CHOLMONDELEY OF VALE ROYAL
Later Barons Delamere of Vale Royal
Vale Royal was founded as a Cistercian house by the future Edward I (1272-1307)
who planned to make it the grandest monastery in England. It is said that
Edward, while still a prince was in danger of being shipwrecked and swore
he would found an abbey if saved. Edward had initially founded an abbey on
a royal estate at Darnhall in 1269 with monks who came from Dore Abbey in
Herefordshire. Later the house was moved a few miles north to Vale Royal.
Darnhall was retained as a grange and park. Edward laid the foundation stone
for Vale Royal in 1277 and attended the consecration in 1283. Building work
lasted for more than 50 years. The monks moved into the abbey from temporary
premises in 1330 but even in 1336 the church was said to be incomplete having
no roof or glass and already there was mention that the rents from the abbey
land were insufficient for this work or for building monastic quarters in
similar style. The Black Death in the 1340s almost certainly delayed work
and funding. The Black Prince supported the abbey in 1353 but in 1360 the
nave was blown down in a storm. The subsequent history of the abbey was littered
with episodes of discord and disgrace.
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey and lands came into the hands
of the Holford family. An Elizabethan house was built on the site in the late
16th and early 17th centuries but replaced in 1833 by a new house designed
by Edward Blore. A south wing was added in 1861 by John Douglas, a local architect.
There is now little evidence of the great abbey and the house has been turned
into a golf club.
The nearby village of Whitegate is named after the white stone gate to the
abbey grounds. The St. Mary's parish church at Whitegate has interior features
from the 14th century. It was remodelled in 1728 and between 1874 and 1875
the 2nd Lord Delamere commissioned Douglas to restore it. It has wooden shingles
on the spire.
The Cholmondeleys of Vale Royal are related
to the Holfords of Holford Hall as described
below. The tree starts with Sir Hugh Cholmondeley and his wife, Mary Holford,
so as to show the relationship with other branches of the Cholmondeley family
that arose from this union. Hugh's fourth son, Thomas was the ancestor
of the Cholmondeleys of Vale Royal. Sir Hugh is sometimes mentioned as Sir
Hugh the younger; his father, Sir Hugh the elder he died in 1596. The effigy
of Sir Hugh the elder and his wife is shown on the Malpas page. (Sources Earwaker
and Sir Peter Leicester with additional notes on the 20th century from Wikipaedia, New York Times, Daily Mail and Times websites)
Details of the Cholmondeleys
of Cholmondeley are shown on a separate page.
Cholmondeley of Cholmondeley, born 1552; MP for Cheshire, 1585; knighted 1588;
Sheriff, 1589; buried Malpas, 18 August 1601.
sole daughter and heiress of Christopher Holford of Holford, Esq. who was
born at Holford and baptised at Nether Peover on 20 Jan 1562/3. She died
at Vale Royal on 15 August 1625 and was buried at Malpas. She had five sons
and three daughters. We follow here the sons but according to Sir Peter
Leicester, Mary, eldest daughter, married Sir George Caveley of Lea nigh
Eaton-boat; Lettice married Sir Richard Grosvenor, of Eaton-boat, afterwards
baronet; and Frances, youngest daughter, was second wife of Peter Venables
of Kinderton, Esq. commonly called baron of Kinderton.
Cholmondeley of Cholmondeley, son and heir, born Crouch End, Middlesex,
17 June 1584; Sheriff of Cheshire 1625. He was created Viscount Cholmondeley
of Kells in Ireland in 1628, Baron Cholmondeley of Wich Malbank in England
in 1645 and Earl of Leinster in Ireland on 5 March 1646. He died 8 October
1659 and was buried at Malpas. He had no legitimate issue.
daughter of John, Lord Stanhope of Harrington. She died 15 June 1657
and was buried at Malpas.
Thomas Cholmondeley of Holford (In
Peover Church there is a monument to Thomas Cholmondeley late of
Holford, Esq., only son of Robert Lord Cholmondeley, Earl of Leinster,
son and heir of Mary, daughter and heir of Christopher Holford of
Holford, Esq., which said Thomas died 6 January 1667. Thomas
was the illegitimate son of Robert Cholmondeley and a Mrs. Goldston.
His father gave him the Holford lands
that he had obtained from his mother.
Cholmondeley, 2nd son, born Islington, 17 August 1587 and died without
Cholmondeley, of Knight's Grange, Esq., 3rd son, born at Halford, baptised
at Nether Peover 24 July 1591, died Bedville Castle, 11 September 1655
and buried at Malpas. He was the ancestor of the Marquis of Cholmondeley.
was the 5th son and died young.
Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, 4th son, born Halford, 2 March 1594/5.
