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ongoing history and research project of the title, Baron "Lord
Delamere" is primarily and specifically centered on the 1st Lord Delamere (1767-1855) 2nd Lord Delamere (1811-1887) and the 3rd
Lord Delamere (1870-1931) the Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, UK, branch of the Cholmondeley ( pronounced Chumley ) family, and is strictly limited to this time period of 1767-1931.
This history project is only in its preliminary stages and we acknowledge that
errors may be contained in this ongoing report, but we request that any information
or additional details be submitted to our research department, which is staffed
by volunteers. Send your information to our email
address. We also gratefully acknowledge the access we have been provided by
the University of London; Historic England Research Project, the archives of British
History and the Rylands Library of Manchester, plus Grosvenor Museum, Cheshire, and The Historic Manuscripts Commission, all of which the Delamere Group support and sponsor.
first recorded use of the title "Lord (Baron) Delamere" (Some records
indicate Delamer) referring or related to an English family, is in 1661 AD,
Charles the Second (Reigned 1660-1685) created this title for Sir
George Booth (1622-1684) in return for his loyalty to the English Crown, because Sir
George was well known as a staunch Royalist during the Cromwell era ( Ref. British
George Booth lived in the area north of Chester, England, at Dunham
Massey Hall, Dunham Massey, Cheshire. Sir George had a son and heir named
Henry. (Visit this informative site about Dunham
Booth, 2nd Lord Delamere and Earl of Warrington (1652-1694) had a son named
(1688-1758) who also upon the death of his father Henry, became 2nd Earl of Warrington
and 3rd Lord Delamere, but the Earldom became extinct in 1758 upon the death of
George who had no male heir. (Earldoms can only pass to a direct male descendent).
George's brother Nathaniel
had taken up the title 4th Lord Delamere but this title also became extinct
in 1770 upon the death of Nathaniel, as the son of Nathaniel, also named Henry
(1710-1784) refused to take up the title "Lord Delamere" for
personal reasons. This latter Henry Booth was entitled to the designation of "Lord
Delamere", but not having any child born in wedlock he refused to claim
the Title, and the "Barony of Delamere" terminated in the person
of Nathaniel the 4th Baron in 1770; and ownership reverted back to the English
Crown. (See also this
page that relates to the line of the Booth family and the subsequent Baron
Titles they held up until 1870 and other titles still held today by the current
descendents of the Booth family.) The title Lord Delamere relinquished
by the Booth family in 1770, was revived in 1821 by the Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire,
branch of the Cholmondeley family.
Cholmondeley (1767-1855) acceded to the title of Lord
Delamere (of Vale Royal Abbey) by purchasing the Barony Title from the English Crown for £5000
in 1821 (which, by the way, is the equivalent of over £5 million today
in 2016) he actually overpaid for the title as it was originally offered at
only £1200 but other prominent individuals in the regions of Cheshire
were also bidding for this title because of its influential and useful connotation
related to the far-reaching and very well known Delamere
Forest area of Cheshire; known over the whole of England, and also because of the
great prestige and power this title Lord Delamere would carry. (See also Footnote No. 13)
But Thomas Cholmondeley, being
who he was; an indomitable character, enterprisingly thought the title was truly worth the price he had paid,
and he was proved to be right in his perception. Thomas
thus became the 1st
Baronacy, Lord Delamere of Vale Royal on 19 July 1821 and had his name entered into the list of
British Peers (House
of Lords) at the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom, which was one of the most magnificent and expensive coronations in English history. (This great, historic event and the extravagant related ceremony would have perfectly suited Thomas and his taste for being a celebrity. To read the full list of British Peers created between 1801-2015, click here.)
Thomas (1767-1855) also apparently spent massive amounts of
the family funds inherited from the Holford family through his Great Grandmother Mary Cholmondeley (nee Holford),
funds that he used to extravagantly refurbish, buy works of art and valuable books for the extensive library and also further renovate and extend the Great
House and Great Hall at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, these funds he used in a good purpose and with a pure motive. See also this site about Vale
Royal Abbey. Plus an aerial photo of Vale Royal Abbey taken in (date unknown). (The ruins of the Abbey are to the right of the photo. For more details of the Abbey from British History, click here) This photo must have been taken before the building of the new apartments at the rear of Vale Royal Abbey Great House now forming part of the elite golf club.) See also this photograph and description, and also this photo of the gardens at Vale Royal Abbey in 1906. For addititonal background information about Vale Royal Abbey, visit this site by Visions Of Britain.org. This useful site by Sheffield University, provides more historic details about Vale Royal Abbey, click here. Also check out this site by Historic England, read more. Plus this comprehensive site powered by the British History Society Online, The Ledger-Book or "Green Book" of the Cistercian abbey of Vale Royal, in Delamere Forest, near Winsford in Cheshire. It comprises a contemporary history of the abbey, pleas and evidences, and a collection of Bulls granting privileges to the Cistercian order, click here. Today, there are many remaining sections and examples of the original Vale Royal Abbey, which our researcher on his recent visit found inspiring, especially the stained glass windows that display a great example of medieval stained glass, click here. See especially this window in the West Passage of the Great Hall.
Fortunately, Vale Royal Abbey is now listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, for its special architectural and historic interest, read more about the history of Vale Royal. This photograph taken about 1906 displays the magnificent south front of the Vale Royal House, click here. Cheshire Council currently has some interesting photos of Vale Royal Abbey and the family rooms (53 on record) when inhabited by the Cholmondeley family, dates are unknown but thought to be about 1900. Click here. (Some photographs have been definitely dated after Vale Royal Abbey was occupied by the new tenant Robert Dempster about 1907-1910) Read also this comprehensive report by renowned local Cheshire historian Tony Bostock, regarding how the Holcroft family came into possession of the Vale Royal Abbey & Estate in 1538, click here. And later records show the Holford family purchased Vale Royal Estate from the Holcroft family or the Crown and reveal how it was eventually sold to Lady Mary Cholmondeley (nee Holford) in 1615. Read more. See also an extract from the book "Prophecy & Revolution Settlement" related to this new ownership by Lady Mary Cholmondeley, click here. A valuable source to research is this book by R M Bevan "Tales of Old Delamere Forest".
