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Preface: The original purpose of this page was to provide more information about the heraldry of the Vardons of Goldstone, but in the process it has become extended, providing more data on the broader inter-related branches of the de Verdun/Verdon families in England, Normandy and Ireland, in case this may be of added interest for anyone seeking more knowledge about this Norman family. Readers should be aware that this is very much 'a work in progress' and contains incomplete details, sometimes placed here purposely like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that there hasn't been time to put into the correct places, with some sections completed but interconnecting links remaining missing. The intention is that further reading of the text, ensuing reflection and research and simple moments of freer time may result in these gaps being 'plugged', enabling a fuller picture to be revealed in due course. Consequently, the text below will have unedited errors and will be being updated as and when there is time to add new information or correct and edit the current text. Details of sources have been provided throughout the text, to as great an extent as possible, so that interested readers may follow these trails more extensively, should that be of interest for them and helpful to their own research. If anyone would like to offer any corrections or request additional data be added, an email is provided at the bottom of this page to enable them to do so. 
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The de Verdun family of England, Normandy & Ireland

A brief account of the family's origins, the de Verduns of Alton Castle, Staffordshire (Barons Verdon) and their cadet branches, including the de Verdons of Norfolk (the other Verdon Barons), the de Verdons / Vardons of Fulshaw, Cheshire & Goldstone Hall, Shropshire, the Verdins of Darnhall Hall & Stoke Hall, Cheshire & Garnstone Castle, Herefordshire; and the link with their kinsmen the Marquesses & Counts de Verdun of La Crenne and Barenton, Normandy.


The first of the de Verdun family to have come to England was Bertrand de Verdun, one of the companions of William the Conqueror, whose anglicised name was Bertram de Verdon. He and his family are briefly chronicled in the publication 'The Battle Abbey Roll, with some account of the Norman Lineages', page 221-224. A full transcription of the chapter covering the de Verduns is copied further below. A more recent, extensive and in-depth history of the family was published in 2001: 'The Fortunes of a Norman Family - The de Verduns in England, Ireland and Wales, 1066-1316', by Mark Haggar. It is a valuable and much appreciated addition to the many texts that enlighten our knowledge of the de Verduns, but its understandable focus on the main line of the family means that it omits useful data from French historical sources and therefore mention of what might be the senior branch of the family, who continue to reside in Normandy, and whose story continued to connect with England, during the times that Normandy was ruled by that country's kings. It also misses the importance to the de Verdun family of the fact that the Earls of Chester were also hereditary Vicomtes of Avranches - this is relevant to understanding the de Verduns ongoing possession of land in Normandy and their close connection with County Palatine of Cheshire. Members of the de Verdun family were in the service of the Earls of Chester and appear as witnesses to their charters in both England and Normandy.

Some historians have postulated that Bertram de Verdun was a son of Godfrey III, Duke of Upper Lorraine, also (later) Duke of Lower Lorraine and Count of Verdun-sur-Meuse in Lorraine. After 1066, Bertram was given the Manor of Farnham Royal in Buckinghamshire. This manor had been held previously by Goda, daughter of Emma of Normandy by her husband King Æthelred the Unready and therefore a full sister of Edward the Confessor. Goda's second husband (her first had been Count Drogo of the Véxin), Count Eustace II of Boulogne, married afterwards Ida the daughter of Godfrey III, who is said to have been Bertram de Verdun's father. This would have made Bertram the brother-in-law of Goda's second husband. Perhaps this connection explains why he was granted Farnham Royal - in all likelihood we will never know for sure. Another story relates that Bertram's forebear, called Norman de Verdun, arrived in Normandy in the suite of Rollo, first Duke of Normandy, but this is likely to be a mix-up with the 'Norman de Verdun' who was a grandson of Bertram I de Verdun, and it would be odd for Rollo the Viking to arrive with another Norseman who bore such an un-Scandinavian name as 'de Verdun'.

A book by historian and heraldic expert Beryl Platts - 'Scottish Hazard, Volume Two: The Flemish Heritage' (latest edition 1990) - supports the story of the de Verdun family of Normandy's descent from the Counts of Verdun-sur-Meuse in Lorraine. Platts argues persuasively that a number of leading Norman nobles who settled in Scotland, like the de Brus family, were members of exiled or émigré noble families from Flanders, who had become tenants of lands in Normandy before 1066. On pages 59-60, in a discussion about the feudal tenants in the Cotentin, she writes:

"The lordly names, all assumed to belong to Normans because Normandy is where they were in 1066, must have their antecedents probed. The task is not so formidable; they lived boldly, publicly, and left clues - in their use of names, their marital alliances, their heraldry. Ferrers bore the mascles of Quincy. The arms of Mandeville and Vere were those of Senlis. Hay used the shield upon shield of Wavrin. Haig adopted the saltire of Praet. Some men called their homes St. Vaast, Gavere, Verdun.".

Platts continues by mentioning the first Earls of Norfolk, from whom a branch of the de Verdun family held manors in Norfolk from the beginning of the 12th century:

"The first Bigod...was Robert 'le Bigot', grandfather of the girls who would marry the two Williams d'Aubigny. He was in the service of William de Warlaing, and perhaps acted as his second-in-command. William de Jumièges, who supplied that information, added that he was married to a sister of Thurstan Goz. Richard, Thurstan's son, was made vicomte of Avranches, perhaps (as with Cotentin and Bessin) at the instigation of the king of France. David C. Douglas, in his [book] William the Conqueror, has touched on the role of the Norman vicomtes, which was both military and judicial, without examining the pedigrees of the men who attained such office. The more their antecedents are studied, the plainer it becomes that they were non-Normans, almost certainly recruited by the new French dynasty from the remnants of a Carolingian system of government further east, to teach the raw and lawless Normans some of the traditional ways of civilised life. In the case of Richard le Goz, the appointment's implications would be softened for William of Normandy because Richard has married his half sister, Emma de Conteville. Thurstan's origins are not known, but if there was supporting evidence we might guess that his unlikely surname was a shortened version of Gozelo, a name common among displaced sons of the Count of Verdun. In fact, at least some supporting evidence is there. French genealogists give Richard de Surdeval, who lived near the comital centre at Mortain, a descent from Verdun, on the Meuse; and Bertram de Verdun's presence at a place in the Avranchin called, evocatively enough, Bouillon, speaks for itself".

The reference to the name 'Gozelo' (otherwise 'Gothelo') arises as Bertram de Verdun's supposed father Duke Godfrey III was the son of Gozelo I, Duke of Lower and later Upper Lorraine and Count of Verdun, who died in 1044. Godfrey's eldest younger brother was Gozelo II. The relevance of 'Bouillon' is because Duke Godfrey III's daughter Ida's second son was Godfrey of Bouillon, who gained everlasting fame in the First Crusade. He and his knights were the first to take the walls and enter Jerusalem and he was subsequently persuaded to become ruler of Jerusalem, having refused to be made its king. After his death, his younger brother Baldwin became the first crusader king of Jerusalem.

What Platts writes above is of additional interest because the 1st Earl of Chester of the second creation, Hugh d'Avranches succeeded his father Richard le Goz as Vicomte of Avranches and the de Verdun family held lands in Normandy and England from Hugh and his descendants. This old connection between the Earls and the de Verduns continued to be maintained over many generations, as is detailed further below. The de Verduns were granted lands in north Staffordshire, which seem to have been carved out from the Earldom of Chester. Here they built Alton Castle, which became the focus of their power and their Barony. But they also gained lands in many other counties and in Ireland, and branches of the family became established across the country, including the de Verdun family of Norfolk, who established another de Verdun Barony there. 

Even if Beryl Platts is correct, the question still remains what it was that brought a 'de Verdun' to Normandy. One potential connection could have been through 'Richard of Verdun', Abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Vanne from 1004-1046. Véronique Gazeau mentions this in Volume 1 of her 'Normannia Monastica' (page 238), writing:

Richard de Saint-Vanne serait venu en Normandie sous le principat de Robert le Magnifique, aux dires d'Hugues de Flavigny..... 

Translation: According to the words of Hugh of Flavigny, Richard St. Vanne would have come into Normandy in the reign of Robert the Magnificent....

The footnote (446) to this comment provides a little more information, as follows:

HUGUES DE FLAVIGNY, Chronicon Hugonis monachi Virdunensis et Divionensis, abbatis Flaviniacensis, PERTZ (éd.), dans MGH, Scriptores, t. VIII, 1848, c.28 : «Hac crescente discordia, comitatum pater Richardus adire compellitur...». Il aurait accompagné l'archidiacre Ermenfroid pour mettre un terme à des discordes dont le détail est inconnu. Serait-ce à cette occasion que Richard de Saint-Vanne a enseigné les coutumes de Verdun à Thierry de Mathonville alors moine à Jumièges?

Translation: Hugh of Flavigny: The Chronicle of Hugh, Monk of Verdun and Dijon, Abbot of Flavigny.... [cont.] "In this growing discord in the County [i.e. Normandy], father Richard is forced to go...He would have accompanied the Archdeacon Ermenfroid to put an end to discord details of which are unknown. Could it be on this occasion that Richard of Saint-Vanne taught the customs of Verdun to Thierry Mathonville, then a Monk at Jumièges?

English historian David Douglas in his masterful book 'William the Conqueror' (1964), also mentions Richard, abbot of Saint-Vanne of Verdun and tells us that he had close connexions with the Norman Ducal court in the latter years of Duke Richard II, and during the reign of Duke Robert I, father of William the Conqueror. Duke Richard II had funded the great pilgrimage of 1026 from France to Constantinople, led by Richard of Saint-Vanne. Douglas goes on to cite the important and influential role Richard of Saint-Vanne played in his efforts to bring about the 'Truce of God' during the great public disorder and private warfare that endangered Normandy when William was a boy. Douglas described the Truce of God as an interesting juridicial development that used episcopal sanction as a means to prohibited private warfare; having first been used in central and southern France it was to have important consequences thereafter. 

The point is that Richard of Abbaye Saint-Vanne was a connecting and influential link between Verdun-sur-Meuse and Normandy at a time in the 1040s when Verdun and its Counts were going through a period of change and challenge from the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. Richard's attempts failed in the 1030s but the Truce of God was finally accepted and imposed in 1047, after a particularly serious revolt. 

In 1046 some powerful magnates in Normandy, including a group of western vicomtes launched a revolt that began with an attempt on the life of Duke William, who escaped through the night in a ride that has become legendary. He made his way to his feudal overlord, King Henry I of France who responded by taking an army into Normandy to support William's otherwise outnumbered forces. William and Henry were victorious in the ensuing battle of Val-ès-Dunes, and the Truce of God followed. Clearly this put Henry in an influential position, and by bringing an army into Normandy, he demonstrated that he was willing to act to prevent instability that threatened to spill over into neighbouring parts of France, where some of his own lands were. In view of the western vicomtes having revolted, perhaps there may have been a move to plant reliable men in the lands of rebels that may have been forfeit. This may have been another cause of the arrival of a de Verdun in the region of the Avranchin, if they hadn't already settled there, but the close connection between the Viscounts of Avranches and the de Verduns would perhaps discourage this hypothesis. The rebellious magnates included Nigel I, Vicomte of the Cotentin (the peninsular above Avranches) and Ranulf de Briquessart, Vicomte of the Bessin (the area of the old diocese of Bayeux), who had married Margaret daughter of Richard le Goz Vicomte of Avranches. Richard le Goz's father Thurstan Goz is mentioned above and had revolted against Duke William himself when Vicomte of Exmes. King Henry of France had to intervene that time too.

Briefly returning to mention above of the challenges facing the Count de Verdun-sur-Meuse in the 1040s, this connects with historian Beryl Platts' mention of the 'displaced sons of the Count of Verdun', and with what David Douglas writes in his 'William the Conqueror' (page 78) when he is discussing Duke William's marriage to Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders whose lands adjoined those of Lower Lorraine:

Baldwin was already engaged in turning Flemish policy in the direction of France and away from the empire. His own marriage to Adela the daughter of the French king had been of great moment to him, and it was to be the corner-stone of Franco-Flemish relations for the ensuring forty years. Moreover, in 1049, his affairs were approaching crisis, for in that year both he and his ally, Duke Godfrey of Upper Lorraine, were being hard pressed by Emperor Henry III, and the repercussions of this struggle were felt even in England, where Edward the Confessor collected a fleet to serve if necessary against the count of Flanders.  

In 1044, the Emperor had allowed Godfrey to succeed his father Gothelo I as Duke of Upper Lorraine, but refused him Lower Lorraine (he later became Duke of Lower Lorraine, only after having lost Upper Lorraine), which included Verdun-sur-Meuse, despite him being Count de Verdun as his father's heir. This conflict between the Emperor and his allies on one side and Godfrey III and Baldwin V on the other, lasted through the 1040s into the 1050s. Emperor Henry died in 1056 and Godfrey, on the eve of Christmas in 1069, after having returned from his Tuscan exile in 1065 and finally became Duke of Lower Lorraine, setting up his court there at Bouillon whose impressive castle is strategically perched above the River Semois. This Bouillon lies in the Luxembourg province of modern-day Belgium.

The wars between the Emperor and Duke Godfrey III of Lorraine, Count de Verdun, and the latter's exile from his father's lands would certainly have been likely to result in his family finding opportunity elsewhere, and perhaps Bertram I de Verdun arrived in Normandy as an exile in the 1040s or came in the 1050s as a member of the retinue of Matilda of Flanders, whose father Baldwin V had been an ally and friend of Bertram's father.

Some have postulated a connection between Bertram I de Verdun and a Roger de Verdun, who is cited (without any sources referenced) as having been governor of the Château of 'Ambriences' in Normandy and son of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun-sur-Meuse, which would make him a great uncle of Bertram I de Verdun. This Roger de Verdun is said to have had a son Robert 'Grandbois' whose descendants had the surname 'd'Estouteville'. Robert is said to have been another of the companions of William the Conqueror. A detailed and excellently presented genealogy of the d'Estouteville family compiled by Etienne Pattou can be seen via this link: Famille d'Estouteville. He writes there that in relation to Robert 'Grandbois': "Est dit - par certaines sources - fils de Roger de Verdun Gouverneur du château d'Ambriences". He doesn't say any more about these sources, but one can find many pages on the internet that present this as being the case, sadly without any mention of sources. In the same way, one also finds mention of a much earlier Bertram de Verdun who is said to have been another of the sons of Godfrey I, which would make him a brother to the Roger de Verdun of Ambriences. Having conferred with Etienne Pattou, who kindly shared some of the sources of the claim of an Estouteville-de Verdun connection, it is clear that Roger de Verdun remains a mystery, as does the original source of the link mentioned between the two families. Perhaps some new data will emerge. However, two members of the Estouteville and de Verdun families came together at the end of the 100 Years' War to take part in a famous defence of Mont Saint-Michel, as is detailed further on in this history.

There is one other family in Normandy who are also said to be members of the family of the Counts of Verdun-sur-Meuse, and who shared an almost identical coat of arms to the de Verduns of Normandy - the 'de Sourdeval' family, who took their name from the village of the same name, which is located near Mortain and also Barenton, where a branch of the de Verdun family were located. Their surname has also been written as 'de Surdeval'. One of the family was recorded as being another of the companions of William the Conqueror and came to England in the contingent of their feudal lord, Robert, Count of Mortain. Robert was William the Conqueror's half-brother, as was Odo Bishop of Bayeux; their mother Herleva had been married to one of Duke Robert's favourites Herluin, Count of Conteville after William's birth. The three had a close relationship and William made Robert Count of Mortain c.1049 in place of the exiled William Warlenc, and appointed Odo to the Bishopric of Bayeux in 1049; they were both to play an important role in the conquest of England. 

The coat of arms of the de Sourdeval family can be seen on the de Verdun family tree, a link to which is provided below. Like the de Verduns they also appear in 'The Battle Abbey Roll', where the author writes:

The Seigneurs de Sourdeval were, according to M. de Gerville, a branch of the House of Verdun, and took the name of Le Moigne in Normandy.

Note: 'M. de Gerville' is 'Charles-Alexis-Adrien Duhérissier de Gerville', a well known antiquarian, archaeologist and historian, who came from Gerville-la-Forêt in the Manche district of Lower Normandy. He wrote many books on the area including Les Abbayes et les anciens châteaux de la Manche (1825) and Études géographiques et historiques sur le département de la Manche (1854).

Interestingly enough, similar heraldry is found in the area of Lorraine for example the arms of Neuville-Vitasse in the Flanders-Lower Lorraine border region are those of the family of 'de Neuville' and are the exact same arms as those of the de Verduns of England (Or fretty gules). Neuville-Vitasse is in Artois, a French province that includes some of the old lands of Lower Lorraine and Flanders but could also be said to equate to much of the Comté of Boulogne. Varieties of arms of different members of the 'Neuville' family appear in the Armorial Wijnbergan of Artoismostly differenced by designs of cantons on the 'Or fretty' background. In England, this may explain the arms of the Noel family, Earls of Gainsborough (Or, fretty gules, with a canton ermine) as the Neuville family appear in the aforementioned armorial from Artois as 'Neuile'. The 'Lameth' family of Artois also bear the same arms, but with a gold canton featuring a blue star, and again the same 'Or fretty gules' appears in the arms of the commune of d'Acheville follow the same design, differenced by another canton.

Whatever the correct answer about the origins of the de Verdun family, the most enduring and persistent claim is that Bertram I de Verdun who came to England as one of the companions of William the Conqueror was a son of Godfrey III Duke of Lower Lorraine and Count of Verdun-sur-Meuse, and a brother to Ida of Lorraine whose husband Eustace II's first wife Goda had held the manor of Farnham Royal, which was given to Bertram by William the Conqueror. This story of descent from the House of Verdun in Lorraine has merit and certainly makes more sense than any other claim, particularly in view of the shared family history and heraldry with the de Sourdevals, who are first found living in the same area of Normandy as the de Verduns. This origin of the de Verduns also goes a long way to answering the question debated by Hagger in his book (page 225 - 'Family Identities 1066-1316') as to why the family continued to maintain the name 'de Verdun', even passing it on through the female line, when their possessions in England became far more extensive than their small fief of 'Verdun' in Normandy. That fief was not the origin of their name, but a name that was a signpost to a much more historically important home they originated from, Verdun-sur-Meuse, where their forbears had been Counts de Verdun and Dukes of Upper and Lower Lorraine. This was surely part of the family's history that was worth preserving in their surname.

Whose retinue Bertram I de Verdun arrived with in England is not clear. He could have arrived with forces from the Avranchin, or like the de Sourdevals with the Count de Mortain. Perhaps he may even have accompanied his brother-in-law Count Eustace II of Boulogne, who would have held Farnham Royal after his wife Goda's death, before it was then given to Bertram.

A introductory account and brief overview of Bertram's family taken from 'The Battle Abbey Roll' is copied below.

The de Verduns of Normandy & England in 

'The Battle Abbey Roll'

  • The book called 'The Battle Abbey Roll, with some account of the Norman Lineages' features Norman families of England who came over with William the Conqueror. The chapter transcribed below (p 221-224) mainly focuses on the senior line who descend from Bertram I de Verdun. Although it has a number of errors and many more omissions, it otherwise provides a helpful introduction to the de Verdun family. A few notes that have been added for correction or addition, appear in red.


        Verdoune : an illustrious name still represented in Normandy. La Roque and La Chesnaye-du-Bois both maintain that it had its origin in the county of Mortaine, where one of its branches was of long continuance; yet it is incontestable that in the twelfth century there was a fief of Verdun in the arrondissement of Avranches; and, according to M. de Gerville, the cradle of the family was Barenton, in that neighbourhood. 

Bertram de Verdon, the founder of the great English house, in 1086 held Farnham Royal, in Buckinghamshire, by the grand serjeantry of providing a glove for the King's right hand on the day of his coronation, and supporting his right arm during the said service, so long as he bore the royal sceptre. In 1095, he attests a charter of William Rufus to St. Mary's Abbey, York, and served as Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1100.

BELOW: the entry from the Domesday Book which records that  'Bertranus de Verduno' held Ferneham (Farnham Royal) in Buckinghamshire. The image is provided by Professor John Palmer and George Slater from the University of Hull who have provided permission for it to be copied; the original graphic is presented with additional data on the 'Open Domesday' website created by Anna Powell-Smith (click to see page) :-

His son Norman followed him about 1130 [Note: in fact the first Bertram was followed by a son of the same name, who was the father of Norman de Verdun], and married Lescelina, the daughter of the famous Justiciar, Geoffrey de Clinton, who had great possessions in Leicestershire, and brought him Brandon in Warwickshire, where he built a castle. Alton, in North Staffordshire, was, however, his principal seat and the head of his barony. 

BELOW: the effigy of Geoffrey de Clinton erected by one of his descendants in memory of Geoffrey, his brother Osbert of Coleshill and their descendants It is to be found inside the Shrine Church of 'Our Lady of Walsingham' in Norfolk. Geoffrey was the founder of  Kenilworth Castle and Priory and Chancellor of England to Henry I. The effigy shows a model of Kenilworth Priory. He is recorded as having been the foremost of the men Henry I rose 'from the dust', and his family is said to have come from Saint-Pierre-de-Semilly, western Normandy, approximately 20km south west of Bayeux:- 

The next in succession, Bertram II [Note: in fact this was Bertram III de Verdun, son of Norman de Verdun]., played a considerable part in the history of his time. "His political career I date," says Eyton, "from the year 1166, when he appears in King Henry's court at Caen. On 3rd February, 1170, the King being over sea, the Constable of Normandy, Richard de Humez, and Bertram de Verdon were at Stamford (Lincolnshire). Bertram, be it known, held estates in Lincolnshire, both under the Crown and under the aforesaid Constable. What is more remarkable is that at this very juncture De Humez was Sheriff of Rutland, while at the ensuing Easter (April 5, 1170) the King, in Council at Windsor, instituted that enquiry into the conduct of the English Sheriffs which resulted in the ejectment of William Basset from the Shrievalty of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, and the substitution of Bertram de Verdon.  

"Meanwhile in the rebellion of 1173, Bertram de Verdon was one of those Barons whom Benedictus signalizes as having stood by the elder King. For twelve succeeding years he variously occurs as a Sheriff, as an assessor in the Curiae Regis, as a witness of royal charters in England and Normandy; and on one occasion as King Henry's ambassador to Spain. His relinquishment of the Shrievalty of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, in 1185, was not for any cause of disgrace. At this very juncture he was attending Prince John in his notable mission to Ireland; and while Hugh de Lacy figures as Constable (of Ireland) during John's vice-royalty, so has Bertram de Verdon the title of Seneschal when attesting one of the Prince's charters.

"On June 14, 1188, William de Humez, then Constable of Normandy, and Bertram de Verdon, were assessors of the King in a Curia sitting at Geddington. Bertram de Verdon, accompanying King Richard in the crusade of 1190, died at Jaffa in 1192, and was buried at Acre." This city had been, after its capture, committed to his charge by Coeur de Lion. 

His two sons [Note: in fact Bertram had many more than two sons] were the last heirs-male of his house. The elder, Thomas, married to Eustachia Basset, had no children; and the second, Nicholas, left only one daughter, Roese, who in 1223, at the urgent recommendation of Henry III., married Theobald Le Botiller of Ireland. "Being so great an Heir, tho' she matched with a Husband of a very Honourable Family, she did not bear his sirname, but retained her own, and so did her Posterity."—Dugdale. She was early left a widow, for in 1231 she paid the customary heavy fine not to be compelled to marry again, and later in life founded the Cistercian Abbey of Grace-Dieu on one of her Leicestershire manors [Note: it was actually an Augustinian Priory; her grandfather Bertram III de Verdun had founded the Cistercian Abbey of Croxden near Alton, Staffordshire].

BELOW: Roesia de Verdun's effigy and elaborate tomb inside St. John the Baptist Church in Belton, Leicestershire, near to Grace-Dieu Priory. Roesia had founded the Priory sometime between 1235 and 1241. She endowed it with the manor and advowson of Belton and three parts of a knight's fee from the manor of Kirkby-la-Thorpe in Lincolnshire. The nuns called themselves 'The White Nuns of St. Augustine' and Grace-Dieu is believed to have been the only house of their order in England. Thankfully, Roesia's tomb was saved when Grace-Dieu was dissolved in 1538 during Henry VIII's break-up of England's monastic heritage, and moved to Belton Church. On one side of her head is a shield featuring the de Verdun coat of arms, and to the right, appropriately, there is a rose:-

John, the eldest of her four sons [Note: he was her only son], in whom the name of Verdon was resuscitated with added splendour, married another great heiress, Margery de Lacy, the last-born of the two sisters that shared the princely possessions of their grandfather, Walter, Lord Palatine of Meath. She brought him the castle and honour of Weobley in Herefordshire, as well as a moiety of Ewyas-Lacy; and with them, the harassing duties and responsibilities of a Lord-Marcher. Accordingly, in 1249, he was ordered by the King to take up his residence on the borders, and check the inroads of the Welsh. He was slain in Ireland in 1278, and was succeeded by Theobald, the first Baron Verdon, who was summoned to parliament in 1295. He had been Constable of Ireland in 1274, and in 1290 was arraigned for high treason, and sentenced to be imprisoned, and to forfeit all his royalties at Ewyas-Lacy; but the King, taking into consideration the good service done by his ancestors, "freed him of his imprisonment for five hundred marks fine." After this, he was again in favour at Court, received several writs of summons to the Northern wars, and sat in the Parliament at Lincoln that asserted Edward's supremacy as "Lord of the whole Realm of Scotland."

BELOW: the arms of de Verdun family that feature within a heraldic window inside Arundel Castle; it records the marriage alliances of the FitzAlan's, including that of Roesia de Verdun's daughter Maud to John Fitzalan de jure 6th Earl of Arundel and feudal lord of Clun & Oswestry and ancestor of the current Duke of Norfolk.

- special permission was very kindly given for this picture to be taken:-

Theobald II., his only surviving son—John, the eldest, had died in Ireland during his lifetime—was the second and last Lord Verdon, and Justiciar of Ireland in 1312 [Note: Theobald I de Verdon had many other sons, all survivors of whom he mentioned in his Will]. He was twice married; first, to Maud, daughter of Edmund Lord Mortimer of Wigmore, by whom he had two sons that died young, and three daughters; and secondly, to one of the co-heirs of the great Honour of Clare, Elizabeth, third daughter of Gilbert Earl of Gloucester by Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward I., and widow of John de Burgh, Earl of Ulster. This last marriage took place in 1315, and he died the year following at Alton Castle, in the thirty-fourth year of his age, leaving his wife, in Scriptural language, "great with child." The child proved a fourth daughter, and thus, for the second time, the name perished in the elder line, and the great fief of Verdon was split up among co-heiresses. Joan, who, as the eldest of these richly-dowered sisters, had the ancestral seat, Alton Castle, and the Staffordshire honour, married Lord Furnival, and died in childbed in 1334. Elizabeth, the second, had the castle and fief of Ewyas-Lacy in Herefordshire, with Stoke-upon-Terne in Shropshire, and married Bartholomew de Burghersh. Margery, the third, had another great Herefordshire estate, the honour and castle of Weobley, with Heath in Oxfordshire, and was three times married: first to William le Blund; secondly to Marcus Husee; and thirdly to John Crophull. The posthumous Isabel—to all appearance the most slenderly portioned of the four—had certain manors in Shropshire and Staffordshire, and was the wife of Lord Ferrers of Groby.

Besides this principal line, and several minor ones alluded to by Burke—the Verdons of Draycot, Warwickshire, and Ibstock, Leicestershire; the Verdons of Darlaston and Biddulph, in Staffordshire; and the Verdons of Denston, in the same county—one, if not two more baronial houses sprung from the original stock. The first of these – wholly unnoticed by Dugdale – was seated at Brisingham in Norfolk, where William de Verdon, about the year 1100, was efoeffed of six knight’s fees by Roger, the father of Hugh Bigod. His descendant John, in 1285, claimed view of frank-pledge, assize of bread, and ale, infangthef, gallows, and free-warren in all his lands and manors in Norfolk, which had been granted to his father by Henry III. : and another Sir John was a baron of the realm in 1332. “He seems to have been a person of great hospitality, from the inventory of the establishment he left at Brisingham, to treat his tenants &c. whenever he should go there to reside.” – Banks. This Sir John, with his brother Sir Thomas, figured as tilters at the great tournament held in 1308 at Stepney, and again five years later at Dunstable. Instead of the Verdon fret, they wore Sable ove un Lyon Rampant Argent, the younger brother adding a chess-rook for a difference. Each of Sir John’s two sons had a son who left no issue : and the inheritance fell between two granddaughters, one of whom was Lady of Shelfhanger in right of her mother, Isabel Vis de Leu. 


The other house always hitherto assigned to the stock of Verdon is one of the most famous of our baronage – that of Audley. “That the first,” says Dugdale, “who assumed this surname was a branch of that ancient and noble family of Verdon, whose chief seat was at Alton Castle, in the northern part of Staffordshire, I am very inclined to believe; partly by reason that Henry had the inheritance of Aldithley given to him by Nicholas de Verdon, who died in the sixteenth of Henry III., or near that time; and partly for that he bore for his arms the same ordinary that Verdon did, viz. fretté ; but distinguished with a large canton in the dexter part of the shield, and thereon a cross paté.” This origin is now denied,* notwithstanding the similarity of the coats of arms, this left unexplained; and it is at least clear, that Aldithley was not the grant of Nicholas de Verdon. “Aldithley (Audley) Baltredelez (half Balterby) and Talc (Talke in Audley) all held in 1086 by the Thane, Gamel, seem to have come, early in the reign of Henry I., into the hands of the first Adam de Audley, who divided them between his sons, Lydulph and Adam. In 1130, ‘Liulf de Audley’ lay under a heavy penalty for the murder of Gamel.” – Eyton. Adam II. was apparently the father of Henry de Audley, “the great territorial acquisitionist of the district,” who built the castle of Heighly, and is represented by Dugdale as the first who assumed the name.


            I do not therefore feel justified in including the Audleys in this notice, and must reluctantly forbear to give an account of one of my favourite heroes, the Sir James Audley who fought “as long as his breath served him, in the chief of the battle” at Poictiers [this mis-spelling of 'Poitier' was a printing error in the original book]. He had vowed that whenever the King or one of his sons should be present on the field, he “would be one of the first setters-on, or else die in the pain,” and so well did he keep his word, that he was praised and rewarded by the Black Prince, as the “best doer in arms” that day. The names of his four squires, to whom he instantly transferred the prince’s bounty, declaring “That honour I have, is by their valiantness,” though not given by Froissart, have been preserved in Cheshire tradition. They were Sir Robert Fouleshurst, Sir Thomas Dutton (Sheriff of the county), Sir John Delves, and Sir John Hawkestone. All of them, bore the Audley fret on some part of their coat of arms. 


* “There are few noble families whose early history has suffered worse at the hands of genealogists than the family of Audley. Dugdale’s Baronage, a splendid work, but from its very nature occasionally inaccurate, has been followed with such servility that his errors, by constant repetition, have almost acquired the sacredness of truth.” – Castles of Herefordshire and their Lords, by C. J. Robinson. [Note: the Audley family held land of the de Verduns, were related to some of them through marriage and members of both families appear in records alongside each other in old charters etc]



As mentioned in the text above, John de Verdun, son of Roesia de Verdun (sometimes also written as: Roese or Rohese), married Margery de Lacy. Amongst the de Lacy property that came to the de Verduns by this marriage was a moiety of Ludlow, where the de Lacys had built the first castle, within what had been part of the parish of Stoke Lacy. It is for this reason that the de Verdun coat of arms appears in one of the windows in the magnificent St. Laurence's Church in Ludlow. This window, along with others, has been painstakingly cleaned over the past year (2014) as part of a wonderful project of restoration and improvement of this magnificent and historic church. St. Laurence's is the largest parish church in Shropshire and its character and scale means that it seems much more like an old abbey church. A collection of beautiful photographs of the stained glass windows at St. Laurence's can be seen here (click) - they were taken by Shaun Ward, Director of Music and Clerk of Works, who is also Vision Project Co-ordinator supervising the conservation of the fabric of St Laurence’s and its development for the future.

BELOW: the arms of the de Verdun family, within a window on the north wall  of St. Laurence's Church, Ludlow.

BELOW - the same shield is shown within the context of the larger, beautiful window that it forms a part of:-

A chart showing an incomplete family tree for the de Verdun family can be seen by clicking here (please note that it is a working draft, likely to contain mistakes and will continue to be edited as new information becomes available):

Croxden Abbey, Staffordshire 
founded by Bertram III de Verdun

A short and attractive account of the foundation of Bertram's abbey, which was to become the burial place of many of the family is provided in 'Historic Staffordshire' by Robert K. Dent and Joseph Hill, published in 1896.

The following extract begins on page 105:

Croxden Abbey and its founder

With its five abbeys, ten priories or cells, and four nunneries, besides its venerable cathedral and six collegiate churches, Staffordshire was, in former times, bountifully endowed with monuments of the religious fervour of its Saxon and Norman nobles. Among the ruined abbeys of the county there exists no better preserved relic of early architecture than the great doorway of the Cistercian Abbey of Croxden. The reason for this is not far to seek. Within about a mile of its walls is the quarry of Hollington, yet famous for the durability of its stone; and although this, the principal entrance, is apparently of later date than the foundation of the Abbey, the perfect preservation of stonework so ancient can scarcely be equalled.

The Abbey stands between the Churnet and the Blyth, near to a streamlet called the Peake, two miles distant from the old castle of the Verduns at Alveton, or Alton, and about three miles from Rocester, where an Abbey of Black Monks had already existed from 1146. An old doggerel rhyme, not of early date, this records the founding of Croxden Abbey:

“Bertram, son of the Norman Verdun,

Founded the ancient Abbey of Croxden,

When Henry the Second was England’s King

He did perform this very great thing;

In the year one thousand one hundred and seventy-six

Upon this great work his mind he did fix;

He dedicated it unto Sainte Mary,

Of the order of Bernardine monks to be.

One hundred pounds six shillings and sevenpence

In lands he gave for its defence,

Besides many other great gifts given

By persons devout for to gain heaven.”


‘Bernardine’ is another name for the Cistercians (the White monks), who were a reformed order of Benedictine or Black monks . The account continues to tell the story of Croxden until its demise along with so many other architectural, cultural and religious treasures during the destructive dissolution of the monasteries imposed by Henry VIII.

The abbey was another example of the continuing close connection between Bertram and Richard de Humez, Constable of Normandy, in whose household he was brought up. Croxden was a 'daughter house' of the Cistercian abbey of Aunay-sur-Odon, which, according to Robert de Torigny, Richard built and later retired to.

Arcisse de Caumont in his third volume of 'Statistique monumentale du Calvados' (page 236) adds to what Robert de Torigny tells us, clarifying the foundation of 'L'Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Aunay' (otherwise: 'Aulnay'):

L'abbaye d'Aulnay était une des filles de Savigny qui furent agrégées a l'ordre de Citeaux en 1147. L'époque de sa foundation, qui l'on fixe au 15 juillet 1131, s'infere dune charte de Henru 1er., roi d'Angleterre, qui confirme les donations faites à ce monastère.

