Combermere Abbey

Combermere Abbey is a large country estate located in Dodcott cum Wilkesley, English County of Cheshire. A former Christian monastery founded in 1130 AD and at one time the third largest church in Cheshire. In August 1539, the abbey and its estates, were granted to Sir George Cotton, an esquire of the body to Henry VIII of England (1491-1547). The Cotton Family kept it as a country home which they held up till 1919.


Cumber Mere[]

Comber Mere

The name means "lake of the Cumbri", or Welsh, and refers to an enclave of Britons surviving the Anglo-Saxon conquest of the area. The site given for the monastery buildings was a wooded area by the large lake of Comber Mere, a peaceful and isolated location near the Shropshire border, suitable for the austere Savigniac order.

Christian Monastery[]

Combermere Abbey was the earlier of the two great Cistercian abbeys in Cheshire, the other being Vale Royal. The abbey was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Michael, and originally belonged to the Savigniac order. It was confirmed in 1130 by Ranulf de Gernons (also Ranulf II), the fourth Earl of Chester, who was one of the witnesses of its foundation charter. Building of the abbey commenced slightly later, possibly in 1133, often stated as the date of foundation.

The abbots and monks were involved in many violent disputes with outsiders from the 13th century onwards. These problems escalated and led to the decline of the abbey and its eventual dissolution in 1538.

1539 Cotton Family[]

Cotton Family Coat of Arms

In August 1539, the abbey and its estates, were granted to Sir George Cotton, an esquire of the body to Henry VIII of England (1491-1547). Many of the original church buildings were torn down and others were significantly remodeled. A major wave of remodeling occurred after the visit of King William III who spent the night on his way to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The Cotton Family kept it as a country home which they held up till 1919.

More Estate Additions[]

In 1684 Robert Cotton, 1st Baronet of Combermere (1635-1712) married Hester Salisbury (c1635-1710), daughter and sole heir of Royalist politician and soldier Sir Thomas Salusbury. As a result, the family's seat at Combermere Abbey was enhanced with the Llewenni Estate in Denbighshire, northeast Wales.

Between 1814 and 1820, (while Governor of Barbados) Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere (1773-1865) undertook an extensive remodelling of his home, Combermere Abbey, including Gothic ornamentation of the Abbot's House and the construction of Wellington's Wing (now demolished) to mark Wellington's visit to the house in 1820.

Viscount Combermere Heritage[]

Charlegmagne Lineage[]

The founder of Combermere Abbey, George Cotton (c1505-1545) is descendant to English Royalty thru his mother, Cicely Mainwaring.

