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Old Historic Families of Lancashire & Cheshire (10)


Alphabetical Listing - continued...

The Venables Family of Middlewich

The Venables Family (sometimes 'de Venables') hail originally from the town of Venables near Evreux in Normandy, and it was Gilbert de Venables, (also known as Gilbert Hunter), huntsman to the Dukes of Normandy, who first held the Barony of Kinderton in Cheshire for Hugh Lupus after the Norman Invasion of 1066. Other family members became Barons of Chester and of Warrington, and over time Venables became a prominent Cheshire and Lancashire surname, as did the anglicised version of 'Hunter'. The Domesday Book of 1086 shows Gilbert 'Hunter' holding Brereton, Davenport, Kinderton and Witton (Northwich) and Ralph Hunter holding Stapleford in Cheshire and Soughton in Wales. Later the family became Lords of the Manor of Middlewich.
Wincham Hall, recorded as 'Winundersham' in the Domesday Book, was given to Gilbert de Venables following the Norman Conquest, but it successively passed in and out of the Venables family's ownership through inheritance, married and sale over the following centuries. It survived until bombing in the Second World War destroyed it, after which it was finally demolished.
The family's influence and power throughout medieval Cheshire is evidenced by the wreath on the Coat of Arms of the Borough of Congleton, which are the heraldic colours of the Venables family, as do the Arms of Northwich where the ship shown above the shield shows on its mainsail the wyvern of the Venables family.
They held many other lands throughout Britain including Woodcote near Winchester, when, in 1677, the manor had been purchased by the Venables. The Venables family also purchased Antrobus Hall in Great Budworth sometime during the reign of King Henry IV - they resided here for many generations.
The Venables Family have a worldwide website and there are regular Venables family conventions held in England and in France. The Middlewich Festival, held in September each year, also acts as a gathering of the Venables family members from around the world.

The Vernons of Cheshire

The Vernon family can trace their ancestry back to France before the Norman Invasion of 1066, notably in the persons of William de Vernon (alive in Normandy 1052), and his son, Richard de Vernon, Lord of Shipbroke (alive in 1086 in England). Richard was a Knight of William the Conqueror and grantee of Shipbrook, and of 14 other manors in Cheshire before the Domesday survey. He was married to Adzelia, daughter of William Peverel of Nottingham. Peverel was an illegitimate son of William the Conqueror.
Another Richard de Vernon, a one-time favourite of the powerful King John, was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire from 1200-1205.
The Vernons were an influential family who lived and owned much of the lands around Rode, North Rode, Rode Heath and Gawsworth in Cheshire, where many of the family are buried. The family spread far and wide in northern England mostly through marriage. William de Vernon's great-grandson, also called Richard, had married Avice, daughter and co-heir to the manor of of William de Avenell, of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, thus adding extensive Derbyshire lands to their ownership. Others married into the de Stokeport family of Stockport and into influential families in Shropshire, notably in Tong where many members of the family lie buried. However, the family is probably still best known for its ownership of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire and Gawsworth Hall near Macclesfield.

The Walmsley Family of Rishton

The Walmsley family was associated in earlier times with the Lancashire village of Riston. In 1581 it was recorded that Sir Thomas Talbot sold the manor of 'Rissheton' to Thomas Walmsley - the manor continued in the possession of the Walmsley family until 1711 when it passed by marriage out of the family holdings. The wealth and importance of the family continued until the 19th century, when they became prosperous textile manufacturers. The family held shares in the Grimshaw Bridge Mill at Eccleshill, an early water-powered carding and spinning factory, erected in 1782 by William Yates. Following Yates' failure in 1790, the mill was worked briefly by William Booth of Lower Darwen. By the early nineteenth century, Walmsley, Townsend & Green had taken over. In 1823, the surviving partner, Joseph Walmsley, was employing 23 hands at the mill, and the whole undertaking came into the sole possession of the Walmsley family. In 1855 the family retired from business and sold the Grimshaw Bridge plant, but the Walmsley family name is still well remembered in placenames throughout Lancashire.

