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Combermere Abbey, Cheshire, England

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  • Sir William Brereton (1604 - 1661)
    Youngest son and heir of WIlliam Brereton and Margaret Savage.=Sir William Brereton, 1604-61= From Biography of Sir WIlliam Brereton Energetic commander of Parliamentarian forces in Cheshire and the no...
  • Raymond Charles Erith, RA FRIBA (1904 - 1973)
    Raymond Erith= From Wikipedia: Raymond Charles Erith RA FRIBA (7 August 1904 – 30 November 1973) was a leading classical architect in England during the period dominated by the modern movement after th...
  • Anthony Crommelin Crossley, MP (1903 - 1939)
    Anthony Crommelin Crossley= From Mobberley Anthony Crommelin Crossley (13 August 1903–15 August 1939) was a British a writer, publisher and Conservativepolitician. He was born on 13 August 1903 and in ...
  • Fidelia Crossley (1905 - d.)
  • Kenneth Irwin Crossley (1877 - 1957)
    Kenneth Irwin Crossley= From Mobberley Kenneth Crossley is one of Mobberley’s more interestingresidents. He was born at Dunham Massey in 1877 andmoved to Mobberley New Hall (Now Barclay Hall/Sunrise Li...

Combermere Abbey, Cheshire, England

  • The name ‘Danes Mere’ for one of the lakes suggests that Danish raiders were at Combermere during the reign of Edward the Elder
  • 1095 saw the birth of Hugh de Malbank, later to be second Baron Wich-Malbank of Nantwich, who, with his wife Petronilla, was the Abbey’s founder.
  • 1133 Combermere Abbey endowed in the Savigny order by Hugh, Wich-Malbank, and witnessed by his lord, Earl Rannulph of Chester, and the Bishop of Chester, Roger de Clinton
  • 1220 Abbot Thomas de Gillyng of Combermere Abbey reprimanded for undertaking new monastic building at the Abbey without papal permission
  • 1231 Abbot Stephen of Lexington visited Combermere during his survey of monasteries,and had only minor criticism of the establishment

  • 1253 First concerns were raised about the Abbey’s finances – a problem which was to re-occur many very times right up to the Dissolution
  • 1275 Sheriff of Shropshire ordered the Abbey’s creditors to ‘offer respite’ on the Abbey’s very considerable debts, which proved only temporary
  • 1276 Richard, Abbot of Combermere, and six monks, fortified the church of Saint Mary in Drayton and attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • 1281 The Abbot of Combermere, Richard, and six monks, fortified the church of Saint Mary in Drayton (now Market Drayton) and attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury. He in turn excommunicated the Abbot and his monks
  • 1282 The Abbey petitioned the King –Edward I - asking to be excused the levy to pay for the suppression of the Welsh on account of their poverty.
  • 1309 Nantwich residents attack the Abbot and the Prior in the town, killing the Prior. First known act of violence between the town and the Abbey
  • 1310 King Edward II almost certainly visited Combermere Abbey on his tour of the monastic houses of Cheshire and Lancashire