  1. Munderic der Franken (bef531-) - a Merovingian claimaint to the Frankish throne. He was a wealthy nobleman and landowner with vast estates in the region around Vitry-le-Brûle.
  2. Mummolin der Franken (bef548-) - a Mayor of the Palace of Neustria
  3. Bodegisel II der Franken (bef565-) - Palace Mayor and Duke of Sueve and his wife probably Saint Oda, Abbess of Amay.
  4. Arnulf of Metz (582-640) - (aka: Saint Arnulf] - Frankish Bishop of Metz
  5. Ansegisel (c606-Bef679) - Duke and Servant to King Sigbert III of Austrasia. Murdered.
  6. Pepin of Herstal Duke and Prince of the Franks (635-714) - (aka: Pepin II) - a Frankish statesman and military leader who de facto ruled Francia as the Mayor of the Palace
  7. Charles Martel (686-741) - a Frankish statesman and military leader who de facto ruled Francia as the Mayor of the Palace. Stopped Muslim invasion of Europe at Battle of Tours in 732 AD.
  8. Pepin the Short (714-768) - (aka: Pippin The Younger) - First Carolingian King of France
  9. Emporer Charlemagne (747-814) - King of the Franks and from 800 the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.
  10. Pepin, King of Italy (773-810) - born Carloman, was the son of Charlemagne and King of the Lombards (781–810)
  11. Bernard, King of Italy (797-818) - was the King of the Lombards from 810 to 818. He was killed for plotting against his uncle, Emperor Louis the Pious.
  12. Pepin, Count of Vermandois (c815-854) - the first count of Vermandois, lord of Senlis, Péronne, and Saint Quentin.
  13. Herbert I, Count of Vermandois (c848-907) - Herbert controlled both St. Quentin and Péronne and his activities in the upper Somme river valley may have caused Baldwin II to have him assassinated in 907.
  14. Herbert II, Count of Vermandois (884-943) - His marriage with a daughter of king Robert I of France brought him the County of Meaux.
  15. Robert de Vermandois, Count of Meaux (918-968)
  16. Adele of Meaux (c934-c982) - a French noblewoman, she was Countess of Chalon and later Countess of Anjou.
  17. Ermengarde of Anjou (c956-c1024) - the Countess of Rennes, Regent of Brittany.
  18. Judith of Brittany (982-1017) - part of an important double marriage alliance between Normandy and Brittany first recorded by William of Jumièges,
  19. Robert I, Duke of Normandy (c1000-1035) - fought in Norman civil wars
  20. William I, King of England (1027-1087) - (aka: William the Conqueror) - In 1066 became first Norman king of England.
  21. Henry I of England (1068-1135) - King of England, md Matilda of Scotland
  22. Matilda of Normandy (1102-1167) - daughter of Henry I, md. Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou and Maine (1113-1151)
  23. Henry II of England (1133-1189) - King of England - md Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine (c1124-1204) - claim to English throne as grandson of Henry I (Treaty of Wallingford). See #24 in English Royal Line above for continuation.
  24. William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (c1176-1226) - md Ela, 3rd Countess of Salisbury (c1187-1261)
  25. William Longespée (c1212-1250) - md Idonea de Camville (c1208-c1252)
  26. Ela Longespée (c1226-1299) - md James de Audley (c1230-c1276)
  27. Hugh de Audley (c1274-1326) - Isolde Mortimer (c1275-c1338)
  28. Hugh de Audley, 1st Earl of Gloucester (c1291-1347) - md Margaret de Clare (1293-1342) she also of royal lineage
  29. Margaret de Audley (1318-1347) - md Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford (1301-1372)
  30. Catherine Stafford (c1340-1361) - md John Sutton c1340
  31. John de Sutton (1361-1396) - md Alice le Despencer (-1392)
  32. John de Sutton (1380-1406) - md Constance Blount (1385-1432)
  33. John Sutton (1400-1472) married Elizabeth de Berkeley.
  34. Jane Sutton (c1434-1476) of Dudley Castle, married Sir Thomas Mainwaring.
  35. Cecily Mainwaring (1468-1507) married John Cotton.
  36. George Cotton (c1505-1545) esquire to Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) and first master of Cumbermere Abbey
  37. Richard Cotton (1545-1602) - md 1st Mary Mainwaring, 2nd ..... Silliard, 3rd Widow Dormer.
  38. George Cotton (1564-1647) - md Mary Bromley
  39. Thomas Cotton (1609-1647) - md 1) Frances Needham and 2) Elizabeth Calveley
  40. Robert Cotton, 1st Baronet of Combermere (1635-1712) - Member of Parliament (MP) for Cheshire from 1679 to 1681 and from 1689 to 1702. Was accused of treasonable correspondence with the Electress of Hanover, Sophia, in 1685 he was committed to the Tower of London. He was eventually cleared of the charges.
  41. Thomas Cotton, 2nd Baronet of Combermere (1672-1715) - officer of the crown
  42. Robet Salusbury Cotton, 3rd Baronet of Combermere (1695-1748) - MP Parliament - died no issue - succeeded by brother
  43. Lynch Salusbury Cotton, 4th Baronet of Combermere (1706-1775) - MP for Denbighshire
  44. Robert Salusbury Cotton, 5th Baronet of Combermere (1739-1809) - MP Cheshire 1780-96, Cofounder of Tarporley Hunt Club.

