Bartholomew Booth

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Bartholomew Booth (c. 1732 - 1786) was a pioneer in American education. Oxford-educated, Booth was consecrated as a priest in the Church of England before becoming a headmaster. Booth opened academies in Liverpool then in Lancashire and Essex.[1] He offered a wide curriculum, broadly following the educational philosophy of Benjamin Franklin, and was a curate for what became the congregation of Saint John's Church (Hagerstown, Maryland).

The Booths of Delamere[edit]

The Booths of Dunham Massey were the force behind “the Booth Rebellion” during the Commonwealth. They were also a force in the Restoration.[2] "Old George" Booth and grandson, "young George" Booth were leads in defending the Stuart monarchy. Old George Booth (1572-1652) married three times and died at the age of 80, in 1652. Outliving his son, who died in 1632, he was succeeded by his grandson, Young George. Old George Booth also married heiresses, thereby securing a firm financial base for the family. Marriage to Elizabeth Carrington also brought land southwest of Manchester into the Booth ambit, linking Dunham to Boothstown. Old George built the Elizabethan house at Dunham Massey, making it the family seat.

In 1618, Old George received a baronetcy from James the First. The Booths were low church Anglicans, suspect of Charles the First’s and Archbishop Laud’s high church reforms. They supported Parliament (1642), but became disaffected with the Cromwellian Protectorate. Young George was excluded from Parliament in Pride’s Purge (1648) due to his preferred negotiations with the king. Both George’s retired to Dunham to tend their lands. Old George died in 1652, l have secured the family’s future with marriages, land, and a hereditary title.

After Oliver Cromwell’s death and Richard Cromwell’s resignation, Young George moved into rebellion. He publicly backed the idea of Parliamentary supremacy knowing that once called, Parliament would restore the Monarchy. He made common cause with royalists such as Peter Leicester of Tabley. Booth’s co-conspirator at Chirk Castle erred in calling directly for Restoration. Booth’s Rebellion was put down. Following Wade’s march on London the next year, a decision was made to invite Charles Stuart to return. Young George Booth in the delegation to the Hague to approach the pretender. Because he was not in league with the regicides, George Booth was rewarded with the title “Lord Delamere.” Booth disliked the frivolity of the Restoration court.

The first recorded use "Lord (Baron) Delamere" was in 1661, when Charles the Second (1660–1685) elevated George Booth (1622–1684) for loyalty to the Crown. Old George resided in northern Chester, England at Dunham Massey Hall. His heir was Henry Booth. Henry Booth, 2nd Lord Delamere and Earl of Warrington (1652–1694), was a proponent of the Protestant cause during the Glorious Revolution, for which he was three times committed to the Tower of London based on evidence, in part, from Nathaniel Wade.[3] Henry Booth was a ‘whig Jacobite,’ later noted for his centrist approach focused on the liberties of Parliament.[4]

Being low church, both Young George and his heir favored Monmouth over James the Second. They were suspected of complicity in the Rye House Plot. Old George Booth died in 1684. The 2nd Lord Delamere was then accused of treason following the Monmouth Rebellion. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London. The family pawned the Booth silver to fund his legal defense. The case did not come to trial. No evidence was found against him. The 2nd Lord Delamere returned to Cheshire. In 1688, William of Orange landed. The 2nd Lord formed a regiment and rallied the Cheshire gentry to support William and Mary. They marched, joined William and, in gratitude, the pretender made the 2nd Lord Delamere “Earl of Warrington.” Lord Delamere was also one of three Peers taking audience with James the Second, asking him to abdicate the throne. He then returned to Cheshire, became Lord Lieutenant and organised the army for its expedition to Ireland. James was defeated in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne. However, by this stage, the Booth family were in financial difficulty.

In 1694, the first Earl Warrington died with £50,000 of mortgages. The 2nd Earl needed to marry well. John Oldbury made a fortune in the East India Trade. Oldbury had no son, but did have two daughters. He was eager to marry them into the aristocracy. They Oldbury girls reputed to be worth £40,000 apiece. Warrington married Mary Oldbury, but the two were not temperamentally suited. Mary was neither well educated nor refined. Warrington was reserved and shy. They lived at opposite ends of the manor, but were together long to enough to have one child, Mary Booth. To prevent alienation, he created an estate so that her mother’s wealth would be inherited by Mary’s children. Mary Booth married the Earl of Stamford, Henry Grey. Mary administered her own financial affairs. The 2nd Lord Delamere had a son named George (1688–1758) who became Earl of Warrington and 3rd Lord Delamere. The Earldom became extinct (1758) upon the death of 3rd Lord Delamere. He had no male heir. Earldoms only pass to direct male descendants.

The 3rd Lord Delamere’s brother Nathaniel did take up the title as the 4th Lord Delamere. But this title also became extinct on Nathaniel’s death in 1770. Nathaniel’s son, also named Henry (1710–1784), refused to take up the title Lord Delamere for personal reasons. This Henry Booth was entitled “Lord Delamere,” but he had no legitimate children. He refused to claim the Title, and the barony of Delamere terminated, reverting to the Crown.