The Warburtons of Tabley & Warburton

The Warburtons trace their family history back a very long way and are one of the oldest established families in Cheshire and Staffordshire. Warburton Village in Lancashire is where the Warburton family is said to have originated, nine hundred years ago. They owned the manor of Glazebrook and in 1384 Geoffrey de Warburton ceded the manor to Hamon Mascy (Lord of the Manor at Rixton.) This led to the combining of the two areas and became known as Rixton-with-Glazebrook. Later, one William Warburton (1615-1673) was born and died in Warburton, the estate and later the village having been taken after the family name. William had married Jane Burgess in 1641 in Rostherne where she was born. Later there was intermarriage with the Egerton family to become the Egerton-Warburton family on the inheritance of Rowland Egerton, 7th son of Philip Egerton of Oulton Park. He had married Mary Brooke of Norton Priory and rebuilt Arley in the 1840s as well as having created the present Budworth village.
By 1766 members of the Warburton family were prominent trustees of Cobridge School in Staffordshire, as well as being cofounders of Lymm Grammar School in Cheshire. In fact, the Warburton family crest is still incorporated in the Lymm Grammar School school coat of arms.
The Warburtons were, like most old Cheshire families, a staunch Catholic family and originally rented lands from the Biddulph family on the Grange estate in north Staffordshire. At Grange in the early 18th century John Warburton built a Potworks for the manufacture of white stoneware which he exported, most profitably by all accounts, to Holland. By the time he died in 1752 he had amassed a considerable property which included the Tabley estate in Cheshire for which he paid £1,000.

The Warren Family of Poynton

The Warren family seems to have made its first appearance in records in 1164, when Hamelin Plante Genest (later changed to Plantagenet), a Norman Baron and illegitimate half brother of King Henry II, married Isabel 'de Warrene'. They settled to live in Surrey, where the de Warrenes soon were granted the Earldom of Surrey and, by 1254, the family seems to have moved to Norfolk. They also held lands in Suffolk, Somerset and Sussex. The last de Warenne Earl of Surrey died in 1347. Soon after they appear to have been inexplicably disinherited and a branch of the family moved north to start a new life in east Cheshire sometime around 1380. Later on the death of the last Plantagenet king of England, some descendants changed their surname to Wareing or Waringe.
Ultimately the Warrens were to hold significant tracts of land throughout Cheshire over the centuries, which they acquired through purchase and propitious marriage of daughters of the Warren family into other influential Cheshire families. The Manor of Adlington, adjacent to Poynton, had been purchased by John de Warren from the Stokeport family sometime shortly thereafter.
In 1777 Elizabeth Harriett, daughter and heiress of Sir George Warren, was married to Thomas, the 7th Viscount Bulkeley, a substantial landowner in Anglesey. Subsequently they took the name of Warren-Bulkeley. Elizabeth was a local beauty immortalised in a George Romney portrait, which was specially commissioned for the marriage - it now resides in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. In 1784 Thomas was created Baron Bulkeley of Beaumaris. In 1792 Sir George Warren had purchased the Worth estate from the Downes family - it is now Davenport Golf Club.
Later, in that century, Anna Dorothea Warren, Viscountess Bulkeley, left part of her estate to the 2nd Lord de Tabley (of Tabley House near Knutsford) on condition that the family name incorporated Warren, (ie. Leicester Warren).
By 1811, the Sixth Baronet, Sir George Leicester had assumed the name and arms of the Warrens, and thereafter the Tabley branch were known by the name of Leicester Warren.
By the end of the 19th century, the Warrens were connected to most of the county's leading aristocracy. The Manor and Title of Poynton itself was held by the Warren Family until 1801 when the last surviving male, Sir George, died and was succeeded by his daughter, Lady Warren Bulkeley. Childless, she died in 1826 when it passed to Frances Maria Warren, Lady Vernon. The Vernons held the estate until the final sale in 1920.

The Whitaker Family of the Holme

The Whitaker Family (with one 't') trace their ancestry back to at least 1340, when Richard de Whitacre, came to live in Cliviger at Padiham, Lancashire. They were clearly an influential family of some importance during the Middle Ages and Tudor times, as in 1431, there is a reference in records to one Thomas Whitaker of The Holme. From 1548-1595, William Whitaker was Master of St John's College, Cambridge. By 1587 he is known to have been father of seven children, six by his first wife, including Alexander, known as 'the Apostle of Virginia', who went to Virginia, USA as a missionary in 1611. He lived near Jamestown, had a parish in Henrico County, published Good News from Virginia , is said to have converted the Native American Princess Pocohantas and performed her wedding. In 1615 he drowned in the James River.
William Whitaker also had another son, Jabez, by his second wife Joan (widow of Dudley Taylor), born on December 1595 in Lambeth, London. Like his half-brother, Jabez emigrated to live in Jamestown in 1619. Both he and his only known son William served as Burgesses in Virginia. Consequently, there is now an extensive network of Whitaker descendants in America.
The Holme is also well documented, described as " … originally a 40-room manor house … and the county seat of the Whitaker family from the 15th century". Prior to the Whitaker ownership of the manor, Holme belonged to the Tattersall family, and had previously belonged to Edward Legh, of the Legh family from Cheshire.
Gradually, the Whitakers strengthened their local standing through marriage with other notable families of Lancashire and Cheshire, including the Sherburnes, Stanleys, Harringtons and the Towneley family.

