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This 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 family, and is strictly limited to this time period of 1767-1931.

 

Note: This history project is only in its preliminary stages and we acknowledge that errors may be contained in this brief 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; the archives of British History and the Rylands Library, which the Delamere Group support and sponsor.

 

The first recorded use of the title "Lord (Baron) Delamere" (Some records indicate Delamer) referring or related to an English family, is in 1661 AD, when King Charles the Second (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 History) Sir 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 Massey Hall.)

Henry Booth, 2nd Lord Delamere and Earl of Warrington (1652-1694) had a son named George (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, and was revived in 1821 by the Vale Royal Abbey, Cheshire, branch of the Cholmondeley family.

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Thomas Hugh 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 £2 million today in 2014) he actually overpaid for the title as it was originally offered at only £1200 but other prominent individuals in the region of Cheshire and Lancashire, 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 Northern England, and also because of the great prestige and power this title Lord Delamere would carry.

But Thomas Hugh, being who he was, enterprisingly thought the title was truly worth the price he had paid, and he was proved to be right in his perception. Thomas Hugh thus became the 1st Baronacy, Lord Delamere in 1821 and had his name entered into the list of British Peers (House of Lords). Thomas Hugh (1767-1855) also apparently spent massive amounts of the family funds inherited from the Holford family through his Great Grandmother Mary Holford, funds that he used to extravagantly refurbish, buy works of art and further renovate the Great House and Great Hall at Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire. 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.) This photo must have been taken before the building of the new apartments at the rear of Vale Royal Great House now forming part of the elite golf club.) See also this photo and description, and also this photo of the gardens at Vale Royal in 1906.

Editor's Note: The following is a short extract from a research report on Thomas Hugh Cholmondeley (1767-1855), currently being prepared by our Cambridge University associates:

"Although the records do not reveal the precise motive of Thomas Hugh behind his purchase of this title, Baron Delamere, from the British Crown; 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 of Cholmondeley 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 Hugh 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)

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.

"Despite comments made in the public press a few years ago by one of his descendants; that Thomas Hugh, 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 individual, plus a very harsh and disciplined taskmaster but was no idiot, but that Thomas Hugh 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 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 Hugh most of the vast family fortunes, 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 of Cheshire one of the most beautiful counties 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. See this antique portrait of Thomas  Cholmondeley, 1st Lord Delamere, British Art Poster - Portrait of Thomas Cholmondeley; 1st Lord Delamere; on Horseback.

(More details on the exploits and life style of Thomas Hugh, 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.


Thomas Hugh had married Henrietta Elizabeth Williams-Wynn, from Denbigh, Wales, in 1810, and they had 6 (or 5) children, 4 or 5 sons and one daughter. Henrietta Elizabeth the wife of Thomas Hugh, died in 1852 aged 66 years old and Thomas Hugh died in 1855 aged 88.

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 the 2nd Lord Delamere in 1855 upon the death of his powerful, heavy handed and influential father, Thomas Hugh.

Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere, also 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 Hugh, who had been extravagantly spending the great wealth that had been passed down through the Cholmondeley family from the Holfords family.

How 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, and her subsequent death at the very young age of 30 years old in 1859.

Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere also had to cope with his complex second marriage to Augusta Emily Seymour, which took place the following year in 1860, and their resulting two children, Hugh (Junior) born in 1870 and Sybil, born in 1871. In addition, Hugh was also trying to care for his much younger, and only sister, Henrietta Charlotte Cholmondeley and the stressful circumstances that surrounded her pathetic life at Vale Royal Abbey.

Why was his second marriage complex, you might ask? Also, what was the problematic situation with his only and much younger 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

Brief extract from the research report regarding Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere; his second marriage to Augusta Emily Seymour and their 2 children.

Extract from pages 23 & 24: (only for our registered readers)

"By the time Hugh, 2nd Lord Delamere 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 Hay, being about 24 years his junior. The major difference is that Lady Sarah was a very weak and delicate girl and was sick for much of her life and 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 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 in 1911.

In addition, Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere, in 1860 had also decided to undertake a major task close to his heart, and he ambitiously commissioned the building of a new local church in the village of Over in Cheshire, close to Vale Royal House, which was to be dedicated to the memory of his first wife Lady Sarah who had died in 1859. This must have been a 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 his head stone mason, Walter Green of Chester (1837-1886).