    Statue of Lord Combermere outside Chester Castle, Cheshire

  45. Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere (1773-1865) - British Army officer, diplomat and politician. Many duties during the Napoleanic Wars, Governor of Barbados, Commander in Chief of British Armies in India.
  46. Wellington Henry Stapleton Cotton, 2nd Viscount Combermere (1818-1891) - Army officer and politician, famous for 1891 ghost photo.
  47. Robert Wellington Stapleton, 3rd Viscount Combermere of Bhurtpore (1845-1898) -
  48. Francis Lynch Wellington Stapleton-Cotton, 4th Viscount Combermere (1887–1969)
  49. Michael Wellington Stapleton-Cotton, 5th Viscount Combermere (1929–2000)
  50. Thomas Robert Wellington Stapleton-Cotton, 6th Viscount Combermere (born 1969)
  51. Hon. Laszlo Michael Wellington Stapleton-Cotton (born 2010). (heir apparent)

King of Wessex Lineage[]

Lineage to the ancient Kings of England:

Source: Online Medieval and Classical Library - The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for entry dated 552AD, compiled at the time of Alfred the Great. Cerdic was the father of Cynric, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wye, Wye of Frewin, Frewin of Frithgar, Frithgar of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden. (Any ancestry for Cerdic of Wessex is highly suspect and probably wrong.)

  1. Cerdic of Wessex (-534), First King of the West Saxons (r.519-534), was a Saxon earldorman who founded a settlement on the coast of Hampshire, England in 495 AD, assumed the title of King of the West Saxons in 519, and became the ancestor of the English royal line, all other English kings endeavoring to trace their lineage directly to him. The Saxons were one of several barbaric tribes from Germany that invaded Britain shortly after the departure of the Roman Empire.
  2. Cynric of Wessex (-560), son of Cerdic of Wessex (-534) who continued to reign in his father's stead as King of Wessex and subjugating the surrounding territory in many battles.
  3. Caewlin of Wessex (-593), son of Cynric of Wessex (-560). Influential in helping his father lead the Saxon Armies in driving the Britains from the Wessex region. But in 592/593 he was deposed and many of his family killed along with himself.
  4. Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-), son of Caewlin of Wessex (-c593). This family was evicted violently from the throne of Wessex by their cousin Ceol in the year 592. They did not regain it for many generations until the time of Cenred below.
  5. Cutha Cathwulf (592-), son of Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-). Lived in exile in Upper Thames region and then in 620 moved to Devonshire region.
  6. Ceolwald of Wessex, son of Cutha Cathwulf (592-). Born c. 615, in 688 he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome to be baptised of Pope Sergius and died there one week later.
  7. Cenred of Wessex, son of Ceolwald of Wessex. (Lived 640?-712?) Returned to the throne as King of Wessex.
  8. Ingild of Wessex (-718), son of Cenred of Wessex, brother of Ine of Wessex who abdicated the throne of Wessex in 726 to make a sacred pilgrimage to Rome.
  9. Eoppa of Wessex, son of Ingild of Wessex. (lived 707?-770?)
  10. Eafa of Wessex, son of Eoppa. (lived 730-790?)
  11. Ealhmund of Kent, son of Eafa, ruled briefly as King of Kent in the year 784.
  12. Egbert, King of Wessex (c769-839) son of Ealhmund of Kent, he was able to wrest control of both Wessex and Kent from the King of Mercia (c 790-839).
  13. Aethelwulf, King of Wessex (c795-858), helped his father conquer the Kingdom of Kent in 825 and inherited his fathers throne in 839. While king he repelled several Viking invasions and undertook a pilgrimage to Rome in 855. Several of his sons succeeded to his thone in turn until the youngest, thru which the royal line continued.
  14. Alfred the Great, King of Anglo-Saxons (ruled 871-899), son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and Osburga.
  15. King Edward the Elder, son of King Alfred the Great of Wessex andEalhswith.
  16. King Edmund I, son of Edward the Elder and Eadgifu of Kent.
  17. King Edgar of England, son of King Edmund I and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury.
  18. King Ethelred II, son of King [Edgar of England]] and Ælfthryth.
  19. King Edmund Ironside, son of King Ethelred II and Ælfgifu of York
  20. Prince Edward the Exile, son of King Edmund Ironside of Wessex and Ealdgyth.
  21. Margaret of Wessex (c1045-1093) (aka St Margaret of Scotland), md Malcolm III of Scotland
  22. Matilda of Scotland (c1080-1118), md Henry I, King of England (1068-1135)
  23. Matilda of Normandy (1102-1167), md Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou
  24. Henry II of England (1133-1189) - King of England - md Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine (c1124-1204) - claim to English throne as grandson of Henry I (Treaty of Wallingford)