Les premiers fondateurs, Jourdain de Say, près d'Argentan, et Luce, son épouse, donnèrent le terrain où s'éleva primitivement le monastère; leurs donations furent confirmées et considérablement augmentées par Richard du Hommet, connétable du roi d'Angleterre, qui transféra l'abbaye sur la rivière d'Odon, à mille pas du premier emplacement. 


The abbey of Aulnay was one of the daughters [i.e. daughter houses] of Savigny which were brought together into the Cistercian order in 1147. The era of its foundation, which is dated at 15th July 1131, is inferred in a charter of Henry I, King of England, which confirms his donations made to the monastery. The first founders, Jordan of Say, near Argentan, and Lucy, his wife, gave the land where the original monastery was erected; their donations were confirmed and significantly increased by Richard from Hommet [i.e. Richard de Humez], constable of the King of England, who moved the abbey to beside the Odon River, a thousand paces away from the first location.

There was a connection between Jourdain de Say and Richard du Hommet (otherwise 'de Humez'). Richard's wife was Agnès de Beaumont-le-Richard, daughter and co-heiress of Jourdain de Say. This resulted in them naming one of their sons Jourdain (Jordan in English records), who along with Bertram III de Verdun accompanied Richard I on the 3rd Crusade, serving as the king's Constable. 

Richard appears to have been the son of Robert and the daughter and heiress of Guillaume du Hommet. Professor Daniel Power, in a contribution to Professor David Bates' Anglo-Norman Studies XXXV: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2012, provides more information about the ancestry of the du Hommet family. His article comprises pages 259-286 of Bates' publication and is titled: 'Aristocratic Acta in Normandy and England, c.1150 - c. 1250: The Charters and Letters of the du Hommet Constables of Normandy'. Power mentions in his article that it complements the edition of the Hommet charters which he was then engaged in preparing for a forthcoming publication of the Pipe Roll Society: 'The Charters of the Du Hommet family, Constables of Normandy and Lords of Stamford, ed. D. Power'. This publication will definitely include records of Bertram III de Verdun, and perhaps some of the other members of his family, in view of Bertram having been brought up by, and closely associated with Richard I de Hommet, and other members of his family also appearing in records alongside Richard's descendants.

Here is an extract from Power's article, from page 262:

The male line of the later Hommet dynasty emerged further east, in the diocese of Bayeux. Henry II's constable Richard I du Hommet was the son of Robert nepos Episcopi, who in 1133 owed knight-service to the bishop of Bayeux near the new Savignac abbey of Aunay-surOdon.17 The Saint-Fromond pancarte calls Robert the nepos of Bishop Odo of Bayeux: if so, he was a close relative of the ducal dynasty.18 As well as his Norman lands, Robert also held property in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, and Sussex.19 On the basis of the Saint-Fromond pancarte it has been conjectured that Robert married the heiress of the first Hommet dynasty, for it calls his son Richard du Hommet the nepos et heres of the earlier William du Hommet.

The footnotes accompanying the text:

17 H. Navel, 'L-enquête de 1133 sur les fiefs de l'evêché de Bayeux, BSAN 42, 194, 5-80 at 20-21: Robert owed service for La Ferriere-Duval and Roucamps (both CA, cant. Aunay) and Crépigny (CA, cant. Condé-sur-Noireau, cne. St-Jean-le-Blanc), in the bishop's honour of Le Plessis-Grimoult. 

18 D. Bates, 'Notes sur l'aristocratie normande', Annales de Normandie 23, 1973, 7-38 at 33-7; D. Power, 'Henry, Duke of the Normans (1149/50-1189)', ini Henry II: New Interpretations, ed. Harper-Bill and Vincent, 85-128 at 109-10. Our evidence is the St-Fromond pancarte. Robert's ather has sometimes been identified as Odo's son John (for whom, see Oderic, IV, 116; VI, 378), but John was still alive in 1131 (Regista, II, no. CCLII), whereas Robert's father appears dead by Mich. 1130, and probably c. 1115 (see next note). 

19 Easton-on-the-Hill (Northants): PR. 31 Henry I, ed. Green, 65; Rot. Ob. Fin., 1999-200 (cf. CRR, VI, 85-6); HKF, III, 281-2. These imply that Robert inherited Easton from his father; cf. Spalding, Spalding Gentlemen's Society (SGS), Crowland Cartulary, fol. 208r (Richard I du Hommet) confirms the gifts of his 'ancestors' to Crowland Abbey at Easton: reproduction kindly supplied by the SGS). Great Limber, Bonby, and Stallingborough (Lincs.): 'The Lindsey Survey', in Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occuring in English Documents, 1066-1086. I. Domesday Book, ed. K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, Woodbridge 1999, 77-97 at 85 (held by Robert nepos Episcopi, c. 1115); The Registrum Antiquissimum of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln VI, ed. K. Major, Lincoln 1950, 181-6. Sussex: PR. 31 Henry I, ed. Green, 55, in Alrenhale Hundred, along the east bank of the Cuckmere river (The Place-Names of Sussex, ed. A. Mawer, 2 vols, Cambridge 1929, II, 408-14); too far east to be the fief that Richard I du Hommet later held of the honour of Arundel (RBE, I, 202), for which HKF, III, 81, suggests Storrington, without providing any evidence. 

Bertram's foundation charter for Croxden includes words that state that Richard de Humez was Bertram's lord and the person who brought him up - 'dominum meum qui me nutrivit'. As mentioned above in relation to David Powers' anticipated publication for the Pipe Roll Society, a continuing link between Richard and Bertram's families appears to have passed into the next generations.

The foundation charter of Croxden is dated 1178 and gives a lot of helpful detail about the endowment Bertram provided it with. Much of the lands he granted the abbey were located close by and are tellingly described as 'territorio patrimonii mei' (land of my patrimony - i.e. what he had inherited from his father). 

The Abbey's foundation by, and endowment given to it by Bertram is succinctly and clearly described on page 226 in Volume III of 'A History of the County of Staffordshire', published in 1970 as part of the Victoria County History series:

In 1176 Bertram de Verdun, lord of Alton, a baron of the Exchequer and a royal justice, granted land at 'Chotes', probably Cotton near Alton, to the Cistercians of Aunay-sur-Odon in Normandy as the site for an abbey. [Note 1] The first abbot, an Englishman, was elected in 1178, but the following year the monks moved to a new site at Croxden a few miles to the south. This was in a remote but fertile valley beside a tributary of the Dove, and the house was styled the abbey of the Vale of St. Mary of Croxden. The site (locus) was not dedicated until 1181.

Bertram founded Croxden Abbey for the souls of his predecessors and successors and in particular of his father and mother, of himself, and his second wife Rose, and of Richard de Humez qui me nutruit. [Note 2] The endowment consisted of Bertram's lands at Croxden (evidently including a mill), [Note 3] Alton, Madeley Holme (in Checkley), Crakemarsh (in Uttoxeter), and Musden, and also at Oaken (in Codsall) in the south of the county; a grove at Great Gate near Croxden and half a wood at Crakemarsh; land at Tugby (Leics.) and a carucate called Lees at Hartshorne (Derb.); a salt-pit at Middlewich (Ches.); a mill at Stamford (Lincs.); the service due from Achard of Stamford for land there and at Casterton (Rut.) and the 7s. due from Ralph de Normanvile for land at Burton Overy (Leics.); and the churches of Alton and Tugby. Henry II's confirmation of Bertram's charter included also Tugby's dependent chapels of East Norton and Keythorpe. [Note 4] The Verduns remained patrons of the abbey, with the Furnivalles succeeding them in the early 14th century; members of both families were buried in the abbey church. [Note 5]

The footnotes to this add further detail providing the sources for the information given:

1  For this para. see Dugdale, Mon. v. 661; Annales Monastici (Rolls Ser.), i. 187; D.N.B. sub Verdon. For the suggestion that Cotton was never intended to be more than a temporary settlement pending the completion of the first buildings at Croxden see F. A. Hibbert, 'The Date of Croxden', T.N.S.F.C. xlviii. 139–41.
2  For the foundation charter see Dugdale, Mon. v. 662; facsimile in C. Lynam, The Abbey of St. Mary, Croxden, from Bodl. MS. Staffs. Ch. 47.
3  Except for the assarts made by his men at 'Wodehuses'; his men were also exempt from suit at the mill at Croxden, and he reserved certain rights in the land above the stream dividing Croxden from Bradley.
4  Dugdale, Mon. v. 662. By 1220 East Norton was served by a resident chaplain and enjoyed full sacramental and parochial privileges, paying 18d. for synodals; Keythorpe was served 3 days a week: J. Nichols, Hist. and Antiquities of Leics. i(1), p. lx; ibid. iii(1), 483.
5  Dugdale, Mon. v. 661-2; S.H.C. 1913, 22; Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, p. 497; Sister Mary Laurence O.P., 'St. Mary's Abbey, Croxden', T.N.S.F.C. lxxxv, pp. B3–4, and lxxxvii, pp. B53–56, 60; Lynam, Croxden, chronicle, p. x; Complete Peerage, v. 583; see below.

There are two surviving copies of Bertram III de Verdun's 'foundation' charter to Croxden Abbey. The British Library has one copy, referenced the Cotton Charter XI. 7. The other is held at The Bodleian Library in Oxford and referenced MS. Ch. Staffs. 47. The Bodleian copy is the better one and still has a fine seal attached to it, featuring a Knight with a shield and sword battling a lion. 

A transcription of the Bodleian copy was published in 1911, with a facsimile picture, in The Abbey of St. Mary, Croxden, Staffordshire - A Monograph by Charles Lynam, F.S.A. (Publishers: Sprague & Co., Limited, 4 & 5 East Harding Street, London E.C.). 

BELOW – a facsimile of the Bodleian Charter of Croxden Abbey, which was published in Lynam's book:

Charles Lynam's translation was presented in his book as follows:

Charter of Bertram de Verdun, about his Foundation
(from the actual document in the Cotton Library, 1668)


    BERTRAM DE VERDUN, to all his men and friends, both clerics and laics, both present and future, Greeting. Be it known to you that I have given and conceded, and by this my present Charter have confirmed, to God and to the Blessed Mary, and to the Abbey of the Valley of St. Mary of Crokesdene, which I have founded, and to the Monks there serving God, in pure and perpetual alms, for the souls of Norman de Verdun, my father, and of Lescelina, my mother, and of Richard de Humez, who brought me up, and of my predecessors ; and for the well-being of myself and Rohais my wife, and my successors, all my land of Crokesdene, with all its appurtenances, for founding the same Abbey ; except the assarts.1 which my men of W(o)deh(o)uses have made ; and except this that the Monks of the aforesaid Abbey shall take no toll from my men at their mill of Crokesden, and except this that I have retained upon the stream which divides the land of Crokesdene and the land of Bretlee, so many sites for making ponds and reservoirs, as I or my heirs may desire, and for taking land for making roads from part of the land of the Abbey near the same roads. Now this my land of Crokesdene, and whatever I had in the same vill and of the fee of Alveton, and of the fee of Madeley, and of the fee of Crakemerse, I have given to the Monks of the aforesaid Abbey in alms, with the condition that the same Abbey shall for ever remain founded in the same vill of Crokesdene in my patrimonial territory. Moreover, I have given to the same Abbey all my land of Mosedene, with all its appurtenances ; and my of Aka, with the wood belonging to its appurtenances ; and my salt pit of Midilwich ; and all the service which Archardus of Stanfort and his heirs owed me for his tenement which they held from me in the vill of Stanfort, and in the vill of Castretone. And my mill of Stanfort, which is between the bridge and the castle, with all its appurtenances : and all the land which I had in the same vill of Stanfort. And the service of Radulf of Normanvile and his heirs for the land which he held from me in the vill of Burton, viz. : Seven shillings annually payable at two terms, one half at Easter, and the other at the feast of St. Michael ; and all my demesne of Tokebis (b) in the vill and beyond the vill, in the wood and in the plain, in meadows and in pastures, in waters, in roads and paths, with all that burbage pertaining to the same demesne ; this excepted that I have reserved to myself and my heirs the villein services and all the ferms.2 of the same vill, and all the customs and all the services which the men of the same vill were accustomed to render to me, and that which the same men had in the wood of the same vill, all common-right, and all the easements which they were wont to have in it. I have also given to the Monks of the aforesaid Abbey half of my wood of Greth near the Abbey, with all its appurtenances, except that I have reserved for myself and my heirs the site of the pool which is between Greth and Bretlee ; and so much land as the said pool with all its overflow may be able to occupy ; and it shall be lawful for me and my heirs to raise the dam of the same pool as much as we may please. But the Monks shall not enclose their half of the wood of Greth because of the common of pasture which they and my men of Bretlee and of Alvetone ought to have jointly in the same wood of Greth.

    Moreover, I have given to the same Monks half of my wood of Crakemerse near the Abbey, with all its appurtenances, and one caracute of land in the vill of Herteshorn, with all its appurtenances, which is called Lees ; and the church of Alvetone, with all its appurtenances. And the church of Tokebi, with all its appurtenances.

    Wherefore I will and firmly establish that the aforesaid Abbey, and the Monks serving God in it, shall have and hold all these my gifts and alms, well and in peace freely and quietly, wholly, fully and honourably, in wood and in plain, in meadows and pastures and commons, in ways and paths, in gullies and streams, within the vill and without the vill, and in all things and places and liberties to them pertaining freely indepenently and quit of every services and custom and secular exaction to me and my heirs pertaining : and I forbid on the part of God and on mine that any of my heirs shall presume to withstand or in any respect to disturn this my donation.

    These being Witnesses (b) : — Robert, Prior of Kenilleworth ; Robert de Verdun ; Walter de Canvile ; Adm. de Aldithelee ; Arndapifer ; William Fitun ; Henry de Praieres ; William Pantouf ; Radulph de Biseche ; Roger Bagot ; Philip de Draicote ; Miles de Verdun ; and many others.

Footnotes from Lynam's work :

All marked in the original translation with ‘*’ and positioned in the left hand margin:

i.e., land newly redeemed from forest condition to cultivation.
2  i.e., rents

Additional Footnotes added to Lynam's by the author of this webpage :

(a)  Tokebi : i.e. Tugby, in Leicestershire.
(b)  Witnesses : the first names, and sometimes surnames often appear in the charter in abbreviated form. Lynam has presented them in full, as he believed they should be written. In so doing, he has made at least one mistake: ‘Arndapifer’ is written in both the Cotton and the Bodleian charters as Arn. dapifero, which is ‘Arnold the Dapifer’ i.e. ‘Arnold the Steward’. The latin word ‘dapifero’ translates as ‘Steward’ and equates to the title of ‘Seneschal’ from the French ‘Sénéchal’. Such men were in charge of a noble’s household - it is possible that the Arnold who appears in this Coxden charter may have been Bertram de Verdun’s own Steward. The Dapifer was the most senior royal officer of state in medieval France and managed the King’s household. In most cases the name 'Verdun' was abbreviated. However, the Cotton version displays some variations in spelling, for example, the British Library's copy presents Robert de Verdun's name in the list of witnesses as Robt. d Verdun; the Bodleian version is written Robt. de Verd. (in both cases the 'b' and 't' in the abbreviated Robert are combined as one letter - the 'b' being 'crossed' like a 't'. It is interesting to note the name of William Fitun in the list of witnesses - he is clearly one of the 'de Fitton' family, some of whose estates in Cheshire passed to the Newton family via marriage. Richard de Fitton gave a moiety of the Manor of Fulshaw in Cheshire to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (the Knights Hospitaller); we will hear more of the Fittons later on in respect of the de Verdons (Vardons) and Newtons of Fulshaw. The appearance of a 'de Fitton' as a witness to Bertram de Verdun's charter, may perhaps be a reflection of the links and lands that Bertram and his family had in Cheshire. 

A replica based on the Bodleian copy of the charter exists, but was clearly not modeled on the original charter, but an engraving, which was published by Richard Rawlinson in 1743. It is the appearance of the words at the bottom by the seal, shown precisely as they appear on Rawlinson's engraving, which featured his own name, that reveals what the replica was copying. The wax seal that was reproduced is not an exact replica of the one that is attached to the Bodleian charter, as can be seen from the picture of this, which is shown above.

BELOW – the replica of the Foundation Charter of Croxden Abbey, which shows the seal of Bertram III de Verdun with a knight battling a lion - note the difference with the original Bodleian charter, pictured above. This photograph of the replica charter has been reproduced with the kind permission of the photographer Lee J. Haywood (view):-

The replica of Bertram III de Verdun's charter can be found hanging on a wall of The Wilton Suite, inside The North Stafford Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent. Who commissioned it and why, is not known, nor does anyone know how it came to be in the hotel. One day someone may discover the answer to this mystery - perhaps it was created to mark an anniversary.

I turn now to Normandy, and the de Verduns who continue to reside there.

The de Verdun family of Barenton & La Crenne Normandy 


Descendants of Roland de Verdun, son of Bertrand (Bertram) I de Verdun

The de Verdun family who remained in Normandy after 1066 are descended from Roland de Verdun, another son of Bertrand/Bertram I de Verdun, and therefore brother to Bertram II de Verdun. Roland accompanied Duke Robert of Normandy on the First Crusade in 1096. He is the ancestor of the de Verduns of Barenton, La Crenne, Vessey & Boucey. 

It is possible that Roland had another brother, or perhaps more likely an uncle called Ernée de Verdun. This man appears as 'Erneisi de Verduno', a Canon of the Cathedral of Saint André in Avranches, in a charter signed at Avranches, dated 1076. In fact Ernée and Bertram I de Verdun appear together in one of the charters of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel (Cartulaire du Mont-Saint-Michel, folios 83v et 84).

BELOW – Mont Saint-Michel:

Roland's son Bertrand de Verdun was Seigneur de Verdun en Boucey, Normandie and Governor of Pontorson in 1123. He is also found cited in later records in 1146. 'Bertrand' is the French equivalent of 'Bertram'.

That the de Verduns continue to reside in the same area to this day suggests that they are probably the senior line of the family. Rather like those who went to America, it was the younger sons who tended to carve out new opportunities overseas, leaving their older brothers holding the family's original patrimony.

The de Verduns continued to owe some allegiance to the Dukes of Normandy in the person of the Kings of England, during the 100 Years' War, and therefore sometimes found themselves caught between the competing interests of France and England. For example, in July 1346 Roland de Verdun, Seigneur of Verdun in Boucey, was tasked by the King of France with the defence of Carentan. He and Nicolas de Grouchy, the other knight with whom he shared the task, ended up joining with Edward III of England, who left them in command of Carentan. Sadly for the two men, the French took the town and arrested its commanders. Roland was executed by decapitation on 14th December 1346 at La Place de Halles in Paris.

In 1419, towards the latter part of the 100 years' war, another of the family - Guillaume de Verdun, Seigneur of La Crenne, had his property confiscated by Henry V of England, who had reaffirmed control of Normandy after the great Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Guillaume was an impressive and courageous knight and refused to submit to King Henry. He became one of only 119 defenders of Mont Saint-Michel in a legendary siege by the English. 

The defenders were commanded by Louis d'Estouteville, and their names have forever afterwards been immortalised and are recorded on a plaque within the Abbey there. A source for this is Les Cent-dix-neuf Chevaliers du Mont-St-Michel. Leur histoire, leurs exploits. (1418-1450) by Albert Descoqs. Guillaume died in 1455. Louis d'Estouteville was a descendant of 'Robert Grandbois', founder of the d'Estouteville family who some sources mention as having been the son of a Roger de Verdun, governor of the Château of Ambriences (see fuller details above).

BELOW – the name of de Verdun appears as No.20 on the plaque inside the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, recording Guillaume de Verdun's famous exploits as a defender of Mont Saint-Michel during the 100 Years' War :-

BELOW – a close up of the entry for de Verdun on the plaque above:

It is of historic interest to note that the de Verduns of Normandy continue to share the same basic design in coat of arms as their kinsmen in England, with only some very small differences, after many hundreds of years of separation.

An impressive wood carving of the coat of arms of the de Verdun family is to be found inside a chapel within the parish church of St. Peter ('Église Paroissiale Saint-Pierre'), on Mont Saint-Michel. It appears to the right of the small altar within the side chapel, as part of a set of four heraldic panels and seems to have been placed in a position of honour, for on the left of the de Verdun arms are the arms of the Dukes and/or Duchy of Normandy. At the bottom left of each of these two panels to the left of a carved helmet, is a smaller shield, both of which appear to be another presentation of the de Verdun family's arms. To the right of the de Verdun panel are the arms of Louis d'Estouteville, commander of the defenders of Mont Saint-Michel, and to the right of his arms are the arms of the Duke of Brittany. 

That the arms of Guillaume de Verdun appear with these other three makes it clear that he and his family played a significant role in the siege and this would explain why they are honoured in this way.

Outside the entrance to the church is a beautiful statue of Saint Joan of Arc (Sainte Jeanne d'Arc).

BELOW – the wood carving of the coat of arms of the de Verdun family, inside a chapel within the 'Église Paroissiale Saint-Pierre':-

BELOW – the same arms shown alongside the other three - arms from left to right: the Duchy of Normandy, de Verdun, d'Estouteville, the Duke of Brittany:-

The senior line of the de Verdun family of Barenton and de la Crenne includes both the family of the Comte de Verdun (de Barenton) and the Marquis de Verdun (de la Crenne). In order to tell them apart the Comte de Verdun bears the historic arms - d'or fretté de sable and and Marquis de Verdun bears d'argent fretté de sable.

Above and below, are accounts of the close relationship, during the Middle Ages, between the de Verduns of England and the Earls of Chester who were at the same time, hereditary Viscounts of Avranches. In view of this, it is significant and appropriate to discover that the title of Viscount of Avranches had been passed to one of the de Verduns, for Jean-Mathurin de Verdun became the very last Vicomte d'Avranches in 1741, when Louis XV appointed him to the role. However, an edict of 1749 abolished the office, but de Verdun continued to bear the honorific title until his death in 1759.

Long after the twilight of the senior branch of de Verdun Barons in England, the de Verduns of Normandy continued to thrive and achieved great prominence.

Jean-René Antoine de Verdun, second son of René Louis de Verdun Seigneur of La Crenne in Aucey by his second wife Catherine Magdeleine Plessard de Servigny, was born on 5th April 1741 at Château de la Crenne. Jean-René became Marquis de Verdun de la Crenne. He was a famous Naval Officer who not only fought in the Seven Years' War but also in the American War of Independence, and he became promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral (French: Contre-Admiral). On top of this, he took part in many important scientific expeditions and discoveries across the oceans. During this period the King made him a Knight of the Royal & Military Order of Saint Louis. He died at Versailles on 3rd August 1805.

The family's branches are detailed in Jougla de Morenas's 'Grand Armorial de France', Volume 6, Richaudeau - Zylof, page 431 - 432 (de la branche [page 432] de Fougères). A transcription of the text that accompanies the de Verdun entry into de Morenas's armorial, is provided below. The coat of arms, shown below, appears on the page in the approximate position that it is shown below.

de Verdun de la Crenne, de Ballant, de Barenton et de Passais.

34.436. — (Normandie) — D’or fretté de sa. Alias: D’arg. fretté de sa. de 6 pièces

Cette maison de chevalrerie, dont le nom apparâit en Normandie dès le XIe siècle et qui est constamment citée au cours des siècles suivants, donna plusiers Chrs croisés et fut maintenue noble par Monfaut en 1463. Une de ses branches s’établit en Angleterre lors de la Conquête et y est toujours repésentée. Elle a donné en France 2 grandes lignes dont le point de junction n’apparâit pas. 

Le 1ere, celle de la Crenne, remontait sa fil. prouvée à Guillaume de Verdun, Défenseur du Mont-St-Michel en 1423, marié en 1433 à Thomine James dont la descendance fut maintenue noble en 1599 et 1624. Elle sa divisa en 2 branches avec les 2 fils de Charles de Verdun, Eyr. sgr de La Crenne, marié en 1614 à Marguerite Payan. L’aîné Jean, continua le rameau de La Crenne, maintenue noble en 1666, qui fit ses preuves pour la G. Ecurie en 1752, pour les Chevau-Légers en 1763, pour les E.M. en 1785, pour la Marine en 1787, donna un Chef d’Escadre en 1786, fut représenté à Avranches en 1789 et s’éteignit en 1853. Le 2e René, fut auteur de la branche, également éteinte, des sgrs de Ballant, maintenue noble en 1671, qui fit ses preuves pour les E.M. en 1760 et 1766 et comp. à Avranches en 1789. 

Le 2e ligne, celle de Barenton et de Passais, remonte sa fil. prouvée à Colin de Verdun, Eyr, tr. en 1410, marié a Marguerite du Bois de Dorières (peut-être père de Guillaume, auteur de la ligne de La Crenne), dont le petit-fils Guillaume, tr. en 1478, ép. Marie Juhé de Barenton et en eut entre autres 2 fils. L’un d’eux, Jean, fit la branche des Dorières maintenue noble aux francs-fifs en 1577, éteinte peu après.

L’autre, Marguerin, Eyr, sgr de Passais, tr. en 1539, laissa de Suzanne de Malenfont 2 fils; le 2e, Michel, fut lauteur de la branche de Fougères, maintenue noble en 1635; L’aîné Julien, continue la branche de Passais qui s’allia en 1741 à 1re ligne par le marriage de Charles-Francois-Léonor, sgr de Passais et de Barenton, avec Jeanne-Julienne-Geneviève de Verdun de La Crenne. De cette union vint Charles-René, Page de la G. Ecurie en 1762, comp. à Mortain en 1789, marié en 1779 à Jeanne-Louis de Lorgeril dont il eut : — 1e Alexandre-Charles de Verdun, dit le Mqs de Verdun de La Crenne, héritier de son grand-oncle, le Mqs de La Crenne, allié en 1817 à Alyre Tardif de Vauclair, père d’Alexandre-Constant, titré Mqs de Verdun de la Crenne, mort s.p. d’Aliette de St~Gilles; — 2o Charles-Amadée-Magdelain marié en 1826 à Caroline Dericq (alias : d’Ericq) de Chasseguey et père d’Edmond, qui ép. en 1869 Alice-Marie-Thomé de Kéridec et continua. — (N. d’H. 329. — Chèvrin 205. — La Roque et Barthélémy. — P.O. 2964. — Woëlmont 3 et N.S. — carré d’H. 630 — Archives de la Manche, de l’Orne et du Calvados.).

Today, it isn't simply the heraldic design that continues to connect the de Verduns of Normandy and England, for in recent times, after a separation of over 700 years, the de Verduns of Barenton have met and rekindled a personal connection with some of their kinsmen in England.

The de Verdun family in Cheshire 

& their connections with the Earls of Chester, 

hereditary Viscounts of Avranches

As mentioned already, there are some very old connections between the de Verdons and Cheshire. On the death of Hugh d’Avranches from whom the de Verduns held land both in Normandy and England, the Earldom of Chester passed to his son Richard d'Avranches. He and his wife died with William the Æthling, son of King Henry I, on the White Ship in 1120, whereupon the Earldom passed in 1121 to his first cousin Ranulf le Meschin, son of Hugh d'Avranches's sister Margaret and Ranulf de Briquessart, Vicomte of the Bessin. On Ranulf's death, his son Ranulf II 'de Gernon' became 4th Earl of Chester and also Vicomte d'Avranches.

Norman de Verdun was closely connected with Ranulf (II) de Gernon, Earl of Chester, the grandfather of Ranulf (III) de Blondeville, from whom he held a number of manors. Historian Mark Hagger, in his book The de Verdun family in England, Ireland and Wales confirms that Norman witnessed eighteen of Ranulf II's charters - more than any other person, except Ranulf's butler. He goes on to mention that Norman clearly travelled extensively with this Ranulf as he is mentioned being with him at Rhuddlan in c.1135, at Lincoln in 1144-6 and in Carlisle in 1149, witnessing a grant by Ranulf to Lancaster Priory on the return leg of the journey. Finally, Hagger supports other sources that inform us that Norman's father Bertram II de Verdun attested a charter in 1124 relating to Mont St. Michel in the presence of Ranulf (I) le Meschin, Vicomte d'Avranches, the father of Ranulf II.

The Treaty of Devizes was signed in January 1153, between Ranulf II and Henry, Duke of Normandy (i.e. the future Henry III - King Stephen died in 1154). It has great relevance for the de Verdun family as Henry gave Ranulf de Gernon the whole of Staffordshire, with a few exceptions, but including the entirety of the fee of Norman de Verdun (totum feodum Normanni de Verdun), who had died the year before. One of the witnesses to the treaty is Willelmo de Verdon, who is presumed to have signed as the elder representative of the family, since his nephew Bertram was in his minority and being brought up in the household of Richard de Humez, Constable of Normandy. The de Verdun honour of Alton and its connected manors were then held for some time of the Earl of Chester and no longer directly of the King.

The same William de Verdun who is mentioned above appears in the Cartulary of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, which records that he held land and a mill at Tiseel, other land at a place called Croem. The État d'Avranchin records in 1170 that William de Verdun possessed two messuages in Avranches, and that Bertram de Verdun held Chavoy (near Avranches) directly of the King. A return of Knights' fees of Mont St. Michel in 1172 states that William de Verdun had a knight's fee in Genets in the Cotentin peninsular and Bertram de Verdun son of Norman (i.e. Bertram III de Verdun) held half of two of the Abbey's possessions - Chavoy and Bouillon, through Ralph de Fougeres.

Ranulf II 'de Gernon' died at the end of 1153 and his titles and estates then passed to his son Hugh Kevelioc, who was succeeded in turn by his eldest son Ranulf III 'de Blondeville' who was born in 1170.

Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester (Ranulf III of Chester) and 1st Earl of Lincoln, was also Vicomte d'Avranches in Normandy, like his forebears. He was a young boy when he inherited the Earldom on the death of his father Hugh de Kevelioc, son of Ranulf de Gernon. One of the men who administered his inheritance during his minority was Norman de Verdun's son, Bertram III de Verdun of Alton, who was an influential and trusted administrator of King Richard I.

Bertram accompanied Richard I on crusade in 1189, and was appointed by the king as Governor of Acre in the Holy Land. The Chronicle of Croxden Abbey, a Cistercian house that Bertram had founded in 1176, records that he was killed on 24th August 1192 at Jaffa, and buried at St. John's Church in Acre. He is said to have had a positive influence on Ranulf (III) de Blondeville, who also became very close to Richard I and accompanied the King and Bertram on crusade.

Briefly picking up on mention of St. John above, it is probably pure serendipity that the Lordship of Verdone mentioned below had links with the Order of St. John. There is another connection in relation to Bertram III de Verdun - on page 46 his book on the de Verduns, Mark Haggar records an early grant of land in Cheshire by Bertram de Verdun, as follows:

In c.1190 a Bertram de Verdun granted a third of the manor of Pensby (Cheshire) to the Hospital of St. John the Baptist in Chester. The donor here might have been Bertram III, but as this appears to be the first and only time that Pensby is ever mentioned as belonging to any branch of the family, it is hard to be sure. It might be that the manor had come to the family as a direct or indirect result of Norman de Verdun's associations with Ranulf II of Chester.

Pensby is located on the Wirral. Hagger's source for this information is given as R. Stewart-Brown's article 'The Hospital of St John at Chester', published in the Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire & Cheshire, 78 (1926), pages 68 and 96.

Returning to the connection between the Earls of Chester and the de Verdun family - forty one years after a man called William de Verdun appeared in the 1153 Treaty of Devizes and thirty nine years after 'William de Verdun' (strongly believed to be the same man) appeared in the Cartulary of the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, a William de Verdun is recorded who may be the same man in older age, or conceivably his son or even a nephew and younger brother of Bertram III de Verdun. Matthew of Westminster records that in September 1194, Ranulf III de Blondeville was one of the three sword bearers at the ceremonial re-crowning of King Richard, along with Hamelin de Warrenne and William the Lion, King of Scotland. Ranulf married Constance of Brittany, the widow of King Richard's brother Geoffrey. The two became estranged and there was conflict over the claim to succession to the throne by Arthur, her son by Geoffrey. Apparently the King and Ranulf plotted to reduce the power of Constance and in March 1195, Ranulf and Richard met at the former's castle in the town of Sainte-James-de-Beuvron to sign a charter relating to the Abbaye de Montmorel near Falaise. Those also recorded as having been present were: Roger de Chester (Ranulf's brother), Roger de Lacy (Constable of Chester), Baldwin Wake and William de Verdun. This William is very likely to be the same man who signed the Treaty of Devizes, and therefore Bertram III de Verdun's uncle, but if not he may be Bertram's brother or even the older William's son. 

William appears in another interesting charter, whose date is not yet known to the author. It appears in a volume called 'Calendar of Charter Rolls preserved in the public record office' (printed 1916), Volume V, which covered 15 Edward III-5 Henry V, that also seems to have included charters and deeds from much earlier years, including this one:-

Oct. 24. Inspeximus and confirmation in favour of the prior and convent of Westminster. Coventry of the following charters:

[Later under this heading]

10. A charter whereby Ranulf, duke of Brittany, earl of Chester and Richmond, after greeting the bishop of Chester, the archdeacon of Coventry and the clergy of the bishopric and all his men French and English, gave the tithe of all his lands, tenements and rents in Covintre to St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Chad and St. Giles and Ralph the earl's chaplain and his successors being chaplains in the chapel of St. Michael, Covintre and all chapels thereto belonging, in frank almoin, for the safety of the earl's soul and of those of his ancestors ; and also the tithe of all things which are renewed each year to the earl's profit, as of woods, meadows, pastures and waters or the like; witnesses, Gilbert son of Picot, Bertram the chamberlain, William de Verdoun, Martin son of Brito, Richard de Wygornia, Nicholas son of Liulph, William de Aula, Vincent Ad' clerk, at Covintre.

The person recorded as Bertram the chamberlain may or may not be Bertram III de Verdun, who has elsewhere been said to be the man who appears in other charters of  Ranulf III de Blondeville as 'Bertramo Cameraro'. Bertram had administered Ranulf's inheritance until he came of age and is recorded in quite a number of records and charters relating to the Earldom of Chester for a period of time while Ranulf was still young. In Volume I of his history of Cheshire, Ormerod provides this information on page 55, which is headed Leycester's Prolegomena:

Chap. IV.

A Catalogue of the Chamberlains of Chester

...the third person listed:

Bertramus de Verdon, chamberlain in the time of Hugh Cyveliok, and also in the time of Randle Bulndeville. This Bertram was sheriff 31 and 33 Hen. 2. 1187. He lived in the reigns of Henry the Second, Richard I, and king John.