  • 1318 The Abbot of Whalley Abbey, a sister house to Combermere, complained to the authorities of ‘hard financial dealings’ by the Abbot of Combermere
  • 1319 The Abbey was yet again taken into the royal protection of King Edward II “on account of its poverty and miserable state”
  • 1321 Combermere Abbey placed in royal financial custody once more; income still failing to pay off the Abbey’s considerable debts
  • 1344 The Abbots of Combermere and Whalley attacked at Hulton in Staffordshire. Abbot Roger complains of ambushes being laid across the countryside
  • 1360 Abbot John of Combermere led a violent attack on the property of Sir Richard Fullshurst, one of the Abbey’s fiercest local critics
  • 1365 The Abbot and monks of Combermere attack and take the Abbey at Whalley and are removed by the Sheriff of Lancaster leading a posse comitatus
  • 1410 The monks of Combermere were said to be facing starvation and they were guaranteed relief from taxation to mitigate their poverty
  • 1414 William of Plymouth, Abbot of Combermere, accused of the treasonable crime of counterfeiting, and then recorded as having ‘gone away’
  • 1415 Roger Hoggeson of Holyhurst and Richard Tenche of Lodmore led an armed mob, which invaded the Abbey, stealing books and killing horses
  • 1446 Abbot Richard Alderwas murdered by John Bagh of Dodcott on the lane to Audlem in what was perhaps the Abbey’s worst crime
  • 1496 Combermere Abbey exempted from clerical taxation on the grounds of the Abbey’s continuing poverty
  • 1520 The Abbey’s tanner, John Jenyns, murdered Daniel Ottewell at the Abbey. Abbot successfully concealed the murderer and swore his monks to silence
  • 1528 Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, warned of the Abbot of Combermere’s “lack of abilities and his poor behaviour”
  • 1535 Cromwell’s auditors arrived at Combermere and their report showed an income of £258 6 shillings and 6 pence from an estate of 22,000 acres.
  • 1539 The last Abbot, John Massey, failed in his protestations against Dissolution, surrendered Combermere to the Crown, and accepted a generous pension
  • 1539 The Combermere estate granted to Sir George Cotton, courtier and comptroller of the household of Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s illegitimate son
  • 1545 Death of Sir George Cotton. Combermere inherited by his six year-old son, Richard, who was eventually to build a great mansion on the site
  • 1560 - 1900 The life expectancy of women, babies and infants at the Abbey was shown to be at least twice as good as the historical perception
  • 1560 Richard Cotton commissioned one of the Tudor mansion’s greatest treasures, the huge oak fire surround in The Abbot’s Lodgings, with its royal portraits
  • 1563 New timber-framed house built at Combermere by Richard Cotton, son of Sir George Cotton, the ecclesiastical buildings having been demolished
  • 1643 Part of Lord Capell’s Royalist army was billeted at Combermere ahead of the Battle of Nantwich, which lead to a substantial Royalist defeat
  • 1644 The death of the elderley George Cotton saved Combermere from paying a huge fine imposed by Parliament
  • 1658 Robert Cotton married Hester Salusbury of Llewenny, wealthy heiress of her brother,Sir John Salusbury, fourth baronet of Llewenny, in Denbighshire
  • 1659 Robert Cotton saved from a charge of high treason, and fortfeiture of his estates, by the resignation of Cromwell as Lord Protector
  • 1677 Sir Robert Cotton, now a very wealthy man - who had been knighted at the Restoration in 1660 - created a baronet at the age of forty two

  • 1707 Oldest known map of Combermere created by Sir Thomas Taylor, who had married into the Cotton family – included ‘Ralph The Fisherman’
  • 1730 Dutch artist Peter Tillemanns painted a panoramic, bird’s-eye view of the Abbey showing the variety of life and work on the estate
  • 1773 Birth of Stapleton Cotton, who was to become a great war hero and the first Viscount Combermere, at the Cotton family’s house at Llwenney
  • 1774 Dr Samuel Johnson visited and described the Abbey; “Combermere is the best house I ever saw of its kind. It is spacious but not [too] magnificent”.
  • 1809 Stapleton Cotton inherited the family estates on the death of his father, Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton, and made Combermere his principal seat
  • 1814 Sir Stapleton Cotton Bt. created Baron Combermere following military success in South Africa, India and the Iberian Peninsula
  • 1814 - 1821 Abbey extensively re-modelled in the Gothick style by Baron Combermere, who was Governor of Barbados between 1817 and 1820
  • 1815 Battle of Waterloo, where the Marquess of Anglesey rather than Baron Combermere was in command of the cavalry, to Combermere’s fury
  • 1820 Duke of Wellington visited the Abbey, stood as godfather to Baron Combermere’s son, and planted a commemorative oak tree
  • 1827 Baron Combermere created Viscount Combermere of Bhurtpore after his victory there. Changed his name to Stapleton Stapleton-Cotton
  • 1829 Stone Lodge built at the Nantwich road entrance, designed by Morrison. Two re-modelling schemes commissioned – from Edward Blore and Morrisons
  • 1837 The new stable block built at the Abbey to the design of the famous architect of the British Empire, Edward Blore, who re-modelled Buckingham Palace
  • 1865 Death of the first Viscount Combermere; instead of being buried in Westminster Cathedral, as befitted his status, he was interred in Wrenbury
  • 1881 - 1882 Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and one of the most famous and glamourous women in Europe, rented the Abbey over the hunting seasons
  • 1891 Combermere rented by Sir Richard and Lady Constance Sutton. Sir Richard died shortly after and Constance lived at the Abbey as a widow and mother
  • 1893 The Combermere Abbey estate offered for sale by the now impecunious third Viscount Combermere, but did not find a buyer
  • 1900 - 1917 The estate was rented by Katherine, Dowager Duchess of Westminster, who was responsible for the construction of The Glass House in The Walled Garden