Bartholomew Booth was thought to be the son of this Henry’s illegitimate brother.[5] Reverend Booth was nephew to Lord Henry Booth, Earl Delamere.[6] Booth’s cousin and the Earl’s daughter, Lady Mary Booth, succeeded to the Delamere estate and married Earl Stamford.


Booth emigrated to colonial Maryland (1773) with two of his three sons, Robert and William, and two female patrons. He opened academies on the frontier at The Forest of Needwood outside what is now Burkittsville, Maryland and at Delamere, on the Antietam Creek near Hagerstown, Maryland. Among his students were scions of the Revolutionary elite, including Benedict Arnold, William Shippen, and members of the Washington family.[7]

Bartholomew Booth himself graduated from Saint John’s College, Oxford in 1754, was ordained Deacon in St. Margaret’s Westminster in 1755 by Edmund Keene, Bishop of Chester; was ordained priest in Chester Cathedral by the Bishop of Chester in 1758. He was then licensed for the chapel of St. Mary’s Chapel, Parish of Stockport and County of Chester (1760). Booth and his sons, William and Robert, accompanied by patrons Mrs. Bardsley and her sister, Miss Mary Valens[8] came to the colony of Maryland in 1773, settling at the “Needwood Forest” near Petersvillle, Frederick County, Maryland. At the outbreak of hostilities in patriots from Middletown, Maryland threatened the safety of Booth and his two female patrons. They sold Needwood to the Maryland Lee family and moved west to Washington County, Maryland, with other western Maryland Tories. Despite the local suspicion of his Tory leanings, Booth nonetheless was appointed to Frederick County’s Committee of Observation on January 24, 1775, by President John Hanson.[9]

The Devil’s Backbone[edit]

The site chosen for the American “Delamere” was at the Devil’s Backbone on Antietam Creek, adjacent to the old main road from Maryland’s eastern counties to the frontier in the Potomac highlands.[10] It was at the Devil’s Backbone that General Edward Braddock’s army forded the Antietam on its way to oppose French occupation of the English frontier.[11] Here Booth built his home and a mill. Two years before his death, the taxable land was documented at 1700 acres.[12] He reopened the school, drawing as his clients Robert Morris, Edward Shippen, Benedict Arnold (sons Benjamin, aged 10, and Richard, aged 11), Charles Lee, and Hannah Washington (George's sister) (who enrolled her son, Bushrod Washington. Needwood School in Frederick, County included fencing and dancing among its curricula.[13]


The Needwood and Delamere schools only operated for about a decade, but they launched other educators' careers and advanced Benjamin Franklin's theory of instruction. For example, August Christian Whitehair, born about 1760, graduated from Delamere and settled in modern-day Preston County, West Virginia in 1788, three years after Booth’s death. Whitehair studied under Booth and was the first teacher in the Preston County Union District (1790). The History of Preston County notes Whitehair as an educational pioneer within the German settlement.[14]


  1. ^ Maurice Whitehead, ‘Not inferior to any in this part of our kingdom’: Woolton Academy and the English career of the Reverend Bartholomew Booth (1993).
  2. ^ The Booth and Grey Families, Grid Ref: SJ 734 873 (Apr. 26, 2010).
  3. ^ Thomas Worthington Barlow, Cheshire, Illustrated in Biographical Sketches (1852) at [1]; compare Burke’s Peerage at 71 (The Delamere connection not being entirely clear.)
  4. ^ Mark Knights, Uncovering a Jacobite Whig? Uncovering the Commonwealth Principles of Henry Booth, 1st Earl Warrington, Parliamentary History (Feb. 3, 2009).
  5. ^ See generally, Delamere Education (March 10, 2011).
  6. ^ Thomas John Chew Williams n& Folger McKinsey, 1 History of Frederick County, Maryland (1910) at 328-328.
  7. ^ Maurice Whitehead, The Academies of the Reverend Bartholomew Booth in Georgian England and Revolutionary America Enlightening the Curriculum (Mellen Press 1996).
  8. ^ Who would later marry General Horatio Gates.
  9. ^ Meeting of the Inhabitants of Frederick County, Maryland. Association and Resolves of the Congress, and Proceedings of Convention approved. Committees of Observation and of Correspondence appointed. Committees throughout the County appointed to receive contributions for purchase of Arms and Ammunition, and the Committee of Correspondence Powderized to contract for any quantity of Powder and Lead (1775-01-24 Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.) drawn from Arch Boyd, Arch, Maryland, Frederick County Committee of Correspondence (S4-V1-p1178).
  10. ^ Public Work’s Administration: Maryland, a Guide to the Old Line State (1940) at 336; The Bridges of Washington County, Booth’s Mill Bridge, Antietam Creek (March 25, 2011).
  11. ^ Williams & McKinsey at 329.
  12. ^ Maryland State Archives, Indices (MSA A 1437, Assessment of 1783).
  13. ^ Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 310 Collection Inventory (March 27, 2011).
  14. ^ Whitehair Genealogy (March 20, 2011; descendants of Rev. Booth lived at Delamere and were communicants at Saint John's Church (Hagerstown, Maryland) through the 1940s. Other branches of the family removed to the city of Washington, D.C. and the State of Colorado.