Contact our office if you can't locate a copy.
Note: The following is a short extract from a research report on Thomas
Cholmondeley (1767-1855), currently being prepared by our Cambridge
"Although the records do not reveal the
precise motive of Thomas Cholmondeley behind his decision to purchase this title, Baron Delamere,
from the British Crown in 1821; but it would seem reasonable to assume that because he
had inherited and now owned the Great House at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire,
England, plus all the surrounding land, including the prestigious Delamere
Forest, and now also being one of the most prominent and wealthiest land owners
in Cheshire, perhaps also because his distant cousins, the Cholmondeley family
Castle had a title, and they had recently built the very impressive (although
somewhat incongruous) mock-gothic Castle in 1801-1804, likewise - why should
not he - being Cheshire's leading citizen, the "one and only" Thomas Cholmondeley
of Vale Royal Abbey, also now be titled? Let us remember that he was also the Sheriff
of Cheshire and Member
of Parliament for Cheshire. (It is even still possible to buy barony titles
today from the British Crown and also have the title registered in ones personal
name and to be listed in the Peerage). (Visit
this site) Or if you prefer to be a “Laird” (Scottish for Lord) then, click here. ( Please note and also read this explanation about holding a Peerage in the UK, especially since the House of Lord’s Act of 1999. Read more.)
Note: A few English peerages created by Letters Patent, which exist today, date from the 15th century. Some date from the 16th century, even though the Tudors were sparing in their creation of peers. Most date from the 17th century. Read more.
comments made in the public press a few years ago by one of his descendants;
that Thomas, 1st Lord Delamere,(1767-1855) was an "idiot"
for buying this title; from our research to date we have learned that he was indeed
somewhat reckless and a very ambitious domineering individual, plus a very harsh and disciplined
taskmaster but was no idiot, but that Thomas Cholmondeley was rather
a very creative, constructive individual and a visionary, who rendered a great
deal of benefit with his programmes for the advancement and care of his tenants plus the local
people of Cheshire, England. Also without his dedication to the restoration and
improvements of the Great House and building the Great Hall at Vale Royal Abbey, costing
Thomas most of the vast family fortune, all of this building work resulting
in the accomplishment, that today's current visitors to this beautifully restored
Hall (now headquarters of our favorite golf course; apologies for our prejudice)
the Vale Royal
Abbey Golf Club) that they would not be able to enjoy this impressive treasure and heritage
one of the most beautiful areas
in the whole of England. To visit the Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club, you may need a permit, if you require
one and have problems in obtaining a permit, please contact
us. Meantime to enjoy a video clip and flyover of the 18 holes of this great golf course, with the magnificent Vale Royal Abbey in the background, click here. See also this page of old photos of Vale Royal Abbey.
See this antique portrait of Thomas Cholmondeley, 1st Lord Delamere, Portrait of Thomas Cholmondeley, first Lord Delamere, on his Hunter. (Thomas Cholmondeley was also a member of the Tarporley Hunt Club, Cheshire, read more about the Hunt Club.) Also read this fine book about The Green Collars,Tarporley Hunt Club by Gordon Fergusson.
(More details on the exploits and life of Thomas, 1st
Lord Delamere will be revealed in due course when our researchers have completed
their project of examining all the available family journals and records at the Rylands Library in Manchester, England, archives of the Houses of Parliament, plus the archives of British History, and Cheshire County Records Office)
Cholmondeley married Henrietta
Elizabeth Williams-Wynn, from Denbigh, Wales, in 1810, and they had 6 children, 5 sons and one daughter. Henrietta Elizabeth the wife
of Thomas, died in 1852 aged 66 years old and Thomas died
in 1855 aged 88. For more details about Thomas Cholmondeley, 1st Lord Delamere, visit the World Public Library.
The eldest son of this marriage was named Hugh Cholmondeley (1811-1887)
(Welsh Church records state 1812 as being the year of birth) and he became
Lord Delamere of Vale Royal in 1855 upon the death of his powerful, heavy handed, domineering, head-strong and influential
father, Thomas. (Read the obituary of 1st Lord Delamere, click here. Plus this extract from Hardwicke's Annual, Page 43, click here.)
2nd Lord Delamere, who was a far more gentle, compassionate and understanding individual than his late father, had inherited not only the family title and the vast estate,
but also 'major headaches' and serious legal issues because of the overspending
of the family fortune previously inherited and directly controlled by his late father Thomas,
who had been extravagantly spending the family wealth, primarily on renovating the Great House and Great Hall at Vale Royal Abbey; funds that had been passed down
through the Cholmondeley family from the Holfords family.
did Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, handle these financial problems and
difficulties that ensued, plus the complicated legal affairs of the estate that he had now inherited
and had to deal with and also try to resolve? Extracts from the family records related
to his personal and private life, plus various family issues, indicate that he had to
care for and also handle additional serious personal problems, especially related
to his first wife Lady
Sarah Hay-Drummond, whom he had married in 1848 and her subsequent death at the very young age of 30 years
old in 1859, which devastated Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, according to family records of that dreadful event.
2nd Lord Delamere also had to cope with his complex second marriage to
Seymour, (an assertive, hard headed, manipulative woman, according to records) which took place the following year in 1860, and their union produced two children, Hugh
(Junior) born in 1870 and Sybil,
born in 1871. (Hugh received a beautiful solid gold box in 1866 from Sir George Hamilton Seymour, the father of Augusta Emily Seymour, based upon Hugh's marriage to Augusta, see this photograph. “Probably as a reward to Hugh, Lord Delamere, for taking his very difficult and headstrong daughter off his hands”, this cryptic comment is based on an extract of a letter from a personal friend of Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere) In addition, Hugh was also trying to care for his much younger, and only
sister, Henrietta Charlotte Cholmondeley (1823-1874) and the stressful circumstances
that surrounded her pathetic life at Vale Royal Abbey.
