Cholmondeley, Thomas

A Mr Cholmondeley accompanied the Duke of Somerset on a visit to Preston in August 1688. The visit is recorded in the 1 August entries in the diaries of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. The editors of the diaries identify the Mr Cholmondely as either Hugh or George Cholmondeley. [1] These were the brothers Hugh and George Cholmondeley, 1st and 2nd Earls of Cholmondeley, who were both active supporters of William of Orange. Hugh can be ruled out because he had by this time succeeded his father as second Viscount Cholmondeley, and so would not have been styled ‘Mr’. [2] So, of the two, George is the likelier candidate and his allegiance to William of Orange is well documented. [3]

However, a  carefully referenced website about Cheshire gentry families distinguishes two branches of the Cheshire Cholmondeleys. The first is the Cholmondelys of Cholmondely to which Hugh and George belong. Then there is a second branch, the Cholmondelys of Vale Royal. Given that Bellingham specifically identifies Mr Cholmondeley as ‘of Vale Royall’, this would seem to be the branch he is referring to. [4]

Of these Vale Royal Cholmondeleys the likeliest member to have visited Preston with the duke is Thomas Cholmondeley of Vale Royal (1627-1702) who was High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1660 and MP in 1670 and 1685. He died 26 February 1701/2. In his second time as an MP he was seen as an opponent of James II and was reportedly detained in 1687 for his outspoken opposition. His later actions demonstrate the dilemma facing High Tory Anglicans after the Revolution as he sought to reconcile himself with the exiled Stuarts, ‘A non-juror and an active Jacobite, he was arrested in May but released on £3,000 bail. He accepted a commission from the exiled King, and was probably one of those who assured him in 1694 that “the people of England are very much disposed to receive him”.’ [5]

The account of the Manchester Jacobite trials supplies further indications of his Jacobite loyalties. [6]

[1] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908),; Richard D. Harrison, ‘The Rawstorne Diary, 1687-89’ (typescript, nd), Search Room, Lancashire Archives.
[2] T. F. Henderson, ‘Cholmondeley, Hugh, First Earl of Cholmondeley (1662?–1725), Rev. Philip Carter’, in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman (online), online (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004),
[3] T. F. Henderson, ‘Cholmondeley, George, Second Earl of Cholmondeley (c.1666–1733), Rev. Jonathan Spain’, in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman (online), online (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004),
[4] ‘Gentry in Cheshire, England, UK, in the 18th and 19th Centuries’, accessed 28 December 2015,; ‘Cholmondeley of Cholmondeley’, accessed 28 December 2015,; ‘The Cholmondeley Family of Vale Royal, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom’, accessed 13 December 2015,
[5] Gillian Hampson and Basil Duke Henning, ‘Cholmondeley, Thomas (1627-1702), of Vale Royal, Cheshire. | History of Parliament Online’, accessed 9 January 2016,
[6] William Beamont, ‘The Jacobite Trials at Manchester in 1694. From an Unpublished Manuscript’, Chetham Society, 1st, 28 (1853): xxxii, 17 and 30.