  • 1919 Fourth Viscount Combermere sold the Abbey and the contents were auctioned at a three-day sale. The estate bought by Sir Kenneth Crossley
  • 1930 - 1939 Sir Kenneth’s eldest daughter, Fidelia Crossley, gained her flying license at the age of 25 and was a pioneering competition aviatrix
  • 1930 - 1939 Crossley cars sold well in the higher strata of the mushrooming car market, and were especially popular with the young princes of the British royal family
  • 1939 Tragic death of Sir Kenneth’s son and heir, Anthony Crossley MP, in a flying accident off Denmark just before the start of the war
  • 1939 - 1945 Combermere Abbey was used firstly as a convalescent home and then as a temporary base for a school moved to safety from the south coast

  • 1939 - 1945 Once again Crossley manufactured vehicles for war, but to Sir Kenneth’s disappointment the firm was not asked to build aircraft
  • 1952 Abbey added to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical merit as Grade I. The unsound North Wing was abandoned
  • 1953 Death of Francis Crossley of the Grenadier Guards, son of Anthony Crossley and heir to Sir Kenneth Crossley, of polio
  • 1957 Death of Sir Kenneth Crossley aged 80.
  • 1959 Combermere Abbey was inherited by his grand-daughter Penelope Callander (later Lady Lindsay)
  • 1971 A scheme for the re-modelling of Combermere Abbey was commissioned from Raymond Erith and Quinlan Terry but never built
  • 1975 Suffering badly from rot, the Wellington dining room at the north east of the Abbey was demolished, and the south wing lowered from three storeys to two
  • 1992 The Combermere Estate was passed from Lady Lindsay to her daughter, Sarah Callander Beckett, who had been working in the USA for many years
  • 1992 A much-needed programme of restoration was initiated with seven derelict listed buldings being restored, including the stables, the Edwardian Glasshouse, the Game Larder and the Abbey itself
  • 1993 -94 The gothick Victorian stable block, designed for the first Viscount Combermere by Edward Blore, was converted into luxury holiday cottages
  • 1994 Restoration of the five and a half acre walled garden commences, complete with the world's only fruit tree maze
  • 1995 Following legislation which allowed private premises to become wedding venues, the Abbey was the second historic building in England, and the first in Cheshire, to secure a wedding license
  • 2011 - 2014 The restoration of The Library, the most impressive and historic room at the Abbey, was undertaken, using some of the country’s finest conservators

  • 2014 After many years spent trying to arrange the funding, the restoration of the ruinous North Wing was begun at last
  • 2015 A man’s shoe and a large horseshoe, concealed at the Abbey for good luck and fecundity during building work in the late Eighteenth century, were found during the restoration process

Above timeline from Combermere Abbey

This project is on History Link