Why was his second marriage so complex,
you might ask? Also, what was the problematic situation with his only sister Henrietta Charlotte that caused Hugh so much anguish? Please wait until we release the intimate family
details of this relationship and the surrounding problems that existed. This very
detailed account, related to this period of the history of Vale Royal Abbey and
the Cholmondeley family makes the most fascinating reading for serious
students of English history and especially Cheshire history (more extracts
from our research reports coming soon; please be patient). See this antique drawing of Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere. PORTRAITS: Lord Delamere, antique print, 1867.
See also this print of Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere, taken in 1860, the year he married his second wife Augusta Seymour. This print was also recreated into a large oil portrait by a local artist and was prominently displayed in the sitting room at Vale Royal Abbey, until 1904. Click here. (Sadly, the whereabouts of this portrait is now unknown. If any of our readers or site visitors can inform us of its location and the current legal owner of this portrait, one of our business clients is willing to pay a reasonable purchase price, with the appropriate finders fee, subject to the usual authentication by an appropriate art specialist.)
extract from the research report regarding Hugh Cholmondeley,
2nd Lord Delamere; his second marriage to Augusta
Emily Seymour and their 2 children.
from pages 23 & 24: (only for our registered readers)
the time Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere (1811-1887) inherited the Vale Royal Abbey estate; the title and the Great House, in 1855, the funds in the estate
had almost become depleted, making it very difficult to maintain the life style
of a "Lord of the British Peerage". It also seems that Hugh was
having serious problems with his second marriage to Augusta. His second wife was
a similar age to his first wife, Lady
Sarah, (daughter of Thomas Robert Hay-Drummond, 11th Earl of Kinnoull) being about 24 years his junior. The major difference is that Lady Sarah was a very weak and delicate girl and was ill for most of her life, requiring a great deal of personal attention and nursing care, plus she hardly ever went outdoors, right up to the
time of her death at the young age of 30 years old, on 17 February 1859, whereas Augusta being more robust and an independent individual, lived away from Vale Royal Abbey in
Cheshire for long periods of time, spending many months of each year in London and
also in Bournemouth, on the South Coast of England, with her socialite friends,
a life style she adopted right up until her death aged 75 years old in 1911. (To view some portraits of Augusta Emily Seymour, Lady Delamere, second wife of Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, currently displayed in the National Archives, London, click here)
In addition, Hugh Cholmondeley,
2nd Lord Delamere, in 1860 had also decided to undertake
a major task very close to his heart, and he ambitiously commissioned the building
of a new local church in the village of Over
in Cheshire, nearby to Vale Royal Abbey, (See also this site about the town of Over plus some incidents that surround the Lord Delamere and Vale Royal Abbey issues) which was to be dedicated to
the memory of his endearing first wife Lady Sarah who had died in 1859. This must
have been a very complex undertaking at the time; not only in monetary terms in view
of his current financial restraints, but also consuming much of his time and energy,
considering all the other problems he had to cope with related to the large estate
and the Great House and Great Hall at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, which
were still in need of more restoration and ongoing maintenance, this project being
handled under the supervision of local architect, John Douglas and his head stone
mason, Walter Green of Chester
However, the determination of Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord
Delamere, typical of his intrepid character, plus the burning desire he felt,
and the commitment he had made to leave a permanent memorial for his much loved first
wife, Lady Sarah, resulted in this beautiful architectural heritage, St
John the Evangelist's Church that visitors to Cheshire, England, can still
enjoy even to this day (2016) designed and built by architect John Douglas (1830-1911) see also this informative site about John Douglas, click here, and his grave in Overleigh Cemetery in Chester. For a more personal and detailed account
of this very positive and up-building Christian community at St
John the Evangelist's Church, sent
to us by the local parishioners and the current vicar, George Crowder, visit
this site. (See this map and locality, plus a recent (2015) beautiful photograph of the St. John the Evangelist Church in Over, Cheshire, UK, by local photographer, Ken Rane, click here)
two "official & registered" children of Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere and Augusta (2nd
wife) were also away from their home at Vale Royal Abbey for most of the time, the daughter
Sybil born in 1871 and who died at her home in London in 1911 (apparent suicide), spent
most of her childhood in London and Bournemouth accompanying her mother Augusta, and Hugh (Jnr) (who eventually became 3rd Lord Delamere) born in 1870, was away
at boarding school, firstly to Winchester School and then to Eton from a very young age and he was also giving his father, Hugh (Snr) a very
difficult time. Not only was it costing his father Hugh (Snr) an enormous
amount of money each year in school fees to keep up the appropriate life-style
of having a son at Eton, when he could ill afford it, but Hugh (Jnr) was
also a "tear-away" and a "very poor student" according to family journals, always getting into
trouble at Eton
College, not just mischievous acts, but immoral, dangerous and somewhat rebellious
acts, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and violence.
Read the upcoming report on the
life style and character of Hugh (Jnr), who eventually became the 3rd Lord
Delamere at the young age of 17, upon the premature and unfortunate death of his father Hugh
in 1887. Plus you will read how young Hugh, being the sole male heir who had also inherited
the vast family estate at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire that included valuable works of art and one of the most
valuable libraries in the whole of England, plus what few financial or cash assets remained but also now including the massive debts that the Vale Royal Abbey estate had accumulated. The report
will also show how most of these remaining family assets were liquidated and how
the proceeds were used and transferred out of England (quite legally) to help
finance and "bank-roll" his farm, estate and life style in Kenya, Africa, as part of the “Happy Valley” crowd. (Read also this book about the Happy Valley Crowd in Kenya, White Mischief: The Murder of Lord Erroll 1st (first) Edition by James Fox ) To read some extracts from this very popular book, “White Mischief”, click here. Plus also read this compelling report about the Happy Valley crowd in Kenya, click here, and in addition, read this enlightening article about the murder of Lord Erroll that we have on file, click here. One of our readers has also recommended this excellent book regarding the murder of Lord Erroll, Diana, Lady Delamere and the Lord Errol Murder.
Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere died in Kenya, Africa, in 1931 at the comparatively young age of 61 years old, he also left unpaid bank loans totalling £500,000, most of these loans to the Bank of India, (the current value in 2016 must be equal to approximately £50 million),
this is even after using the large amounts of cash he had received by selling
off the "family jewels" in England when he abandoned the Vale Royal Abbey estate, which he had inherited from his
father and grandfather.
Editor's Note: From local verbal records, and also referred to in local staff diaries and estate records plus a "private" family Bible, it appears that Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere probably also had two illegitimate sons, born in 1875 and 1877, in addition to his two other children with his legal wife Augusta; namely his son Hugh Jnr, born 1870 and his daughter Sybil born 1871. ( We are currently investigating and closely examining these records in order to establish and confirm this claim.) It was a common practice in those days for the aristocracy to have illegitimate children, even the ruling monarchs at this time in history, King George IV (1762-1830) and his successor King William IV (1765-1837) had numerous illegitimate children.
Additional Editor’s Note: One of our experienced researchers expressed the expert opinion; that if this claim is true, namely that Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, (1811-1887) the father of Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere (1870-1931) did indeed have two additional 'illegitimate' sons that he cared for, and we do know that from records and letters to his mother, that Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere, had a total disrespect and intense dislike for his father and his life style, and he was especially highly critical of his father for the act of “wasting money” on building a "monument" a church in Over, Cheshire, England, dedicate to the memory of his fathers first wife Lady Sarah who had died childless in 1859.
Of course young Hugh’s estimation of his father was probably strongly influenced by his mother Augusta and her view and personal opinion of her husband Hugh Snr, as the upbringing of the two children, Hugh Jnr. and Sybil was left entirely in the hands of Augusta their mother with the help of governesses, and it appears that Hugh their father had neither the time or interest in their upbringing. In private letters to a friend, Augusta, wife of Hugh 2nd Lord Delamere and father of Hugh Jnr. commented that her husband, Hugh Snr. was a ‘weak person and had no strength of character’. Despite this derogatory personal view of Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, by his wife and his son, our researchers have established from accurate records that he courageously handled a very difficult and almost overwhelming task of keeping the Vale Royal Abbey estate intact and operating while under great duress during the period 1855-1887, especially in view of the financial problems inherited from his father, the 1st Lord Delamere (1767-1855). Vale Royal Abbey today, now stands as a tribute to the dedication of Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere and his contribution to the care and preservation of the Great House and Great Hall during his lifetime under such difficult and trying circumstances. Today, Vale RoyalAbbey is a Listed Building and National Heritage site, which we can all currently enjoy, thanks mainly to the dedication and work of Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere.
This negative view of his father and the Vale Royal Estate could well explain why Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere, had no interest or commitment in maintaining and continuing the beautiful estate at Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, England, even though he had inherited the title and the estate in 1887, but unfortunately for him with very few cash assets and a heavy load of debt, when he was a mere 17 years of age, and thus he probably wanted to cut all ties and responsibility, perhaps being his main reasons why he eventually decided to start and build a new life in the then obscure African country of British East Africa, later to be known as Kenya, and why he abandoned the Vale Royal Abbey estate in Cheshire, allowing the Great House and Hall to 'go to the dogs', so to speak. Plus from records of that date, the Great House at Vale Royal Estate was in desperate need of additional major extensive repairs and a new roof was definitely needed, it also faced the possibility of having to be completely demolished unless these urgent repairs were immediately undertaken.
Therefore Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere must have decided to liquidate what he could salvage from the estate at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, England, before it was attached by the banks and eventually the government, because of non-payment of loans and debts. From existing records we do know that Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere was a very impetuous, erratic, emotionally unstable, bad tempered, irresponsible and reckless individual, and making such a grave decision of abandoning the Vale Royal Abbey estate in England for a new life in a then almost unknown country of Kenya, Africa, would simply be in line with his character. To quote from his biography, “The new Lord Delamere had grown up with a quick and violent temper which he had never been taught to restrain. At the age of 17 he found himself with an estate, a title and a hunting stable. He went through a period of extravagance which the income from the estate, by no means a large one and considerably mortgaged, was inadequate to meet." Plus this quote, "The English property “Vale Royal Abbey Estate” was now squeezed dry. A receiver was appointed to collect the income from the estate on behalf of the mortgagees; and Delamere became totally dependant for his livelihood on the profits from his farms in Africa."
records show that Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere,
must have been a very lonely man; but not totally despondent, during most of his later adult life, having to cope with the premature death of his first wife Lady Sarah at such a young age, but especially from 1859 onward, as he rarely ever saw his second wife Augusta, because she was always away in London or Bournemouth with his daughter Sybil, plus the death in 1874 of his fondly loved only sister Henrietta Charlotte, aged only 50 years old. Henrietta spent the last 3 years of her sad and empty life back at Vale Royal Abbey, the home she had always really loved, after the death of her elderly husband in 1871 at his home Ashwellthorpe Hall in Norfolk. (Henrietta was the unfortunate victim of an arranged marriage by her late father Thomas Cholmondeley, 1st Lord Delamere, to an elderly Lord Berners, Henry William Wilson in 1857, a man who was at least 30 years older than her, in an attempt by her manipulative father to try and acquire more funds into the Vale Royal Abbey bank account). Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere therefore as a result of his now somewhat stressful solitary life, plus according to family journals and private letters, he also had personal health problems he had to cope with, including very serious skin problems, which today in current medical terms since the early 1800’s, would be described as psoriasis. Hugh therefore depended more and more upon his faithful and loyal housekeeper, Margaret G..... who is also now claimed to be the mother of his two illegitimate sons born in 1875 and 1877. (Full
name to be revealed after the written consent of her family descendants has been supplied) and of course
he depended also upon his dedicated downstairs staff for their support and discretion. (Complete list of staff and servants will soon be revealed upon consent of their family decendants.)