However, Ormerod may be mistaken and the information he gives is not entirely accurate. We know that Bertram III de Verdun did not live in the reign of King John as he had died whilst on crusade with Richard I, years before John became King. In addition, we know that there was another man called Bertram who appears in charters as chamberlain to the Earl of Chester, who some writers have confused with Bertram III de Verdun. Luckily records survive that clearly identify that there were two men called Bertram who were associated with the Earldom of Chester, with them both appearing as witnesses to the same charters. The one who was not a de Verdun married Mabel, daughter of William Flamenc and heiress of Meols on the Wirral. Meols was formerly called Great Meols. It was a township in West Kirby Parish of the Wirral Hundred, becoming part of Hoylake cum West Kirby civil parish.

collection at the John Rylands Library labelled Manor of Meols, comprises fourteen old deeds relating to Great and Little Meols (Reference Numbers: GB 133 RYCH/1274-1286). It is these that prove that 'Bertram the Chamberlain' and Bertram de Verdun were not necessarily (or always) the same man, as shown below, which is a transcription of the entry from the the libraries online indexes :

Great and Little Meols (Cheshire)

Copy of Grant (n.d. [14th cent.])

Reference: GB 133 RYCH/1274

Language of Material: Latin

Scope and Content: 

Copy of a grant by H(ugh), Earl of Chester, to Bertram, his chamberlain, of Mabel, daughter of William Flamenc, and her inheritance of Meles. Witness list: 'Testibus Bertramo de Verd', Johanne, constabulario Cestr', Radulpho Dapifero de Monte Alto, Roolant de Verd', Thoma dispensatore, Giliberto filio pibot, Willelmo Barb'ap'l et multis aliis apud Cestr'.'

This is a 14th-century copy only, the original dating from c.1180. With it is a similar copy, RYCH/1274a.


Edited, with a full transcript and detailed commentary, by Geoffrey Barraclough in The charters of the Anglo-Norman Earls of Chester, c.1071-1237, Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, vol. 126 (1988), pp. 199-200 (charter no. 194).

Another charter that follows this is dated after the death, whilst on crusade. of Bertram III de Verdun (24th August 1192):

Grant (n.d. [temp. John, c.1199-1216])

Reference: GB 133 RYCH/1277

Language of Material: Latin

Scope and Content: 

Grant by Mabel, wife of Bertram the chamberlain, on the marriage of her daughter, Alicia, and William, son of Bernard. Witnesses as in 1276.

The same William de Verdun mentioned above appears as a witness to quite a number of Ranulf III's charters including ones relating to Coventry, which was one of Ranulf's possessions. It is clear that William de Verdun and other associates of the Earl of Chester had property interests in Coventry. In the year 1200, William de Verdun and his wife Emma are mentioned in one record in relation to rent to the value of 10s 4d in Coventry being conveyed to the Abbot of Coombe Abbey, just to the east of Coventry. This snippet of information, which reveals the name of William's wife, is mentioned in Peter R. Coss's book Lordship, Knighthood and Locality : A Study in English Society c.1180-1280 and he gives as his source for this information Early Records 767.46

Another charter that mentions 'Bertram the Chamberlain' is recorded in Ormerod's 'History of the County Palatine and City of Chester' (1819), within a section on 'Teverton' in Cheshire (i.e. Tiverton) within the chapter for Edisbury Hundred (Volume II, page 148), which has connections with the de Verduns of Biddulph & Darlaston. Ormerod provides a transcription of part of a charter of R. de Verdun, dean of St. John's in Chester, which concerned a grant of land in Teverton to his sister 'Lucia de Verdun':

Omnibus, &c. R. de Verdun, decanus Cestr. Sciatis me dedisse Luciae de Verdun sorori meae pro fidelitate, &c. 4 bovates terrae in Teverton, reddendo mihi annuatim, unum par calcarum vel 4d. &c. Test. [i.e. witnessed by] Ph'o de Horreby tunc Just. Cest. Warino de Vernun, Hamone de Mascy, Will'mo de Venables, Liulfo Vicecom', Mag'ro Alexandro, Bertramo Camerario, &c. &c.s


s Harleian MS 2038. p.65

It is not known who 'R. de Verdun' was, but since the name Roger de Verdun appears as a family name in a variety of other sources in Cheshire and Staffordshire over quite a few generations, perhaps 'R' may mean 'Roger', who might be another brother or son of Bertram III de Verdun or perhaps he is Roger, son of Henry I de Verdun of Darlaston, who is mentioned below in relation to his father's grant of Teverton to Roger's sister Alice. Whatever the answer may be, 'Teverton' or as it is known today Tiverton, occurs recorded in later records (see below) that confirm the de Verduns of Darlaston & Biddulph held part of Tiverton from the early 13th into the later 14th century, and that this wasn't their only land in Cheshire, as is illustrated below. As is confirmed below, the appearance of Philip de Orreby, Justice of Chester, helps suggest a date for the charter as Philip is recorded as having held the office of Justice between 1202 and 1229, thereby confirming that Bertramo Camerario could not possibly be Bertram III de Verdun as he had died before 1200.

The family's connection with Cheshire continued and in the late 14th century we find Geoffrey de Verdon designated as 'of Fulshaw', where he and his descendants were seated into the early 16th century. A part of Fulshaw and the nearby 'Lordship of Verdon' were granted to the Order of St John, with whom the de Verdons appear to have retained a connection. The descendants of Geoffrey's son Henry Verdon remained settled near Fulshaw as well as other parts of Cheshire and further afield in Yorkshire. As explained below, by the mid-1600s the surname of the family had begun to change from 'Verdon' to 'Vardon', and names of places that had formed part of the Lordship of Verdon also followed suit.

The de Verduns of Darlaston,


(also of Derbyshire & Cheshire)

Descended from Bertram III de Verdun's son Henry I de Verdun of Darlaston

The first of the de Verduns of Bucknall, Darlaston & Biddulph was Henry I de Verdun, son of Bertram III de VerdunIn 1204 he was recorded as holding the manor of Bucknall (now a suburb to the north west of Stoke-on-Trent) from his brother Nicholas de Verdun. He married Hawise, daughter and heiress of Engenulf de Gresley and his wife Alina (otherwise also recorded as Aliva or Aline) and died c.1238. Engenulf had lands with his wife in Tunstall and Chell, now parts of Stoke-on-Trent. His name also appears as Engenulph, Eugenulf and Ingenulfus. The de Gresley family also had lands in Derbyshire, at Swadlincote, Gresley and elsewhere.

Alina de Gresley was one of the two daughters and heiresses of Robert fitzOrme of Darlaston, one of the sons of Orme (or Ormus) le Guidon (literally translated as Orme the standard bearer) of Biddulph and his wife, who is said to have been a daughter of Nicholas de Beauchamp, Sheriff of Staffordshire. Some have conjectured that Orme was the King's standard bearer, or perhaps of one of the great nobles like the Staffords. Orme's father is recorded as having been Richard le Forester, Keeper of Cannock Chase and the New Forest of Staffordshire, which stretched from Tunstall south along the line of the Trent as far south as Tixall to the east of Stafford, and in width from west of Stone, encompassing Darlaston, eastwards almost to Uttoxeter. Richard Forestarius appears in Domesday Book, holding ten estates in Staffordshire, four of which - Whitmore, Thursfield, Hanford and Clayton, he held as Tenant in Chief from Nigel de Toeni / de Stafford, grandfather of Engenulf de Gresley. The other manors Richard was lord and tenant in chief of in Staffordshire were: Estendone, Dimsdale, Hanchurch, Knutton, Little Onn and Rodbaston. In addition, he was Tenant-in-Chief of Normacot whose lords in 1086 were Almer and Wulfric. His lands in Warwickshire included Chesterton, which he held as lord and tenant-in-chief, and Kenilworth, which he held as lord from King William the Conqueror who was tenant-in-chief; King Edward the Confessor had held Kenilworth in 1066.

Alina's sister Emma married Adam de Audley, son of Liulf de Audley (otherwise recorded as 'Aldithley'), who was one of the English tenants of the de Verduns of Alton. Hagger tells us that Orme of Darlaston was another of the de Verdons' English tenants, holding lands in Fenton, Biddulph and Bucknall from the de Verdons.

The Darlaston held by the family is the small settlement located south of Stoke-on-Trent, a few miles west of Stone, on the other side of the River Trent, not the other place by Wolverhampton in south Staffordshire. Darlaston is the site of 'Wulferecester', now marked on maps as 'Bury Bank', traditionally said to have been the location of a palace of King Wulfere of Mercia. Whatever the precise truth may be, the older name and tradition suggests that it was an important centre of power within Mercia. The parish of Biddulph adjoins the Cheshire parish of Astbury and the villages are only a few miles apart. At one time, the Verdons of Astbury parish (see below) had also held lands in the parish of Biddulph, but this was entirely coincidental since they inherited them through marriage with another family.

Hawise de Gresley brought with her the manor of Darlaston and the manor of Nether Biddulph in Staffordshire along with the advowson of the church at Biddulph, and other property in Derbyshire, including Swadlincote. Henry and Hawise, and their descendants came to hold other estates in Staffordshire and also in Cheshire. For example, in 1199 Henry claimed a virgate in Levedale, Staffordshire, in his wife's right (ref: Staffordshire Historical Collections Vol. I, 163, 165). The de Verduns continued to hold this land generations later. Hawise's ancestor, Robert de Stafford had held 3 hides in Levedale in 1086.

The de Gresleys were the same family as the de Staffords. Engenulf's father was William fitzNigel of Gresley founder of Gresley Priory, son of Nigel de Stafford. Nigel was the son of Robert de Stafford and his wife Avice de Clare, said to have been a daughter of Richard fitz Gilbert (by his wife Rohese Giffard), the son of Gilbert, Count of Brionne. Gilbert's father was Geoffrey, Count of Eu illegitimate son of Duke Richard I of Normandy, nicknamed "sans peur'', whose great grandson was William the Conqueror. Robert de Stafford was the son of Roger de Toeni and his wife Godechildis, daughter of 'Raymond Count of Barcelona' (see page 223: The Gresleys of Drakelow by Falconer Madan, 1899). Godechildis married as her second husband Richard, Count of Évreux, who was the son of Robert, Archbishop of Rouen and Count of Évreux, whose father was Duke Richard I of Normandy. The Gresley's became Baronets of Drakelow in Derbyshire, just south of Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire and west of nearby Swadlincote, which was itself located to the south west of Weston-on-Trent and Aston-on-Trent, home to other de Verdons (see below).

Below: Sir Peter de Gresley, who died c.1310

 - published in the 'Collections for a History of Staffordshire 1899'

under the volume title of The Gresleys of Drakelow, 

An Account of the Family, and Notes of its connections

by Marriage and Descent from the Norman Conquest to the Present Day;

compiled by Falconer Madan MA.

As mentioned above, the de Verduns of Darlaston had lands and connections in Cheshire, which included 'Tiverton', already referred to above having been granted c.1208 by R. de Verdun, Dean of Chester, to his sister Luciae, which Ormerod recorded in his History of Cheshire (Volume II, page 276). slightly expanded transcription of the same charter, translated into English, appeared in The Cheshire Sheaf, 29th December 1920, page 114; Notes / [4212] Some Cheshire Deeds (continued from No. [4200]. The introductory description reads: Some Cheshire Deeds. The following notes of deeds have been taken from Volume No.3 of the Shakerley MSS., in the possession of Sir Walter Shakerley Bt. of Somerford Park, Congleton, who kindly allowed me to examine some of the volumes.  Most of the collections are the work of William Vernon of Shakerley and Somerford, the Cheshire Antiquary. The name of the 'author' of these words is provided at the bottom of the set of printed and transcribed deeds - R. Stewart Brown. 

This transcription helpfully records the full list of witnesses, which helps date it and also throws up connections between some of the witnesses that may help us suggest who 'R. de Verdun' may have been:

Tiverton: R. de Verdun, Dean of Chester had given to Lucy de Verdun his sister, for fealty and service, 4 bovates in Teverton of his demesne and two of the land of Rushtcorn. Rent a pair of spurs or 3d at St. Martin. Witn: Ph. de Orreby then Justice of Chester; Warin de Vernun, Ha. de Mascy, Wm. de Venables, Liulf sheriff, Master Alexander, Bertram chamberlain [not as some have thought, Bertram de Verdun], Alex. de ____, Hen. Torpelegh, Rob. de Pulle, John de Sancta Maria, Ran. Dubold (ay), Ric. son of Radulf, Rad. Farrede "juvene", Alex. of Oxford. 

Date: [About 1208]


- Teverton, known today as Tiverton, is in the parish of Bunbury almost exactly midway between Chester and Nantwich, Cheshire. 

- Rushtcorn (Runcorn) is c.5km north east of Tiverton, c.6 miles east of Winsford and c.2 miles north east of Tarporley

- Philip de Orreby is noted as Justice of Chester 1202-1229 [source: Cheshire Sheaf, 3rd Series, Volume XX, page 61]. This helps confirm that 'Bertram chamberlain' cannot be Bertram III de Verdun as he died on Crusade in 1192.

Bertram chamberlain is easily confused with Bertram III de Verdun, who once acted as chamberlain of the Earldom of Chester during the minority of Ranulf de Blondeville. Bertram 'the Chamberlain' is the man who Hugh Kevelioc, Earl of Chester granted in marriage Maud, daughter of William Flamenc, along with her inheritance of Meols.  

The next time the de Verduns' estate in Tiverton is mentioned, it was in the hands of Henry I de Verdun. This suggests that Perhaps Lucy may have been his sister, and 'R. de Verdun' his brother, whose name may have been remembered by Henry calling one of his own sons 'Roger'. At this point, no records have emerged to confirm one way or another, but it is a hypothesis that would make sense.

Returning to Ormerod's history (Volume II), his sub-chapter on 'Tiverton' continues on page 149 with these words:

Henry de Verdont, shortly afterwards, in the time of king John, or Henry the Third, granted by deeds without date, to Matthew son of Matthew de Hulgreve, an estate in Teverton, with the homages and services thereunto annexed, in free marriage with Alice de Verdon, his daughter; which grant was confirmed by Roger de Verdon, her brother, in 1232. Henry de Verdon sealed with two lions indorsed.

This Matthew de Hulgreveu, the representative of a younger branch of the Vernon family, resided at Hulgreve, near Minshull, where his family continued until the extinction of the male line, in the person of Henry de Hulgreve, anno 13 Ric. II.


t Harleian MS 2038. p.74

u The Hulgreve pedigree will be found in the account of Hulgreve.

Tiverton's connection between the de Verdun and de Hulgreve families is mentioned again in 'Parentia : Genealogical Memoirs', by George Ormerod DCL FRS of Tyldsley & Sedbury Park. Published within this is A Memoir of the Cheshire Domesday Roll, formerly preserved in the Exchequer of that Palatinate to which are appended A Calendar of Fragments of this lost record collected by the author and Notices of the Justiciaries of Chester in the Thirteenth Century. On page 13, under the sub-heading of 'In the time of Sir William de Vernon. 1229-1232 (itself part of a section that begins on page 11: Calendar of such entries in the Cheshire Domesday Roll as have been recovered from the documents cited.) appears the following:

16. Enrollment of grant by Henry de Verdon of vi bovates, etc., in Teverton, in frank marriage with Alice his daughter, to Matthew son of Matthew de Hulgreve, 1231. (F. 19.)

17. Enrollment of grant by Matthew de Hulgreve, to Matthew his eldest son, of half his lands in Hulgreve, Herdeswic, and Fudac, saving the capital messuage therein, and with engagement not to give, sell, or pledge, the other moiety, or divert it from said son or his heirs by Alice his wife, 1231. (F. 20.)

The man mentioned above in relation to Tiverton is Henry I de Verdun

A third of Teverton was still in the possession of the de Verdons in 1394 - we know this thanks to a record in the “Recognizance Rolls of Chester”, which are the Chancery Rolls of the Palatinate of Chester and contain enrolments of Charters, Letters Patent, Commissions and other documents. Here is the extract:

1394, November 18th: (Beston, Beeston - cont.)

John de [Beeston], and Margaret, his wife, writ of livery to, on finding of an inquisition, viz., that Alice, who was the wife of William de Hulgreve of Teverton, died seized to herself, and her heirs of her body, and the body of the said William, her husband, of the gift of Hugh de Tofte, chaplain, of land in Erdeswyck called “Mayonesegh,” which John de Olton gave to Matthew de Hulgreve and Matthew, his son; of a third of the manor of Teverton, held of John de Verdon in socage; and of land in Minshull Vernon called Hulgreve, held of Ralph de Vernon, Kt, in socage, and by the service of six heads of barbed arrows; and that Margaret wife of the said John, and daughter of the said Alice, was next heir, and of the age of 24. [18 & 19 Ric.2. m. 1 d. (3), (5), (6).]

John son of William de Beston, John de Golburn, of Horton, and Richard Wodener, of Chester, tailor, sureties for the relief of. [Ibid. (4).]


  • The John de Verdon mentioned above must be Sir John de Verdon, son of Vivian de Verdun of Darlaston who was the heir and probably eldest son of Henry III de Verdun and great grandson of Henry I de Verdun, the first of his name to have held Darlaston, near Stone, Staffordshire. This Henry was one of the sons of Bertram III de Verdun of Alton Castle, Staffordshire and a brother of Nicholas de Verdun, father of the great de Verdun heiress Roesia, whose son John by Theobald le Botiller assumed his mother's name rather than his father's. 
  • John de Beeston's wife Margaret was the daughter and heiress of William de Hulgreve of Teverton, who was the 2x great grandson of Matthew de Hulgreve and Alice, daughter of Henry I de Verdun. They had two daughters - Isabella de Teverton, d.s.p. living 8 Henry V, and Elizabeth who married firstly Sir Robert Aston of Aston. It was through this marriage that Hulgreve and Tiverton passed into the Aston family. Elizabeth remarried John de Carrington, presumably after the death of Sir Robert (source: pedigree chart on p.145 of Vol. II of Ormerod's history - on page 145 Ormerod gives Aston's name as 'Sir Roger' and on page 149 he changes this to 'Sir Robert'.).

Henry I de Verdun is mentioned in another early Cheshire deed, which refers to other lands he held in the county. A translation of hhis deed was published in The Cheshire Sheaf, page 97, November 1920, under the heading 'Some Early Cheshire Deeds - continued from No. 4160'.



Henry de Verdon gave to Roger his son two shillings and twopence farthing rent which Wm. de Norleg held of him in Chester at Gloverston and an assart in the vill of Louton which Keneric held of him, and lands which Adam de Faradon held of him and Wm Clerk in Middlecliff and his plot near the mill rendering 4 barbed arrows. 

Wtn. Wm. Parton, Rob. de Sumerton, Ivo de Aston, Ran. de Bovile, Rob. Salmon, Wm Chanu, Alex. de Bonebury, Patric de Bonebury, Rob. son of Wm. Chanu, Simon de Tyrisford, Wm. Clerk of Louton.

S. d. verie ancient.

T. +SIG HENRICI DE VERDUN, in a rundle 2 lyons counter saleant.

Henry's seal of '2 lyons counter saleant' is the same as that described above in the Tiverton deed as 'two lions indorsed'. 

Mention of Ivo de Aston may help date this deed, since Ivo's brother Robert fitz Payne (son of Robert fitz Payne who lived c.1166) died in 1233, and his brother Noel is mentioned in 1203.

The places mentioned are:

Gloverston (otherwise known as Gloverstone and Castle Gloverstone), was an area between Chester Castle and the City of Chester.

Louton is Lowton, a place c.7 miles south of Wigan in Lancashire, between Manchester and Liverpool.

Middlecliff may refer to Middle Cliff near Bradnop c.2.5km south east of Leek in Staffordshire (and c.5km north of Ipstones in Staffordshire). There is a Middle Cliff Farm there. 

In 1293, during the 21st year if the reign of Edward I, Henry III de Verdun appears in the Stafford Eyre (Plea No.75), bringing a Writ of Right concerning the Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary the Virgin at Combermere, Cheshire, specifically the Manor of east Grange (E. Graunge). Henry de Verdoun is named as the main plaintiff, with Braal (or C.), Philip (N. de), son of aunt of H. de Verdoun being recorded as another plaintiff. Other family names that are mentioned in this case are listed as:

Robert, ancestor of Henry de Verdoun & father of Aline.
Aline, daughter of Robert.
Hawise (Hauyse), daughter of Aline.
Petronilla (Pernele), daughter of Aline.
Henry, son of Dionisia.
Felice, daughter of Dionisia & sister of Henry & mother of Philip Braal.
Henry (I), son of Hawise & father of Henry de Verdoun.

This list of people, referencing their relataionships, is a useful confirmation of some of the family's genealogy. The opening line is noted as: H. de Verdoun e N. de C. le fyz de sa Aunte porterunt un bref de dreyt, e demanderunt le maner de E.

A long list of Serjeants / Justices is given, some of whom are referenced as representing Henry de Verdun. The list appears to repeat almost all of the same names, sometimes multiple times. For simplicity, the repetitions are omitted from those extracted from the source and listed below, except where they may be a note of potential interest, added after their name:

Huntingdon, Ralph de Sjt Huntindone (for P Braal)
Spigurnel, Henry le Sjt
Kyngeshemede, Adam de Sjt Kynge (for P Verdoun)
[i.e. Henry de Verdun]
Louther, Hugh Sjt Lowyere
Howard, William Sjt
Kyngeshemede, Adam de Sjt Kynge
Berewyk, John de J Berewyke
Spigurnel, Henry le Sjt (for D)
Howard, William Sjt (mentioned)
Berewyk, John de J Berewyke
Cave, Hugh de J Kave
Hurste (for P Verdoun) (perhaps Est)
[i.e. Henry de Verdun]

The case is published by the Staffordshire Record Society in 1885, within their Staffordshire Historical Collections Volume 6, Part 1, as follows:

Plea Rolls for Staffordshire: 21 Edward I (January)
Staffordshire Assize Roll, 21 E. I.
(this Roll also mentions quite a few other cases various de Verduns and their relatives were involved in at the time)

"Pleas 'de juratis et assisis' before John de Berewik, Thomas de Normanville, William de Bereford, John de Lichegrevus, and Hugh de Cave, Justices Itinerant in co. Stafford, on the Morrow of the Epiphany, 21 E. I." [7th January, 1293].

Henry de Verdun and Philip de Braal sued the Abbot of Cumbermere for the manor of Erlyde (Yarlet). The Abbot appeared, and a concord was made by which the said Henry and Philip acknowledged the manor to be the right of the Abbot and his Church of St. Mary and St. Michael of Cumbermere, and the Abbot acknowledged he owed the said Henry 100 marks. m. 29.

The case is referred to again in Volume XII. New Series (1909), of Collections for a History of Srtaffordshire, edited by The William Salt Archaelogical Society, page 106-7 'Walter Chetwyn's "History of Pirehill Hundred" where he writes about the history of 'Yarlett', which one presumes may ne the location of the manor of 'East Grange' mentioned above. Yarlet (as spelled today) is over a mile south of Aston-by-Stone, Staffordshire, so quite close to the de Verduns' manor of Darlaston:


"Domesday" records land for six plough teams here; (1086) two ox teams in the demesne and two serfs, while four villeins, and four boors, had one team, five acres of meadow, the value of £1 10s. The over-lordship soon passed to the de Laci's
[i.e. de Lacy], who held many manors of Earl Roger [de Montgomery] ⎯ probably on Robert de Belesme's rebellion and forfeiture : under de Lacy, it was held by the Baskervilles, who may have been descendants, very possibly, of the Domesday tenant Robert. In A.D. 1164 it is entered (Vol. 1, Staff. Hist. Coll., p. 50) as the "grey monks manor," who owed a fine for erecting a mill in the royal forest; but no steps were to be taken for its recovery until the king's return from abroad. In 1169-70, this fine was paid; the confirmation by Hugh de Lasci (sic) 2nd baron of the name, of Robert Baskerville's grant to Combermere Abbey of this manor, with half the vills of Aston, Enneston and Baginhold, together with the waste of Longmore, is given below ; besides an " Inspeximus " of that of Henry II. by King Ed. I. The suit of A.D. 1221-3 (Vol. IV, Staff. Hist. Colls., p. 26) brought by Walter (2) de Baskerville against Fromond de Tareaton to compel payment of the rent, by which he held his tenement in Erlide, gives us the Abbot's
testimony, that the land belonged to the Abbey by gift of Walter de Baskerville, father of the Walter now suing, at a rent of 40s., which rent Walter de Baskerville had given to Fromond for a sparrowhawk yearly, valued at 2s. This was the acknowledgment Fromond had never paid; the Abbot is to answer for it, deducting the amount from his 40s. rent.
Subsequently, Randle, Fromond's son, sold the 40^. rent for 36 marcs to Cumbermere, the surrender is witnessed by James de Audley and sealed with this coat, "2 lyons passant impaled with barry of 6."

Yarlett had passed, it seems, into the de Verdons' hands in 7 Ed. I. (i.e.,  the overlordship). For the pleas, Vol. VII, p. 93, shew Henry de Verdon  suing the Abbot for 1½ hides here, and in 21 Ed. I., p. 240, Henry de Verdon  and Philip de Braal again sued the Abbot for this manor. For 100 marks  they consent to surrender their claim. In Pope Nicholas' Taxation, Yariett  contains four carucates each valued at

The Public Record Office throws up another helpful insight into the de Verdun family of Darlaston's connections with Cheshire, within the 
Chester County Pleas in the 20th/21st year of the reign of Edward I. In this case it relates to the testament of Thomas de Staundon (or Standon), Rector of Rostherne, which is located 4.5km south east of High Legh ('Legh', which is also mentioned below), 12km south west of Gatley and 10km north west of Fulshaw. Thomas's executors were Henry III de Verdun of Darlaston and Biddulph, and Robert de Bromlegh. Henry's grandfather Henry I de Verdun was a son of Bertram III de Verdun, whose close involvement with Cheshire is mentioned above. Henry III de Verdun had married to a sister of Vivian de Standon (Staundon), who did have a brother called Thomas, which would perhaps explain how Henry came to be Thomas's executor. Perhaps he played a role in Thomas being appointed Rector of Rostherne. Henry named his son Vivian de Verdun after his brother-in-law (whose father may also have been Vivian de Standon).

The following entry appears in the Chester County Pleas 20-21 Edward I, ref: Chester 29/7 m. 2d, and is dated 18th August 1293, in Chester.


Ric’s de Mascy recognouit se debere Hugoni de Dutton’ Mag’ro Rob’to de Bromlegh’ & Henr’ de Verdun Executor’ testamenti Thom’ de Staundon’ Rector’ Eccl’ie de Routhestorn in qatuor mrcis strlingor p  decimis garbar de Tatton’ ad soluend’ vnam medietate’ ad Natiuitatem s’ci Joh’is Bapt’e px’m sequ’2. & ad f’m o’ium s’cor px’m sequ’3 aliam medietatem sine vltriori dil’oe. Et ni fecrit vult & concedit q’d vic’ Cestr’ fieri faciat prd’cam pecuniam de trris & catall’ suis prfatis Hugoni Rob’to & Henr’ sine dil’oe reddend’



Richard de Mascy recognized that he owes to Hugh de Dutton, master Robert de Bromlegh and Henry de Verdun, executors of the testament of Thomas de Staundon rector of the church of Routesthorn, 4 marks sterling for the tithe sheaves of Tatton, to pay half at Midsummer next and at All Saints then next following the other half, without further delay. And if he do not, he wills and grants that the sheriff of Chester may cause the money aforesaid to be raised from his lands and chattels, to be rendered to the aforesaid Hugh, Robert and Henry without delay.


Thom’ de Legh’ recognouit se debere Hugoni de Dutton’ Mag’ro Rob’to de Bromlegh’ & Henr’ de Verdun in duodecim marcis strlingor ad soluend’ ad trmi’os prd’cos p deci’a garbar de Legh’  Et nisi fecit vult & concedit q’d vic’ fieri faciat prd’cam pecuniam de trris & catall’ suis in forma prd’ca



Thomas de Legh recognized that he owes Hugh de Dutton, master Robert de Bromlegh and Henry de Verdun 12 marks sterling to pay at the terms aforesaid for the tithe sheaves of Legh. And if he do not, he wills and grants that the sheriff may cause the money aforesaid to be raised from his lands and chattels, in form aforesaid.


1 this whole entry is crossed through, the debt having been paid

2 Thursday 24 June 1294

3 Monday 1 November 1294

4 this whole entry is crossed through, the debt having been paid

transcription and translation above is the work of David Bethell of The Original Record, and has been reproduced here with his permission. 

Either before or after this case was recorded, a 'Jordan de Verdon' is mentioned in another old document that relates to Legh and also mentions Sir Richard de Mascy and Thomas de Legh. This may well suggest that Jordan was closely related to Henry III de Verdun - in fact, he seems to have been Henry's sonOrmerod in his History of Cheshire, in writing of 'Legh' (i.e. High Legh, located c.15km west/south west of Gatley and the same distance north/northwest of Wilmslow) wrote of one half of a moiety having been purchased by Sir Richard Massy of Tatton, towards the middle of Edward the First's reign, which lasted from 16th November 1272 to 7th July 1307). Ormerod then produces a transcription of a copy of a deed of this partition, as follows:

Hæc est partitio terrarum in villa de Legh. Inter dominum Ricardum de Massy, militem, et Thomam de Legh ex unâ parte ; et Hugonem quondam dominum de medietate villæ de Legh, et Johannem filium et hæredem ejusdem Hugonis, et Matthæum de Alpraham custodem ejusdem Johannis, ex alterâ parte ; videlicet, quod terra et tenementa subscripta remaneant in perpetuùm domino Ricardo de Massy et Thomæ de Legh, et hæredibus eorum seu assignatis, in campo Jordani de Verdon sex acræ. And so of several other parcels. Lib. C. fol. 267. 9, 10. This was in the reign of Edward the First. The original penès Legh de West Hall, l665.

That Jordan de Verdon was the son of Henry III de Verdon (de Verdun) of Darlaston is further suggested by the appearance in 1327 of 'Henry son of Jordan de Verdon'. He is mentioned in the Calendar of Patent Rolls covering the years 1327 - 1330 within the reign of Edward III (published in 1891). The entry appears on page 121 within 'Membrane 15. This and other membranes seem to record a very large number of pardons for crimes committed after the Coronation of Edward III on 1st February 1327, but before the murder of his father Edward II at Berkeley Castle, who had been imprisoned there by his wife Queen Isabella's lover Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. One story records that a message from Berkeley Castle was received by Prince Edward at Lincoln Castle, informing him that his father had died on 21st September 1327, but there are other theories. One recent and powerfully argued claim that Edward II died many years later on the continent, where he even met with Edward III, is covered with great detail and fascinating detective work by Ian Mortimer in his magnificent biography 'The Perfect King, The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation'. Whatever the truth may have been, Edward III's reign began formally on 25th January 1327 at a time when his father was still alive and the country was suffering a period of instability, with Roger Mortimer acting as de facto ruler of England alongside Isabella. It was not until 1330 that Edward III was able to become his own man, seize the power of kingship and have Mortimer executed. Perhaps the long list of pardons related to the acts connected with the conflict between Edward II and his nobles, or scores settled between parties who took advantage of a power vacuum that encouraged anarchy.

The entry in the Patent Rolls does not tell us whose side (if any) Henry de Verdon (son of Jordan) may have been on, but it is more likely that those being pardoned may have been supportive of Mortimer, hence the young King having to pardon them. The entry reads as follows:


Membrane 15 - cont.

1327. July 11. Topclif'.

William son of Thomas Legh, Robert Legh, John de Rodeyard, John de Legh, Thomas Danyers, Geoffrey le Byroun, William de Chetelton, for the deaths of William de Modburghlegh, Henry son of Jordan de Verdon, William son of Roger de Modburghlegh, Hugh Reynald and Thomas de Dounes, killed after the coronation, with the condition.

The same incident is referred to in the Patent Rolls for a second time, almost two weeks later, when the pardon of another of the guilty men is recorded, as follows:


Membrane 25 - cont.

1327. July 27. Hayden

Pardon to Philip Ferour of Glastyngbury for the death of Richard Greygrom, killed before the coronation, on condition of his serving against the Scots. By p.s.

The like to the following : —  .....two other cases are mentioned then:

Roger Hervy for the deaths of William de Modburle, Henry le Verdoun, William son of Roger de Modburle and Hugh Reynald, before the coronation.

Notes to the text above:

It has been postulated that 'with the condition' may have referred to them having been pardoned on the condition that they served in the King's army against the Scots. 

A look at the people who are named above may throw some light on their relationships:

de Modburghlegh : otherwise recorded as
 'William de Mobberley', the spelling of his name in the Patent Rolls comes from an old formation of the placename 'Mobberley', which was held by his family. It is located c.5km south east of Rostherne, the same distance west of Fulshaw & Wilmslow and c.10km south east of High Legh. William was Sheriff of Cheshire in the 13th year of the reign of Edward II (1319). His father was William de Mobberley and according to various records he married Maud daughter and heiress of Robert Downes of Chorley juxta Werford and his wife Maud de Fitton, sister of Sir Edmund de Fitton, Lord of Fitton. This Chorley is the place that is known today as 'Alderley Edge', and which used to be a township of Wilmslow parish; 'Werford' is Great Warford, next to Chorley to the west. Edmund gave Robert Downes all his lands in Chorley in free marriage with his sister Maud, who is sometimes noted as 'Marjory'. William and Maud had seven daughters and one son, Sir Ralph de Mobberley who served under The Black Prince and is said to have captained a company of mounted archers and died near Rheims in France 35 Edward III (1360/61). Ralph was still young when his father was killed and he became a Ward of Sir John Arderne of Aldford 3 Edward III (1329), whose wife was Alice, daughter of Hugh de Venables, Baron of Kinderton. Sir John's son John Arderne married Jane, daughter and heiress of Sir Richard de Stokeport and widow of Sir Nicholas de Eton (Eaton, Cheshire) and although they had no children, Ormerod tells us that John enjoyed the manors of Stokeport, Poynton and Woodford for life. His father, Sir John Arderne gave the marriage of Ralph de Mobberley to John Pulford of Pulford in 1329 and he ended up marrying Pulford's own daughter Vincenta, who does not seem to have been legitimate since Ormerod's pedigree for the Pulfords informs us that John's sister Joan was his sole sister and heiress. Joan married as her first husband, Thomas de Belgrave and secondly Sir Robert Grosvenor

Geoffrey le Byroun : he is likely to have been the ancestor, or a member of the same family as the later Byrons of Buglawton in the parish of Astbury, Cheshire. Buglawton was a township and chapelry of Astbury and lies to the east of Congleton.