Sheriff of Cheshire 1638, died 3 January 1652/3 and buried at Minshull.
sole daughter and heir of John Minshull of Minshull, Esq. by Frances,
daughter of John Egerton of Egerton and Oulton, Knt. She died at Vale
Royal and was buried at Minshull on 25 September 1661. She had seven
sons and four daughters of whom six died in infancy. We follow Thomas.
Thomas Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, 3rd son, born 15 September 1627,
Sheriff of Cheshire in 1660; MP, 1669. He died 26 February 1701/2.
He married twice.
wife, Jane, dau. of Sir Lionel Tolmache of Helmingham, Suffolk,
Knt. She died at Vale Royal on 14 April 1666 and was buried at Minshull.
She had five sons and seven daughters.
2nd wife, Ann, dau. of Sir Walter St. John of Battersea, Bart. She
was born 1650, married 20 May 1684, died 1 December 1742 at Henbury,
buried at Minshull. She had four sons and a daughter. Of the sons
one was still born and one died in infancy and one had no surviving
issue. We follow Charles.
Charles Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, born Vale Royal 12 January
1684/5, MP for Cheshire in 1710, died 30 March 1765.
+Essex, the dau. of Thomas Pitt
of St. Mary Blandford, Dorset at St. Clement Dane on 22 July
1714. She died at Vale Royal on 7 March 1754. She had three
sons of whom the eldest died in infancy and five daughters.
Thomas Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, 3rd son, born Chevening,
Kent, 24 June 1726. He was MP for Cheshire in 1756, died
2 June 1779, and was buried at Minshull.
Dorothy, sole heir of Edmund Cowper, Esq. of Over Legh near
Chester who was born at Colne, Lancashire, 14 February 1745/6.
She married on 29 October 1764 at St. James Westminster
and died at Bristol on 25 May 1786. This couple had six
sons and three daughters.
Thomas Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, eldest son and heir,
born Beckenham, Kent, on 9 August 1767. He was Sheriff
of Cheshire, MP for Cheshire in 1796 and created Baron
Delamere of Vale Royal, 17 August 1821. He died in London
on 30 September 1855.
Henrietta Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Sir Watkin
Williams Wynn of Wynnstay, Denbighshire, Bart. They
married at Ruabon on 17 December 1810. She died in 1852.
They had four sons: Hugh, Thomas Grenville, Henry Pitt,
and Charles Watkin Neville.
Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere of Vale Royal
was born at Vale Royal on 3 October 1811. He was
Colonel of the Royal Cheshire Militia.
Died 1 August 1887.
1st wife, Augusta, dau. of the Rt. Hon. Sir George
Hamilton Seymour, GCH, GCB, PC.
- 8. Hugh Cholmondley, 3rd Lord Delamere, born 28 April 1870 succeeded to the title at the age of 17. Died 13 November 1931
+ 1st wife Lady Florence Cole, daughter of the Earl of Enniskellen. She died in 1914
- 9. Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley, only son, 4th Lord Delamere, born 14 August 1900, died 13 April 1979
+ 1st Phyllis Anne Montagu-Douglas Scott (1904-1978) daughter of Lord George Scott in 1924, divorced in 1944
- Hugh George Cholmondeley, 5th Baron Delamere born 1934. Also two daughters, Elizabeth and Ann
- + 2nd wife Hon. Ruth Mary Clarisse Ashley. Divorced 1955
- + 3rd wife Diana Caldwell the former Lady Delves Broughton
- + 2nd wife Lady Charles Markham (née Gwladys Helen Beckett, daughter of Hon. Rupert Eveleyn Beckett. She died in 1943.
Note on the 20th Century
Hugh Cholmondeley, the 3rd Baron Delamere (1870-1931) became the owner of a very large farming estate in Kenya's highlands in 1903. His son, Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley the 4th Baron, was the leading light in the small circle of rich Kenyan landowners who enjoyed a lavish and decadent lifestyle of drink, drugs and wife-swapping described in the book and film 'White Mischief'. The book relates the story of Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll. He was shot dead and the husband of his most recent conquest, Diana, Lady Delves Broughton, was brought to trial. Sir Jock Delves Broughton was acquitted through lack of evidence and returned to England. However, he committed suicide by an overdose of morphine in the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool shortly afterwards. It was not until 66 years later that evidence finally emerged that he was the killer.
Lady Delves Broughton was born Diana Caldwell in Hove, Sussex, in 1913. Her
first marriage was to Vernon Motion. In 1940, she married Sir Henry Delves Broughton in Durban and they moved to Kenya. She was married from 1943 to 1955 to Gilbert Colvile, another Kenyan rancher and finally, in 1955, she married Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley, the 4th Lord Delamere.
Back to list of families
Introduction to Cheshire Gentry
© Craig Thornber, Cheshire, England, UK. Main Site Address: http://www.thornber.net/