(End of extract of Pages 23 & 24 of research report)
about the sale of portions of the Cholmondeley (Vale Royal Abbey) Estate Listed in Sotheby's
Public Catalog of 1910: "Sale by Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere,
included 1048 acres of land of the family estate, including, Knights Grange Farm,
Westholme Farm, Salterswall Farm, Marton Hall, Marton Bank Farm, Spring Bank Farm,
Chester Lane Farm, Poolhead Farm, Little Lane Farm, Lane End Farm, School Farm,
Peartree House and many other properties in Delamere Street, Grange Lane, and Swanlow
Lane, Winsford, Cheshire." (See also this extract from Sotheby's catalogue of 1926, "Delamere Collection. London, Sotheby & Co. Catalogue of a Valuable Collection of Old Engravings, from the Collection of the First Lord Delamere (1787-1855), the Property of a Gentleman, Comprising an Important Series of Engravings & Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch and German Schools.... April 13, 1926. 8vo, 31 pgs., 377 works, 4 plates. 12.50")
3rd Lord Delamere (1870-1931) also placed numerous and quite valuable
works of art belonging to the family estate, plus one of the most valuable collection
of books held by a private individual in the whole of England, all of these items to be sold
at public auction as listed in the "private
catalogue" of Sotheby's. (These are some examples and typical items, both paintings and antiques that were sold by the 3rd Lord Delamere in 1893-1905 to realize funds for the support and promotion of his grandiose exploits in East Africa. (Example No.1 Portrait of Catherine Howard) (Example No.2 Portrait of The Cholmondeley Ladies) (Example No.3 Cholmondeley Bowl) (Example No.4 Antique Silver Drum Teapot) (Example No.5. Hugh Jnr. also callously even sold in 1904, this now priceless, impressive portrait of his dignified father Hugh 2nd Lord Delamere) (Example No.6....? )
It was during this period, 1900-1930 that
Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere broke up; disposed of and sold off one of the most valuable collection of books in the whole of England,
a massive collection and also a very valuable library that had been built up over many years at
Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, by his father, grandfather, plus previous ancestors of the Cholmonderley
family. He did so without any consideration for the future of classical literature in England, which reflects his mental attitude toward education and culture; he was only interested in his own personal ambitions in Africa and his attempt to try and promote a white, european only, controlled empire of Kenya (Similar to the system in South Africa under Apartheid rule. In fact many Afrikaners (Boers) from Northern Transvaal in South Africa were encouraged by Delamere to relocate to Kenya to share this "white empire".) And he was showing the signs of megalomania, according to one report. One of Hugh’s adversaries, sarcastically referred to him as the presumptive “White King of East Africa” and this reference actually thrilled Hugh Cholmondeley in a similar way that it did his future daughter in law, Diane Caldwell, Motion, Broughton, Colville, Cholmondeley (Lady Delamere) ( 1913-1987) who was dubbed, “White Queen of Africa”. For more details about the background of Diane Caldwell, read more. To read her obituary, click here.
See also this informative page about the "whites" who lived in Kenya during this period, click here. The 3rd Lord Delamere was also anti-jewish and pro-fascist according to records, and this is based on an extract from a revealing news article that was sent in by a reader, plus many other references we have on file. ( See Footnote No. 8)
Read also this extract from page 350 of African Review published by the Royal African Society, which reveals a comprehensive analysis of the character of Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere (1870-1931). “A man with a very marked inferior complex ~ heir to an impoverished estate ~ self-willed ~ mentally unstable, etc., etc.” To read more, click here.
For more information, read this book by Elsbeth Huxley, White Man's Country - Lord Delamere and the Making of Kenya Volume One 1870-1914 and Volume Two 1914-1931 (Two Volume Set)
Another useful source providing some background as to the possible additional reasons why Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere originally moved permanently to live in Africa in 1901, is this magazine and website. (Old Africa Magazine) Plus read this excellent research report on Squatters & the Roots of the Mau Mau: 1905-63 (Eastern African Studies)
This additional book by Errol Trzebinski, “The Kenya Pioneers” provides more details of how the 3rd Lord Delamere settled in Kenya and how he obtained through manipulation, the massive land holdings he acquired from the British Government for his farm and ranch, land that rightfully belonged to the Africans. Read this book review by one of our associates before you buy a copy, plus this additional book review of “The Kenya Pioneers” by Publishers Weekly. If you decide to research this very useful book regarding the early history of Kenya, then go to our online book store and order The Kenya Pioneers.
Trzebinski also wrote another book, “The Life and Death of Lord Erroll”, that sheds even more light on the exploits of the Happy Valley crowd of Kenya, to read a review of this book, click here. To buy a copy of this book from our book store, visit this link The Life and Death of Lord Erroll: The Truth Behind the Happy Valley Murder by Trzebinski, Errol (2000) Hardcover
One notable work of art, the painting, Census at Bethlehem by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, dated from 1566, along with several other paintings were withdrawn from the public auction sale at the last minute and removed to Kenya in Africa sometime after 1911, presumably by the 3rd Lord Delamere. This valuable painting was recently re-discovered in October 2013 by an international art expert Johnny Van Haeften on a recent visit to Kenya, please read this report by our colleagues at the Art Media Agency. Read also this report from Bloomberg Press Office, plus this report from the Financial Times of London.