Mrs Cary Young Adams, a Whitaker descendant of Norfolk Virginia, disputes some of the above and adds:

"Dr William Whitaker of Cambridge University married (1) Susan Culverwell, daughter of Nicholas Culverwell of London, (2) Joan Fenner, nee Taylor, widow of Dudley Fenner. He had eight children born 1583 - 1595, five by Culverwell, and three by Taylor. His married life was spent at Cambridge, and all of his children were born there.
Jabez Whitaker married Mary Bourchier, daughter of Sir John Bourchier of Surrey. Jabez was prominent in Virginia, serving on the Governor's Council. He left Virginia with his family in 1628, presumably to return to England. He had at least two children, but there is no record of the names of his sons. There were two William Whitakers in early Virginia. One was too old to have been Jabez's son. The other might have been, but there is no proof of this. He might have returned to Virginia, but there is no record of this. The North Carolina Whitakers claim descent from Jabez, but offer no proof."

The Winstanleys of Wigan

The Winstanley name is thought to pre-date the Norman Conquest, and may be a corruption of "Winston's lea" . From 1212 AD, Roger de Winstanley held the manor under the Lord of Billinge and is noted for the benevolent grants which he made to Cockersand Abbey. Various members of the family continued an unbroken tradition of ownership of the lands well into the early 16th century. In 1596 Edmund Winstanley and his wife Alice sold the Manor of Winstanley and Winstanley Hall, along with several coal mines to one James Bankes, a Wigan man. Upon the death of Bankes in 1617 the Manor was sold on to Sir Richard Fleetwood, Baron of Newton. Other possessions of James Bankes included the Manor of Houghton in Winwick, and other lands in Winstanley and adjacent townships. Another branch of the Winstanley family lived in nearby Blackley Hurst; their lands were eventually sold to Richard or William Blackburne in 1617, and was later acquired by the Gerard family.
A number of the Winstanleys were Quakers and in 1670 were convicted as 'Popish recusants' for which apparent 'crime' two-thirds of their properties were seized. During the 17th century Gerrard Winstanley was a writer and prominent in local politics, having been the leader of the short-lived left-wing political movement known as 'the Diggers' in the 17th Century. His political writings were widely studied in the former Soviet Union where it is thought there is a monument to his memory.
Winstanley Hall was occupied by the Bankes family for nearly 400 years until 1984, although it has now been sold for conversion to luxury apartments.

The Wilbraham Family of Woodhey

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Wilbraham Family were one of the biggest landowners in Cheshire and their seat was at Woodhey in central Cheshire - now demolished. However, nowadays the Wilbraham family name is probably best associated with the Castle at Mow Cop, the distinctive Cheshire landmark, which was built as a summerhouse in 1746 for Randle Wilbraham I of Rode Hall. At the turn of the 19th century, the Wilbraham family moved to live in Lancashire and by the time they had decided to move back to Cheshire, some 50 years later, the castle was in a derelict state of disrepair. Rode Hall had been in the family since 1669. The main house was completed in 1752, with additions in 1812 and 1927. Dorfold Hall, which stands between Nantwich and Acton, was also built in 1616 by the Wilbraham family. It was plundered by Royalist soldiers as they fought their way through Cheshire in 1643.
T he Lordship of the manor of Longdendale had been granted in 1554 by Queen Mary I to the Wilbraham family. Their Longdendale estates comprised the manors of Mottram-in-Longdendale and Tintwistle. However, as 'absentee' landlords they had little practical contact with the manor lands throughout the period of their tenure. The family were made knights by 1610 and were created baronets in 1621. In the 17th century the family held around 28,000 acres of land in Cheshire of which around 15,000 acres was located in the Longdendale valley, including Micklehurst, Mottram and a small part of Godley .
When Sir Thomas Wilbraham of Woodhey died in 1692 his Cheshire estates, including the manors of Mottram and Tintwistle and the lordship of Longdendale, were inherited by his son-in-law Lyonel Tollemache, the earl of Dysart in Scotland and thereby passed out of Wilbraham family control.