William de Chetleton
: he was Keeper of the Forest of Delamere in Cheshire and his family were from 'Chetelton' (or Chettleton) i.e. Cheddleton,
which was located just to the south west of Leek, in Staffordshire and not far from some of the lands of the de Verduns of Darlaston, Bucknall and Biddulph. The Chettleton family held the manor of Baddington in Cheshire as mesne lords and William de Chettleton held a knights fee of Bramhall from James de Audley; he later obtained the manor of Bramhall (Bromhale) 19 Edward II (1325) from Gilbert de Legh, Chaplain. Bramhall is located c.2 miles north and north west of Woodford and Poynton. It is clear that William had quite a reputation well before the incident in which Henry de Verdon was killed. In The Rev. William Beresford and Samuel B. Beresford's book 'Beresford of Beresford - Part 1 : A History of the Manor of Beresford, in the County of Stafford' it is written (from page 130): In the Plea Rolls of 1324 we have William de Cheddleton arraigned as a common malefactor and disturber of the peace, and a maintainer of false quarrels, and that he collected unknown malefactors and rode armed about the country to the terror of the people, and he was of the society of James and John sons of William de Stafford and had insulted the Abbot of Deulacres three years before, so that the Abbot dared not leave the doors of his monastery. Moreover the said William with some others had entered the park of Thomas de Furnival of Alton and had taken one of his beasts. (see: H. S. C., X. 50.). Furnival had gained the de Verdun castle and lands of Alton through marriage with Joan, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Theobald II de Verdun. The history of Beresford continues the story on page 31: This was no doubt a political quarrel. William de Cheddleton was a most turbulent subject during the reign of Edward II. but one of the best in the reign of Edward III.—a better king. When he was now arraigned for his outbreak he was committed to prison until Vivian de Standon, William de Chetwynde, John de Ipstones, James son of William de Stafford, and Adam de Beresford came and paid his fine, and were sureties for his good behaviour even to the extent of risking all they had. And a great risk it was. For Cheddleton soon broke out again. The very next year he headed a band consisting of his brothers, with Thomas son of Ralph de Rudyerd, and others, and beat William Maunche, the servant of the Abbot of Deulacres, at Leek. (H. S. C., X. 51.) And again Adam de Beresford, William de Beresford, and two others, rescue him by becoming sureties. About the year 1324, a famous quarrel broke out between the lord of Ipstones and “the lady of Ingestre” with regard to the advowson of Church Eaton, near Stafford. Both church and manor-house there were beseiged, and some blood was shed. The county was divided into two hostile camps ; but the culprits, on being brought to trial, were told that they might escape prison if they could find persons of “sufficient” weight to bail them out. Adam de Beresford, amongst others, performed this good office for Isabella, the lady of Ingestre, together with several who were implicated among whom are sundry Astons, Rudyerds, Cheddletons, and Chetwyndes, with Peter le Barbour, Stephen de Beghtirton, John le Mercer with one eye, etc. (H. S. C., X., 72, 73, 74.).

Four years after being pardoned with others for the death of Henry de Verdon above, William de Chetelton appears in a long list of men who were involved in a complex legal case involving theft, burglery, murder and the harbouring of felons in Derbyshire, 5 Edward III (1331/2). His name appears as follows: '
William de Chetelton, knight, John de Leghe, knight, Robert de Legh'. It is likely that these two Leghs are the same people who were involved with William in the killing of Henry de Verdon and others listed above. The case involved more than one inquisition, the Jurors of Bakewell, Ashbourne, Derby, Nottingham, and the Jurors of the Peak (presumably the Forest of the Peak). William and the two Legh brothers are mentioned again further on: 'The jurors of the town of Asshebourn present, amongst other things, that William de Chetelton, knight, John de Lye, knight, Robert, his brother [these are probably the two Legh brothers], Thomas de Bucstones, dwelling in Baukwell, William, his brother, dwelling in Eyom [Eyam, co. Derby], Thomas le Procuratour, Thomas de Rysbergh, Eustace de Folevyle, Robert, his brother, John de Gloucestria, and John de Grymmesby are aiders of the said James Coterel and received him at Bauquell about the feast of St. Scholastica, in the 6th year. The jurors of the first inquest of the Pea.....'. James Coterel appears to have been the leader of a large band of outlaws who committed the wide ranging crimes that the case was concerned with. But in view of the very large number of others who were connected with the case, some being relatively high-standing members of society, it must have represented a serious outbreak of lawlessness, feuding and perhaps a degree of rebellion. The whole saga is recorded in a Roll of thirteen rolls containing the legal proceedings presented before Richard de Grey, Henry de Grey, John Darcy “le neveu,” Nicholas de Langeford, John de Twyford, and Richard de la Pole. These men had been appointed to oversee the case by letters patent dated at Westminster, 23 March, 6 Edward III - Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1330-1334, p. 295.

If the disturbances detailed above are a reflection of the unsettled state of England at the time, then perhaps it was no surprise that Edward III began the Hundred Years' War in 1337, collecting an army that probably recruited many troublemakers and united them with their opponents in England, redirecting all their energies in common cause against France.

The parentage of Henry III de Verdun adds further evidence to bolster the argument that Jordan de Verdon was his son. His father Henry II de Verdun of Darlaston married Amice de Puleston, sister of Roger de Puleston (otherwise occurring spelt 'Pyvelesdon' or 'Pulesdon') - the name 'Jordan' occurs with some regularity in Amice and Roger's family at this time, with one of the bearers of the name appearing to be Amice's own brother. Puleston is a hamlet in the parish of Chetwynd just to the north of Newport, Shropshire. It is only after Henry's marriage to Amice that the name 'Jordan' appears in the de Verdun family.

The de Verduns and de Pulesdons appear mentioned together in a number of records. It is one extract of a charter that appears in the Collections for a History of Staffordshire (1911) edited by The William Salt Archaeological Society that provides a specific mention of Amice being the sister of Roger de Pulesdon. This is found on page 421, in a chapter headed 'Staffordshire Cartulary 1200-1327'. The first half of the page provides a genealogical chart that explains the interelationships between people who are mentioned in the transcription of a charter dated c.1244-50, on page 420: The agreement betwixt Henry de Verdon and Thomas, son of Roger de Bidulf, concerning Suit of Court. The pedigree is entitled 'Lords of Aston and Walton by Stone'.

The Roger de Pywelsdon detailed above, who married Joan, daughter of Robert de Walton and widow of Thomas de Venables, appears to be the brother of Amice de Verdon, as is revealed in the text below the pedigree. This is a transcription of a charter dated c.1252-56, which records Hawise, daughter of Henry I de Verdon, releasing to her brother Henry II de Verdon (husband of Amice) all the rights she had of her father, in Biddulph:

[1252-6.] Hawise the daughter of Henry de Verdon releases to her brother Henry.

Noverint universi has literas visuri vel audituri quod ego Hawisia filia Henrici de Verdoyn dedi et concessi et quieteclammavi Henrico fratri meo et heredibus suis et assignatis suis totum jus meum et clamum quod habui et habere potui in tota illa terra cum omnibus pertinenciis quam predictus Henricus pater meus dedit mihi in villa de Bidolf, ita, videlicet, quod ego predicta Hawysia et heredes mei nunquam decetero jus nec clamum in predicta terra exigere possumus nec debemus. Et quare volo quod hec mea concessio et quietaclamacio rata sit et in perpetuum robur optineat firmitatis presentes literas sigilli mei impressione corroboravi. Hiis testibus, Domino Roberto tunc tempore Abbate de Lillishul, Domino T. de Chetewynd, Domino Rogero de Piuelisdon, Magistro Thome filio suo1, Domino Philippo persona de Northbury, Roberto Marescallo, Rogero filio Orm de Derlastona et multis aliis.

[notes below the text]

Robert, Abbot of Lilleshull, must be Robert of Ercall, who was abbot in 1253-4, between Richard, abbot 1240-52, and Ralf, abbot in 1256. (Eyton, Salop, Vol. IX.)

Roger de Pulesdon (Pyvelsdon), see above. His sister Amice married Henry de Verdon the younger.

Added Footnotes that do not appear in the original text:

1 Lord Roger of Pulesdon and Master Thomas, his son.

It is clear from the Staffordshire Assize Roll in the 56th year of the reign of Henry III, that Henry II de Verdon died in 1272; '56 Hen III' only lasted a month from 19th October 1272, the anniversary of the start of the King's reign, to 16th November 1272, the day the King died. Volume 4 of the Staffordshire Historical Collections, edited by George Wrottesley, provides some interesting extracts that relate to Henry, his wife Amice and their son Henry, as follows:


An assize if Henry de Verdon, the father of Henry de Verdon, was seised, &c., of 62s. rent in Bockenhale (Bucknall) and Bidulf when he died, &c., which John de Verdon [this is Sir John de Verdon, son of Roesia de Verdun (daughter of Nicholas de Verdun) and her husband Theobald le Botiller] holds. John appeared and conceded that Henry the father had died seised of the rent, and that Henry is his next heir, and stated he claimed nothing beyond the custody of the tenement until the full age of Henry, inasmuch as the said Henry the father had held the tenement of him (sic, left unfinished). m. 16.

M. 19b. "Placita apud Stafford."

William, son of Walter de Overton, was sued by Henry de Verdon and Felicia his wife [this may be an incorrect transcription of the name 'Amicia' or 'Amice'] for suit and service owing for a free tenement which he holds of them in Womburne. A concord was made by which William acknowledged the tenement to be the right of Henry and Felicia, to be held of them by the service of 6 marks. m. 19 b, dorso. 

Amice, the widow of Henry de Verdun, was summoned to render up to Robert de Staundon, Henry, son and heir of the said Henry, who is within age, and whose wardship and marriage belonged to Robert, inasmuch as Henry the father held of him by Knight's service his land in Levedale, viz., by the service of a small fee of Morteyne, rendering for the scutage of 40s. two marks, and less or more in proportion, and he being in seisin of the homage and scutage of the said Henry, Amice had abducted from him the heir, by which he had been damaged to the extent of 100 marks.

Amice appeared and did not deny the facts as stated, and was ordered to deliver up the heir, and as the heir was not present, nor in these parts, to find pledges, viz., John de Houton and Roger de Pyvelesdon, to deliver the heir to Robert at Salop at fifteen days from Michaelmas. 

m. 20, dorso.

Derby. An assize, &c., if Henry de Verdun, father of Henry de Verdun the younger, was seised, &c., of 40s. rent in Swartlingcote when he died, and of which rent Geoffrey de Griseley had deforced him. Geoffrey appeared and stated he claimed nothing but wardship, by reason of the non-age of the said Henry, inasmuch as his father had held the tenement of him by Knight's service. Henry stated that his father Henry had never held the said rent of Geoffrey by Knight's service, because he held it in soccage, and by certain service, viz., for four farthings as his purparty, inasmuch as one Robert de Gresele, the abavus of Geoffrey, had enfeoffed one Ingold his brother, the ancestor of Henry, of certain tenements, rendering for them yearly 12 farthings for all service, and he produced the Charter of Robert the ancestor of the said Geoffrey to this effect.

Essoins "de malo veniendi," taken at Lichfeld on the morrow of Trinity, 56 H. III.

Staff. Walter, Parson of Weston, who is in the land of Jerusalem, versus Thomas Meverel, in a plea of land by Richard Denyas. m. 32.


Roys de Staundon puts in her place Gervase de Levedale or John de Hopes versus Adam de Chetwynde, in a plea of trespass.

Philippa de Dutton puts in her place Alexander de Banvile or John de Offeleg versus Amicia de Verdun, in a plea of marriage (of heir), and versus Robert de Ferrars in a plea of land. m. 36.

Amice de Verdun puts in her place Elias de Verdun versus Robert de Staundon and Geoffrey de Gresele in a plea of wardship. m. 36, dorso.

It is interesting that Robert de Staundon had the wardship of and right to arrange the marriage of Henry III de Verdon, Amice's son. Henry ended up marrying a sister of Vivian de Staundon (otherwise 'Standon'), one of at least three sons of this same Robert de Staundon (Standon); the other two younger sons were Robert de Staundon and Thomas de Staundon. So, despite Amice's efforts to remove her son from Robert's grip, Elias de Verdun was clearly not able to win the case as her attorney. This mention of Elias begs a question - who was he? It is not impossible that he was a brother of Amice's late husband Henry II de Verdon.

It seems that Amice lived a long life as she appears mentioned as Amicia de Verdun in the Exchequer Subsidy Roll for the Hundred of Pirehill in Staffordshire in 1327, under Derleston and is recorded as paying 3s 2d. Also appearing under Darlaston is her son Viviano de Verdon who pays 4s 6d and another son Henr' de Verdon who pays 2s 2d. Vivian de Staundon is listed under Staundon and pays 6s, and Jordano de Peulesdon under Flossebroke (i.e. Flashbrook) and pays 8d. Jordan would be Roger de Pulesdon and Amice's brother.

This same Jordan de Puleston, who is found witnessing a charter with his brother (or father) Roger de Puleston, whereby William de Ercall made grants to the Priory of St Leonard and the White Nuns of Brewood. The charter either preceded or followed a connected Fine levied at Shrewsbury on 3rd February 1256 between Agnes, Prioress of St. Leonard of Brewood, Plaintiff and William de Ercalew. The details are provided on page 85-86 of Volume IX of The Rev. R. W. Eyton's 'Antiquities of Shropshire':

William de Ercal, for the souls of himself and his wife Emma, gives to St. Leonard and to the White Nuns of Brewode a ninth of the sheaves, of two carucates, and lone carucate, in his demesnes of La More and Ercal respectively, he not being bound to pay the said ninths to the House of Wombrugg according to a Cyrograph made between himself and the said House. He further gives to Brewode a ninth of his hay near Tyrne except that of Wennemore-meadow. As security he gives power of distress on Ercal Mill, to the extent of 20 measures of best corn. He further gives the Nuns 40 feet of land near his Court of La More to make a Weir. 

Witnesses: Robert Corbet, Lord of Morton, Roger Corbet of Hedleg, John fitz Hugh, Sir Hamund le Strange, Odo de Hodnet, Roger de Pyvelsdon, and Jurdan de Pyvelesdon.1


1 Newport Evidences

The source that Eyton cites here as 'Newport Evidences' are Reverend J. B. Blakeway's extracts from Newport deeds that are preserved along with Blakeway's other MSS., at the Bodleian Library.

La More was where the Prioress of St. Leonard's grange was built.

The well known 'Puleston Cross' in Newport by St. Nicholas's Church was erected in the 1280s to the memory of Sir Roger de Puleston, father of Jordan, Roger and their other siblings. Recent investigation during a redevelopment around the site in 2010 concluded that this historic market cross has stood on the same spot since c.1280. A more precise date may be suggested by mention of a deed signed by Roger, son of Sir Roger de Puleston in 1285, which includes the words: "the cross set up for the soul of Roger de Pyvelsdon who died in 1272" - the deed is mentioned, and extract provided in the book 'The Early Pulestons' by Mrs Sunter Harrison of Wrexham, published in 1975.

BELOW – The Puleston Cross in front of St. Nicholas's Church, Newport, Shropshire :-

As mentioned above, Henry II de Verdun had died before 1272. It appears that along with many others from Staffordshire including his brother-in-law Jordan de Puleston, he had been part of Simon de Montfort's rebellion against Henry III. This is mentioned in The Collections for a History of Staffordshire (Volume 8, 1887; pages 4-5), within a chapter titled 'Notes on the Military Service performed by Staffordshire Tenants during the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries.'

The Barons’ war, 48 to 51 Hen. III

A.D. 1264 to A.D. 1266

In some suits Coram Rege of Hillary Term, 56 Hen. III., respecting the amount of redemption to be paid for the forfeited estates of Henry de Verdun and Hugh de Weston, it was testified that the whole of the county of Stafford was against the King, and juries from the counties of Worcester and Warwick were summoned in consequence to decide the cases. The Chronicles however bear testimoney to the loyalty of three at least of the principal tenants of Staffordshire. These were Philip Marmion, James de Audeley, and Roger de Somery. On the other hand, Robert Earl of Ferrars, and Hugh le Despencer the Justiciary of England, and Ralph Basset of Drayton took a leading part in favour of Simon de Montfort and his adherents. With regard to the head of the House of Stafford there is no evidence as to the part he took. Robert de Stafford at this time was a man advanced in life, and it is probable he remained neutral during the strife. Of the lesser tenants, William Bagot of the Hyde, Adam de Brimpton, William Wyther, and Hugh de Okeover, remained loyal to the Crown. The following are shown by the Rolls to have been in arms against the King : 

 Robert de Staundon
Henry de Verdun of Darlaston
Philip de Mutton
William de Handsacre
William Trumwyne
Robert de Pipe
John fitz Philip
Hugh de Weston
Geoffrey de Gresley
John de Audley of Blore
Robert de Knighteley
Henry de Charnes
Roger Bagot of Brinton
William de Parles
Roger de Walton
John de Swynnerton
 Richard de Loges
Gilbert le Mareschal of Aston
Richard de Bromley
William de Harecourt
Bertram de Burgo
William de Rideware
Jordan de Pulestone
Richard de Flotesbroc (Flashbrook)
Richard de Vernon
Philip Noel
Giles de Erdington
Robert de Melbourne of Hoarcross
Geoffrey de Aston
Henry de Wyverstone

Therefore, it may be the case that Jordan de Verdon was named after Jordan de Puleston, who seems to have been his uncle, although the name Jordan was not uncommon in this period and others close to the family had borne it. For example, Jordan de Humez, son of Richard de Humez in whose household Bertram III de Verdun had been brought up (see above). 

As already mentioned, Henry III de Verdun married a sister of Vivian de Standon and had at least four children - his heir Vivian de Verdon, Thomas de Verdon, Roger de Verdon the Rector of Biddulph, and Henry de Verdon who is cited as an executor to his father's estate.

Roger de Verdon, brother of Vivian, is recorded in connection with St. Mary's Church in Astbury, the original parish church of Congleton, which was otherwise known as Newbold Astbury. This record appears in the Cheshire Court Rolls record under the heading 'County Court of St. Peter's Chair, 22nd February 1288-89, a case is recorded as follows:

Abbot of St. Werburgh's, Chester v. [versus] William son of Thomas de Venables; advowson of Astebury church. The abbot said he last presented one Mr John de Stanlegh, clerk, in time of peace, and he was duly instituted by the Bishop of Chester. The church is now vacant by his death. William being under age, his guardian Roger de Verdun said the matter must be adjourned till he came of age; meantime it was alleged that though the abbot presented the last incumbent he was not the true patron at the time but an intruder (quasi male fidei occupator), the heirs being unwilling. 

The extract continues without further mention of Roger. However, this was not the only early record that mentions within it both Astbury and one of the de Verduns. In the late 16th century one of the Verdons settled in Congleton and his family appear in Astbury's parish registers thereafter. It is from this family that the Vardons of Goldstone descend, of whom an account is detailed further below. In addition to having property in and around Congleton itself, they also inherited farms at Hulme Walfield, also in the parish of Astbury.

Vivian de Verdon had clearly succeeded his father before 1316 since he is recorded as holding Darlaston & Bucknall at this date. He married Joan, daughter of Walter de Toke (who was alive in 1347 and holding some interest in Rodburne and Egginton). In 1322 he is recorded as Patron of Biddulph Church, with Joan his wife, when his younger brother Roger de Verdon accolite was appointed as Rector of Biddulph on the death of Alexander de Verdon. In 1343 Vivian appears recorded as heir to the advowson of Biddulph, although he must have died before Easter 1342 as Joan appears remarried and mentioned alongside her new husband Stephen de Irton, in the Plea Rolls: De Banco. Easter 15th Edward III, m. 37. [Edward's reign was 25th January 1327 to 21st June 1377].

Vivian and Joan had at least one childSir John de Verdon who inherited Darlaston, Biddulph, Bucknall and other land from his father. He married Eva, whose parentage is not known. An early record of John is found in 1338, when he is mentioned in the Calendar of Patent Rolls as John son of Vivian de Verdon. In 1365 Sir John de Verdon is cited as patron of Biddulph Church, on the appointment that year of John de Brett as Rector, after the resignation of Reginald de Caynton. In 1371 Sir John de Verdon Kt is recorded as Patron of Biddulph again, this time on appointment of William de Montgomery as Rector of Biddulph. John continues to be recorded as patron on the appointment of the next two priests in 1376 and 1382, but by 1403 the patron of the church is recorded as “Hulton Abbey”.

John and Eva seem to have had no sons as their heirs were two daughters - Ermentrude and Joan. Ermentrude de Verdon married Ralph de Houton. In 1374 Sir John de Verdon and his wife Eva are recorded as having settled 2 messuages and 12 marks of rent in Bokenale and Bedulf (i.e. Bucknall & Biddulph) and two parts of the manor of Darlaston on Ralph de Houton and Ermentrude his wife, their daughter. It has been supposed that Ralph was one of the 'de Hooton' family from Hooton in Cheshire, located just north of Ellesmere Port on the River Mersey.

John and Eva's younger daughter Joan de Verdon married John de Whitmore, Lord of Whitmore in Staffordshire, to whom she may have been distantly related as the Whitmores appear in some pedigrees as descendants of Richard le Forester, father of Orme, and also through marriage, from the de Gresleys. The Whitmore's coat of arms was identical in basic design to the de Verdons in that they used a 'fretty' pattern; but in their case the shield is 'Vert Fretty Or' (i.e. green background with a gold fretty). Two other families who were connected to the de Verduns also shared this 'fretty' heraldry. The better known of the two were the de Audley family, who were related to the de Verduns and the de Whitmores - Adam de Audley, son of Liulf of Aldithley married Emma, daughter of Robert fitzOrm and sister of Alina, mother-in-law of Henry I de Verdun. Adam's son Henry de Audley was granted (or re-granted) Audley by Henry's brother Nicholas de Verdun of Alton, sometime before 1227, and was Constable to Nicholas and Henry's brother-in-law Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster. The Audley's arms are Gules Fretty Or (red with a gold fretty on top). The other family whose arms also had the fretty design was the Draycott family (de Draycott) of Staffordshire; they were tenants of the de Verdons and their arms are recorded as Or, fretty gules, on a canton azure a cross patonce argent (gold background, with a red fretty on top, and a blue canton in the corner of the shield with a silver cross 'patonce' in design). Perhaps it was not coincidence that these interconnected families all had arms that shared the same underlying design, differenced by colour and in the case of the Draycotts, a canton. The de Sourdeval branch of the de Verdun family in Normandy also had a canton in their arms.

BELOW – coats of arms of the interrelated de Audley, de Whitmore and de Verdun families, illustrating the similarity of their heraldry :-

John & Joan de Whitmore's daughter Elizabeth de Whitmore married James Boghey, which James and Elizabeth had issue John, who had issue James, who had issue Robert, father of Humphrey; father of Robert whose sole daughter and heir (Alicia by name) was married to Edward Manwaring, a third brother of sir Ranulf Mesvillwaring, of Pever, in Cheshire, knt.; which Edward and Alice had issue Edward Manwaring, now lord of Whitmore, Nether-Biddulph, Ansedeley, vulgariter, Annesley, and a part of Buckenhall.” This information appears on pages 8-9 of Sampson Erdeswicke’s ‘A Survey of Staffordshire containing the Antiquities of that County' etc, collated by Thomas Hardwood. Alice Boghey’s marriage to Edward Mainwaring brought Whitmore into that family, and their descendants the Cavanagh-Mainwaring family still live at Whitmore Hall.

Thus, Sir John de Verdon of Darlaston & Biddulph was the last of the main line of his branch of the family. A younger line continued through Jordan de Verdon, who seems to have been John's Great Uncle, son of Henry II de Verdon and his wife Amice de Puleston. To follow the story of Jordan's family we need to turn once more to Cheshire.

The Lordship of Verdon 

and the de Verdons (Vardons) of Fulshaw,

Cheshire & Yorkshire 

Descended from Jordan de Verdon of Darlaston and, through marriage, from

Theobald II de Verdon, 2nd Baron Verdon of Alton, Staffordshire

In the thirteenth century mention is found of 'The Lordship of Verdon' in Cheshire, within records from Derbyshire relating to the County of Chester. They inform us that it was given to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem - perhaps it was held originally by William de Verdun (Bertram III de Verdun's uncle, cousin or brother), who as mentioned above was one of the companions and knights of the Earls of Chester. It is possible that this William may well be the same man as, or the father of Sir William de Verdon Knight, who married Alice de Morley of Derbyshire and whose family appears frequently in the cartulary of St. Werburgh's Abbey Chester (see detailed separately below). 

There appears to be a link between 'the lordship of Verdon' and a place called Fulshaw, both in Cheshire, and the Order of St. John. This is suggested by an entry in J. Charles Fox's 'The Churches of Derbyshire, Volume 3', in a section discussing the Preceptory of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem at Yeaveley in Derbyshire, as follows: 

A chartulary of all the English possessions of the Order, which was drawn up by Brother John Stillingflete, mentions that William Meynell, Lord of Yeaveley, gave many lands and tenements there situate to the preceptory of that name, in the year 1268. Other benefactors of the preceptory there enumerated are William Montgomery and Oliver Fouu [?], who jointly have certain lands; Albert Bussell, who gave them the lordship of Verdone, Cheshire; Ranulph, Earl of Cheshire, the donor of a messuage, an acre of land and common pasture rights in the town of Frodsham, et plum alia bona; Margeria de Carun, who granted certain lands and tenements at Longford; Richard de Fitton, the donor of the lordship of Fulshaw, Cheshire; Robert de Bakepuze, who appropriated to the Hospitallers the church of Barrow, in this county [i.e. Derbyshire], and also certain lands in that parish in the reign of Henry II. And Ascuit Musard, who, in the same reign, appropriated to the preceptory half the church of Staveley an appropriation subsequently rendered more valuable by the gift to that moiety, by Walter Abitot, of twenty-two acres of land with common rights at Barlow. 

A descendant of the first Jordan de Verdun, mentioned above in relation to 'Legh' and the de Verduns of Darlaston, married the heiress of an estate at Fulshaw, in the Parish of Wilmslow, Cheshire and subsequently their descendants became known as the Verdons of Fulshaw. By the later 1600s, the family's surname had changed to 'Vardon'. They had originally held land in or near Woodford, a township in the parish of Prestbury. It seems that the family gave its name to the settlement of Vardentown (formerly known as 'Verdontown') in Over Alderley, near Prestbury in Cheshire. Perhaps this may be the very same place that is referred to as the Lordship of Verdone. Intriguingly, in 1445 an Edward Verdon appears in the Vale Royal's list of the names of the Knights, Gentlemen, and Freeholders in Cheshire in Macclesfield Hundred - historian and antiquarian J. P. Earwaker publishes this in his book on East Cheshire (Chapter : General History, pages 16-17) in the following manner: Edward Verdon (Holding of St. John of Jerusalem). His  correct name may have been 'Edmund', like others of the family; not all names published in King's 'Vale Royal' were correctly recorded.

Verdon House and Verdon Bridge in Hough by Wilmslow are now recorded as 'Vardon House Farm' and 'Varden Bridge'. In his Monasticon Anglicanum, Sir William Dugdale records a 1434 reference to the lordship of Verdon - 'dominium de Verdone in Com. Cestriae'. Woodford, Prestbury, Over Alderley, Hough, Wilmslow and Fulshaw are all located very close to each other. J.H. Hanshall, in his The History of the County Palatine of Chester, wrote (page 520-522):


Contains the Townships of Chorley, Fulshaw, Morley, Dean Row, Hough, Styall


    Anciently called Le Bolyn, is about seven miles from Macclesfield, on the Manchester road, and what is very singular, the township is confined to the Church and the Church Yard. The great divisions of the parish, are included in Bollin Fee, Pownall Fee, Chorley, and Fulshaw. - At a very early period, the whole was held by the Fittons. The name "Bolyn" arose from its situation on the banks of the Bollen. Rd. Fyton, temp. Hen. III [who reigned 19th October 1216 to 16th November 1272]granted Fulshaw to the Order of St. John of  Jerusalem. By an Inq. of the 30th of the same King [i.e. 19th Oct 1246-18th Oct 1247], the manor of Bolyn is described as being held by the service of attending the King's army at Chester, with all the family of Fitton, armed with bows, &c. - This family continued here in the direct male till the death of Peter Fitton*, without issue, whose sister and heiress Johanna, married Richard Venables of the Kinderton family. .........

        * 42 Edward III [i.e. sometime between 25th January 1369 and 24th January 1370]


    Was given by Richard Fytun to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and the Duke of Leeds, as lessee under the Crown of the property belonging to the ancient Preceptory of the Order at Iveley, in Derbyshire, holds a Court Leet and Baron for the manor.  


    The Lands of the township, were granted by the Order to Richard del Short, and Robert Crosse de Fulshagh, by deed dated at Malcheburne, Michaelmas, 1277. In the 5th Elizabeth, Humphrey Newton obtained the manor by fine, of Thomas de Verdon; and in the 39th of Elizabeth, William Newton disposed of the manor for £200. to Thomas Leigh, Esq. It was subsequently (1666) divided between the Newtons, and the Lathoms, of Hawthorn Hall. The Newton moiety was soon after sold to Roger Wilbraham; and in 1682, he sold it to Mr. Samuel Finney, Esq. The other moiety passed to John Leigh, Esq. and was afterwards in several hands. In 1787, Mr. Page, of Hawthorn Hall, had possession; but in 1800 it was sold in portions to various purchasers. 


    Fulshaw Hall is a venerable brick house, with nay windows, and gables.

Earwaker mentions Thomas de Verdon of Fulshaw again on page 157 of Volume I of his East Cheshire: Past and Present; or A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield, in the County Palatine of Chester. From Original Records.:

The possessions of the Leghs of Adlington in this township have already been referred to. Amongst the Fulshaw deeds is one dated 1492, which is sufficiently interesting to be given in its entirety, in the quaint English of the time of Henry VII. By it certain persons, including the Rector of Wilmslow, and one of the priests serving there, testify that the lands the Leghs held in Fulshaw were held of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, to whom, as previously described, the whole township had been given in the 13th century. This deed is as follows:b

For asmoch as it is meritorie and nedefull for every true cristin man to beire recorde in maters of trouth : We Sr Randull Davemport parson of Wymeslowe, Charles Davemport, Sr William Damport prest for the parish of Wilmeslowe, John Torkynton, Thomas Damport of ffulshaw, gentilmen, Thomas Preston, Thomas Hogh, Robt Janny, Thomas Rile, yomen, Hugh Burges, Laurence Burges, husbandmen, Testifie that alle the lande that Thomas Legh of Adlyngton hath or any of his ancestres ever had in ffulshawe within the parish aforesaid, is holden of the lorde of Seynt Johns paying to ye same lord xxvs by yere. Also we sey for truth that Thomas Verdon of ffulshawe aforseid hath received the seid rent of ccvs as Depute and Resceyver of and for the seid lorde and paide as well by olde Robyn Legh of Adlyngton as by Robert his son and also paide by the seid Thomas Legh unto nowe of late for this v yeres next afore the date hereof :  Also be it known that I Richard Bowrs late of ffulshawe husbandman, testifie and sey for trouth that my fader, my brether and I have received the said rent of xxvs by the space of xxv yere and more. In wittenes that this oure writing is goode and true We the said Sr Rondull, Charles, Sr William, John, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas, Robert, Thomas, Hugh, Laurence and Richard have set oure sealles. Yeven the ffirst day of Aprill the yere of the reigne of kynge Henry the vijth the vijth [1492].


b Fulshaw deeds. Cheshire MSS., vol. ii., copied from the original deed.

It appears that Thomas Verdon (de Verdon) was the Deputy & Receiver for the Lord of the Manor of St. John of Jerusalem, as the Manor of Fulshaw had become known; hence Earwaker's reference to 'the lorde of Seynt Johns'. The Order of St. John no longer appeared to have owned the manor at the time of the Deed above, but its name was still attached to it. The Order had also held the nearby 'Lordship of Verdon'.

The 'Seynt Johns' name applied to the manor of Fulshaw is also referred to within 'Magna Britannia, being A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties of Great Britain, by the Rev. Daniel Lysons, AM FRS and LS, Rector of Rodmarton in Gloucestershire and Samuel Lysons Esq FRS and FAS, Keeper of His Majesty's Records in the Tower of London : Volume the Second, containing Cambridgeshire and The County Palatine of Chester' (Published 1810)

Page 820, Magna Britannia:

The manor of Fulshaw, which had passed from the family of Fulshaw, to that of Fitton, was given, as before-mentioned, to the prior and convent of St. John of Jerusalem; early in Queen Elizabeth's reign it belonged to Edmund Verdon Esq., whose son conveyed it to William Newton : this manor is claimed, by inheritance probably from the Newtons, by the trustees for the infant son of Peter Davenport Finney, who died in 1800 : the Duke of Leeds holds courts here for Fulshaw, as appendant to the preceptory of Iveley in Derbyshire, formerly belonging to the knights-hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem : the courts were formerly held at Fulshaw, now at Rostherne. The manor of St. John of Jerusalem, as it is called, consists of free-rents and royalties; the tenants of the manor are free from all tolls of bridges, markets, and fairs, and from attendance at assizes, sessions, &c. &c. The lords of the fee had in ancient times the probate of Wills within their jurisdiction, which were kept and registered by the steward of the court. This manor was demised by King Charles I. to Robert Wirrall Gent. Nathaniel Booth Esq., afterwards Lord Delamere, became lessee in or about the year 1731: the lease has been in the Duke of Leeds's family, nearly fifty years. Fulshaw-Hall is now occupied by ______ Tipping Esq.

In his later 19th century Gazetteer covering this part of Cheshire, Samuel Bagshaw also notes that the Manor of Fulshaw had been given by the de Fitton family to the Prior & Convent of St. John of Jerusalem, and that in King Henry VIII's reign it belonged to Edmund Verdon, son of Thomas Verdon of Fulshaw. These men descended from a Nicholas de Verdon who lived, or had lands at Romiley near Stockport, Cheshire in the reign of King Edward III.

Some of the de Verduns also appear in The Cheshire Court Rolls. On 13th April 1260, in the 44th year of the reign of King Henry III, an earlier 'Nicholas de Verdun' is mentioned in the County Court Roll of Cheshire as a proxy witness in a case brought by the attorney of the Abbot of Chester against Richard the son of William the Clerk of Chester. The attorney claimed that Richard was the abbots man for land at Upton, held by rendering yearly a pair of spurs, and that he had wrongfully withdrawn his service. The Upton in question may be the small settlement of Upton in the parish of Prestbury, near Macclesfield or perhaps the village of Upton just to the north of Chester.

116. Dom. John de Campeden, attorney of the Abbot of Chester v[ersus] Richard the son of William the Clerk of Chester; claiming that Richard was the abbots man for land at Upton, held by rendering yearly a pair of spurs, and that he had wrongfully withdrawn his service. He offered proof by the body of a certain William, who said he was present when Richard paid the said rent on St. John the Baptist's day in the 43rd year of King Henry [24 June, 1259], and who placed his security into the justiciar's hand at one o'clock (?) (vadium suum in manu Iusticiarii porexit ut ad horam unius didi) and found pledges, viz. Michael de Goristr' and Richard le Rowe of Tidulstan, so that if William could not perform the said proof (disracionem) Nicholas de Verdun would do it, and if not Thomas de Hol would. Richard defends; he says that there is a special writ in cases like the present, for homage, service and customs withheld, but the writ is not used in time of war. The countty decided that this was a sufficient reply. ...and it continues.