remaining books of the extensive family library, plus the eloquent furniture at Vale Royal House in Cheshire, that were not sold by the 3rd
Lord Delamere when he left for Africa, were eventually disposed of by his son, Thomas Pitt Hamilton
Cholmondeley, the 4th Lord Delamere (1900-1979) in about 1946, as listed in
auction catalogues of Brown's of Chester. (Editor's Note: One of our
associates who is also currently researching the listed contents of the Cholmondeley
Library of Vale Royal House, is trying to locate an additional copy of the auction catalog
of Brown's of Chester dated 1946 (for comparative purposes as the one we currently hold has pages damaged by dampness). If any of our readers or fellow researchers
locates these details, or can identify a reliable source, please contact
about Sybil Burnaby (nee Cholmondeley, 1871-1911) the only daughter of Hugh,
2nd Lord Delamere (1811-1887) and her mother, being Augusta Emily Cholmondeley
(nee Seymore), Sybil also being the only sister of Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere
who had moved permanently to live and settle in Kenya, Africa, in 1901. ( Note:
Sybil was saddened by the fact that although Hugh was her older and only brother,
she confessed in a letter to her mother that she hardly knew the person and that
he was like a "total stranger", as they had both lived completely separate
lives from the age of 4 or 5 years old, away from Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, and Hugh her brother had made almost no contact with
her during their lifetime, except through the family attorneys) Note: Visit this site to view some available portraites
of Sybil aged about 21 years old, click
in the archives of Scotland Yard, London, England, although do not definitely establish
beyond all reasonable doubt that the death of Sybil Burnaby (nee
Cholmondeley) in 1911 was in fact suicide, but from written recorded interviews
with the servants, at least two members of the household staff, as witnesses, related their attempts
to try and prevent Sybil from "throwing" herself out of the 3rd floor
window of her house at No.22 Wilton
Place in London. (For current photos of Wilton Place, London in 2016, click here)
report in a National
Newspaper of 1911 reveals that Sybil
"fell" out of a window of the 3rd floor of her house at No.22 Wilton
Place, in London on 13 May 1911, and died two weeks later of her injuries
on the 26 May, 1911. However, considering the circumstantial evidence, she had
been married in 1896 to a Lieutenant
Algerman Edwyn Burnaby, a wild philanderer, but Sybil divorced him in 1902
after spending 3 years trapped in a miserable marriage, and after her husband
ran off with a married woman, a Lady Sophie Scott. (read this report about the divorce) (See this photo of the very beautiful Lady Sophie aged 23 years old, click here. (See also Footnote No.12) Plus more photos taken in 1897 at the Devonshire House Ball in London, click here.)
Despite the well circulated rumor attached to Sybil
"falling" out of a window, the surrounding evidence shows that she did
in fact commit
suicide, either because of her father's premature death, Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere
in 1887; her failed marriage in 1901; her mother's death a few month's earlier
on 25 February 1911, to whom she had been very attached and very close (probably
the main reason), and also her only brother Hugh the 3rd Lord Delamere (1870-1931), sole heir to the family estate, now living permanently in Kenya, Africa; who wanted nothing to do with his sister Sybil, or her problems, and who had squandered
much of the remaining family wealth, was now selling off a large portion of the
family properties in Cheshire, England, consisting of a number of farms and houses, plus the very impressive
family art collection and valuable library at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, and he had allowed the once
beautiful and prestigious family home and estate at Vale
Royal Abbey to become a dilapidated, neglected shambles.
Note: We have received a recent photograph of an original portrait that was
abandoned and found in the armory basement of the Great House at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire. This is a portrait that obviously was not sold back in the 1920's
because of the damage to the canvass, but this portrait has since been "mislaid".
If you or one of your associate readers recognize the subject of this portrait,
please contact us. To see
a copy of the photograph of this portrait, click here. (jpeg file).
addition; of serious concern to Sybil (expressed in letters to her mother
Augusta) the small annual stipend that Sybil received from the Cholmondeley
family estate (set up by her late father Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere) was also now being seriously
jeopardized, as the funds in the family estate were quickly being exhausted, and
this could soon result in her becoming extremely short of money to cover her basic
family expenses and commitments, or maybe she envisaged that she would eventually become destitute (considered a total disgrace for a woman of her caliber in the 1900's) and
also in addition not being able to maintain her well
positioned property at the prestigious location of Wilton
Place in Westminster-Belgravia, London, bought for her by her mother (not far away from Buckingham Palace), as her ex-husband had also refused
to pay her any financial support for herself and her young son, (which had been authorized by the court in terms of her divorce settlement.) See also footnote No.12 for more details of the illicit affair between Algerman Edwyn Burnaby (husband of Sybil) and the infatuating Lady Sophie Scott.
After the divorce of Algerman Edwyn Burnaby and Sybil was finalized in 1902, Sybil
certainly could not move back to the prestigious, historic and esteemed family home at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire,
to live there with her young son, Hugh
Edwyn Burnaby, because the legal owner of the estate; her one and only brother Hugh
Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere, was still "officially" living in
the house until 1907 as his English residence, although he was in fact actually
living in Kenya, Africa, the majority of the time.
Eventually in 1907, Vale
Royal Abbey was rented out by Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere, to a Robert
Dempster, a wealthy industrialist, owner of the Gas
Plant Works and a very successful businessman from Manchester,
England. Robert Dempster died while on vacation at the Mount
Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1925 and his daughter Edith
Pretty (nee Dempster)(Edith had married Frank Pretty in 1926) took over the lease until 1926 when Vale
Royal Abbey was eventually taken over again and controlled by the British Government
because of incumbent debts. An interesting reference to Vale Royal Abbey from 1907 onward, found in the Cheshire County Archives, is that Vale Royal Abbey had been bought in 1977 by the “Michaelmas Trust” for use as a school for the handicapped. This document gives information on the various occupiers of the house since 1907 when the 3rd Lord Delamere rented the house out, subject to very strict conditions laid down by the British Crown. Visit this site. For additional information, type in the Search Box “Vale Royal Abbey” and you will find over 120 reference works related to this very important Historical Heritage of Cheshire, England.
