HomeThe Delamere Saga: the Untold Story of Vale Royal Abbey

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The Delamere Saga: the Untold Story of Vale Royal Abbey

This colourful and thoroughly researched history of the Lord Delamere branch of the British aristocracy focuses on the famous Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, England. The Cholmondeley family, who owned the Abbey throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, are described in lavish and intimate detail as they maneuvered to maintain, through three generations, their status as a leading family in the United Kingdom.

Beginning in the late 17th century, we follow Charles Cholmondeley as he served as a member of the King’s army in Canada in the war against the French. Part I witnesses the ubiquitous Thomas Cholmondeley who purchased the title ‘Lord (Baron) Delamere’ for £5000 from the British crown in 1821. Part II covers the 2nd Lord Delamere, Hugh Cholmondeley, who led a very sad and difficult life, and experienced the deterioration of Vale Royal. Part III reviews the life of Hugh Cholmondeley, Jnr., 3rd Lord Delamere, his abandonment of Vale Royal Abbey and his relocation to East Africa. Narcissistic Hugh was part of the notorious “happy valley crowd” of Kenya and their lives of debauchery, sex and drugs.

The Vale Royal Abbey lives on today, a national treasure and testament to the intriguing lives of those who occupied it over the centuries.

ISBN 9781922332110 (PB, 342pp);
140mm x 216mm
AUD $40 USD $30 NZD $44 GBP £23 EUR €28
ISBN 9781922332127 (eBook) AUD $19 USD $15 NZD $21 GBP £11.5 EUR €14


We Americans are always fascinated with English history and this writer brings life to the forgotten history of the County Palatine of Cheshire from the very first page of this new book. This narrative makes compelling reading right to the last page as we discover the untold story of the famous Vale Royal Abbey built in 1540 AD.
– Mimi Rossi, writer and entertainer, the Hollywood Professional Association

This masterpiece is one of the most exciting, informative and touching narratives of the Lords’ Delamere branch of the famous Cholmondeley family of Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, England. This narrative written by British historian and researcher Geoffrey Hebdon covers the secret lives of the British aristocracy from the 16th to the 20th century. Reviewers comment that this book is destined to be become a best seller amongst students and readers of British history.
– ProductionHUB

I’ve just finished reading The Delamere Saga and thoroughly enjoyed it, partly because, for 19 years we’ve lived in ‘Abbots Barn’—what was originally the stables/barn/coach house building on Vale Royal Abbey Estate, now overlooking the 18th green of the golf course. Your book is extremely well researched and a fascinating insight into our erstwhile neighbours in the ‘main house’.
– Jeremy Cole

Geoffrey Hebdon

Geoffrey Hebdon was born and brought up in Lancashire, England, in the heart and region of the cotton industry. After leaving college, having studied textile engineering, he embarked on the vocation of education, including lecturing, teaching and evangelical work. He and his wife Pauline lived and served in various parts of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

After starting a family in the 1970s Geoffrey and Pauline decided to relocate to South Africa and for almost 30 years were based in Cape Town. While working there, Geoffrey, a dedicated educationalist, along with a business partner, decided to open a private academy with campuses in Bellville, the northern suburbs of Cape Town, and also in Central Cape Town with plans to open a third campus in the African township of Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, to offer career training courses, including business management, computers, travel and tourism, journalism, plus health and beauty. This private academy later expanded its offerings to the more disadvantaged students of southern and eastern Africa, with the help of the Department of Education plus generous private subsidies and sponsorships.

After semi-retiring in 2000, Geoffrey and Pauline relocated their family to the United States and lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for eight years before moving to Los Angeles, where they are currently based. Geoffrey is still involved with research, reporting and writing.


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from the Author's Note and Introduction

For many centuries the outstanding landmark that dominates the skyline in the beautiful, peaceful countryside around the small village of Whitegate, in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, has been the impressive Vale Royal Abbey, which for most visitors to the area proved to be an enigma. When I was asked to write a comprehensive report on the history of Vale Royal Abbey and its occupants over the years, this presented an enormous personal challenge.

This book is about the intriguing history of Vale Royal Abbey, England, and is written from the vantage point of my first visit in the year 1946, up to the latest visits that I made during the years 1999 and 2000, at the invitation of the management of the current new owners of the estate. Being able to dig deep into the archives of some of England’s most famous institutions, museums and libraries, which revealed and uncovered such fascinating information and details about the County of Cheshire and more particularly the elegant, inspiring estate of Vale Royal Abbey, proved to be one of the most exciting endeavors I have ever undertaken.

With the assistance of a dedicated team of researchers and genealogists, I also cover in this ‘saga’, over eight generations of the well-known Cholmondeley family line associated with the Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire, from 1615, when Lady Mary Cholmondeley bought the estate from the Holford family, which later was to become the home of the Lords’ Delamere; and up to the 1940s when the bankrupt estate, controlled by the mortgagees and subject to the rules and restrictions of the British Crown, was sold and disposed of to the present owners.