Notes to the text above:

The Abbot of Chester : according to J.H. Hansall's 'The History of the County Palatine of Chester' (page 229) the Abbot in 1260 was Thomas Capenhurst, who died on 28th March 1265.

Richard le Rowe of Tidulstan : Tidulstan is 'Tilstone Fearnall', which is east of and adjoins Tiverton, where the de Verduns held land.
Michael de Goristr' : his identity is as yet unknown.

Nicholas de Verdun : see further discussion below.

Thomas de Hole : he is likely to be related to John de Hoole, who is said to have been Lord of Hoole, which was located just to the north east of the old boundary of Chester, with Upton close by to the north west. John de Hoole is said to have sold land there to the Abbot of Chester during the reign of Edward II - this is mentioned on page 722 of Magna Britannia being A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties of Great Britain by the Rev. Daniel Lysons, Rector of Rodmarton in Gloucestershire and Samuel Lysoons Esq, Keeper of his Majesty’s Records in the Tower of London. Volume II, Part II, Containing The County Palatine of Chester, published in 1810. Extract:- Hoole-old-hall, now a farm-house, is said to have been the abbot of Chester’s grange: it is certain that the abbot had an entire estate here, which he purchased of John de Hoole, Lord of Hoole, in the reign of Edward II.; but it may be observed that Hoole-old-hall, now the property of Dr. Penelope Ward, was bought of Sir William Bunbury, whose ancestor David de Bunbury purchased of the Calveleys certain lands, which had been the property of John de Hoole above-mentioned. 1 (Footnote 1 - Villare Cestriense)

The first de Verdun to be named 'Nicholas' was the 2nd son of Bertram III de Verdun, and he was the husband of Clementina and father of Roesia de Verdun. He died in 1231, so is not the person named above. The next Nicholas de Verdun to be born was the son of Milo de Verdun who was a younger brother of the first Nicholas. Milo appears at the court of his neice Roesia at Alton with his sons Nicholas de Verdun and William de Verdun, and elsewhere appears with a third son Thomas de Verdun. The third Nicholas to be born into the family was the son of John de Verdun, Roesia's son and heir by Theobald le Botiller (Butler); this Nicholas married Basilia de Cogan, had no children and died in Ireland in 1271. The inquisition on Nicholas's death mentions that his younger brother, and heir Theobald I de Verdun was born c.1248. Theobald and Nicholas's father had married their mother Margery de Lacy by Easter 1242. Assuming that Nicholas was born c.9 months later at the earliest, then if he was the man mentioned above in 1260, then he would have had to have been aged c.17 at the time. This rather suggests that the Nicholas de Verdun who appears mentioned in Cheshire in 1260 is probably the son of Milo de Verdun. As mentioned above, 'Upton' could be the village near Chester. However, if it isn't, but the name instead refers to another Upton in the parish of Prestbury near Macclesfield, this may lead to an alternative suggestion about the identity of this Nicholas de Verdun - he may be one of the family of the Verdons of Woodford and Fulshaw, who are mentioned below and produced a later Nicholas de Verdon. The reason for suggesting this, is that the old parish of Prestbury included Upton, Woodford, Newton, Poynton, Macclesfield and Macclesfield Forest - all places connected with the Verdons or related families. However, Thomas de Hole who is mentioned above is likely to be related to John de Hoole who appears in later records as Lord of Hoole, located outside Chester south-east of Upton.

A William de Verdon of the County of Chester is mentioned in the Rolls of the Forest of the Peak during the reign of Edward I in relation to an event that occurred in the reign of Henry III. The entry on the Rolls appears under the heading 'Amercements in default' (Roll II D), as follows:

Wm. le Parker, of Bredbury, and Wm. de Verdon, of County Chester, one doe at Milne (St. S. and Jude, 54 Hy. III). 

The default was clearly quite overdue, the fine having been levied in the 54th year (1261) of the reign of Edward I's father King Henry III, who had died on 16th November 1272. The Saints day helps provide an exact date since it is the Feast Day of the Apostles Saints Simon and Jude, which is 28th October 1261. If one is tempted to see this William de Verdon as being akin to 'Robin Hood' and other outlaws who took deer, there is no need to as a study of the Rolls of the Forest of the Peak confirms that he was in quite high-born company or otherwise high-placed company. It seems there were many caught out by this, hunting with 'greyhounds' and other hounds. For example: John Lord de QueenburyMatthew, Lord of OspringPeter, Prior of Eccles-fieldWilliam, Vicar of Glossop and even Juonis de Elington, then Bailiff of Peak! Quite how the Bailiff of the Peak became caught by Forest regulations he himself was probably involved in enforcing, one can only guess at, but it illustrates a proactive and perhaps enthusiastic regime focused on collecting fines and taxes.

This William could well be the son of Milo de Verdun, and therefore Nicholas and Thomas's brother. Bredbury, where William's 'partner in crime' came from, is c.6 miles from Gatley, where it was recorded in 1290 that William de Verdoun previously held land, and only c.1.5 miles from Romilly which is also mentioned below in relation to the de Verdon family.

Almost thirty years later, three more of the family appear in the same Chester County Court Rolls that are mentioned above. Firstly 'Theobald I de Verdun' (son of John de Verdun and grandson of Roesia de Verdun) is mentioned in a case dated 18th January 1289 relating to land at Weston by Bertumlegh (i.e. Weston, near Barthomley, just south east of Crewe and c.17km south west of Congleton). 

98. Thomas son of Roger de Chorlton v. [i.e. versus] Theobald de Verdun, Stephen de Holdich, Robert de Knypeslegh, Nicholas Monerell, Richard the Clerk, Henry Dun, Elkoc del Halle, Thomas de Baltredelegh and Peter de Baltredelegh; disseisin in Weston by Bertumlegh. The defendants did not appear, but the assize was taken. The jury said that the moorland had never been bounded nor had any certain quantity been assigned to any town. Therefore Thomas had not been diseased of the portion he claimed (4 perches by 20 perches), and was amerced (40d). Pledge : Henry de Shavington.

No further information is provided to explain how and why Theobald came to be involved with this matter, but it is another example of de Verdun connections with lands in Cheshire that have mostly remained unmentioned by historians of the family whose work has understandably tended to focus on their core holdings in places like Staffordshire and Ireland.

A few months after this mention of Theobald, Jordan de Verdon who is mentioned above as having held land at High Legh and in relation to his son Henry de Verdon who was killed by members of the Legh family, appears in the same Court Rolls of Cheshire in relation to land at Poynton near Woodford that was the focus of a legal dispute. The case is recorded at the County Court on Tuesday, St. Alphege's Day, 17th year of the reign of King Edward I (i.e. 19th April 1289). It concerned a messuage, carucate of land, &c. in Ponyngton (i.e. Poynton), which is south of Stockport and Romilly (and Gatley, which is mentioned later below), and less than two miles east of Woodford. The case is referenced in the records (compiled by R. Holmes) as '125a', and being between John de Montalt and Ellen his wife against Richard de Vernun, Richard de Stokport and many many others, whose names follow on from Richard de Stokport:

Roger & William de Stokport, John de Mottrum, Thomas de Neuton [i.e. Newton], William Pygod, Jordan de Bradbur', Geoffrey & William de Bradbury [this name may in fact be 'de Bredbury], Simon le Webster, Hugh Crocket, William le Walker, Richard son of Richard Joye, John & William sons of Emma de Bradbury, Thomas Quyot, Roger Poycche, William de Rugweye, Thomas son of Stephen de Bradbury, William de Lychaseles, Richard Momsela, Simon son of Robert del Wode, Hugh son of William de Celdelawe, Geoffrey le Potter, William de Crokuile, Jordan his brother, Alexander son of William the Miller, Thomas de Ellehall, Gilbert & Adam del Sherch, Randle God, Roger son of Randle God, John de Coroun, Richard son of Thomas de Neuton [i.e. Newton], Hugh de Foxwist, William son of Thomas de Eccles, William le Harper, Jordan de Verdun, William de Meynwaring, Warin de Wermingham, Thomas son of the chaplain of Adlington, Alexander son of Jordan de Bradbury, William son of Robert de Adelyngton, Richard de Wytelegh, Adam son of John de Haregrave, Makyn Mot, Richard Ben, Henry Cley, Adam del Dych, Henry de la Porte, William Costenoght, Richard son of Walter del Hus, Richard de Ryehull, Richard le Mascy1, Richard Brasce, Robert Sparkes, William le Blunt, William his father, Richard son of the same William, Thomas Prudelove, Richard son of Adam Sparks, William Crapald, Hugh de Baggelegh, Robert del Hogh of Merpil, Simon his brother, Hugh de Wyberislegh, Richard le Grosvenor, Thomas de Tornside, Roger Prest, Hugh de Sidbothume, John de Bromhal, Roger Longware, William de Disteley, Henry his brother, Richard de Riel' and others;

Note1 : It seems possible that 'Richard de Mascy' above may be the same person as 'Sir Richard de Mascy' who is also mentioned with Jordan de Verdon in relation to land at High Legh, above, and with Henry de Verdon in the Chester County Pleas, 1293. If not, perhaps he is a close relative.

[and finally after all these names the record comes to the point of the dispute] 

messuage, carucate of land, &c. in Ponyngton [i.e. Poynton]Richard de Vernun answered as tenant, stating that William de Vernun granted the same to Walter de Vernun by charter, with reversion to grantor in default of issue. Walter died without issue, so that the tenement reverted to Richard as next heir to William the grantor. Plaintiffs said they entered on St. Thomas the Martyr's day last past [29 Dec., 1288] by grant of the said Walter de Vernun, and at their seisin were present John de Mottrum and other bailiffs of the aforesaid Richard de Stokport and Richard Vernun (simplex clamium ex parte domino rum suorum inponentes). They had had possession in peace until the Saturday before Ash Wednesday when Richard de Vernun and the others ejected them. The jury gave a verdict for the plaintiffs.

(note 1: R. Holme's notes end here).

In the following year, 1290, 'William de Verdoun' appears in the Macclesfield Eyre Roll (included within the Cheshire Court Rolls) in relation to land previously held by him at Gaticlyve (i.e. Gatley) by Cheadle, west of Stockport. This section of the rolls refers to there being 24 jurors. There is mention of 'Amercements' and then 'Fines', and under the latter appears the following note:

Geoffrey de Chedle holds 14 houses with hearths, each with an occupier, in Chedle; and these used to render all kinds of forinsee services as puture of the sergeants and sustenance for their dogs, and the pursuit and leading in of animals taken in distraints. The like services used to be rendered also by lands formerly held by Adam the reeve of Crosacres, Walter son of Adam, Robert son of Matthew, Walter de Brumlegh, Adam de Bosco, Filke de Swaynescroft, Roger de Smalwode, all in Echles; William de Verdoun, Jordan de Gaticlyve, Hamme, Adam de Gaticlyve, [blank] son-in-law of Adam the reeve, [blank] Pocke de Gateclyve, all in Gaticlyve [which is an old name for 'Gatley']; and Richard de Hegreve in Hegreve. These services have been withdrawn for a long time, to the loss of the king and queen; and Jordan de Tyderington, Robert de Dounes, Richard de Cappesthorn, Adam son of Roger de Aldridelegh, Richard de Sotingham, Adam the Rede of Hendebiry, John de Astul, Hamon de Hemigshawe, Hugh de Bradeford, William son of Henry de Rode, Adam Balle and Henry de Faleghes were ordered to make inquiry and certify the steward at Michaelmas next at Makelisfeld [i.e. Macclesfield].

This William de Verdon mentioned above could be one of the de Verdons of Aston-on-Trent, Derbyshire who, as already mentioned, appear with regularity in the chartulary of St. Werburgh's Abbey in Chester - perhaps William, son of Arnold de Verdon. William might also be another of the de Verdons of Biddulph & Darlaston, but it is much more likely that he is simply one of the earlier Verdons of Fulshaw, from Woodford. The de Verdons of Derbyshire are covered in greater detail below.

Approximately 50 years later, three descendants of Jordan de Verdun who are the ancestors of the Verdons of Fulshaw, are mentioned in 'The early history of the Davenports of Davenport' edited by TP Highet, and published by the Chetham Society, 3rd series, 9, 1960 - all appear in the details transcribed from the 'Rotelus de Portura' (i.e. 'The Puture Roll'). 

The first of these, 'Jordan de Verdun' is mentioned in 1342-3 in the 19th year of the reign of Edward III in relation to land at Woodford, in the parish of Prestbury, Cheshire - likely to be the same land mentioned in relation to Jordan de Verdun who appears in 1289, within the Court Rolls of Cheshire, as mentioned above. 

From page 61:

Puture Roll.

Early fourteenth century.

B.D.M., II, 3, Macclesfield.

2 mm. 3 in. wide.

Wedeford.  iij s. vj d. De magistro Ricardo d'fulschaue q't, De Willelmo fratro suo q't, De Alikot de le ker, De Ricardo de Neuton, De Jurdan' le Verdun 6


6  This name is an addition - this probably means the name was literally added to the existing text and could be seen to have been by the author of this history of the Davenports.

The same Richard de Newton appears to be mentioned in the Inquisition Post Mortem of Roger de Chedle, who died in 1326. Earwaker provides a transcription of this document but may have been mistaken in giving the name 'Jordan de Vernon' rather than 'Jordan de Verdon', as follows:

Of this GEOFFREY DE CHEDLE 1 who thus succeeded his father, nothing appears to be now known. He was followed by ROGER DE CHEDLE c, probably his brother, who died before 1321, leaving a widow, Matilda, and two daughters coheiresses. The former died in 1326, when the following Inquisition Post Mortem was taken: d —

Inq. p. m. taken before the Bailiff of Macclesfield, at Chedle, the Wednesday next after the feast of St. Lawrence [Aug. 10], 20 Edward II. [1326], by the oaths of Roger de Vernon, Jordan de Vernon [Jordan de Verdon?], Richard de Neuton, Richard del Ringeway, Robert de Colshagh, Thomas del Hulegh, William Willot, Thomas de Swetenham, John le Mascy, Richard le Mascy, and Robert de Stopport [i.e. Stockport], who say that Matilda, who was the wife of Roger de Chedle, held the manor of Chedle for the term of her life, and that the manor is held of the King by the service of one knight's fee. And that the said manor belongs to the heirs, Clemence the wife of William de Bagulegh, and Agnes, the wife of Richard de Bulkelegh, both of full age, the said manor being worth per annum £30. 

Footnotes from the original text:

c  In the 11th Edward II. [1317-18] a fine was levied between Roger de Chedle and Matilda his wife, and Robert de Chedle, concerning tenements in Chedle, Clifton, and Hale. — Cheshire Plea Rolls.

d  Harl. MSS. 2074, f. 104 b.

Additional footnotes:

1  Geoffrey de Chedle was the son of Geoffrey de Chedle who died in 1294 and was the son of Geoffrey de Dutton, son of Hugh de Dutton of Dutton. This branch of the de Dutton family adopted the name of the place they became associated with, in the same way as many other families at that time.

Then Nicholas de Verdon is recorded with his son Edmund in 1355-6 in the 29th year of the reign of King Edward III. 'Nicholas de Verdon' is listed in connection with land at Romelegh - this place is Romilly, a township in the parish of Stockport, Cheshire, close to Gatley (i.e. Gaticlyve mentioned above in relation to the earlier William de Verdoun). Then Nicholas's son - 'Edmundus filius Nichole de Verdon' - is listed in relation to land at Wernwyth cum Romylegh (in the parish of Stockport, Cheshire).

This same Nicholas de Verdon is cited next in a deed dated 8th November 1358, as a witness to the Feoffment of an Estate Tail. The deed is in a collection of archives from the 'Grey (Stamford) of Dunham Massey Papers, Sections 1-3: Title Deeds & Settlements' - Deeds for the Manors of Carrington & Hattersley and Lands of the Carrington Family'. The collections is found at The John Rylands University Library of The University of Manchester and the reference number of the deed in question is 'GB 133 EGR1/2/1'. Details provided in the Scope and content read as follows:

Parties: (1) Thomas (de Assheton) rector of Aston upon Mersey parish church (2) Sir William Carrington, and Matilda his wife.

Property: all lands, tenements, rents etc. that (1) has in Stockport, Hattersley and Mottram in Longdendale by gift of (2).

To (2), remainder to Thomas son of (2) and his heirs for ever.

Witnesses: Richard Fytoun, John Fiton, Sir Robert de Legh, Robert de Staucklegh, Nicholas de Verdon and others.

Dated at Bottoms Hall [to. Hattersley] ("Bothums").

Endorsed: i) "William Carrington" ; ii) "32 E 3 (No 2)".


The Fittons mentioned above are probably members of the same Fitton family who are mentioned above in relation to Fulshaw.

The date of William de Carrington's endorsement was sometime between 25th Jan 1359 and 24th Jan 1360; this is known from the dates of Edward III's reign (25 Jan 1327 - 21 June 1377).

Sir William de Carrington appears to have had a connection with the Arderne family, suggested by a mentioned of him and the Manor of Bothomes [see 'Bottoms Hall' / 'Bothums' above] made by Ormerod - this appears on page 39 of his 'The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester', within the chapter on Edisbury Hundred, as follows:

Hugh de Arderne was son and heir of Peter de Arderne, as appears by a mandate to Matilda, widow of William de Carrington, to restore to him the manor of Bothomes, which William, a son of Walter de Stokeport, had settled on the issue of Peter and Cecilia de Arderne. 

Ormerod mentions Sir William again on page 87 of his 'Miscellanea Palatina: consisting of genealogical essays illustrative of Cheshire Domesday roll, compiled from original authorities (1851)', under the chapter headed 'Arderne of Alvanley':

Hugh Arderne of Harden and Alvanley, erroneously called son of Sir John de Arderne in the Visitation of 1566, succeeded as son of Piers and Cecilia, and is expressly so styled in a precept to Maud, wife of Sir William Carrington, respecting the manor of Bothomes2,- somewhat later than 47 Edward III, in which year Sir William was living. He was contracted husband of Agnes, daughter of Robert de Hulme, 29 Edward III, and was husband of Cecilia, daughter of Palph Hyde, 2 Richard II, and survived in 6 Henry V, when he granted his lands in Alvanley to his surviving son, Ralph Ardern, and his wife Catherine,' having also had issue . Peter, Ralph, and John.

Footnote 2 - Arderne Deeds, Harl. MSS. 2074, 133

Notes: The 7th year of the reign of Edward III would have been 1374-5, since Edward’s reign ran from 25th January 1327 to 21st June 1377. The Manor of Bothomes must be the location of 'Bottoms Hall' and 'Bothums', which is mentioned in the 1358 Deed above. Bothams Hall can be found on today's Ordnance Survey maps located on the River Etherow, midway between Werneth Low and Chisworth, less than 5km north east of Romiley and c.14km north east of Woodford. Until modern times, Bothams Hall was in the county of Cheshire.

Nicholas is not mentioned under Romelegh in the Puture Roll after Easter 1378 (1st year of the reign of King Richard II), so he may have died before this time. Whatever the answer, in 1387 his son Edmund de Verdon was recorded as having land at Woodford in the parish of Prestbury, Cheshire, and he had a son called Geoffrey, of Fulshaw who died in 1421. As mentioned above, in 1445 an 'Edward Verdon' was recorded as one of the Knights and Gentlemen of Cheshire, in the Hundred of Macclesfield. He may have been  a son of Geoffrey and brother of Henry - all covered in more detail below.

Edmund de Verdon, his children Margaret and Geoffrey and the latter's wife Margaret, daughter of Thomas de Sherd are all mentioned in a Charter dated 1386/7, in which Simon de Wagstaff, Vicar of Glossop in Derbyshire grants Edmund lands in Woodford, which Edmund had granted to Simon some years before. 

The charter has these words of explanation added to it, which may date from 17th or 18th century:

BELOW – a transcription of the words shown above :-

Symon de Wagstaff settled lands in Wydesford on Edmund le Verdon for life, remaindr to Geffrey de Verdon & the heirs of the bodyes of the said Geffrey & Margaret daughter of Thomas le Sherd with other remainders. Dated 10 Rich. 2.

BELOW – Symon de Waggestaff's Charter granting lands to Edmund de Verdon :-

The photographs above are reproduced with the kind permission of Boyd Mackus.

A transcription and translation of the charter by professional palaeographer David Bethell reads as follows:

Sciant prsentes & futur’ q’d ego Symon Waggestaff vicar’ ecc’e de Glosshop’ dedi concessi & hac prsenti carta mea confirmaui Edmu’do le vrdon’ ad trminu’ vite sue om’es trras & tenementa mea cu’ suis ptin’ in Wydefford in villa de Pouynton’ que quidem trr’ & tenem’ta cu’ ptin’ habui de dono & feoffamento ip’ius Edmu’di in villa prd’ca. H’end’ & tenend’ om’es prd’cas trras & ten’ta cu’ ptinencijs prd’co Edmu’do ad totam vitam sua’ de capital’ d’nis feodi illius p sruicia inde debita & co’sueta lib’e quiete b’n & in pace cu’ om’ibus co’moditatibs lib’isq’ co’is & eysiamentis d’cis trris & ten’ts spctantibs vbiq’ [Et quoad] statum post decessum ip’ius Edmu’di volo & concedo q’d tunc om’es predict’ trr’ & tenement’ prd’ca cu’ ptin’ remaneant Galfrido le vrdon’ & heredibus intr ip’m & Margaretam filiam Thome de Shord legi’e pcreats  tenend’ de capital’ d’nis feodi illius p sruicia inde debita & consuet’ in forma prd’ca. Et si contingat ip’m Galfridus sine herede intr ip’m & prfatam Margareta’ legi’e pcreat’ obir’ q’d absit tunc volo & concedo q’d om’es prdict’ trr’ & ten’ta cu’ suis ptin’ heredibus de corpe ip’ius Galfridi legi’e pcreats remaneant tene’d’ de capital’ d’nis feodi illis p sruic’ inde debit’ & de iure consuet’ in forma prnotata. Et si contingat prfatum Galfridum sine h’m’ herede de corpe suo legi’e pcreat’ obit’ tunc volo & concedo q’d om’es prdict’ trr’ & ten’ta cu’ suis ptinenc’ Margrie filie Edmu’di le vrdon’ & h’edibs de corpe suo legi’e pcreat’ remaneat tene’d’ de capital’ d’nis feodi illis p sruicia que ad illa ten’ta ptinent in forma prd’ca. Et si co’tingat ip’am Margeriam sine h’ede de corpe suo legi’o pcreat’ obir’ tunc volo & concedo q’d om’es prd’ce trr’ & tenem’ta cu’ ptin’ Rectis h’edibus prd’ci Edmu’di le vrdon’ remaneant imppetuu’. Et ego vro prd’cus Symon & h’edes mei om’es prd’cas trras & ten’ta cu’ om’ibs suis ptin’ prd’co Edmu’do ad trnu’ tocis vite sue & prfato Galfrido & heredibs intr ip’m galfridu’ & prd’ca’ Margareta’ de corpibs suis legi’e pcreat’ & eciam h’edibs de corpe eiusde’ Galfridi quoquomodo legi’e exeuntibs si co’tingat ip’m galfridu’ sine h’ede intr ip’m & prfata’ Margareta’ obir’ Ac ecia’ prfate Margerie & h’e[dibs de corpe] suo legi’e pcreats conta o’nes ho’ies in forma prd’ca Warantizabims & defendems imppetuu’  In [cuis rei testi’o]m prsenti carte mee sigillum meu’ apposui  Hiis testibus  Petro de Legh’ tunc balli’o Man[rij de Ma]cclesfeld’  Rob’o de Legh’ & Nich’o vrnon’ militibs  Joh’e de Honford  Joh’e Pygot  Ric’o de ..... ..... Chorlegh’  Joh’e de Rossyndale cl’ico & alijs  Dat’ apud Pouynton’ die Marts px’ ante festum ...... anno rr’ Ric’i s’cdi post conquestum decimo.

The text above is translated as follows:

Know present and future that I, Simon Waggestaff vicar of the church of Glosshop, have given, granted and by this my present charter confirmed to Edmund le Verdon for term of his life all my lands and tenements with their appurtenances in Wydefford in the vill of Povynton, which said lands and tenements with appurtenances I had by the gift and feoffment of the said Edmund in the vill aforesaid. To have and to hold all the aforesaid lands and tenements with appurtenances to the aforesaid Edmund for all his life from the chief lords of that fee by the services thence due and accustomed, freely, quietly, well and in peace, with all commodities and free commons and easements to the said lands and tenements wherever belonging. And as to the estate after the decease of the said Edmund, I will and grant that all the aforesaid lands and tenements aforesaid with appurtenances shall remain to Geoffrey le Verdon and to the heirs lawfully begotten between him and Margaret daughter of Thomas de Sherd, to hold from the chief lords of that fee by the services thence due and accustomed in form aforesaid. And should it happen (which heaven forbid) that the said Geoffrey die without heir lawfully begotten between him and the aforesaid Margaret, then I will and grant that all the aforesaid lands and tenements with their appurtenances shall remain to the heirs of the body of the said Geoffrey lawfully begotten, to hold from the chief lords of that fee by the services thence due and of right accustomed, in form abovesaid. And if it should happen that the aforesaid Geoffrey die without heir of his body lawfully begotten, then I will and grant that all the aforesaid lands and tenements with their appurtenances shall remain to Margery daughter of Edmund le Verdon and to the heirs of her body lawfully begotten, to hold from the chief lords of that fee by the services that pertain to those tenements in form aforesaid. And should it happen that the said Margery die without heir of her body lawfully begotten, then I will and grant that all the aforesaid lands and tenements shall remain to the right heirs of the aforesaid Edmund le Verdon, for ever. And I the aforesaid Simon and my heirs shall warrant and defend for ever all the aforesaid lands and tenements with all their appurtenances to the aforesaid Edmund for term of all his life, and to the aforesaid Geoffrey and to the heirs of their bodies lawfully begotten between the said Geoffrey and the aforesaid Margaret, and also to the heirs of the body of the same Geoffrey howsoever lawfully issuing, should it happen the said Geoffrey die without heirs of his body between him and the aforesaid Margaret, and also to the aforesaid Margery and to the heirs of her body lawfully begotten, against all men, in form aforesaid. In witness of which I have affixed my seal to this my present charter, these being witnesses: Peter de Legh then bailiff of the manor of Macclesfeld, Robert de Legh and Nicholas Vernon knights, John de Honford, John Pygot, Richard de ....., ..... Chorlegh, John de Rossyndale clerk and others. Given at Povynton on Tuesday before the feast ..... in the 10th year of the reign of Richard the 2nd after the Conquest. [i.e. 1386/7]

Notes to the text above:

Edmund le Verdon : This seems to be the first time that a member of the family has their surname presented as 'le Verdon' rather than 'de Verdon'. In 1355/6 (see above), Edmund appears recorded in the Puture Roll as Edmundus filius Nichole de Verdon. It may be that the person who wrote down the charter made an error, but more likely that it indicated a change in usage of the French 'd' in England, with it becoming less common before its use almost entirely disappeared. Also, there was no place in England that a scribe could attach the territorial designation of 'de Verdon' to, unlike the examples of Cheshire families like the 'de Leghs' or 'de Honfords'. Edmund was seen therefore as 'the Verdon' rather than 'from Verdon', perhaps also meaning he was the head of this Verdon family.

Robert de Legh : 'Sir Robert de Legh' was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1393 and 1398. A Richard de la Legh had been Sheriff 1375-77. According to Ormerod (History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, Vol. 3, page 333) Sir Robert de Legh of Adlington was the son of Robert de Legh of Adlington (whose Inquisition Post Mortem was dated 6 Richard II) and his wife Matilda, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John de Arderne. He married Isabella (or Isabel), daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas de Belgrave by Joane, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Pulford; Isabel's half-brother was Sir Thomas Grosvenor, son of Sir Robert Grosvenor. She and Robert had at least two children, a son Robert de Legh of Adlington who married Matilda whose second husband was William de Honford, and a daughter Joanna who married Ralph Davenport of Davenport and was remarried (after Ralph's death) to John de Legh of High Legh.

Peter de Legh : 'Sir Peter de Legh' was the younger brother of Sir Robert de Legh and son of Robert de Legh and his wife Matilda de Arderne. Sir Peter was Bailiff of Macclesfield at the time of the charter above, and is also recorded elsewhere as having been Steward of the Manor of Macclesfield. He married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Danyers of Clifton.

Nicholas Vernon : 'Sir Nicholas de Vernon' was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1383.

John de Honford : Ormerod provides details of the de Honford (otherwise 'Handford') family that tell us that John was the son of Henry de Honford. The family took its name from a township called Honford, in the parish of Cheadle, Cheshire, which later became known as 'Handforth'. It is located a few miles west north west of Woodford and a similar distance south of Gatley. John married Margery, daughter and co-heiress of William de Praers of Baddiley (33-46 Edward III), and previously widow of Hugh Holt. Before her marriage to Hugh, she had had a bastard son by John de Honford, who was also named John. John de Honford the elder held the manors of Honford and Bosden in demense and rented other land in Cheadle from Peter de Legh and his wife Margaret, in socage by right of his wife Margaret de Praers. A later member of the de Honford family - William Handford - was one of the feoffees (i.e. Trustees) of Geoffrey de Verdon's grandson Thomas Verdon - see below.

John de Rossyndale : John de Rossyndale appears in a variety of records as a witness, sometimes alongside Robert de Legh, and he is either described as a 'Clerk' or 'Chaplain'. In the 13th year of the reign of King Richard II, three years after he witnessed the Charter granting land to Edmund de Verdon above, it is recorded that the king granted a pardon, on payment of thirty shillings, to John de Hagh, vicar of Prestbury, and John de Rossyndale, chaplain, for purchasing a messuage, 100 acres of land, 6 acres of meadow, and 4 acres of wood, in Dystelegh, and the office of the bailliwick of the ninth part of the forestership of the forest of Macclesfield, which they had purchased from John del Sherd and Joyce his wife, being the inheritance of Joyce. The settlement of the premises was confirmed to John and Joyce Sherd for life, with remainder to John son of Roger de Mottrum, and his heirs male, with like remainder in tail male to Roger, Ralph, Richard, and Robert, brothers of John. Remainder to Joyce and her heirs. (Legh MS., copied by Canon Raines.). This appears in 'Remains Historical & Litary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester Published by The Chetham Society, Volume XCVII, MDCCCLXXVI' (1876), in which was published 'Contributions towards a History of the Ancient Parish of Prestbury in Cheshire by Frank Renaud', on pages 195-196. These pages lie within the section that starts on page 185, headed 'The Royal Forest of Macclesfield'. Above this entry on page 196 featuring John de Rossyndale, is an interesting note of further relevance to the de Sherd family: Sutton and Disley were held by the family of Sutton, though Adam, son of Alan Sutton, held his own lands in Sutton by the earl’s charter. Adam Sutton was master sergeant of Macclesfield hundred before 1226, which office he ceded, or was deprived of by Randle Blundeville, who granted it to Vivian Davenport against his will, and in compensation for the park and vivaries of Macclesfield, of which the earl had deprived him. (Ormerod and Davenport deed.) In the reign of Edward III. John Sutton was bailiff, or receiver, of Macclesfield forest. Worth, a township in Poynton, was held by the family of Worth first, and afterwards by that of Downes, through marriage. Disley appears to have been subdivided, as in addition to what occurs under the head of Sutton, Jordan de Disley held his lands in Disley in name of forestership. The name John de Disteleghe occurs amongst the alphabet of charters in the tower of London, in the time of Edward II. The arms borne by the Disleys were argent, on a bend between two cotises dancetty gules, three martlets or. This coat was formerly to be seen in Macclesfield church. The Disleys were succeeded in office by the Sherds, through marriage; and the members of the Sherd family were sub-foresters till the civil wars in the days of the Stuarts, when they embraced the cause of the royalists and suffered ruin.

John Pygot : An old document in Derbyshire dated 24th December 1386 records 'John Pygot' appearing as a witness, along with Robert de Legh, Nicholas le Vernon', William le Walt of Haywoode, Thomas de Falores and others. They were witnessing a gift and counterpart by Adam de Bromyleghes to Margery de Revet of all his lands and tenements in le Bromyleghes in the villein of Nether Alderlegh; to be held for life of the chief lord of the fee with remainder to John son of William de Smallegh and Elena his wife (daughter of said Adam) and their heirs.

Richard de ____ : It is not impossible that this person was 'Richard de Venables' who was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1386, but equally possible that he could be a wide range of people.

_____ Chorlegh : It has not yet been discerned who this person is, but 'Chorlegh' is likely to be 'Chorley', a township of Wilmslow that is now known as Alderley Edge. If this is not correct then it could refer to another Chorley, which is located between Nantwich and Baddiley.

T.W. Barlow, in The Cheshire and Lancashire Collector (page 130, Volume No. 11, 1st November 1853), which he edited, includes a valuable account of Geoffrey de Verdon of Woodford who is detailed above and later as 'of Fulshaw'. Barlow tells us what he is providing is a transcription of a document taken from Mr Finney's M.S. (Barlow precedes it on page 129 with information headed 'Ancient Tenure of the Manor of Bolin (From Mr. Finney's MS.)':


(from the same manuscript)


"We have before observed that Geoffrey le Verdon had married a Daughter of Schert, half owner of the whole Township and settled himself at a house called Schert, after his own name, where Fulshaw Hall now stands. Geoffrey, a pious old man, in the year 1421 1 made his will, by which he bequeathed his Soul to God, St, Mary and all Saints, and his Body to be buried in the cemetry at Wilmslow; he gave his best good Beast in the name of a Mortuary; he also gave Three Shillings and fourpence to make a Torch, and he gave William Stavely the chaplain sixpence, and the Residue of all his Goods to be distributed for the good of his Soul; and he appointed his wife Margaret and Henry his Son, Executors of his will; who no doubt were very grateful to his memory for taking so much care for himself and little for them.

[next page]

"We shall hear no more of this Henry nor any of his successors till the year 1506, when Thomas Verdon gave to William Handford, Esquire, Nicholas Davenport, of Widford, Humphrey Newton of Newton, &c., all his lands in Fulshaw, to hold the same to the Intent to perform his Will. The witnesses were William Booth, of Bolin, Knight; Thomas Davenport, gent. (Fulshaw); Robert Ryley Valect (the then Owner of Pumphouse," &c. 2


Note: "It was a custom to bring the Beast with the Corps to the Church and offer it to the Priest in Satisfaction for all Tithes omitted to be paid to him by the deceased. The Torch was perhaps to burn upon the Altar whilst Mass was saying in St. Mary's Chapel (now the Haythorn Pew), by Stavely, the Chaplain, for the good of Geoffrey's Soul."