(More details of this saga of the demise of Vale Royal Abbey and its 20th century restoration will be revealed
in a future report, to be published by the Delamere
Group and the Manchester
It is very likely that the combination of these numerous
family problems Sybil had to endure, plus the incidents and events surrounding her personal life, made the future prospects of Sybil
look very bleak indeed and eventually drove her to take her own life at 39 years
of age. See this extract from a newspaper
of 13 May 1911 which confirms that witnesses saw servants trying to prevent her
from jumping out of the window. Read also this newspaper
extract announcing her death on 26 May 1911.
researchers in Cambridge, England, are especially interested in obtaining additional information
on the 5 (or 6) children of the 1st Lord Delamere. The following are the
(officially recorded) children, namely, Hugh Cholmondeley, born 1811 (or
1812 according to Welsh Church records), Thomas Grenville Cholmondeley,
born 1818, Henry Pitt Cholmondeley, born 1820, Charles Watkin
Neville Cholmondeley, born 1826 and died in 1844 at the age of 17, and attended Rugby School in 1840 when he was 13 years old (cause
of death?), and the only daughter Henrietta Charlotte Cholmondeley, born
in 1823, and died in 1874 aged 50 years old. We invite any of our readers or site
visitors to submit any information they have obtained or can be referenced. Meantime
you can also visit our web pages on Travel
in Africa and also Business
2. This is a useful page to review (with some errors) regarding the Cholmondeley family of Vale Royal Abbey from 1272 to 1955. Read more.
3. This most interesting booklet by the grand-daughter of Robert Dempster, namely Mary Hopkirk (nee Dempster) reveals what happened at Vale Royal Abbey during the years of 1907-1925 when the Dempster family rented the place from the lawyers acting for Hugh, 3rd Lord Delamere, plus some excellent photographs. Click here.
4. Read this recent article about the 3rd Lord Delamere by Amos Kareithi of the Kenyan Dispatch News, published in September 2012 (updated in 2013). Click here.
5. Recent article by Helen Kinuthia Gathenji, sent in by one of our readers with useful information about the settling of the 3rd Lord Delamere in Kenya and events surrounding the family up to modern times in the 21st century. Click here.
6. Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere (1870-1931) moved to Kenya in 1901 and was married to Lady Florence Anne Cole of Enniskillen, Ulster, Northern Ireland in 1899 and Lady Florence Anne died at the young age of 36 in 1914. (See miniture painting of Lady Florence in 1902) Hugh Cholmondeley and Lady Florence had a son, Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley born on 1900 and died in 1979. When Lady Florence died at the young age of 36 in 1914, her life had been a very difficult one, especially after her marriage to Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere and was made even more miserable caused by ill health, both mentally and physically. This article by the Old Africa Magazine sheds more light on her brief tragic life, click here. See also this personal letter from Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) to Lady Florence (Delamere) in 1911, click here. This is an interesting photograph of Lady Florence Cole taken in 1897 before she married the 3rd Lord Delamere, click here. Plus Lady Florence at the Devonshire House Ball in London, also in 1897, click here.
One of our readers also forwarded this report in the New York Times of 19 May 1914, making an announcement of her death. Click here
7. This interesting article by writer, Tish Farrell has been received (2015) at our Reasearch Department, sent to us from one of our regular readers regarding Kenyan History. Read more.
8. "In August 1903 Theodor Herzl delivered a bombshell in his opening speech to the sixth annual congress of the World Zionist Organisation in Basle. He revealed that Joseph Chamberlain, the British Colonial Secretary, had offered him a large area of East Africa as a homeland for the persecuted Jews of Eastern Europe - and that he didn't think it should be refused. This was Zionism's first great crisis, with the movement split in two over what became known as the 'Ugandan Scheme'. It wasn't for another two years that the British offer was finally refused. And as a result a breakaway group, the Jewish Territorial Organisation (led by 'the Jewish Dickens' Israel Zangwill), set about trying to find a homeland in such places as Libya, Australia and Angola. On the hundredth anniversary of Chamberlain's offer, this programme looks at a forgotten moment that reveals much about both Zionist and British colonial history.
"For Britain, the offer of land in what's now Kenya was intended to kill two birds with one stone. It would take the pressure off Jewish immigration into London's East End, which was the 'asylum seekers' issue of the day : and it would provide white settlers for a bit of the Empire that few British people wanted to go to. But the small community of British settlers in East Africa, led by Lord Delamere, orchestrated a vicious campaign against the offer of land to 'pauper aliens'." (See also this page from the Jewish Virtual Library, click here.) For more serious students of this period of Jewish History we recommend this excellent book by Joseph Telushkin "Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History". For additional details of how Kenya almost became the New Israel in 1903, click here.
This interesting article also sheds some light on the situation of the Happy Valley Crowd. Quote: "Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Baron Delamere, was the first aristocratic settler to colonise the Kenyan White Highlands after the country was made a British protectorate in 1895. His second wife, Lady Gwladys Delamere, was mayor of Nairobi and one of the prime suspects in a murder case that made the "Happy Valley" set shorthand for decadence, depravity and glamour."
"The man subsequently arrested, tried and acquitted of the murder was Sir Henry John ‘Jock’ Delves Broughton, cuckolded husband of Erroll’s new lover, Lady Diana. The couple had emigrated to Kenya in 1940 to avoid Jock’s debts and an uncomfortable period in England’s history called World War II." Read this article for the full sordid details, click here
9. Norman Maclean Leys (1875-1944) was a British Africanist and critic of imperialism, and was a strong opponent of Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere and his ambition to create a “white only” empire in East Africa and he abominated all what Delamere stood for. Read his book, "A Last Chance in Kenya" for additional research.
10. Sir Donald Charles Cameron (1872-1948) was a British colonial governor and administrator, and he also was a strong opponent of Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Lord Delamere and his personal ambitions in Kenya and he wrote an extensive report "Principles of Native Administration and their Application" (now out of print). Sir Donald Cameron also wrote this excellent book, My Tanganyika Service and Some Nigeria, the material also covers Kenya and the events surrounding the "whites" living in that country.
In this additional enlightening book by Barbara Bush, Imperialism, Race and Resistance: Africa and Britain, 1919-1945
the content is focusing on Britain, Africa and South Africa, "Imperialism, Race and Resistance" charts the growth of anti-colonial resistance and opposition to racism in the prelude to the 'post-colonial' era. The complex nature of imperial power is explored, as well as its impact on the lives and struggles of black men and women in Africa and the African diaspora.