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 (2014). For a more personal and detailed account of this very positive and up-building Christian community, sent to us by the local parishioners and also the dedicated servant of the "Lord Jesus Christ" and the current vicar, George Crowder, visit this site.
Also if you are visiting this area of Cheshire, then a visit to the church of St. Peter’s in the village of Delamere is well worth the time and interest. Click here.

The two 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 in 1911 (apparent suicide), spent most of her time 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 at 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" according to family journals, always getting into trouble at Eton College, not just mischievous acts, but quite dangerous and somewhat rebellious acts, such as alcohol, drugs and violence. (See 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 how young Hugh, being the sole male heir who had also inherited the vast family estate that included valuable works of art and one of the most valuable libraries in England, plus what few financial or cash assets remained. 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). When he died in Kenya in 1931 at the comparatively young age of 61 years old, he also left unpaid bank loans totalling £500,000 (the current value in 2014 must be equal to approximately £25 million), this is even after using the large amounts of cash he had received by selling off the family "jewels" in England, which he had inherited from his father and grandfather.

Family records show that Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Lord Delamere, must have been a very lonely man; but not totally despondent, during the last 15 years of his life, and he depended heavily upon his faithful and loyal housekeeper M.G. (full name to be revealed after the written consent of her family descendants has been given) and of course he depended also upon his dedicated downstairs staff. (Complete list of staff and servants will soon be revealed upon consent of their family decendants.)

Note 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 properties in Delamere Street, Grange Lane, and Swanlow Lane, Winsford, Cheshire."

Hugh, 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. It was during this period 1911-1930 that he 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 ambitions in Africa and to try and promote a white, european only, controlled empire of Kenya (Similar to the system in South Africa under Apartheid rule.) 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)

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 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.

The 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). If any of our readers or fellow researchers locates these details, or can identify a reliable source, please contact us)

Notes about Sybil Burnaby (nee Cholmondeley, 1871-1911) 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 away from Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, and Hugh her brother had made almost no contact with her during their lifetime.) Note: Visit this site to view some available portraites of Sybil aged about 21 years old, click here.

Records in the archives of Scotland Yard, London, England, 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 in Wilton Place in London.

A report in a National Newspaper of 1911 reveals that Sybil "fell" out of a window of the 3rd floor of her house at 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 1901 after spending 3 years trapped in a miserable marriage, and after her husband ran off with a married woman. Despite the well circulated rumor attached to her "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 in Kenya, Africa, 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 in Cheshire, and he allowed the once beautiful and prestigious family home at Vale Royal Abbey to become a dilapidated, neglected shambles.

Editor's 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).

In 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 to 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 at Wilton Place in Westminster-Belgravia, London (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.

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 in 1925 and his daughter Edith Pretty (nee Dempster) took over the lease until 1926 when Vale Royal Abbey was eventually taken over and controlled by the British Government because of incumbent debts. (More details of this sad saga will be revealed in a future report, to be published by the Delamere Group and the Manchester Guardian)

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.

 


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Editor's Notes:

1. Our 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 or 1823, Charles Watkin Neville Cholmondeley, born 1826 and died in 1844 at the age of 17, (cause of death?), and the only daughter Henrietta Charlotte Cholmondeley, born in 1823 or 1835, and died in 1874 or 1908. 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 in Kenya.


2. 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.



3. 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.


4. 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.  Hugh Cholmondeley and Lady Florence had a son, Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley born on 1900 and died in 1979.  Family history indicates that Lady Florence and young Thomas Pitt lived in England for most of the period that her husband Hugh was away living in Kenya, up until her death in 1914.  Our researchers are interested in the actual cause and place of the death of Lady Florence at this young age of 36 in 1914, and if any of our web site readers or visitors can supply this information, it would be much appreciated. One of our readers forwarded this report in the New York Times of 19 May 1914, but we still require additional confirmation of this report in order to clear up an apparent contradiction in our research papers. Click here.

5. For more information about Kenya and the Delamere history, visit our other pages, namely Kenya information related to business, education, real estate and travel.  Also our travel site listing tours of Africa with abundant information about east Africa and Kenya.


Outline of Research project
: # 909

* Thomas Hugh Cholmondeley, 1st Baron Delamere" (1767-1855)

* Hugh Cholmondeley, 2nd Baron Delamere" (1811-1887)

* Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Baron Delamere" (1870-1931)

* Thomas Pitt Hamilton Cholmondeley, 4th Baron Delamere" (1900-1979) Photo of 4th Lord Delamere, click here.

* Hugh George Cholmondeley, 5th Baron Delamere" (1934-present)

 

 

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