Footnotes not included in the original publication:

1  1421/2 - see note below.
2  When Earwaker wrote about this same deed by Thomas Verdon (see below), he dates it as 1507, rather than Finney/Barlow's '1506'. It is not yet known which source correctly records the year.

Earwaker mentions the Will of Geoffrey le Verdon on page 70 of his 'East Cheshire: Past and Present, or A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield in the County Palatine of Chester. From Original Records' (Volume I, published 1877, Chapter: Wilmslow Parish, page 70). The context is explained by the opening words of a section that begins on the second half of page 69 headed:

The Chantries and Altars.

As previously stated, Wilmslow Church is dedicated to St. Bartholomew, and was probably built early in the 13th century, in the middle of which the first notice of it occurs. Of the various altars and chantry chapels which it contained, it is interesting to note that a very early reference to the church mentions an altar there dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and which was in existence prior to the year 1300. In the following charter, without date, preserved amongst the muniments at Trafford Park, Edmund Fitton, Lord of Bolyn, grants certain land "to Godd and the Blessed Mary of Wilmslow." He was livng between the years 1268 and 1297, which affords 1280 as an approximate date for this deed. k

After a transcription of the deed and reference to another one at the top of page 70, Earwaker continues:

In the year 1421 Geoffrey le Verdon of Fulshaw made his will, bequeathing “his soul to God, St Mary and All Saints, and his body to be buried in the cemetry at Wilmslow,” and leaving “his best beast for a mortuary and iij s ivd d (3s. 4d.) to make a torch, and to William Staveley m the chaplain vj d.” Mr Finney who copied this early will in his MS. account of Wilmslow (c.1785) suggests that the torch was probably “to be burnt upon the altar whilst mass was being said in St. Mary’s Chapel (now the Haythorn Pew) by Staveley the Chaplain." m The Haythorn or Hawthorne Pew is at the extremity of the south aisle, and projects into the churchyard. As will be subsequently shown, it stands on the site of a chapel founded by Thomas Ryle, and called "Ryles Chappell". I cannot therefore agree with Mr. Finney that this was where St. Mary's altar stood, but rather that a South Chapel, subsequently called after the Booths, was originally dedicated to St. Mary, and was a chantry chapel, founded and endowed by the Fittons.


k  Trafford deeds - Canon Raines' Lane. MSS., vol. xxv. f.313.

m  This William Staveley, chaplain in 1421, was most probably a relation of Oliver de Staveley or Stayley (the second husband of Joan Venables, the widow of Sir William Venables of Bolyn), who died in 1414.

The entirety of Geoffrey le Verdon's rather brief and straightforward Will has survived and is to be found in Cheshire Record Office with the following reference: D 8066 Title Will of Geoffrey le Verdon of Fulshaw Date 13 Jan 1421/2. It is brief and written on two sides of a single piece of vellum. The fact that it is dated on St. Hilary's Day, 13th January in the 9th year of the reign of King Henry V tells us that the calendar year was 1422, not 1421 as Barlow and others have recorded; this is because the reign of Henry V started on 20th March 1413, so his 9th year began on 20th March 1421, which means January in that year of his reign fell into the following calendar year - 1422. Until 1752, the legal and Church year in Britain was based on the Julian calendar, with each year beginning on Lady Day, 25th March; thereafter it followed the Gregorian calendar and the new year began on 1st January. This explains why dates before Lady Day began to be recorded, for example, 1421/2. Therefore the note added at the bottom of the Will at a later historical date, was correct in giving the year as '1421' at the time it was written, but from 1752 it was incorrect and potentially misleading to readers.

The Will of Geoffrey le Verdon (de Verdon) of Fulshaw:

Above: Geoffrey le Verdon of Fulshaw's last will & testament.
Please note that this is Reproduced with permission of Cheshire Archives & Local Studies
and the owner/depositor to whom copyright is reserved.

A translation reads as follows:

In the name of God, Amen. St. Hilary's Day 1 in the year of the Lord 1421. I Geoffrey le Verdon make my testament in this manner. First I leave my soul to God, the Blessed Mary and all the Saints and my body to be buried in the churchyard of Wilmslow. Also I leave my best beast in payment of mortuaries 2. Next I leave three shillings and four pence to make a torch 3. Also I leave William Staveley 4 the chaplain six pence and I leave the residue of all my goods to be distributed for the good of my soul; and for this testament I make the good and faithful Margaret my wife and Henry my son executors [and] appoint and constitute for oversight Thomas Dene and Ralph Norbere 5.

This testament was .... and proved before ..... ..... ........ .... ....... ........ ...... ......... ...... above written and granted ...... ..... ...... of the goods of the abovementioned executirs of the deceased ...... officially signed / sealed.

A note written at the bottom of the Will

Geoffrey le Verdon's last Will made on St. Hilary's Day January 13th on 9 Henry V 1421.6


1  St. Hilary's Day is 13th January, and was one of the traditional feast days that were typically used to date transactions, as is often seen in Royal records. It gave its name in many schools to the 'Hilary Term'.

2  As explained above, 'Mortuaries' was an old form of payment the church benefited from. It was a way of settling any tithes that may have been due from the deceased. This was turned into monetary payments in the following century.

3  The Torch would have been made from wax and was probably a particularly large candle. It may have been used as part of the funeral procession and thereafter placed on the altar.

4  A William de Staveley appears as Abbot of Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, in 1389. Perhaps William Staveley who is mentioned in Geoffrey's will is the same man or a relative, or his name is a coincidence.

Ralph Norbere may otherwise appear in records as 'Ralph de Norbury', and Thomas Dene is likely to be one of the 'de Dene' family of Cheshire, who appear in other records.

As already mentioned, since it was in the 9th year of Henry V's reign, this St. Hilary's Day was in what we would now see as the calendar year 1422.

George Ormerod in his History of the County Palatine and City of Chester (1882 Volume page 592) mentions that in 1277 the Knights of St. John granted part of the Manor of Fulshaw to Richard del Shert ('de Sherd'). The present Fulshaw Hall, built in the 17th century is said to be on the very site of the medieval Sherd Manor House, which dated back to the 13th century. Earwaker in his East Cheshire (Vol. 1 1877, page 64) informs us that this was a large timber building, which was pulled down having fallen into a ruinous state.

An old pedigree of 'Sherd of Sherd, Disley, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Rotherham, etc', appears in Joseph Foster's 'Pedigreees of the County Families of Yorkshire' and it provides more information about the Sherd-Verdon connection. Geoffrey de Verdon married Margaret de Sherd, daughter of Thomas del Sherd of Sherd Hall, near Wilmslow and his wife Cecilia ___. Thomas's father was Sir John de Sherd (also recorded as 'Sherde'), Lord of Sherd and of Disley Stanley, in the Hundred of Macclesfield. in 1342, the 16th year of the reign of King Edward III, Sir John de Sherd held a certain forestership in Macclesfield Forest. He married Joan, the heir general of the Distleys. Foster quotes the view given in Ormerod's history, that she was a daughter of Richard de Perton (otherwise recorded as 'de Pecton' i.e. Picton, a few miles N.E. of Chester), who was found by an Inquisition Post Mortem taken after 1342, to have held by grand serjeantcy from the Earl of Chester, with others, a forestership in Macclesfield Forest, at which time his kinsman, Richard, son of Richard de Sherd, and Richard, son of Richard de Reddish, were next heirs. Jordan de Dystelegh was one of the nine foresters who claimed liberties in the forest of Macclesfield c.16 Edward I, and he held his land of Dystelegh (i.e. 'Disley', and Disley Stanley) by a charter of Earl Randle of Chester granted to his predecessors. Disley lies just outside the boundary of today's Peak District National Park, c.7km east of Woodford and c.5km from Poynton.

However, Joseph Foster's pedigree of the Sherd family may not be correct. In his 'East Cheshire' history, Earwaker provides slightly different information, with much more detail to back it up. It may be worth recording some of this here (see below). Earwaker follows his history about Disley and the Sherds, with a pedigree of Sherd of Sherd and Disley that appears to be from Sir William Dugdale's 1663 Visitation of Cheshire, which Earwaker refers to above the pedigree, but which Earwaker appears to add his own note to, as follows: Authorities: Inquisitions post mortem. Cheshire Visitation, 1663 (Heralds' College). Disney Registers, Wills, &c. The pedigree begins with Richard del Sherd who married ____? dau of Rich. de Pecton

East Cheshire: Past and Present; or A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield in the County Palatine of Chester. From Original Records.

By J. P. Earwaker, MA, FSA (of Merton College, Oxford)

In Two Volumes - Volume II. London 1877

Chapter: Stockport Parish, Section: Disley Township, page 84 - 85

Disley Township

This township, anciently written Dystelegh and sometimes Distley Stanley, from one of its outlying portions, is situated on the eastern side of Macclesfield Hundred, bordering on Derbyshire, from which it is separated by the river Goyt. It is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but from an early period it formed part of the extensive moorland called Macclesfield Forest, belonging to the Earl of Chester, under whom the lands were held by Forest service. Towards the end of the 13th century, three chief families held lands in this township, the following being the return made at an Inquisition taken at Chester in the 16th Edward I. [1288], to show what services were owed to the King, as Earl of Chester, in the time of war in Wales: a  ⎯ 

I.  JORDAN DE DISTLEGH holds his land in Distelegh by Forest Service, and shall come to the summons of our lord the King and follow his standard, with the same arms with which he keeps his Forestership (cum eisdem arms quits custodian balsam sum), viz. with bows and arrows, and whilst he is with the army he shall

not be discharged from the custody of the Forest (non erit exoneratus de custodia fforestae).

II.  ROGER DE STANLEGH holds his land [in Stanlegh in Distelegh] by the same service.

III.  JOHN DE SUTTON holds his land in Sutton and Distelegh by the same service.b

These three Foresters, with six others, had charge of the Earl of Chester's rights in Macclesfield Forest, as will be more particularly explained in the account of that Forest. It will be best to take the successive owners of the above lands in order.

I.  The Distelegh Forestership

The lands held by Jordan de Distelegh passed to JOHN DE DISTELEGH, probably his son, whose Inquisition post mortem was taken in 1308.

Inq. p. m. taken at Chester the Wednesday next after the feast of St. Thomas the Martyr [Aug. 5], 2 Edw. II. [1308], before Stephen le Blount, Escheator, by the oaths of William de Brereton, Hugh de Dutton, William Gerard, William de Modburghlegh, William de Dounes, John de Coton, junr., Alan de Tabelegh, William de Mulneton, Robert de Codinton, William Torald, William de Capinhurst, and Fulk de Meoles, Jurors, who say that John de Distelegh held of the King, as Earl of Chester, in capite, one messuage and one carucate of land in Distelegh, by the service of keeping the Forest of Macclesfield, together with the other Foresters of the same Forest, and that in the same are worth per annum 40s., and that John, son of the said John de Distelegh, is next heir, and is aged 10 years.

These lands seem, however, to have passed away from this family before 1333, for in that year a fine was levied between Richard de Pecton and John Makkestone and Agnes his wife, concerning tenements in Distelegh and the office of bailiff of the Forest of Macclesfield in Distelegh.  JOHN DE PECTON died in 1362, but the Inquisition taken after his death is now nearly illegible His son, RICHARD DE PECTON, died in 1369, when the following return from made.  ⎯

Inq. p. m. taken at Wilmeslowe on the 
Friday next before the feast of the Epiphany, 43 Edward III. [1369], by the oaths of Ralph de Wilbram, Thomas de Swetenham of Kerthyncham, Robert de Legh, Robert de Stanlegh, William Pigot, Henry Pigot, Thomas Wylot, Robert de Shriggelegh, William del Dounes of Shriggelegh, Edmund del Dounes, John de Honford, senr., and Ralph de Crannache, Jurors, who say that Richard, the son of John de Pecton, held in his demesne as of fee, a certain Forestership in the Forest of Macclesfield, of the Earl of Chester, in capete, by grand serjeantry, of the yearly value of 20s. Also he held certain tenements in Stopport, of Isabella, who was the wife of Robert de Eton, Lord of Stopport, in socage, of the yearly value of 13s. 4d. And they say that Richard, the son of Richard del Sherde, and Richard, son of Richard de Rediche, are his next heirs, and both are above 21 years of age. 

RICHARD DEL SHERD, returned as one of the heirs in the above Inquisition in 1369, is the first of that name connected with Disley, where his descendants remained for many generations. It is not improbable that his father was connected in some way with the Sherds of Fulshaw Hall, in Wilmslow (see vol. I. p.150), and that he had married one of the daughters of Richard de Pecton. No Inquisitions post mortem relating to this family occur till 1438, when that of WILLIAM DEL SHERD, 
 probably the son of Richard del Sherd, was taken. 

Inq. p. m. taken at Macclesfield the Monday next after the feast of Easter, 16 Henry VI. [1438], before John de Legh of the Rigge, Escheator, by the oaths of Roger de Mottram, Robert Worth, William de Bolynton, John de Creswall, John de Worth, Reginald del Dounes, Reginald de Shrigley, John de Oldefield, Nicholas del Dounes, William del Dounes, Geoffrey de Stanley, and John Holynworth, of Distelegh, and the office of Bailiff of the Forest of Macclesfield, at Distelegh, held of the King, as Earl of Chester, as of his manor of Macclesfield, by the service of the 10th part of one Knight's fee, and of the yearly value of 26s. 8d. Also he held 1 messuage and 24 acres of land in Adlington, of Robert de Legh of Adlyngton, of the yearly value of 20s. The same William died on the Wednesday in the fourth week of Lent last past, and [Hugh del Sherde  ] his son and heir was aged 26 years and more.

HUGH DEL SHERD, who succeeded his father, died in 1473, and his Inquisition post mortem, taken in that year, states that he held the same lands and office as his father, and that William Sherd, his son and heir, was 24 years of age. k  This William, called WILLIAM SHERD, of Sherd, in Distelegh, died in 1496, and the return made after his death shows that he held the same lands as his father and grandfather. l  WILLIAM SHERD, his son and heir, then aged 21 years and more, succeeded. He. like William Hondford of Handford (vol. I. p. 243), and many other Cheshire men, was slain in 1513, at the fatal battle of Flodden Field. His Inquisition post mortem was taken in 1516, as follows: m  ⎯

Footnotes provided in the original text:

a  From a contemporary copy pencs W. Beaumont, Esq., and compared with other later transcripts in my possession.

b  A somewhat earlier return is printed by Dr. Ormerod in his "History of Cheshire." vol. iii. p.280, old edition, taken from the Cottonian MSS. in the British Museum (Cleop. D. VI. p.4), in which these lands were held respectively by Forest service by Jordan de Dystelegh, Grym de Stanlegh. and John de Sutton. I should date this about 1280. Grym de Stanlegh was living in 1273.

c  Jordan de Distelegh occurs as one of the jury in the Inquisition post mortem of Robert de Dunes in 1273, and in that of Harvey de Sutton in 1282. (General Inquisitions. ⎯ Record Office).

d  Cheshire Inquisitions. ⎯ Record Office.

Cheshire Plea Rolls. ⎯ Record Office.

This Inq. p. m. was taken 36 Edward III. [1362], at Macclesfield. The Jurors' names are "William Jodrell, William Champayn, William de Dounes of Shrygelegh, Robert de Shrygelegh, Edmund de Homelden, Henry Byran, Benedict Normon, Robert de Holyncete, Hugh de ......., Roger son of Simon de Mottram, and Thomas son of Thomas de Hyde, who say that JOHN DE PECTON was seised as of fee ........ held of the Earl of Chester, in capete, by Forestry, which is worth per annum ...... Also he held one burgage and one place ....... held of ............ de Stokeport in burgage, worth 10s. And they say that Richard de Pecton is his son and heir.

g  Cheshire Inquisitions. ⎯ Record Office.

William del Sherd was living in 1411, he he had a grant from Henry Prince of Wales of Wayley Mill, in the Forest of Macclesfield, for three years, free of all rent, and then for 13 years at a rent of 46s. 8d. yearly. ⎯ Cheshire Recog. Rolls.

i  Cheshire Inquisitions. ⎯ Record Office.

j  The name is torn away in the original Inquisition in the Record Office, but the transcript enrolled on the Cheshire Recognizance Rolls (16 & 17 Henry VI., m. 8 (14) ), the name Hugh del Sherde is given as the son and heir; and on April 24, 1438, he had livery of his father's lands in Distelegh.

k  This Inq. p. m. was taken at Chester the Wednesday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [Sept. 14.], 13 Edward IV. [1473], before Thomas Wolton, Escheator, by the oaths of John Bunbury, Thomas Hulse, Thomas Froddesham, John Maisterson, Richard Osbaldeston, John Parr, Thomas Crue, Richard Bebynton, Philip Acton, John Ryley, William Willot, and John Rediche, Jurors. He died the Friday after the feast of Epiphany last past.

l  This Inq. p. m. was taken at Chester, 7 Sept., 12 Henry VII. [1496], before Roger Maynwaryng, Escheator, by the oaths of Ralph Warburton, Robert Mascy of Golbron [should that have been recorded as 'Golborn'?], Philip Filkyn, Henry Aldersay, Richard Mascy of Grafton, Thomas Starkey of Stretton, Thomas Huxley of Bryndeley, Robert Cotgreve, and Thomas Chanu of Burlonde, Jurors. he died the Monday next after the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross [May 3] last past.

m  Cheshire Inquisitions. ⎯ Record Office.

Later, on page 89, when dealing with the Stanley Forestership, Earwaker tells us that Roger Symondessone (Roger son of Simon) married Joyce, the daughter and heiress of Richard de Stanley and by this marriage he succeeded to the Stanley's lands of Disley and the office of Forester of Macclesfield Forest, and that he afterwards had the name Roger de Mottram, after the place of his birth. Roger died and his widow Joyce married as her 2nd husband, John del Sherd, who was the son of Richard del Sherd and ___?, daughter of Richard de Pecton, and held the lands in Stanley until his death. According to Earwaker, on 23rd December 1389, John del Sherd of Stanley, and Joyce his wife, had a pardon from the king on payment of a small fine, for taking to themselves the above-named lands and office, as of right of the said Joyce. These lands were settled on them for their lives, with remainder to John, son of Roger de Mottrum, and Roger, Ralph, Richard, and Robert de Mottrum, his brothers tail male. (Cheshire Recognizance Rolls, Record Office, and Legh of Lyme Deeds, Lancashire MSS., vol. xxxviii.).  Joyce died on 4th October 1387. Earwaker writes that she was probably succeeded by her eldest son John de Mottram, who was described in 1409-10 as one of the Bailiffs of the Forest of Macclesfield and keeper of the Gaol of Macclesfield. 

Earwaker's account in this 2nd Volume of his history of East Cheshire leaves the precise pedigree of the Sherds of Fulshaw a little uncertain. Further research is required to clarify and confirm matters and correctly position in the pedigree of the Sherds of Disley, Sir John de Sherd who is said by some to have been the father of Thomas de Sherd, whose daughter Margaret married Geoffrey de Verdon. At this point one may suggest from the evidence currently available that Foster mixed up his data and that Thomas de Sherd was the son, not of 'Sir John de Sherd' but of Richard de Sherd and his wife who was one of the daughters of John de Pecton, who was heir to the Disteleghs. Thomas's brother would therefore have been John de Sherd who married Joyce, widow of Roger de Mottram and heiress of Richard de Stanley who held one of the Foresterships of Macclesfield. Earwaker, in Volume I of his history of east Cheshire enlightens us more, within the chapter dedicated to Fulshaw, from page 149. He tells us on page 150 that:

As described in the above charter, the manor was in part granted to RICHARD DEL SHERT in 1277, and in the early part of the following century a certain ROBERT DEL SHERT, probably his son, grants it to his son Robert. In 1339 Richard del Shert, the elder brother of Robert, quit claims all his rights in the said lands to his brother.

On the following page (transcription further below), Earwaker informs us that Geoffrey le Verdon's wife Margaret was the daughter of Thomas del Sherd, a younger brother of Robert del Sherd, and is so mentioned in an entail in 1339. Perhaps Robert was the brother of John del Sherd of Stanley who married Joyce Stanley and their father was Richard del Sherde, who married a daughter of Richard de Pecton. Another possibility is that it was this 'Richard de Sherde' (whose son Richard was heir to Richard de Pecton) who was the brother of Robert and Thomas de Sherd, and that their father was the 'Sir John de Sherd' who appears in Foster's genealogy. As stated above, there is still more investigation needed on this.

BELOW – the pedigree of Sherd of Sherd and Disley, as published in Earwaker's 'East Cheshire Past and Present; or A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield', Volume II,m page 87 (1877). Thomas de Sherd of Fulshaw is added, and his daughter Margaret, wife of Geoffrey le/de Verdon, who became 'of Fulshaw' through his wife. The coat of arms is the same as that illustrated for Sherd, Shert etc, of Sherd, Disley and Chapel-en-le-Frith given in Joseph Foster's 'Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire', Volume II, West Riding (1874); also Ormerod's 'History of Cheshire' and the Heraldic Visitations of Cheshire 1663, and Buckinghamshire 1634. The description Earwaker provides is Arms:- Argent, on a bend Sable a rose of the field, in the sinister canton a hunting-horn Argent stringed Sable. Crest:- A hunting-horn Argent stringed Sable. Foster provides very slightly different wording: Arms:- Arg., on a bend sa. a rose of the field, in the sinister chief a bugle horn of the second. Crest:- A bugle horn arg., stringed and garnished sa. The bugle hunting horn alludes to the family's historic role in the Forest of Macclesfield. A bugle horn also appears in the arms of the town of Macclesfield. One version of a coat of arms for a branch of the Sherd family has a torn stags head in the opposite position of the shield from the bugle 'of the second'. Such a stags head is the crest of the Vardon family of Goldstone, descended from the branch of Geoffrey de Verdon's family who settled in Congleton in the late 16th century:-

Earwaker in his history of East Cheshire expands a lot on the information provided by Barlow and provides details of many more of the family of Nicholas and Jordan de Verdon. This is detailed below.

East Cheshire: Past and Present; or A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield in the County Palatine of Chester. From Original Records.

By J. P. Earwaker, MA, FSA (of Merton College, Oxford)

In Two Volumes - Volume I. London 1877

Chapter: Wilmslow Parish, Section: Fulshaw Township, Page: 151-152

Subsequent to this date we meet with no further mention of this family, w and by the end of the 14th century the lands seem to have become much subdivided. The share of Fulshaw that Crosse held appears to have passed to the Leghs of Adlington, and the share of the Sherts to have been devided between the Verdons who actually acquired theirs by marriage with Margaret del Shert an heiress; a family of the name Scorgel, x whose lands ultimately passed in 1388 to the Leghs of Adlington; and the Davenports. y In 1387 EDMUND LE VERDON held lands in Woodford, in Prestbury parish; his son Geoffrey le Verdon, married Margaret del Sherd, the daughter of Thomas del Sherd, a younger brother of Robert del Sherd, and is so mentioned in an entail in 1339. GEOFFREY LE VERDON died in 1421, z 3 beqeauthing in his will his best beast as a mortuary, and 2s. 4d. to make a torch, and to William Staveley, The chaplain 6d. HENRY VERDON, his son, is mentioned in his father’s will; and in 1491 a THOMAS VERDON next occurs; and in 1507, by a deed dated “at Scherd in Fulshaw”, he grants all his lands in Fulshaw, in trust to perform his will to William Hondford of Hondford, Esq., Nicholas Davenport of Woodford, Humphrey Newton of Newton, gentleman, and John Hondford, Rector of the Church of Aston. The witnesses to this deed are Sir William Bothe of Bolyn, night, Thomas Davenport (of Fulshaw), gent., Robert Ryley (of Chorley), John Gatley, and Thomas Matley, chaplains, and others. In it he mentions his wife Janet 1 and eight sons. His son and heir EDMUND VERDON, succeeded his father, but was dead before 1530, in which year “THOMAS VERDON, of Sherd, son and heir of Edmund Verdon, late deceased,” is mentioned. His father appears to have resided much in Yorkshire; and amongst the Fulshaw deeds is a very curious one date 1530, in which “Thomas, the Prior of the monastry of Watton, of the order of Saint Gilbert, nigh Beverley co.York,” and a number of knights, esquires, gentry, and clergy made a declaration that Thomas Verdon was the only son of his father, and that he was born at Beswick, and baptised at Kinwick, co.York, and “had to his godfathers Thomas Dalby, late Archdeacon of Richmond, and Sir Henry Thwaitts, knight and Mastres Metham, wiff of Thomas Metham of Metham, squire, yet being of lyf, to his godmoder.” a In 1537 he leased all his lands in Fulshaw to Humphrey Newton, son of Humphrey Newton (of Pownall) the elder, and in 1561, by a deed dated April 12th in that year, in which he is described as “Thomas Verdon of Knottyngley, in the countie of York, gentillman,” b he sells them to Humphrey Newton then called “of Fulshaw, senior,2 ” for the sum of £112; and in 1581 William Verdon, his son and heir releases all his rights in the said lands to William Newton of Fulshaw, son and heir of Humphrey Newton of Fulshaw. 

Footnotes provided with the text:-

w  A family of the Sherds or Sherts is met with at a later date in Disley, where they were hereditary foresters of Macclesfield Forest for many generations.

x  The Scorgels appear also to have inherited by marriage. In 1388 John, the son of Richard Scorgel and Cicely his wife, daughter of John Hobsonne, of Fulshaw, by their deed dated at Butley, quit claim to Sir Robert Legh of Adlington, Knt., all right and title which they may have to the lands &c., in Fulshaw, in right of the said Cicely. In 1413 William, the son of Richard Scorgell, releases to Robert, the son of Robert de Legh, Knt., all his right and claim in one messuage called the Hall of Fulshaw, and certain fields, the Blackfield, the Dufhouseflatt, &c., thereto adjacent.

y  Mr. Finney says, "These three families had each a capital messuage in Fulshaw. The Leghs possessed the old Hall, which according to tradition, stood in the Blackfield, opposite to the end of the Rasfield Lane; there are still traces of a moat, and some pavements and large stones have been discovered in my time there. But what puts the matter out of dispure is the name of the Old Hall Crofts given to the piece of ground thereabouts. When this building was pulled down I do not know. The Verdons' habitation was called Scherd (as I suppose from the family of that name), and was on the same site where the Hall [Fulshaw Hall] now stands. My great-grandfather pulled down a large old timber house to make room for the present one. The Davenports are believed to have lived in the Cross House."

z  In 1393 he effected an exchange with John Scorgel and Cecilia his wife, of one acre of land in Fulshaw called Gudamons. This is perhaps what was afterwards known as “Goodmans Acre.”

a  To this curious deed there were ten small seals attached seven of which now remain; but they are not heraldic. 

b  A pedigree of this family of Verdon of Fulshaw is in my Cheshire MSS., Vol. ii.

Additional footnotes:

1  This appears to be the only place where her name is recorded as 'Janet'; elsewhere in other records her name appears as Johanna or Johanne. Her parentage is discussed below.

2  Clearly 'Humphrey Newton then called "of Fulshaw, senior"' is the son of 'Humphrey Newton (of Pownall) the elder', who is mentioned above (he married Ellen Fitton and died in 1536), and father of 'William Newton of Fulshaw' mentioned below. The reason for the confusion is no doubt due to the fact that Humphrey Newton who married Ethelreda Starkey and was father of William Newton, had other sons who included yet another Humphrey, who from 1536 would have been 'junior' to his father, who had become 'senior', after the death of his own father in 1536.

2  This is an error by Earwaker, who provided 1421 as the numerical church year based on the Julian calendar; as already confirmed above, the calendar year was in fact 1422.

In respect of Henry Verdon, son of Geoffrey, nothing is known beyond the details provided above. However, his son Thomas Verdon who succeeded Henry in possession of Fulshaw appears in a variety of documents, as does Thomas's presumed brother John Verdon, Rector of Lyndeby in NottinghamshireHe first appears in a charter dated 1467/8 of Richard Newton of Newton near Wideford (i.e. Woodford) in Cheshire, and is recorded as John Verdon Rector of the Parish Church of Lyndby in the county of Nottingham. Earwaker translated and transcribed these charters under the heading of 'The Newton Chartulary', which he wrote had been made by Humphrey Newton of Pownall Hall 1525?. They are held at The British Library - the original chartulary is BL. Add. MS 42134. A. and Earwaker's translation is BL. Add. MS 42134. B. The charter in question appears on page 96 and 97. 

Extract from 'The Newton Chartulary'

The British Library BL. Add. MS 42134. B.

‘B’ is the translation by Earwaker of what he called the ‘Newton Chartulary’ and describes as having been ‘made by Humphrey Newton of Pownall Hall 1525?’. The original chartulary, now bound, is ‘BL. Add. MS 42134. A.’

Pages 96 and 97

Date: [ 1467 - 8 ]

Let all present and future know that I Richard Newton of Newton1 near Widford2 have given, granted and by this my present charter confirmed in Randle Davenport Rector of the Parish Church of Wilmslow, James Hall Rector of the Parish Church of Northenden, John Verdon Rector of the Parish Church of Lyndby3 in the county of Nottingham, Geoffrey Davy Rector of the Parish Church of Swettenham, Ralph Arden Chaplain, Lawrence Lowe, Humphrey Newton son of the said Richard, Thomas Fitton of Earthen [???], Robert Newton and Thomas Newton my brothers, John Moburley, John Bradley son of Christopher Bradley, all my lands and tenements, rents and reversions and services with all their appurtenances which I have in Newton aforesaid and elsewhere within the county of Cheshire, and all my goods and chattels, To have and to hold all the aforesaid lands and tenements, rents, reversions, and services with all their appurtenances to the said Randle James, John Verdon, Geoffrey, Randle, Lawrence, Humphrey, Thomas Fitton, Robert, Thomas Newton, John Moburley, and John, their heirs and assigns forever, of the chief lords of those fees by the service thence due and of right accustomed. And I, truly the aforesaid Richard Newton and my heirs, all the aforesaid lands and tenements, rents, reversions, and services with all their appurtenances, to the aforesaid Randle, James, John Verdon, Geoffrey, Randle, Lawrence, Humphrey, Thomas Fitton, Robert, Thomas Newton, John Modburley4, and Bradley, theirs and assigns, aganst all people will warrant and for ever defend. In testimony of which thing to this my present charter, I have placed my seal. 

    These being witnesses : Robert Leigh of Adlington, senior Esquire, John Honford of Honford, Esquire, Christopher Davenport of Wideford, Esquire, John Davenport son and heir apparent of him the said Christopher, Christopher Bradley and many others.

    Given on Monday next after the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Feb. 2] in the 7th year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth after the conquest of England. [1467-8].

Footnotes (not given within Earwaker’s text):

1 Richard Newton of Newton : Richard (born 1441, died 1497) was the son of Oliver Newton (died 1452-3). He married Jane (died 1498), daughter of Geoffrey Lowe of Denby and had a son Humphrey Newton of Pownall, who married Ellen, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Fitton of Pownall (died 1506). Humphrey was born in 1466 and died in the 28th year of the reign of Henry VIII (1536). His heir was his eldest son William Newton of Pownall. His second son, Humphrey Newton junior, married Ethelreda Starkey and leased, then acquired the Verdons’ lands at Fulshaw from Thomas Verdon, son of Edmund.

2 Widford : Woodford, Cheshire.

Lyndby : Linby in Nottinghamshire, situated north of Nottingham and c.20km south east of Chesterfield.

Modburley : i.e. Mobberley, otherwise written in this charter as ‘Moburley’.

As well as being Rector of Lyndeby/Linby in Nottinghamshire, in the Diocese of York, John Verdon became chaplain of the Chantry Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel, in the parish Church of All Saints, Chesterfield. He was probably a brother of Thomas Verdon of Fulshaw who granted his lands at Fulshaw in trust to his son and heir Edmund Verdon in 1507.

John died on 2nd May 1500 and was buried in All Saints, Chesterfield. The place is marked by a brass plate memorial to the east side of the south door. The memorial has these words on it:

Hic subtus humantur ossa Domini Johannis Verdon, quondam Rectoris de Lyndeby in Comitatu Nottinghamiae, Ebor. Dioec. et Capellani Cantariae Sancti Michaelis Archangeli, in Ecclesia paroch. Omniium Sanctorum de Chesterfield; qui obiit secundo die mensis Maii, Anno Domini Mo. D o., pro cujus anima. sic quaeso, orate, et ut pro vestris animabus orare volueritis.

This is recorded on page 96 of ‘The History of Chesterfield, With Particulars of the Hamlets Contiguous to the Town, and descriptive accounts of Chatsworth, Hardwick and Bolsover Castle’ by Rev. George Hall. On the same page, Hall provides a translation, which misses out the words ‘Chantry Chapel’:

Here underneath are interred the mortal remains of John Verdon*, formerly Rector of Lyndeby, in the county of Nottingham, in the Diocese of York, and chaplain of St. Michael the Archangel, in the parish Church of All Saints, in Chesterfield; who died on the 2nd day of May, in the year of our Lord 1500; for whose soul, I entreat you, pray, even as you would pray for your own souls. 

Footnote featured within the original text:

* One of the representatives of the County of Derby, in the fourth Parliament of Edward the third, was named John de Verdon, and probably an ancestor of the above Mr. John Verdon.1 

Additional Footnote:

1   It is possible that Hall has confused the Parliaments of Edward III and has not realised that the John Verdon of Chesterfield was descended from the de Verdons of Woodford and Fulshaw, Cheshire who are a different branch of de Verdons than the man called to Edward III’s Parliaments. Edward III’s fourth Parliament was summoned on 5th March 1328; it assembled and met at York on 24th April and was dissolved on 14th May 1328. Cokayne in his ‘Complete Peerage’ tells us that John de Verdon, son of Sir Thomas de Verdon of Brixworth (Northamptonshire), Bressingham (Norfolk) and other manors in Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire, was summoned to Parliament from 27th January 1331/2 (i.e. 1332) in the 6th year of the reign of Edward III, by writs directed [to] Johanni de Verdon, whereby he is held to have become LORD VERDON. Cokayne adds (in a footnote) that this same John de Verdon was also summoned to Great Councils in 1342 and 1347 (source: Lords’ Report; Calendar of Close Rolls, 1346-49, p 373). He is also recorded as having been summoned to the Great Council of 1324, as Knight of Derbyshire, Northamptonshire & Hertfordshire. The 1332 Parliament was Edward III’s 9th Parliament. It assembled and met at Winchester on 16th March and was dissolved on 21st March 1332.

Lyndeby or Linby as it is on today's maps, is located c.12km west of Southwell, also in Nottinghamshire. As detailed further below, five years after John Verdon's death, his nephew Edmund Verdon appeared in church records in relation to Southwell Minster. Perhaps it was through John's influence that Edmund ended up working within the church's hierarchy in Yorkshire for a man with a role that was connected to the Diocese of Chester.

The pedigree Earwaker refers to as being in his Cheshire MSS., Vol. ii. has recently been re-found, having been unwittingly hidden from view as a result of a spelling error on the labelling of an archive collection. It reveals that Edmund Verdon had moved to live in Yorkshire, at Beswick in the parish of Kilnwick, where he married Margaret, the widow of William Danyell of Beswick and they had a son called Thomas and a daughter called Anne. 