See also this extract from the book “Lost Dreams in Africa - The British in Kenya” click here.
Read this extract from this book “The Political Development of Tanganyika” by J Clagett Taylor, with reference to Sir Donald Cameron and his opposition to 3rd Lord Delamere (This extract arranged by the management of the Delamere Group). To obtain a copy of this book, go to this link at our online bookstore, Political Development of Tanganyika
11. One of our readers has just recently read this great book “Islands of White” published by the Duke University for International Studies. In his study, Islands of White: Settler Society & Culture in Kenya & Southern Rhodesia, Dane Kennedy offers a novel perspective on the social dynamics of white settler colonies in imperialist Africa. Kennedy convincingly illustrates how these white societies were able to create a distinct and unified culture. Presenting a new interpretation of white settler society, Kennedy analytically demonstrates how the social identity of white colonists was radically recast to accommodate their special circumstances. Kennedy's study is of long lasting importance to the field of African history because it reveals the powerful dynamics of solidarity within colonial societies which consequently enabled them to create and maintain a system of domination over the indigenous African population. To obtain a copy, visit our online book store and select Islands of White: Settler Society and Culture in Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1939 (Duke University Center for international studies public)
12. Read also this more detailed account by reporter Sarah Staples (late sister-in-law of her HRH, Anne, Princess Royal) in the Leicester Mercury newspaper regarding this divorce and the illicit relationship of Algerman Edwyn Burnaby, husband of Sybil, the sister of 3rd Lord Delamere, with a Lady Sophie Scott, sent in by our research team in Cambridge, England, click here.
After Sybil divorced Burnaby, Algerman Edwyn Burnaby and Lady Sophie never married but they created one of the biggest scandals of the day, read more, Lady Sophie it seems became reconciled again with her husband, Sir Samuel Scott MP. Lady Sophie eventually died in 1937, aged 57 years old. She was honoured to be invested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 1918 for her humanitarian services during World War 1, 1914-1918. (Her spirit lives on in Scotland, Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Estate, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, according to this report, click here.) For more informative details about the Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, click here. For more photos of Lady Sophie, click here.
Algerman Edwyn Burnaby died 13 November 1938, aged 70 years old, at his home Baggrave Hall, Leicestershire, England. He died a forlorn lonely figure, both disillusioned and guilt-ridden. After his scandalous affair with Lady Sophie Scott ended in 1902, he married in 1908 the notorious 'many times married and divorced' Mrs Minna Field Gibson from Chicago, USA, a member of the very wealthy Marshall Field Stores family.
This excellent book about the life and family of the mother of Minna Field Gibson, entitled “Florence Lathrop Page : A Biography”, particularly Chapter Two 'Family and Values', pages 47-73, provides an interesting insight to the life of Minna Field Gibson from the USA and her first meeting in England with Algerman (Algy) Burnaby in 1906 and how the circumstances of this new marriage deteriorated and was plagued with financial difficulties from day one. These extracts are very enlightening, for example, page 72, "You have not the habit of living within your income.” Page 69 “The Burnaby’s had a large yearly income but they lived a life style costing them double that amount”. Page 71,"Minna and Algy were living beyond their income and should rent out Baggrave." And page 73, “Somehow Minna and Algy (Algerman) managed to hold onto Baggrave Hall, where they lived until his death in 1937”. To read the full extract, pages 47-73, click here. To buy a copy of this book, go to our online bookstore. Florence Lathrop Page: A Biography
(We are sad to report that Baggrave Hall soon deteriorated after 1938 and at one stage it looked like it would be lost for future posterity as were many other ancient historic buildings of British Heritage, for example the sad experience of Royton Hall in Lancashire, England. (Editor's Note: Royton Hall is a typical example of how a historic and established building; with intelligent foresight, could have been turned into a great opportunity as a tourist centre, as it was related to the well known and respected Lord Byron, one of the greatest poets who ever lived. The centre could have been a great tourist attraction and included a top class restaurant and visitors centre, and of tremendous benefit to the local community, as indeed Vale Royal Estate has now proved to be for the Cheshire community. But alas, the lack of foresight by the local officials has now permanently destroyed a great local asset and a heritage site that the local community could have preserved and enjoyed.)
Fortunately, today Baggrave Hall is listed and preserved in terms of the National Heritage List for England listed buildings and the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. Plus read this three page report (some browsers might make the format difficult to read)by Rosalind Willatts, Conservation Officer at Harborough District Council, Leicestershire, England, regarding later problems with Baggrave Hall created by the stupid and reckless new owners, read more. This report was kindly provided by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.)
13. Cheshire Historic Towns - The church of the tenants of Vale Royal Abbey was made parochial at the Dissolution and the associated parish was called New Church or Whitegate. The township of Over was divided between Over Parish and Whitegate Parish, both of which are in Eddisbury Hundred and Middlewich Deanery. Wharton on the east of the Weaver was in Davenham Parish in Northwich Hundred and Deanery (Dunn, 1987, 20, 38). Today Winsford, which includes both Over and Wharton, is an Urban District and a Civil Parish in the District of Vale Royal. (Note: These reports are the copyright of Cheshire County Council and English Heritage. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Cheshire and Chester Archives and Local Studies, Frodsham and District Local History Group, Winsford Local History Society, Andrew Fielding, Lion Salt Works Project Director and Dr Chris Lewis, University of Liverpool, in the preparation of this report.) To read this informative report (PDF), click here.
14. For more information about Kenya and the Delamere history, visit our other web pages, namely Kenya information related to business, employment, education and real estate. Also our travel site listing tours of Africa with abundant information about east Africa and Kenya.
Outline of Research Project: # 909
Thomas Cholmondeley, 1st
Baron Delamere" (1767-1855)
* Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd
Baron Delamere" (1811-1887)
* Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd
Baron Delamere" (1870-1931)