shown in Ormerod’s The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, but it is not confirmed by the Lord Mayors website

John Kelsall was Mayor of Chester in 1768 and his name appears on the Eastgate Arch below the famous clock, said to be the most photographed clock in the world after Big Ben. From John Kelsall’s Notes on the Family of Kelsall the John Kelsall from the clock is said to belong to the Kelsalls of Dodleston or Kinnerton.

Dodleston is a village about 6 miles southwest of Chester. From Ormrod, Dodleston Hall was once the property of the Grosvenors and was sold to Lord Chancellor Egerton and afterwards sold by his son the Earl of Bridgewater to Richard Kelsall of Trafford. From text in Lysons, we can infer this sale took place in the early 1600s. The hall became the property of John Glegg of Withington who married Bridget the only daughter of John Kelsall in 1786. Again, from Lysons, the ancient hall built chiefly of timber was pulled down about 1788 and a farm house was built on the site. However, from the History of the County Palatine of Chester by J. H. Hanshall, it was the “old hall” that was pulled down and the “other hall” that was purchased by Richard Kelsall.

From church records observed by John Kelsall and BMDs from Chester archives:

  • John Kelsall, Esq, of the City of Chester, was buried 27 September 1783 at Dodleston. He had married Mary daughter of William Farrington. Their daughter Bridget was baptised at St. Michaels Chester, 21 December 1750.
  • John Kelsall died in 1783. The only family members named in his will were wife Mary and daughter Bridget. There is no evidence that John and Mary had any other children, at least any who survived.
  • Mary Kelsall, relict of John Kelsall, Esq, one of the aldermen of the Body Corporate of the City of Chester, died 7 April 1791, buried 13 April 1791 at Dodleston, aged 70 years.
  • John’s father was likely another John Kelsall of Dodleston, buried 27 August 1739 at Dodleston. An obligation in the name of John Kelsall, son of John Kelsall of Dodleston was proven 17 September 1739.

The Dodleston records also include Mrs Katherine Kelsall married Mr Robert Okell by licence 10 December 1685 and Charles Kelsall buried 27 November 1696.

Richard Kelsall son of John Kelsall of Dodleston matriculated from Jesus College Cambridge in 1722 and was admitted to the Inner Temple bar 28 November 1724. What happened to this Richard? Could he be the Richard Kelsall, Gentleman of Society of Cliffords Inn London, will proven 22 October 1787? Hannah, eldest daughter of this Richard married Geo Hewitt 1789 Soho London. This connection seems unlikely in that he is not mentioned in the wills of either John Kelsall.

Other references to Kelsall in Chester include:

  • Henry Kelsall age 15 admitted to Trinity Cambridge 7 February 1707/1708 son of Henry of Chester, BA 1711, MA 1715. Chief Clerk of the Treasury, M.P. for Chichester 1719-32, for Bossiney 1722-7, for St. Michael’s 1727-34, FRS 1736, died 10 February 1762
  • Henry Kelsall was Mayor of Chester 1843-4