It is clear that Margaret was a member of the Gascoigne family, the senior branch of which was seated at Gawthorpe, in the parish of Harewood, north of Leeds. However, there is a question mark over the identity of her father. William Danyell died in 1505 and was buried at Kilnwick; he left a Will dated 1st September 1504, on which Probate was granted 22nd March 1504. The Visitation of Yorkshire 1563-4 by William Flower, Norroy King of Arms (published 1881) has an entry for the Danylls of Beswick on page 29; it tells us about their coat of arms and the lineage that connects with the Gascoignes: 

Danyell : “Beryth Gules, on a crosse Argent fyve Egles Sable.”

William Danyell of Beswyke in Yorkshire. = Ales doughter to Sir John Normanvyle.

[their son:-] 

William Danyell son & heyre = Margaret, doughter to Sir William Gascoigne

Harvey's Visitation of 1552, which is published by Surtees Society, also claims that William Danyell's wife was the daughter of Sir William Gascoigne (Visitations of the North, Part 1, pages 12-13):

WYLLIAM DANYELL of Beswyke, maryd Alyce, dowghter to Sir John Normanvylle, and had yssu Wylliam.

WYLLIAM DANYELL, sone and heyre to Wylliam, maryed Margaret, dowghter of Sir William Gascoyne, and had yssu Wylliam; Ysabell, wedyd to Warde of Loconton; Margaret, wedyd [blank]; Elenore, wedyd to William Clyffe; Alyce, wedyd to Hornby of Holderness.

However, Margaret's parentage as recorded in these publications, may not be correct. The reason for thinking so is found in another entry of the William Flower's 1563-4 Visitation of Yorkshire, in the entries for the Gascoigne family of Gawthorpe. There is no mention of any 'Sir William Gascoigne', with a daughter named Margaret, who is recorded as having married a man called Verdon. But there is mention of an Elizabeth Gascoigne, granddaughter of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe and daughter of his 3rd son, Sir John Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, who married a man with the surname 'Verden'. The entry appears on page 134:

Sir William Gaskon son & heyr = Margaret doughter to Thomas Clarell to her 2 husband Robert Waterton & after to John Fytz William of Sprotboroo.

[their 3rd son]

Sir John Gaskon of Gawthorpe 3 son to Sir William. Of this John cam the house of Thorpe of the Hill. = F 98 says - ". . . . . doter & heyr of Swyllyngton,"

[their daughter]

Elsabeth wyff to . . . . Verden.

It is therefore possible that Margaret was the daughter of Sir John Gascoigne, but misnamed as 'Elsabeth' in the Visitation; either that or perhaps Edmund married two Gascoigne brides. This may be impossible to verify with complete certainty as there were a run of generations of fathers and sons with the same name, who were all knights. One thing is clear though, and that is that through his mother, Thomas Verdon was descended from Sir William Gascoigne and Margaret Clarell. Coincidentally, Margaret was a direct descendant of Theobald II de Verdon, 2nd Baron Verdon of Alton, through his daughter Joan de Verdon, who married Sir Thomas Furnival, 2nd Baron Furnival. This gave Thomas quite an interesting pedigree, and his Gascoigne family made him very well connected. More is to be learned about this from the 'curious deed' that Earwaker refers to. A transcription of this has also been found, along with a painting of the original deed, wrapped up with multiple seals attached to it, hanging down. It is to be found in Cheshire Archives in Earwaker's transcription of Fulshaw deeds that were in the possession of Samuel Finney of Fulshaw.

Extract of Transcription of Earwaker’s Collection, ref: ZCR-63-1-43

Page 73 to 77 – Yorkshire Deed. Earwaker (or another author) wrote on page 76 that this was Original Deed No. 12

The Reader will see the word release mentioned in this deed explained in the former volume […?]

To all Crysten people unto whom this present writing [?] testimonial shall come to here rede or see. We Thomas Priour of the Monasterye of Watton of the Ordre of Saint Gilbert nygh Beverlay in the countie of Yorke, Sir William Gascoign thelder Knight, Sir Henry Gascoign Clerk, William Gascoign of Thorp squyer, William Gascoign of Barneby Squier, William Danyel Squyer, William Thwaites of Marston Squier, Seth Snawsell of Bylton esquire, Master John Hastyngs Parson of Baynton, and Mr Wade Vicar of Hinton Crawnswik sendeth greeting in our Lord god ev’lasting fforasmuche as it is right meritoiouse and nedefull to testifie and recorde the truthe and playnes in eu? cause doubtefull therefore we above named testifieth recordeth and sayeth that about the 22nd yere of the Reign of our late Sov’ain lorde Kyng Henry the VIIth (7th) 1 oon Edmound Verdon at that tyme being s’vaunt unto Master Dalby Archedeacon of Richemound and Provvest of Bev’lay 2 at the Parishe Churche of Kynwyk in the said Countie of York, married and toke to wiff Margarete Danyell late wiff of William Danyell esquire In the presence of Sr John Honthome of Scorburgh Knyght, Sr John Normaville of Kynwik Knyght, Sr Henry Thwaitts of Lunde Knyght, Edmound Kay of Beswik yoman, Robert Kay of the same yoman, Edmound Gylys of the same Yoman, John Wilson of the same yoman, and many others honest p’sonnes, the which Edmound Verdon and Margarette his wif hade issue betwene theym lawfully begotten, Thomas Verdon. And also they hade oone doughter called Anne Verdon, and no moo children. The which Thomas Verdon was bourne at Beswik and cristened at the Parishe Churche of Kynwik aforesaid. And hade to his godfathers Thomas Dalby late Archdeacon of Richmound and Sr Henry Thwaitts Knyght and Mastres Metham wiff of Thomas Metham of Metham Squier yet being of lyf to his godmoder, all which we the above named Recorders well avery and justifil is true as the lawe well require iin that behalf Wherefor we desire, and in our right hartie man’ praye you and ev’y of yoou to whom in the case his shall app’teigne peasibly and quietly f’wythe and suffer the forsaid Thomas Verdon as son and right heir of the said Edmond and the forsaid Margaret his wiff soe lawfully begotten to have occupie use enjoie the inheritances of the same Edmound Verdon his ffader without any your lett disturbance or contradiccon as we maye doo unto you any like pleasance herafter And for the moore assurances prouffs witnesse that these p’rmysses are true [_____?] Alle we the aforenamed Witnesses to this our present writing testymoniall hathe sette our Seales the 20th day of ffebruary in the 20th yerer 3. of the Reign of our souv’ain Lorde King Henry the VIIIth 4.

10 Seals. _

Additional Footnotes, not included in the original text:

1   i.e. c.1506/7 - Henry VII's reign began on 22nd August 1485 and ended on 21st April 1509.

2   Beverley. Richmond in Yorkshire was at that time part of the Diocese of Chester.

3   The numerals as transcribed by Earwaker for both dates certainly look like '20' written in 'Secretary' script.

4   i.e. 1529, or if the writing on the cover of the deed was correct, the year was 1530.

Details about the key individuals mentioned in the text:  

1.    Signatories to the Deed

Sir William Gascoign thelder Knyght 

Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, who married 1stly Alice Frognall, and 2ndly Margaret Neville. His parents were Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe & his wife Lady Margaret Percy. If Thomas Verdon's mother was the daughter of Sir John Gascoigne of Gawthorpe and later Thorpe-on-the-Hill, then Sir William Gascoign thelder was his 2nd cousin and the then head of the family. He was created a Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, on 25th November 1487. He is mentioned in other places as Sir William Gascoigne 'the elder'. The records of the Yorkshire Star Chamber (page 74): Thomas Clarke, chantry priest at Harewood v. Sir William Gascoigne, knt., and others. Assault (1529): ‘Sir William Gascoigne,a late of Gawkethorpe in the countie of York the elder, knight, George Gascoigne, late of the same towne, gentilman, Marmadewe Gascoigne, late of the same towne, gentilman’ – the note: a Eldest son and heir of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, knight, who died March 12, 1486-7, and Margaret, daughter of Henry, earl of Northumberland. He was aged 19 and upwards when his father died. He sold the manor of Tyrley, co. Stafford, to Sir Rowland Hill and others in 1533 (Inq. p. m., Hen. VII, No.357). He is called “Sir Wyllyam Gascoign, the vth of that name,” in Tonge’s Visitation (p.15). His will was proved on March 23, 1551-2. By his first wife, Alice, dau of Sir Richard Frognall, of Frognall, he was father of the above-named George and Marmaduke Gascoigne. He is mentioned again on page 77 of the same records: Marmaduke Constable, clerk v. William Carre and others. Forcible entry, Ripley Church: mentions the same ‘Sir William Gascoigne thelder, knyght’.  

Sir Henry Gascoign Clerk

He would appear to be Sir Henry Gascoigne, 2nd son of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe & his wife Lady Margaret Percy; therefore the brother of Sir William above, and would have shared the same relationship with Thomas Verdon. Henry married Isabel (sometimes mentioned as 'Elizabeth'), daughter of Sir Henry Boynton of Sedbury. Sedbury is c.5km NE of Richmond, Yorkshire, by Scotch Corner. It is in the Civil Parish of Gilling with Hartforth and Sedbury, which (in 2017) includes the villages of Gilling West and Hartforth. In Ralph Gascoigne of Wheldale’s Will (considered to be a son of Ralph Gascoigne of Burnby, Will printed in Test. Ebor iv. 15), dated 10th September 1522, he mentions one of his executors being Sir Henry Gascoigne, parsone of Burghwall i.e. Burghwallis, where Thomas Verdon is found living later on. Ralph’s wife was called Isabell, like Henry’s wife. Thomas married a lady called ‘Isabelle’ / ‘Isabell’ – it begs the question whether there may be a connection. Sir Henry Gascoigne was presented to the living of Burghwallis on 27th May 1521, by his relative Thomas Gascoigne of Burghwallis (Will dated 22nd December 1540). There is another suggestion that Henry Gascoigne, Parson of Burghwallis was the brother of John Gascoigne, Vicar of Friston and that their father was Ralph Gascoigne, whose Will is mentioned above. However, if this was to be correct, it is odd that their father did not mention them as his sons in his Will, in the way he did with his other children.

William Gascoign of Thorp squyer

William Gascoigne of Thorpe-on-the-Hill (now part of Leeds), son of John Gascoigne who gained Thorpe by marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Swillington of Thorpe-on-the-Hill. In his ‘William Gascoigne: Seventeenth Century Astronomer’, David Sellers provides a family tree of the Gascoignes of Thorp-on-the-Hill (From The Visitation of Yorkshire (London, 1875), ed. J. Foster). It shows that William Gascoigne of Thorpe, son of John, married Joane, daughter of Thomas Thwaites of (Long) Marston – perhaps this should have been correctly recorded by Foster as ‘William Thwaites of Marston’, who is detailed below; if not, Thomas Thwaites of Marston would have been a close relative. The same work provides a date of William’s death as 20 May H. VIII. i.e. 1538. If the 1563/4 Visitation of Yorkshire is correct that William’s sister Elizabeth married a man called ‘Verden’, and this entry in the Visitation was actually recording the marriage of Edmund Verdon to a misnamed Margaret Gascoigne, then that would mean William Gascoign of Thorp squyer was Thomas Verdon’s uncle. 

William Gascoign of Barneby Squier

William Gascoigne of Burnby – Burnby is shown on modern maps as being c.15km west of Kilnwick. The Gascoignes of Burnby were relatives of the Gascoignes of Gawthorpe. William seems to be the son of Rauffe Gascoigne of Burnby, esquire who according to Glover’s Visitation was the 4th son of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe & Margaret Clarell. This makes him a 1st cousin to William Gascoigne of Thorpe, whose sister is shown in the 1563/4 Visitation as having married a Verdon. Ralph was the husband of Eleanor, daughter of John Routh. William Gascoigne, his son and heir to Burnby / Burneby married Catherine, daughter of William Nelson of York.

William Danyel Squyer

William Danyell the younger, whose mother Margaret married Edmund Verdon, after his father William’s death. He was therefore a half-brother to Thomas Verdon. His wife was Ann Salvin, daughter of Sir Raffe Salveyne of Newbygyn (Sir Ralph Salvin of Newbiggin) by his wife Elizabeth Hastyngs, dau of Sir Hugh Hastyngs of Fenwick and his wife Ales doughter to Sir William Gaskon of Gawthorpe [1563-64 Visitation of Yorkshire] – the Visitation records that it was Anne, daughter of Sir William Gaskon & his wife Margaret Clarell who was wyff to Sir Hugh Hastynges. Elizabeth Hastyngs’ sister Izabell was wyff to Sir John Hotham, Knight.

William Thwaites of Marston Squier

William Thwaites of Long Marston, which is c.2 miles east north east of Bilton-in-Ainsty. He married Elizabeth Redmayne, daughter of Thomas Redmayne or Redman of Bossall. William died sometime before 8th January 1533. His daughter Joan Thwaites (died 21st January 1561), married William Gascoigne, son of Sir John Gascoigne of Thorpe-on-the-Hill, by Elizabeth, dau of Sir William Swillington. If Edmund Verdon married the daughter of Sir John Gascoigne, that means William Thwaites' daughter was Thomas Verdon's aunt.

Seth Snawsell of Bylton esquire

Seth Snawsell of Bilton-in-Ainsty, Lord of the Manor of Bilton. His daughter Anne married Robert Metham, son of Sir Thomas Metham of Metham by his wife Elizabeth Wentworth, who was one of Thomas Verdon's godparents - see below.

Master John Hastyngs Parson of Baynton

Bainton is in the East Riding and located c.1.3km North West of Beswick. He may be related to Sir Hugh Hastyngs (Hastings), who married Anne Gascoigne, sister of Sir John Gascoigne, and so aunt to William Gascoigne of Burnby and William Gascoigne of Thorpe, and great aunt to Sir William Gascoigne the elder Knight. Anne and Sir Hugh's daughter Elizabeth married Sir Ralph Salvin of Newbiggin; and their daughter Anne married William Danyell, son of Margaret Gascoigne and William Danyell i.e. half brother of Thomas Verdon. Perhaps John Hastyngs was Elizabeth Salvin's brother.

Mr Wade Vicar of Hinton Crawnswik 

Robert Wade, Vicar of Hutton Cranswick, c.3 miles north of Beswick. The Patrons of the Church were the Priors of the Convent of Watton. Robert Wade became Vicar on 7th March 1508/9 (i.e. 1509) and died in or before 1549.

2.    Witnesses to the marriage at Kilnwick of Edmund Verdon and Margaret Danyell / Gascoigne

Sir John Honthome of Scorburgh Knyght

Sir John Hotham of Scorborough, a place located very near to Beswick. 

Sir John Normaville of Kynwik Knyght

Sir John Normanville of Kilnwick – the father of Alice, mother of Margaret Verdon’s 1st husband William Danyell of Beswick.

Sir Henry Thwaitts of Lunde Knyght

Sir Henry Thwaites of Lund, son of Edmund Thwaites of Lund on the Wolds, Yorkshire. The Will of Sir Herry Thwaites of Lounde, knyght is dated 30th June 1520. He died after his wife and was buried with her in the Chancel of All Hallows Church, Lund. Edmund Thwaites’ Will is dated 21st May 1500. His father was Henry Thwaites of Lund on the Wolds, Yorkshire (Will dated 31st March 1478, probate granted 9th September 1480). One of Edmund Thwaites’ feoffees was William Daniel / Danyell of Beswick, whose widow Margaret Gascoigne married 2ndly Edmund Verdon. His Will records that his feoffees were: Sir Ralph Bigod (of Settrington), Sir Robert Aske (father of the Pilgrimage of Grace rebel, Robert Aske), Sir John Gower, Sir John Wandesford (of Kirklington), knts, John St. Quintin (brother, or son-in-law), William Babthorpe, John Arthington, John Vavasour, Thomas Ellis, William Daniell, esqrs. Sir Henry Thwaites married as his 1st wife Agnes Constable (dead by 1520), daughter of Sir Robert Constable of North Cliffe (Will dated 2nd September 1501 and proved 13 January 1501/2, Inquisition Post Mortem 14th October 1502; held land at North Cliffe, Sledmere, Newsham ), son of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough and Agnes Wentworth of Nettlestead in Suffolk. Agnes Constable’s brother was Marmaduke Constable of North Cliffe. Sir Henry Thwaites remarried after the death of his wife Agnes Constable. His 2nd wife was called Anne, who was mentioned in his Will as Anne, my wiffHis daughter Frances married Sir Thomas Gresham and had Lund for her portion. Lund went from the Greshams to Sir Henry Neville, and from him to the Remingtons.

3.    Thomas Verdon's Godparents

Thomas Dalby late Archdeacon of Richmound

Thomas Dalby, Archdeacon of Richmond in Yorkshire,  Provost of Beverley and Canon of SouthwellEdmund Verdon worked for Dalby and was his Proctor at Southwell.

Sir Henry Thwaitts Knyght

Sir Henry Thwaites of Lund, son of Edmund Thwaites of Lund, a place very close to Beswick. He married 1stly Agnes, daughter of Sir Robert Constable Knt of Flamborough, which made him a brother-in-law to Elizabeth Metham, who was a fellow godparent to Thomas Verdon.

Mastres Metham wiff of Thoomas Metham of Metham Squier

Elizabeth Metham, wife of Thomas Metham of Metham and daughter of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough and his wife Agnes Wentworth, daughter of Sir Roger Wentworth of Nettlestead. Agnes's mother was Margery (Margaret), widow of John, Baron de Ros, and daughter and heiress of Sir Philip le Despencer of Nettlestead, Suffolk. Elizabeth's husband Sir Thomas Metham (VIII) fought at the Battle of Flodden and died 26th May 1514; he was 30 years old at his father’s Inquisition Post Mortem dated 14 January, 14 Henry VII i.e. 1499 [Dugdale]. His parents were Sir Thomas Metham of Metham (VII) and his first wife Anne, daughter of Sir John Tempest of Bracewell [Dugdale]. After Anne’s death, Sir Thomas married Isabel, daughter of Sir Robert Hildyard, Knt., the relict of Sir John Hotham, Knt., of Scorborough (near Beswick), who died at the Battle of Towton in 1461. Thomas’s sister Margaret (or ‘Mundane) married Sir John Hotham, Knight, of Scorborough [Dugdale]. Her husband is likely to have been the younger Sir John Hotham, Sheriff of Yorkshire, who was born in 1458 and died in 1513, rather than his father who died at Towton in 1461. Elizabeth and Thomas's eldest son Sir Thomas Metham of Metham was Knighted 24th May 1533 and died 25th March 1539 [Dugdale] and he married Maude, daughter of Sir John Hotham of Scorborough. ‘Scorborough’ is c.3km south of Beswick. Their 2nd son, Robert Metham of Bullington, Lincolnshire, married Ann, daughter of Seth Sawsell of Bilton-in-Ainsty, one of the witnesses to the marriage of Edmund Verdon to Margaret Gascoigne/Danyell. 

Page 74 of Earwaker's transcription of the deed features a painting of the deed as wrapped up, with the ten seals hanging from it. It seems that this representation of the original deed is the work of Earwaker himself. The writing on the cover of the deed provides a date of 24th February in the 21st year of the reign of Henry VIII, 1529. This doesn't seem to agree with Earwaker's transcription since the reign of Henry VIII began on 21st April 1509, which means that the first year ran to 20th April 1510 and so 24th February in the 21st year of the reign of Henry VIII would have been in 1530. February 1529 would have been in the 20th year of the reign of Henry VIII, unless 1529 referred to the Church year, which ended at Easter. Otherwise, either Earwaker correctly transcribed the script of the date within the text of the deed and the writer of the note on the cover of the deed incorrectly recorded the date or vice versa. In February 1529 Thomas Verdon would have been aged 22 or 23 years old, assuming he was baptised in the same year as his birth (1506/7). This suggests that the deed was concerned that his father having died in 1516, Thomas had now passed the age of 21 when he should have gained possession of those of his father and mother's estates to which he had a right. Perhaps his claim might also have been challenged or the lands held in trust until his majority. This would seem to explain the need for conclusive evidence of his birth and parentage, and the lawful marriage of his parents, quoting past and signed by present witnesses, whose credibility and authority could not be doubted.

Above: picture that appears on page 74 of Earwaker’s Collection reference ZCR-63-1-43.
It is believed to have been painted by Earwaker himself.
Please note that this is Reproduced with permission of Cheshire Archives & Local Studies
and the owner/depositor to whom copyright is reserved.

The precise nature of Edmund Verdon's appointment as a 'Servant unto Master Dalby Archdeacon of Richmond and Provost of Beverley' is not known, but one role Edmund held as a result of his association with Dalby is recorded in the Visitations and Memorials of Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, edited by Arthur Francis Leach and published in 1891. On page 151, within a list of appointments of Canons of Southwell transcribed from page 16 of the original document, it is recorded that Thomas Dalbie Mag.[i.e. Magister/'Master'] was admitted, installed and inducted as Canon of Southwell on 16th November 1505. His Proctor was recorded as being Ed. Verdon, and the Prebend being North Leverton, also in Nottinghamshire. A further list on page 156 repeats that Thomas Dalby was admitted on 16th November 1505 and adds that he died in post. His successor Robert Nooke S.T.B. was admitted on 6th July 1526. A proctor was a form of legal officer or representative, a person who would represent and act for a member of the Clergy and, for example, would sit in Chapter for them. In this particular period of history, proctors acting for Bishops used to represent and appear for them in Parliament. In the Diocese of York, it seems that each Archdeaconry might have had two proctors.

Thomas Dalby became Archdeacon of Richmond on 24th September 1506, in the 21st year of the reign of Henry VII, so the marriage of Edmund Verdon to Margaret Danyell / Gascoigne must have occurred sometime between 22nd August 1507 and 21st August 1508 (the 22nd year of Henry VII's reign - see above). It was a year of two after this that Dalby would have become Godfather to Edmund's son Thomas. In his 'The History and Antiquities of the Town and Minster of Beverley' George Oliver mentions Thomas Dalby in a list of Provosts of Beverley, and tells us that he was appointed to the role in the 10th year of the reign of King Edward V, 1493. Oliver adds a note that In 1509, Thomas Dalby was archdeacon of Richmond and King's chaplain. Rym. Foed. tom. xiii. p.247. He was constituted an overseer of the bishoprick during the vacancy of the see of Durham, with full powers, &c. Rot. Pat. 24 Hen. VII. m.26. He was also a canon of Beverley, prebendary of Stevelington, chaplian to Henry VII. and Henry VIII. successively, and dean of the chapel of the duke of Somerset. He died 26 June, 1525, and was buried at York. 

Edmund died in 1516, whilst he was still involved with Archdeacon Dalby and acting as his proctor at Southwell. No Will appears to survive but the grant of Administration of his estate to his widow Margaret and Roger Ward of Cottingham does, and records the following:

Edmundus Verden’ de Beswike nup decessit et xxvijmo die mensis Augusti [Anno] d’ni Mill’mo quingentesimo sextodecimo co’missa direct’ fuit co’missio [deca]no de Hertehill ad co’mittend’ admi’strac’oem o’im bonor que fue[runt] d’ci defu’cti ab intestat’ decedents Margarete Rel’ce ip’ius defu[ncti] et Rogero Warde de Cotingham et h’ent die’ venrjs px’ post fe[stum] s’ci Mich’is Arch’i px’ futur’1 ad certificand’ et ad exhibend’ Inue[ntarium]

1 3rd October 1516


Edmund Verden of Beswike has lately died, and on the 27th day of the month of August in the year of the Lord 1516, a commission was directed to the Dean of Hertehill to commit administration of all the goods that were of the said deceased, dying intestate, to Margaret relict of the said deceased, and to Roger Warde of Cotingham; and they have Friday after Michaelmas next to certify and to exhibit an inventory

(Note: the transcription and translation above is the work of David Bethell and is reproduced here with his permission.)

By her first marriage to William Danyell of Beswick, Margaret had a daughter called Isabell who married a Roger Ward of Lockington, a place c.1 mile west of Beswick. It has not been ascertained whether he is the same person as Roger Warde of Cotingham who was granted joint administration of Edmund Verdon's estate with Margaret. Cottingham is situated in the East Riding south of Beverley, and about 15km from Beswick. 

What may be of further interest, and suggest another connection, is that 'Roger Warde' was the name of the father of Sir Christopher Warde of Givendale. Sir Christopher had married Margaret Gascoigne, daughter of Sir William Gascoigne and his wife Lady Joan Neville, daughter and sole heiress of John Neville, Baron of Oversley in Warwickshire and Lord of Wymersley in Yorkshire. This Margaret's brother was Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, husband of Lady Margaret Percy, whose children included Sir William Gascoign thelder Knight and Sir Henry Gascoign Clerk, who head the list of signatories to the 1530 deed concerning Thomas Verdon's inheritance (see above). Margaret Warde's sister Agnes Gascoigne married Sir Robert Plumpton. Sir Christopher died on 31st December 1521 at the age of 68 (Inquisition Post Mortem dated 4th February 1523). There is mention that Margaret Gascoigne was also dead by 1522. Sir Christopher had been Master of the Hart Hounds to Richard III and is mentioned with Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe in The Ballad of Bosworth Field as supporters of King Richard, along with quite a list of Northern magnates. However, he gave his support to the new Tudor dynasty and along with a number of Gascoignes (Sir William Gascoign thelder Knight's son William was knighted at Flodden) was one of the many leading men from Yorkshire who had fought at the Battle of Flodden on 9th September 1513. Sir Christopher Warde is mentioned in a number of sources as having been Standard-bearer to King Henry VIII at the Siege of Boulogne (1544), but this may be a mix-up as Sir Christopher had already died by then - it is more likely that he was  Standard Bearer to Henry VII at the earlier Siege of Boulogne in 1492.

A deed dated 1537 confirms that Thomas Verdon was resident at Burghwallis, which is located c.10km north of Doncaster and c.12km south of Knottingley. Burghwallis was a manor held by the Gascoigne family. Thomas Gascoigne, son of Sir William Gascoigne and his wife Margaret FitzWilliam of Aldwarke, inherited Burghwallis and bequeathed it in his Will (dated 1552) to his sister Barbara and her husband Leonard West. Perhaps Thomas Verdon's presence there confirms that he had been brought up by Gascoigne relatives - perhaps by Sir Henry Gascoigne after he became Rector of Burghwallis. Thomas Verdon may also perhaps have inherited some land there that had once belonged to his mother Margaret.

Transcription of Earwaker’s Collection ZCR-63-1-43

Page 77 to 83

1537 – Original Deed No.12

This Indenture made the XXth day of July the XXIXth yere of the reigne of King Henry the VIII Betwxe Thomas Vardon 1 son and haire of Edmounde Vardon deceased of the one partie and Humfrey Newton the younger son of Humfrey Newton the Elder of the other partie. Witnesseth that the said Thomas haythe devysed granted and to ferme letten and by thies presents devyseth granteth and to ferme letteth unto the said Humfry Newton the Younger all hys Messuages, Landes, Tenements, Meadows and Pastures with their appurtenances in Fulshawe......

cont: Also it is agreed between the said parties that the said Rent shall be paid yearly be paid by the said Humfrey or his assignies at the Dwelling House of ffrancis ffrobiser in Doncaster, Gentleman......

[the deed continues] 

1537 – Original Deed No.13 (follows on immediately below Original Deed No.12)

For the performance of the Covenant in the above Lease, Thomas Vardon of Burghewallis in Co. York gent. Binds himself to Humfrey Newton in a Bond of 10 Marks penalty of the same date with the lease.

Footnotes not included in the original text:

1  This seems to be the earliest recorded appearance of the family's surname as 'VARDON' instead of 'Verdon'.

Immediately below 'Original Deed No.13' is another deed that confirms that Thomas was still 'of Burghwallis' in 1540. Thereafter he is mentioned as being 'of Knottingley'.

1540 – Original Deed No.14

Thomas Verdon of Burghwalles in the County of York Gentleman, by his Deed dated 18th June 32. Hen: 8. Gives to Richard Flecher and Robert Usher all his messuages, Lands, Tenements, Meadows, Pastures and Feedings with their appurtenances in Fulshaw in the County of Chester, which said Messuages, Lands and Tenements and the rest of the premises were there in the tenure of Humfrey Newton, to Hold all the aforesaid Premises to the aforesd Richd and Robt their Heirs and assignes of the Chief Lords of the fee, by the accustomed services upon condition however that the said Richard and Robert do make thereof a good and lawful Estate to the said Thomas and Isabelle his wife, and to the heirs male of his Body, begotten on the body of the said Isabelle and for default of such issue, then to the said Thomas and his Heirs for ever. 

It is in 1560 that Thomas is mentioned as being 'of Knottingley'.

Transcription of Earwaker’s Collection ZCR-63-1-43 : Page 89.

1560 – Original Deed No.17

This Bill maid the Xth day of Julie in the seconde yere of the reigne of our sovereigne Ladie Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, quene of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faythe & witnessythe that I Thomas Verdon of Knottyngley in the countie of York gent have received and had the day and making hereof at the hands of Omfryde Newton of Fullshawe in the parish of Wymslawe in the County of Chester gent…. [the deed continues onwards]

Precisely what took him to 

Deborah Youngs, in her book 'Humphrey Newton (1466-1536), An Early Tudor Gentleman' [i.e. Humphrey Newton the elder of Pownall - see above], discusses the Verdon's shift of focus to Yorkshire (page 103) as explanation for why they steadily reduced their estate in Fulshaw. This may be true since we know an expanding branch remained up in Yorkshire near Knottingley, where they appear in the registers of Kellington, Beal, Snaith and Brotherton (amongst others); their surname became recorded variously as 'Verdon', 'Verden', 'Verdin', 'Verdine', 'Varden' and 'Vardon'. However, William Verdon who released all his rights to Fulshaw to William Newton in 1581 had siblings, including a brother - Edmund Verdon - who remained steadfastly attached to estates in the parish of Wilmslow and other parts of Cheshire. Their surname also evolved and became 'Vardon' in the 1600s. 

Youngs writes (also page 103): The Verdon family had close relations with the Newtons, which can be traced through land deeds to the late fourteenth century; by the early sixteenth century kinship further connected the families. Humphrey himself had acted as one of the feoffees of the Verdon estate and was executor for the Wilmslow lands of John Verdon (d. 1522). Her source for this is given as the 'Cheshire Sheaf, series III, volume XVII, pages 65-66 (PCC, 25 Maynwaring)', published in 1920, but she does not elaborate any further or provide any specific data on the 'kinship' between the Newtons and Verdons.

However, a close study of the Fulshaw deeds transcribed by Earwaker confirms what Youngs writes about the close interaction between the Verdons and Newtons. In one of these, Thomas Verdon (father of Edmund) and Humphrey Newton Senior are specifically referred to as 'kinsmen' - this phrase is often used to describe the relationship of brother-in-law. As it happens, Thomas Verdon's wife was called Johanna and Humphrey had a sister of this name. The deeds point very clearly at Thomas having married Humphrey's sister.

The John Verdon whose Will Youngs mentions was Edmund Verdon of Beswick's brother and so another of the sons of Thomas Verdon of Fulshaw and his wife Johanna Newton, sister of Humphrey Newton the elder. He was member of the Royal Household of Henry VIII. The publication 'Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1: 1509-1514' (published 1920) provides some information about John's earlier role in the Royal Household:

Dated January 1511:

Beverley. Inspeximus. See below
John Verdon, groom of the Pitcherhouse, and Thomas Wilding, page of the Ewry. Grant, in survivorship, of certain lands called "White's landes," in the town of Pole
1, escheated by death of William White without heirs. Richmond, 2 Jan., 2 Hen. VIII. Del. Knoll, 18 Jan. P.S. (in English). Pat. 2 Hen. VIII. p. 2, m. 16. [1432.]


1  Poole, near Otley in Yorkshire.

John's Will, dated 1522, mentions his brother Charles Verdon and also Nicholas Horncliffe, who is likely to be the same man who in October 1536 was ‘Bailiff of Beverley’ (Bailiff of the Liberty of Beverley), during the Pilgrimage of Grace. The Will confirms that John had become a Page of the Buttery.

John Verdon’s Will, 1522 – an incomplete transcription:

In the name of God amen on the yere of our Lorde god [.. ...]xxi and the xiiij daie I John Verdon Page of the Buttre [..] our sovereigne lorde king henry the viij hole of mynde and perfite of memorie make and ordayne this my last will and testement as in forme folowing . ffirst I bequeath my soule to almighti god our lady seynt mari and to all the holy company in heven . my body to be buried in the church of Seynt Sepulere in London w'out newgate . Also I beque[.]th to the high aulter of the same church vjs viij [...] And I beque[.]th to the church of wonderslaw in the conitie of Chesshire x£ to the [ineytem'nt] before the ymage of our blessed lady the mother of god a light daily brynnyng at the time of prayre And also I will that the saide x£ be al[ayed] and borne of my lands that my brother Charles and other of my ten'ntie hath in their hands as now  and hath had for the space of this viij years wherfor I will that the saide x£ shall be paide to the church wardeynes of the ch'rch of wonderslaw of the Reragis that is due to me of the saide landes for the saide terme of viij year . And that my saide Brother and ten'nte shuld have paide me yearly four markes And so Remaynes in their hands as yet for the saide termes of viij years to the Some of xxj£ vjs viijd if it may be Recovered . then I will that the saide my legacie of xli be welle and truly content and paide to the saide c'rch of Wonderslaw [....] the legacie of x£ to stande voyde and of none effecte And to Recover the saide Reragis of xxj£ vjs viijd . I make and ordeyne Robert a Walle gentelman dwelling in ffulshaw And umphrey Newton in Welmslow parishe And them I make my Executor to mynester all suche goods and Landes that I have in chesshire  It'm I bequethe to Thomas Pete my servant xxs in money one gowne of [violet] one Russet cote And a doblet of yellow sarsnet And also I will that Edwarde ap John grome of the Buttre And Nich'las Hornclif yoman of the kynge [......] be [maid] Executors to mynyster for the helthe of my soule all suche my goodes moveabill and unmoveable as I have out of chesshire and the[i] the saide Edwarde and Nich'as to pay my debts and my funeral expense of [dednote] and thise my legacies fulfilled &nd the residue of my [.....] my debts paid my funerall [exspen...] I put to the [deserecion] of my Executors Edward ap John and Nich'as horn'clif ther to dispose them for the helth of my soule and all [....... soules] there Witnesses John Thorpe my curat Sir [...... ........ priest and John Throer grocer of London with other meme

A few generations later, another Verdon-Newton marriage is found - John Verdon (Vardon), son of John Verdon of Congleton married as his third wife Mary Newton sometime before 1657. An old scroll on which an extensive family tree is recorded, has a note next to John Verdon the younger's entry that reads: my brother-in-law William Newton. Perhaps this is William Newton, grandson of the William Newton who William Verdon of Knottingley released all his rights in Fulshaw to in 1581. This younger William Newton's wife was Alice, daughter of Henry Haworth an Alderman of Congleton. 