Cotton Family Patriarchs[]

The family originated in north Shropshire, with many familial links in that county, and may, perhaps, have been Anglo-Saxon rather than Norman. ‘Coton in Wem’ is mentioned in Domesday Book (spelled ‘Cote’), and its ownership had passed from a un-named Anglo-Saxon to the Norman lord William Pantulf, Baron of Wem (or Wemme), as a tenant of the prominent Norman, Earl Roger of Shrewsbury.

The farthest back we have been able to trace the Cottons who came to own Combermere is Hugh Cotton of Hodnet (c1225-), who was born around 1255, during the reign of King Henry III. His wife, Elizabeth is noted as being a daughter of Hamon de Tittenleigh, who lived in Coton and this marriage represented the union of both Angle and Norman cultures.

  1. Hugh Cotton of Hodnet (c1225-) - md Elizabeth de Tittenlegh (c1240-), daughter of Hamon de Tittenlegh (c1212-)
  2. Alan de Cotton (c1257-) - md Margaret de Acton (c1262-)
  3. Hugh de Cotton (-1360) - md Isabel de Heaton (c1318-)
  4. Richard Cotton (1336-1431) -
  5. Roger Cotton (1368-) - md Ellen Grymelond (1373-1464)
  6. William Cotton (1400-) -
  7. William de Cotton (c1432-1460) - md Agnes Yonge (or Young) of Caynton
  8. John Cotton (c1464-1508) - md Cecily Mainwaring (1468-1507) of English Royal descent (see above)
  9. George Cotton (c1505-1545) esquire to Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) and first master of Combermere Abbey

Notable Descendants[]

Early European Descendants[]

American Descendants[]

Other Cotton Families[]

English Descendants[]

  • Very Reverend George c. 1745 – 10.12.1805. (son of LSCotton, 4 bt) Dean of Chester. Married Catherine Maria, eldest daughter of James Tomkinson of Dorfold Hall, Nantwich
  • Captain Richard c. 1746 – 1781 (son of LSCotton, 4 bt) Died in action, Camden, USA, American Revolutionary War. Married 1734. No known children.
  • Vice-Admiral Rowland c. 1750 – 30.11.1794. (son of LSCotton, 4 bt)
  • Sir Willoughby Cotton, 1783 – 1860, (grandson of LSCotton, 4 bt) Commander of the forces in Jamaica 1829–1834, Lieutenant, Governor of Plymouth 1835–1840, Commander of the Bengal Army 1838–1840, Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army 1847–1850. KCB 1838. GCB 1840, General from 1854. Knight Commander, Hanover Order, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Military General Service Medal with 3 Clasps (Burgos, Vittoria, Nive), Army of India Medal with AVA clasp, Ghuznee Medal, Order of the Dooranee Empire. Participated in the Peninsular War, Waterloo Campaign, First Anglo–Burmese War, Great Jamaican Slave Revolt, First Anglo-Afghan War. Married Lady Augusta Maria (1806), daughter of the Earl of Coventry.