The Worsley Family of Tockholes

The Worsley family originated from Tockholes, Rivington, between Horwich and Chorley, not far from Winter Hill. The family name dates back to Norman times when, in 1195, Hugh Poutrell is recorded as having given one Richard Workesley the manors of Worsley and Hulton in return for his faithful service.
After the Conquest of 1066, Worsley was in the manor of Barton, and it seems probable that a member of the Barton family took on the name "de Worsley".
By 1385 the Worsley family failed to produce male heirs, and many of its lands and possessions came into the ownership of Sir John Massey of Tatton, Cheshire though marriage. The Worsleys also held lands in south Manchester, notably Platt Fields where Platt Hall is now home to the Gallery of Costume. Once the home of Charles Worsley, (the staunch Parliamentarian leader in the Civil War, and close confident of Oliver Cromwell), the original Elizabethan half-timbered building was replaced by the present Georgian house in 1764. In 1775 the estate, which included the whole of the adjoining present-day Platt Fields Park passed to the ownership of the Caril-Worsley's, which family was also responsible for the building of the neighbouring Holy Trinity Church in Rusholme.
The family also held the Lordship of the Manor of South Baddesley in Hampshire, as well as the Baronetcy of Appeldurcombe in the Isle of Wight since 1611. Appeldurcombe House, now a ruin, and the surrounding parkland, were former Worsley family possessions. The house and park have a history centred around the Worsley family who originated from Lancashire. James Worsley had been a page to King King Henry VII and a companion to the future King Henry VIII. On the latter's accession to the throne Worsley was knighted and made Captain of the Isle of Wight.

The Worthington Family of Worthington, Standish

The Worthington family resided at Worthington in Standish, Lancashire from about 1150, shortly after the Norman Invasion of 1066. Their landholdings in the area were extensive and their country seat, Worthington Hall, was built in 1577. At that time the village of Worthington was entirely rural and comprised a handful of cottages.
By 1215 the first mention is made of the Coppull Family, perhaps related to the Worthingtons, possibly the origin of the township Coppull-with-Worthington. In addition to the manor of Adlington, one Thomas Clayton bought the adjoining manor of Worthington from Edward Worthington and his wife, Jane, in 1690. The properties of Adlington and Worthington were passed by descent to members of the Clayton family, most notable among whom were Richard Clayton who became Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland from 1765 until his death in 1770. By this time, Crawshaw Hall, Adlington, and Bottom of Common End all effectively belonged to the Worthington family.
In the late 1770s, in common with many other Lancashire villages, textiles manufacturing and servicing was introduced to the village, on the site of the original Worthington Mill, the original of which dated from around 1348. Initially a small dye works, later became a paper mill, and then more recently a textile mill - it closed down as recently as 1998.
The Hall is still standing and is a working farm nowadays. More information of the Worthington Family can be found on Edward Worthington's website at http://www.worthington.moonfruit.com.

Worths of Tytherington

The Worth estate was originally owned by the family long before 1208 when written history of the Worth family begins. Benedict and Jordan de Woorthe are known to have had land at Upton in Macclesfield. Later Robert de Worth married the heiress Anable de Tiderinton (Tytherington) and acquired her estates through this marriage, as well as several other properties. The Worth family were to remain at Tytherington until the end of the 17th century when Jasper Worth, the heir apparent, died in 1693 - Tytherington Hall had been owned by the Worths for 350 years. Over many generations, the Worth family had married into most of the powerful and influential families of Cheshire, including the Wheelocks, the Newtons of Pownall, the Beresfords, Suttons, Draycotts, Downes, Vernons and the Davenports. The heirs of the Worth family eventually sold Worth Hall and Tytherington to the Downes family. Bache Hall was also a Worth property for hundreds of years. The Worths were eventually ruined economically by the Civil Wars and their allegiance to the King's cause; their estates confiscated by parliament and the head of the family hanged. Most of the Worth family is buried in Prestbury Church.

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This page last updated 17 Nov 11.