The first mention of any of the Verdon family being in Congleton is in relation to John Verdon who was born c.1570 and died in 1640. He appears in 1595 as John Verdon, an Officer paid for conducting a felon from Congleton to Halton Castle. The Manor of Congleton was a part of the Barony of Halton. John's Will, dated 11th December 1639 includes the following variations in the spelling of his name, which provides fairly suggestive evidence of the period within which the family's surname began to change:

In the Name of God Amen the Eleaventhe daie of December In the yeare of our Lorde God one Thousande five hundred Thirtie and nyne And in the Fifteenth yeare of the Raigne of our Sovraigne Lorde Charles by the grace of God, Kinge of Englande, Scotlande, Frannce and Irelande defender of the faithe &r I John Verdon the elder of Congleton in the Countie of Chester........I doe give and bequeathe unto my sonne John Verdon...

.......And I doe Ordayne Constitute and make the said John Verdon Randall Smithe 1 and Rauffe Comberbache 2 [his two sons-in-law] Executors of this my said Laste will and Testament....


1  Randall Smith was married to John Verdon's daughter Margery.
2  Rauffe Comberbache was married to John Verdon's daughter Isabell (Isabella Verdon married Ralph Cumberbatch at St. Mary's Astbury 5th March 1613. Source: Parish Register).
3  The transcription of the Will records that it was signed John Vardon. One would need to see the original to be sure it wasn't 'Verdon'. John's surname, and that of some of his children also appears as 'Verdon' in the Wills of relatives, during the 17th century

Some of the Verdons moved permanently to Yorkshire and spread out from Knottingley to nearby Beal in the parish of Kellington and Snaith, places they are found up until the late 18th century, with their surname sometimes appearing as 'Verdin'. It is to be presumed that these were the descendants of the senior line of the family descended from Thomas Verdon of Knottingley and his son William Verdon, the last of Fulshaw.

The family of one of Thomas's younger sons, Edmund Verdon, remained living around Wilmslow and, as has been mentioned above, all appear to have experienced a change in the spelling of their surname to 'Vardon' in the 17th century, as did the place-names Verdontown, Verdon Bridge and Verdon House, which now appear on maps as Vardentown, Varden Bridge and Vardon House Farm.

The Vardons (Verdons) of Goldstone, Shropshire

and Hulme Walfield & Congleton, Astbury, Cheshire 

(de Verdun / Verdon of Cheshire)

A fuller account of this family is provided on the home page: 

'Goldstone - the Story of a Shropshire Manor and its people over 800 years'

The Vardons of Goldstone descend from John Verdon, who was the first of his family to reside at Congleton in the parish of Astbury, Cheshire, and is mentioned above. As a cadet branch of the de Verduns of Alton in Staffordshire, they have borne the same coat of arms, with the exception that their crest is a stag's head 'erased' (a heraldic term that distinguishes it from 'couped'). An apocryphal story in the family tells that this crest came from an incident when a member of the family cut off a stags head at the end of a hunt and presented it to the King, who was present. In view of Geoffrey de Verdon's marriage to Margaret de Sherd, whose family inherited one of the ancient Foresterships of Macclesfield, this story may be surprisingly historical, and the crest itself echoes that of another family who held Foresterships within Macclesfield Forest - the Downes, and perhaps this even hints at a connection between the families. This is revealed by James Crossley in his 'Remains, Historical and Literary, connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester, published by The Chetham Society, Volume 97', printed for the Society in 1876. Page 173:

In 1345, as appears by the following extract from the patent rolls, 18 Edward III., the advowson of Taxall church and the manors of Downes and Taxall were confirmed to Edward Downes : "The king confirmed to Edward Downes and divers others of the same name, and their heirs male the manors of Downes and Taxall in the forest of Macclesfield, together with the foresterships belonging to these manors, as well as a pasture called Oxencrofte, in the forest, and the rents, services, &c., and the advowson of Taxal church in the forest."

Crossley continues further on page 194:

Downes and Taxal were held by the family of Downes of Shrigley. They claimed the privilege of holding the king's stirrup when he came a hunting, and of rousing the stag, and of hanging and drawing within their jurisdiction. (Ormerod.) The crest of Downes of Shrigley was a stag's head and neck decouped gules, the horns vert, on a wreath argent and azure. (Wood's Cheshire MS.) This crest surmounts the helmet in an alabaster figure in the old church of Macclesfield.

Daniel Lyons in the 2nd volume of his 'Magna Britannia', Volume II, Part II containing 'The County Palatine of Chester' also records this (page 801):

It appears by the depositions of some old persons taken in the year 1720, that the manor of Taxall was anciently held by the service of blowing a horn on Midsummer-day, at a high rock near Taxall, called Wind-gather; and that there was a tradition that the lord of this manor was to hold the King's stirrup, and rouse the stag when he should come to hunt in Macclesfield-forest: we find mention of its being held (16 EDw. I) by free-forestry; and other subsequent records speak of the office of a forester being annexed or appendant to this manor;

The family's name had gone through a few changes from 'de Verdun' to 'de Verdon' and in the later 1400s 'Verdon'. As mentioned above, in 1537 Thomas Verdon, son of Edmund Verdon of Fulshaw, was mentioned in a deed as Thomas Vardon of Burghwallis - this seems to be the first time the surname had been recorded as 'Vardon'. It was not until the middle of the 17th century that the surname of the Verdons of Congleton began to change more permanently to 'Vardon', at about the same time as their relations who remained living in and around Fulshaw in Cheshire. The Verdons of Calvershall in Staffordshire seem also to have followed suit around this time. The change in spelling is presumed to have reflected a change in how the name became spoken, influenced by the great vowel changes that occurred in England during the 1400-1600s. This is how other names changed, for example the name Berkeley, which for some families became Barclay or retained the same old spelling with the 'ar' sound - hence today's Berkeley Square in London. Members of the family continue to be mentioned in old records with their surname spelled 'VERDON' until the final decades of the 17th century. One branch ended up switching back to the older 'Verdon'.

The coat of arms above comes from the bookplate of John Vardon, William Vardon of Goldstone's younger brother, who died in 1869. These arms have a mark of cadency in the form of a crescent moon, which usually indicates descent from a 2nd son - this makes sense as William's brother John was their father's second surviving son. But there was a more senior branch of the family, who were well known to the Vardons of Goldstone, so perhaps the crescent signified this, despite the fact that when John and William Vardon's father John had a memorial erected to his memory and that of other members of the family (see home page), the crescent mark was not used. When William Vardon's memorials were erected in three churches with his coats of arms, they all featured the crescent mark of cadency (all displayed on the home page) - this seems to support the view that the Vardons of Goldstone were heraldically recognising their place as a cadet family, rather than the senior line. Whatever the case may be, the family were not consistent in use of the crescent when having their coat of arms displayed or carved, so we shall probably never entirely resolve this particular heraldic question

The motto 'Coeli sub rore virescens' means 'prosper(ing) under the dews of heaven'. William Vardon and his sucessors at Goldstone seemed to adopt a second motto - 'Levius Fit Patientia', which can be translated as either 'It becomes Lighter with Endurance' or ‘‘It is rendered lighter by patience’.

The actual colour of the shield is described heraldically as: Or, fretty gules., as shown in the shields below, for the same John Vardon as above (left) and his younger brother Hugh James Vardon (right). Each shield is displaying a crescent mark of cadency, with Hugh James having an additional crescent added to illustrate he is the junior brother :-


The number of frets across the shield has never been consistent. The Vardons seemed most often to use four, as shown in John Vardon's coats of arms above, and on the memorial to William Vardon of Goldstone in Shropshire and Hulme Walfield in Astbury, Cheshire, which is copied below. 

In 1576 there used to be a window in Astbury church with two shields displaying the coat of arms of the de Verdon family, alongside a third displaying the arms of the Earl of Chester. We know this from a transcription in George Ormerod's book 'History of the County Palatinate and City of Chester', Volume III (1819) - it appears as a footnote on page 19 (which is completed on page 20) within the section dealing with Newbold Astbury, in the chapter on Northwich Hundred:

p. In Harl. MSS. 2151 [Harleian Manuscript No. 2151, held in the British Library], p. 4, are the following notices of "monuments and coates" in Astbury church, "taken an'o 1576." The parts of the description placed within hooks refer to rude drawings in the original MS. 

"In the east window northwood are these monuments and coates, (four compartments, apparently divided by the mullions of the east window of the north chancel. In the first, a male and female figure with three sons and two daughters severally kneeling behind them. In the second and third similar figures, with three daughters and five sons, each charged on the breast with a cross patèe fichèe. In the fourth, a male figure in armour, also kneeling. Under the entire line this inscription :]

"Orate pro a'i'bus Radulfi Moreton de Moreton, Joh'is fr'is ejus, parentem benefactor' et o'i'u fideliu' defunctor' qui vitriacione' istius fenestra fecerunt.
"In the head of three windowes in the north ile these coates [Or, fretty Gules; the same; and Azure, three garbs Or.].

Perhaps these three coats of arms - two for the de Verdons (Vardons) and one for the Earl of Chester, were communicating the connection between Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester, Bertram III de Verdon and Bertram's brother (or Uncle), William de Verdon, one of Ranulf's knights who is mentioned above.

This window was probably destroyed in the Civil War, by Cromwell's troops who were responsible for damaging so much of the fabric of many churches across the country. Its good that despite the loss of this heraldic window, the de Verdun arms can still be seen inside St. Mary's Astbury on the memorial to William Vardon of Hulme Walfied in Astbury parish and Goldstone in Shropshire - see below: 

A beautiful wooden antique reproduction of a jousting shield, carved and painted with the Vardon coat of arms above used to hang in the hall at Goldstone Hall. It had previously belonged to William Vardon of Goldstone's relation Samuel Arthur Vardon. Sadly this rather special shield appears to have been stolen along with other items before the sale of the Hall and some of its contents in 1978. 

William's cousin, Thomas Vardon of St. John's Place, Battersea Rise (see Edward Hayward's Memorandum books) has the same coat of arms displayed, alongside those of his wife Mary Sophia, on a memorial inside St. Mary's Church in Battersea, but the crest has lost the stag's antlers. Thomas was a member of the senior branch of William's family.

BELOW – coat of arms from the memorial to Thomas and Mary Sophia (nee Pell) inside St. Mary's Church, Battersea, showing his arms with those of Mary Sophia's family:-

The Vardons of Battersea are also commemorated by the naming of Vardens Road (incorrectly spelt with an "e") between St. John's Hill and Battersea Rise, which crosses the site of their old house and their surrounding land. One of the signs in Vardens Road is shown below.


By pure coincidence there is another memorial inside St. Mary's Church Battersea to a very distant kinsman of Thomas Vardon, namely Henry Boutflower Verdon who was a curate under the famous Canon J. Erskine Clarke, Vicar of St. Mary's Church Battersea. Erskine Clarke was the driving force behind the building of almost all of the new Churches across Battersea in the 19th Century and the foundation of the Bolingbroke Hospital in South Battersea. Verdon was to have become Vicar of St. Michael's Church Battersea, off Bolingbroke Grove, but died before the church was transformed from its primitive iron-structure, as did another great benefactor of Battersea, Philip Cazenove. So, when a proper church was finally built, it was done so as a memorial to Verdon and Cazenove. In addition, like Thomas Vardon, Henry Boutflower Verdon had a road named after him off Battersea Rise - Boutflower Road - and at one time there was a ward named after him inside Bolingbroke Hospital in Battersea. Henry Boutflower was the son of the Rev. Edward Verdon, who was Vicar of St. Anne's Church Tottington in Bury, Lancashire by his wife Jane, daughter of Dr. George Hobson of London.

Henry's brother was Sir George Frederic Verdon KCMG CB FRS of Queen Street Melbourne and Alton, Upper Macedon, Victoria, Australia, who was a well known Australian politician, diplomat and (later) banker. Their father Edward Verdon came from Dublin and was a descendant of Milo de Verdon, a younger brother Theobald II de Verdon, Baron Verdon of Alton in Staffordshire. Milo was the founder of the Verdons of Clonmore in Co. Louth, who produced quite a few priests, both Catholic and Anglican.

The coat of arms shown on his memorial below shows a "Fret" as opposed to the design "Fretty" - different branches of the Verdon family of Alton used both designs.

Henry Boutflower Verdon's grandfather claimed the feudal title of Baron Verdon. However, it appears that this feudal barony in fact passed through the heiresses of Theobald de Verdon, 2nd Baron Verdon (elder brother of Henry's ancestor). As a matter of historical interest, it is claimed that Henry's grandfather was named at the coronation of King George IV as the person qualified by descent to continue the right established by Bertram de Verdun of providing a glove on the day of the coronation and supporting the monarch's right hand during the ceremony whilst he held the royal sceptre. Bertram de Verdun (see further details below) is recorded as having done this for William the Conqueror, having crossed the channel with him from his fief of Verdun in the Manche district of Normandy. However, Henry's grandfather was said to have been too infirm to attend and so a representative Irish peer carried out the honour on Verdon's behalf.

Henry does not appear to have had an heir, but his brother George had four sons: Arthur Laurence Ridley Verdon, Reginald Verdon, Egbert Sumner Verdon and Nevil Verdon. 

As mentioned at the start of this section, more information about the Vardons of Goldstone can be found via this Link.

The de Verduns of Weston & Aston, Derbyshire 

(also connected with Cheshire)

A branch of de Verdons had estates at Aston-on-Trent, once a part of the Manor of Weston in Derbyshire and are mentioned quite a lot in the Cartulary of the Abbey of St. Werburgh in Chester. 

The Manor of Weston was a royal manor. In 1009 King Ethelred the Unready confirmed the boundaries of the Manor of Weston ('Westune') in a charter, which mentions its lands as comprising what is now known as Shardlow, Great Wilne, Church Wilne, Crich, Smalley, Morley, Weston and Aston-on-Trent. After the conquest, King William I gave the Manor of Weston to his nephew Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester. Aston-on-Trent comprised two estates - one was a berwick of the Manor of Weston and the other was listed in the Domesday Book as part of the lands given by the king to Henry de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, who owned other land in the area including Barrow-on-Trent. In 1092, Hugh d'Avranches transformed the existing church at Chester dedicated to St. Werburgh into a Benedictine abbey, and in 1093, he gifted the Manor of Weston to the new Abbey of St. Werburgh, and at some point he also gifted the advowson of the Rectory of Aston to St. Werburgh's.

The first of the de Verduns of Weston & Aston was a certain William de Verdun. He married a local heiress - Alice daughter of Robert fitzWalter. She had inherited lands at Aston-on-Trent, Shardlow and Wilne (Great Wilne) in Derbyshire from her father, who was also known as Robert de Morley. These lands passed to William and Alice's son, the second William de Verdun of this family. Robert fitzWalter was born c.1130s. He had married Dina, daughter of Robert the son of Hardulf, from Osgathorpe in neighbouring Leicestershire. Hardulf is very likely to have been one of the original pre-Norman conquest Mercian landowners in the area. As it happens, Dina held lands in Osgarthorpe from Bertram III de Verdun, son of Norman de Verdun and his wife Lecelina de Clinton. Bertram III de Verdun had married as his first wife Matilda (or Maud), daughter of Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, son of Henry de Ferrers mentioned above - this connection may be how Osgathorpe came to be held by Bertram. It may be that this also provides more than a hint about the origin of the first William de Verdun of Aston, and how he came to marry Alice. The other important alternative or additional connection may have come from the Earl of Chester, who (as mentioned above) was also Vicomte of Avranches in Normandy, where some de Verduns were his tenants.

As it happens, there is a William de Verdun who had very close connections with Ranulf III 'de Blondeville', Earl of Chester (whose estate was administered during his minority by Bertram III de Verdun) and is mentioned above in 1195 as having been in Normandy with King Richard I, Ranulf and his brother Roger of Chester. This William de Verdun was either the uncle or younger brother of Bertram III de Verdun, whose other brothers were Herbert de Verdun of Ipstones in Staffordshire and Ralph de Verdun of Bloxham in Oxfordshire. I believe William de Verdun, companion of Ranulf, Earl of Chester and who also held lands in Normandy, probably of Ranulf as Vicomte d'Avranches, may be the same man or perhaps more likely the father of Sir William de Verdun, Knight who married Alice daughter of Robert fitzWalter and is ancestor of the de Verduns of Derbyshire, who appear with such frequency in the Cartulary of St. Werburgh's Abbey in Chester.

Bertram III de Verdun is said to have had his children by his second wife Roesia ___? - they were: Thomas (who married Eustacia Bassett and died without issue in 1199), Nicholas (who married Clementina and died in 1231), Bertram (who married Sibilla), Milo (who had sons Nicholas and William), Robert (who married Joan?, daughter & co-heir of Henry de Bourton of Ibstock), Henry (who married Hawise de Gresley, held Bucknall of his brother Nicholas and was ancestor of the de Verdons of Biddulph & Darlaston), Agnes (who married Robert FitzWilliam), and Lescelina (who married Hugh II de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster). This Hugh de Lacy was the 2nd son of the first Hugh de Lacy, and the younger brother of Walter de Lacy who was Lord of Meath, Ludlow and Ewias Lacy. It was Walter's granddaughter Margaret, daughter of Gilbert, who married Sir John de Verdun, son of the great heiress Roesia de Verdun, daughter of Lescelina's brother Nicholas de Verdun, by her husband Theobald le Botiller.

Alice de Verdun's father Robert de Morley (also known as Robert fitzWalter) was born c.1130s. He witnessed a grant of land to his wife's father and also confirmed a sale by him in 1186. After the death of his father-in-law, land in Osgathorpe was confirmed to him. Between 1186 and 1194, he granted the advowson of Morley to St. Werburgh's Abbey in Chester. He predeceased his wife Dina sometime before 1201. Dina and Robert are known to have had at least three children, all daughters: Alice, Amphelia and Ysolt (also recorded as Yseuda).

Alice's husband William de Verdun died c.1228. The Cartulary of St. Werburgh's Abbey mentions Wiliam and his heir, also William, quite a few times. For example, one record is a Quitclaim by Sir William de Verdon the elder Knight to William his son and heir of all his right in the pasture of Cowholm (this is dated sometime between 1200 & 1226). Sometime between 1228 and 1240, the Cartulary records a Quitclaim by William de Verdon the younger to Walter (de Pinchbeck), Abbot of Chester, of all his right in the pasture of Cowholm. William de Verdon (the elder) also made a grant of a virgate of land to his son William. At some point before 1226, William de Verdon the younger granted this same virgate of land in Aston-on-Trent to Hugh, Abbot of Chester. The Cartulary also records that William de Verdon the elder granted to Roger, Chaplain of Aston, a toft lying between the land of John de Verdon and that of Richard Curtis. This John de Verdon may be a brother of William de Verdon the younger.

William II de Verdun of Aston had a son and heir Arnold de Verdun, who records confirm was living sometime between 1249 and 1265. The Cartulary records a Quitclaim by Arnold, son of William de Verdon the younger to Thomas, abbot of Chester, of the lands in Aston (Upon Trent), Shardlow, and (Great) Wilne, which he demanded of him by writ of right in the county court of Nottingham; and of the capital messuage, etc, of William de Verdon in Aston; with all other lands etc., which he gave to the Abbey in Aston, Shardlow, Wilne and Morley (this is dated c.1249-65).

Arnold was succeeded in turn by his son William III de Verdun of Aston, who was active between 1250 and 1300 and is mentioned with his father in the Cartulary of the Abbey of St. Werburgh.


Other de Verdun connections between Cheshire


(where a branch of the de Verdons of Fulshaw settled)

The place Thomas Verdon of Fulshaw in Cheshire & Knottingley in Yorkshire is mentioned (above) as having been baptised is actually Kilnwick not as recorded by Earwaker - Kinwick. Beswick, Thomas's birthplace, is located within the parish of Kilnwick-on-the-Wolds. Beswick is north of the ancient town of Beverley, famous for its medieval Minster Church of St. John & St. Martin, built on the site of the much older monastery. Knottingley lies on the River Aire and is located north east of and close to Pontefract. Interestingly the manor of Knottingley was part of the Honour of Pontefract, and it was held by the de Lacy family after the Norman conquest. On the death of Henry de Lacy in 1310 (or 1311), the manor passed to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in 1311, who had married Henry's daughter and heiress Alice de Lacy. These de Lacys were the descendants of Ilbert de Lacy, who came from Lasci (now Lassy) in Normady with his brother Walter de Lacy, the founder of the de Lacy family of Stanton Lacy and Ludlow, who later became Lords of Meath and Earl of Ulster. Margery, daughter and heiress of one of Walter's descendants Gilbert de Lacy, married John de Verdon son of Roesia de Verdon and Theobald de Botiller; John and his descendants thereby became Lords of Meath. 

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the lands of Pontefract were acquired by William Clifford and Michael Wildbore. In 1607, the lordship of the manor of Knottingley passed to a family called Grimsditch, from London, on the marriage of one of them to the daughter of Richard Wildbore. It is not known what connections there may have been with the Verdons, who were either living here or at Beal to the north. The Verdons of Beal, in the parish of Kellington, are mentioned in the 1600s and 1700s.

Henry de Lacy mentioned above, was the son of Edmund de Lacy and grandson of John de Lacy. Henry was Earl of Lincoln, Baron of Pontefract, Lord of Bowland, Lord of Blackburnshire and also Baron of Halton in Cheshire and Constable of Chester. In the 13th century the manor of Congleton in Cheshire belonged to the de Lacys and was part of the barony of Halton. Henry de Lacy granted Congleton its first charter in 1272. In the year 1281, during Henry's time as Constable of Chester, Reginald de Grey, 1st Baron Grey of Wilton, lord of Dyffryn Clwyd and of Ruthin, was Justice of Chester and his Squire, Adam de Verdon was Constable of Chester Castle.

As mentioned, Congleton was part of the barony of Halton and this connection continued into at least the 16th century, as witnessed by a record that coincidently also mentions another Verdon. In 1595, a payment was recorded in the records of the Court at Congleton to John Verdon, for taking a felon from Congleton to Halton. In another record John is recorded as John Vardon and referred to as being an 'Officer'. Perhaps he was a Constable of the manor, an appointment that was often made for periods of a year. He is John Verdon / Vardon mentioned above, the first of his family to live at Congleton. 

The Verdons of Caverswall, Staffordshire 

(later called 'Vardon')

Another family of Verdons who lived in Caverswall near Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire in the 17th century also changed their surname to Vardon. They may be connected to the Vardons of Congleton and/or Fulshaw. Caverswall is very near to the ancient seat of the de Verdons at Alton Castle.

The de Verdons of Norfolk, Suffolk 

& Northamptonshire 

The other Baronial Verdon family, a very early off-shoot of the main line; 

also connected with Yorkshire

The de Verduns of Norfolk, Suffolk and Northamptonshire are a significant branch of the family, who settled at Bressingham in Norfolk from an early date. In the 14th century, the head of the family became a Baron, like his kinsman Theobald I de Verdun of Alton Castle had before him. Their exact relationship to the main Alton line is not yet known, but we know they are the same family, even though their later heraldry used a different design, just as occurred with the de Ipstone and de Wrottesley families, who swapped their de Verdun name for a toponym, taken from their main manorial estate.

The bulk of accessible narrative about the de Verduns of Norfolk  appears in Francis Blomefield’s History of the County of Norfolk, Cockayne’s Complete Peerage and Shaw’s Knights of Edward I. Beyond this one has to rely on careful searches of original charters and deeds.

Above: the arms of the de Verdon family of Norfolk, from a stained glass window 

inside a chapel within Brixworth Church, Northamptonshire, where the tomb effigy

 of Sir John de Verdon is found - he was Lord of Brixworth and many other manors in Norfolk

and Suffolk. The family had arms that differed in design from the senior Alton branch

 - this was probably to avoid confusion between the two, on the battlefield and/or at tournaments. 

The de Wrottesleys also adopted their own separate design of arms, as did the de Ipstones 

and other branches of the de Verdun family.

Burke’s Extinct Peerage gives the first of the family the name William de Verdun, but it is clear that this is not correct. It is Ives de Verdun, who was the founder of this branch of the family. His name is also recorded in its latinate form as ‘Ivo’ de Verdun. He is most likely to have been a son of Bertram I de Verdun, and therefore a sibling of Roland de Verdun of Normandy. The appearance of a Bertram de Verdun two generations after Ives is indicative of a wish to record the connection with the de Verduns of Staffordshire, the name of whose founder - Bertram - continues to echo down the generations to this very day, just as it has in its French form - ‘Bertrand’ - amongst the de Verduns of Normandy.

Cockayne opens his section on the Barons of ‘Verdon’ with these words: Observations. - In the early years of the 12th century the family of Verdon was settled in Norfolk as tenants of Roger Bigod, lord of Framlingham, Suffolk. For it is stated, circa 1101-07, that Ives de Verdon, Roger’s tenant, had encroached on the lands of the abbey of St. Benet Holme [this is Holme in the Norfolk Broads] at in Saxlingham, Moulton and Aslacton, Norfolk, estates which were later in the hands of the father of John, Lord Verdon. Ives also witnessed a charter which William Bigod granted to Thetford Priory, Norfolk, and granted lands and 2/3 [two thirds] of his tithes of Great Moulton to that Thetford Priory.1 

In 1166, William de Verdun, most likely a son (or grandson) and heir of Ives, is recorded as holding six knights’ fees of the old feoffment held by Ives de Verdun of Hugh Bigod.2


In his chapter on Brisingham (i.e. Bressingham)3 Blomefield informs us that in William Rufus's time, the earl of Norfolk had the whole town (of Brisingham), all which he infeoffed in William de Verdun. He cites the Black Book of the Exchequer as a source for the information that Roger Bygod, father of Hugh Bygod, had infeoffed this William in six knights fees of his old feoffment, among which, this old town was reckoned at two; and this is the reason that it was all along held of the Norfolk family, as capital lords, by the Verdons, and all other owners. This feoffment was made about 1100, or before, for in 1107 this Earl Roger died.4

The reason for the discrepancy of dates between Cockayne and Blomefield isn’t clear, but what is evident is that these de Verduns held the same lands from the time of William Rufus into the 14th century, thereby confirming continued succession within the family, from one generation to another.

William de Verdun above had at least two children, sons called William and Bertram. The former was fined 1 mark in Norfolk and Suffolk in 1176-77 and, according to Cockayne, he and his brother Bertram de Verdun are mentioned regularly in the Pipe Rolls for a debt there between 1183 and 1197.5 In the first year of the reign of Richard I, they are specifically referred to in The Great Pipe Roll, under a section with the heading ‘Norfolk & Suffolk’ as Willielmus de Verdun and Bertrannus frater ejus [his brother].6

Blomefield provides a different record of this William and Bertram, writing that William de Verdun (who succeeded William, son of Ives) lived in 1207 and was succeeded by Bertram de Verdun, who he tells us was Lord of Brisingham and also of Moulton in 1212.


1  Sources provided by Cockayne (with his italics shown, but abbreviations provided in full): St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk Record Society, volume 1, page 170; Calendar of Close Rolls, 1302-07, page 513; Dugdale, Mon., volume 5, pages 143, 149. Sir William de Verdon granted a moiety of the advowson.

2  Cockayne’s source for this information: Red Book of the Exchequer, page 395.

3  'Hundred of Diss: Brisingham', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 1 (1805), pp. 49-73.

4  Blomefield provides this source reference: Fin divers. Com. 14th John.

5  Cockayne’s reference: Pipe Roll, 23 Henry II, page 130; and 29 Henry II to 9 Richard I.

6  The Great Roll of the Pipe for the first year of the reign of King Richard the First A.D. 1189-1190. Printed 1844, from the original in the custody of The Right Hon. The Master of the Rolls, under the care of Joseph Hunter, page 43. 


The de Verdons of Clonmore, Ireland

Descended from Milo de Verdun, son of Theobald I de Verdon



The Verdins of Stoke Hall & Darnhall Hall, Cheshire
and Garnstone Castle, Herefordshire  

Descended from one of the Irish de Verdons, 

who returned to England in the 1700s.

The Verdin family are descended from Milo de Verdon of Clonmore in Co. Louth, son of Theobald II de Verdon. Milo's son James de Verdon, who died before 1st September 1384, married Isabella Gaydoun (or Gayton), whose second husband was Thomas Talbot. James and Isabella had, with other children, a son also called James, whose son John Verdon, said to have been born c.1415 and who lived at Painstone, Clonmore, married Eleanor ___. Their son Christopher Verdon married Catherine Dowdall, and they had a son called James Verdon who died sometime after 1528. His son was Edward Verdon, who died in 1554. Edward's son Christopher Verdon married Catherine Talbot and is said to have died before his father, in 1551. Christopher and Catherine's son Patrick Verdon married Joan Bellew and they had two sons - Christopher and John. Christopher married Mary Barnwell, became a Member of Parliament and died in 1625 leaving a son and heir John Verdon who was born in 1603 and died in 1659. John married twice; his first wife was Ann Dillon, with whom he had a son Theobald Verdon of Clonmore, a Royalist who on 11th December 1661 petitioned for the restoration of his lands after losing them during the Civil War. Theobald married Alice Dillon (perhaps a relation?) and they had a son John FitzHerbert Verdon. Theobald's father's second wife was Amy Segrave who bore him at least three children, two girls Margaret and Eleanor, and a son Nicholas Verdon. Nicholas had at least four children - John, Eleanor, Elizabeth and James Verdon who married Mary Plunkett c.1700. He and Mary had a son called Michael Verdon of Dundalk, born in 1711, who married Mary Callan and died in 1735. 

Michael and Mary had a son called Theobald Verdon, named after his illustrious forebears. He married Mary Broome on 31st December 1764 at St. Nicholas's Church, Liverpool. 

Theobald and Mary had an only son called John 'Verdin', born on 21st January and was christened on 30th January 1766 at Witton near Northwich, Cheshire. John is the ancestor of the Verdins of Northwich, Stoke Hall and Darnhall Hall in Cheshire and Garnstone Castle in Herefordshire. The family flourished and one of them was made a Baronet.

Below: the coat of arms of Sir Richard Bertram Verdin of Stoke Hall & Darnhall Hall, Cheshire and Garnstone Castle, Herefordshire. The arms include a lion 'argent' (silver) against a black ('sable') background, a design which echoes the lion of the de Verdons of Norfolk. However, the Verdins descend from the de Verdons of Ireland, who would have displayed 'or, fretty gules', the Alton family's arms.


The de Vardon (Devardon) and 

Vardon families of Normandy  

The family of Harry Vardon the famous golfer

It is purely coincidental that this family share the same spelling of their surname as the Vardons of Cheshire. Quite how the name 'Vardon' evolved in Normandy separately from the way in which the Verdons (de Verduns) of Cheshire's did, no one yet knows.

Two Vardon brothers fled from Normandy to Jersey after King Louis XIV's revocation of the Edict of Nantes in October 1685. The Edict had been issued by protestant King Henry IV (Henry of Navarre), to protect and grant rights to the protestant - "Hugeunot" - minority. Their descendants remained in Jersey, but some relocated to England, where their most famous descendant was the famous golfer "Harry Vardon"

These Vardons from Jersey are the protestant branch of the de Vardon family (now Devardon) of Le Bas Vardon and Le Haut Vardon, below Cahan in Normandie, south west of the town of Pont D'Ouilly at the junction of the River Noireau and the Orne. Vardons still live in the area of Athis-de-l'Orne, including well known dairy farmer Jean Vardon of La Ferme de Treillebois, and the Devardons are still at Le Haut Vardon.

The Vardons of Les Tourailles, south east of Athis-de-l'Orne, details of whom are found in the Armorial des Tourailles, du Houlme et de ses environs en Basse-Normadie, Ancien fief des Turgot, written by Christophe Lallau, appear from their Huguenot connections to be the same family as the Vardons of Jersey. 

The Armorial des Tourailles also mentions the de Verduns of Normandy. What has not yet been ascertained is whether the de Vardon and de Verdun families of Normandie are one and the same, with the surname having changed from one to the other as it did in England. The first mention of the name Vardon in Normandy appears to be in the early 1600s, but further investigation is required as to any potential earlier mention, or origin from the Normandy family of de Verdun.

However, one clue of the connection can be found in the book 'The Norman people and their existing descendants in the British dominions and the United States of America, written by Henry S. King & Co., and published in 1874. In his book, King provides the following entry for the Vardon family:

VARDON. Durand Vardon, Normandy 1198 (MRS), armorially identified with Verdon. 

The 'MRS' referenced above is the 'Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae', or an extract from it that appears in what King refers to as the 'Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaries de la Normandie, t. 15-17'.


The de Verdon family of Wrottesley, 

Tettenhall, Staffordshire

Who changed their name to 'Wrottesley' and became Baronets


There is another branch of the de Verdon family who settled at Wrottesley in Tettenhall Parish, Staffordshire and became the Wrottesley of Wrottesley family. Their direct connection with the de Verdons of Alton is not yet established but there is no doubt at all that they were members of the same extended family.


In an old history of Tettenhall there is a lot of information about the family including the following brief early family tree:

William de Verdon of Wrottesley above is the same person as 'William de Wrottesley' whose coat of arms appears in the same book, as shown below:  

At the bottom of the coat of arms is an inscription that reads: 



Married Joan, daughter of Sir Roger Bassett, son of Ralph,

Lord Bassett, of Drayton 


Some old seals from old deeds at Wrottesley, including one for Sir William and his son Hugh displaying their original de Verdun coat of arms are also shown in the Tettenhall book:


The deed by which Adam the Abbot and monastry of Evesham enfoeffed Simon, the son of William of Coctune with the manors of Wrottesley and Levinton, in Staffordshire was dated sometime between 1160 and 1167. The witnesses to this deed were: Pagan the clerk, Philip the steward, William de Tywe (tenants of the monastry), Enguerrand de Humez, his brother Jordan de Humez, Bertram de Verdun, Alexander de Claverley, Robert Pincerna, Walter Bret (or Brito), Ralph de Meilnil, Roelend de Verdun and Gwiot or Wido de Verdun. Wido was one of the de Verduns of Norfolk and had a son called William who married a daughter of William de Valeines (Monasticon).

The de Humez brothers were the sons of Richard de Humez, Hereditary Constable of Normandy. Bertram (i.e. Bertram III de Verdun) was brought up in the household of Richard de Humez, as his Ward. Jordan and Bertram accompanied King Richard I on crusade - Jordan became constable to Richard's army and Bertram was made castellan of Acre when the King advanced towards Jerusalem. 

Much later a Wrottesley was made a Baronet and then Sir John Wrottesley Bart was elevated to become the 1st Baron Wrottesley of Wrottesley. His coat of arms (shown below) illustrates how the Wrottesleys changed their arms to those of Bassett, with the same core design as shown above impaled with de Verdon, but with a different colour combination.