Combermere Abbey Timeline

c. 900
Possibility of Danish raiders at Combermere during the reign of Edward the Elder

c. 1040
Birth of William de Maldebeng, who became first Baron of Wich-Malbank after 1066

Norman invasion of England; William I crowned king

1086: Compilation of the Domesday Book

Cote [Coton] in Wem in the hundred of Hodnet mentioned in Domesday Book. Ownership had passed from a un-named Anglo-Saxon to the Norman lord William Pantulf, Baron of Wem, a tenant of Earl Roger of Shrewsbury. Combermere not mentioned in Domesday Book

c. 1095
Birth of Hugh de Malbank, later to be second Baron Wich-Malbank of Nantwich

Combermere Abbey endowed in the Savigny order by Hugh, Wich-Malbank, and witnessed by his lord, Earl Rannulph of Chester, and the Bishop of Chester, Roger de Clinton

1135 – 1153: ‘The Anarchy’ – virtual civil war throughout the country

Combermere Abbey converted the Cistercian order

1170: Assassination of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral

1215: Sealing of the Magna Carta

Abbot Thomas de Gillyng reprimanded for undertaking new monastic building without permission

Abbot Stephen of Lexington visited Combermere during his survey of monasteries

First concerns about the Abbey’s finances

c. 1255
Birth of Hugh of Hodnet; start of the Cotton line

Sheriff of Shropshire ordered the Abbey’s creditors to offer respite on the Abbey’s debts. Bishop of Bath and Wells, Robert Burnell given authority over the Abbey

Combermere’s finances taken under royal control

The Abbot of Combermere, Richard, and six monks, fortified the church of Saint Mary in Drayton (now Market Drayton) and attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury. He in turn excommunicated he Abbot and his monks

The Abbey petitioned the King, asking to be excused the levy to pay for the suppression of the Welsh on account of their poverty. Bishop Burnell paid off the Abbey’s debts of £213 6 shillings and 8 pence; the Abbey surrendered the manor of Monks Coppenhall in part-payment

Birth of Hugh de Cotton of Hodnet, son of Hugh; first appearance of Cotton as a surname

Nantwich residents attack the Abbot and the Prior in the town, killing the Prior

King Edward II almost certainly visited Combermere Abbey

1314: Battle of Bannockburn

The Abbot of Whalley complained of hard financial dealings by the Abbot of Combermere

The Abbey again taken into the royal protection of King Edward II “on account of its poverty and miserable state”

Combermere in royal financial custody once more

The Abbots of Combermere and Whalley attacked at Hulton in Staffordshire

1348 – 1350 Outbreak of plague known as The Black Death

1356: Victory against the French at the Battle of Poitiers

Abbot John of Combermere led a violent attack on the property of Sir Richard Fullshurst

The Abbot and monks of Combermere attack and take the Abbey at Whalley and are removed by a counter-attack by the Sheriff of Lancaster leading a posse comitatus

1381: Peasants’ Revolt

The monks of Combermere said to be facing starvation

William of Plymouth, Abbot of Combermere, accused of counterfeiting

Roger Hoggeson of Holyhurst and Richard Tenche of Lodmore led an armed mob, which invaded the Abbey, stealing books and killing horses

1415: English army under Henry V defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt

Abbot Richard Alderwas murdered by John Bagh of Dodcott

1484: Caxton established his printing press in London

1485: Death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth; Henry VII crowned – first Tudor monarch

Combermere exempted from clerical taxation on the grounds of poverty

1509: Henry VIII crowned king

The Abbey’s tanner, John Jenyns, murdered Daniel Ottewell at the Abbey. Ottewell’s brother said, “this Abbey is already in an evil name for using of misrule”. The Abbot successfully concealed the murderer

Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer,  warned of the Abbot of Combermere’s “lack of abilities and his poor behaviour”

1529: Henry VIII severs with Rome and declares himself Head of the Church of England

Cromwell’s auditors arrived at Combermere

The last Abbot, John Massey, surrendered Combermere to the Crown

The Combermere estate granted to Sir George Cotton

Death of Sir George Cotton. Combermere inherited by his six year-old son, Richard

1547: Death of Henry VIII. Edward VI crowned

1553: Nine-day reign of Lady Jane Grey

1558: Reign of Queen Elizabeth I began

New timber-framed house created; the ecclesiastical buildings having been removed. Date stone at the Abbey inscribed: “Master Richard Cotton and his sons three, both for their pleasure and commoditie, this building did edifie, in fifteen hundred and sixty three”.

1564: Birth of William Shakespeare

1588: English defeat of the Spanish Armada

1603: Death of Queen Elizabeth, James VI of Scotland crowned as James I of England

1605: Gunpowder Plot at Saint James’s Palace

King Charles I visited Cheshire to rally the gentlemen of the county to his standard

1642 – 1651: English Civil War

Part of Lord Capell’s Royalist army billeted at Combermere ahead of the Battle of Nantwich

Parliamentarian ‘Collector’ Mark Folineux paid half a crown for a day’s work in sequestering the goods of Mr Cotton of Combermere. Sequestration lifted following the death of George Cotton, who had provided a war horse and plate to the Royalists

1649: King Charles I executed

1653 – 1658 Parliamentarian Protectorate

Robert Cotton married Hester Salusbury of Llewenny. As heiress of her brother, Sir John Salusbury, fourth baronet of Llewenny, she brings the large Denbighshire estate into the Cotton family.

Robert Cotton saved from a charge of high treason by the resignation of Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector

1660: Restoration of the monarchy; Charles II crowned

1665: Worst outbreak of plague in London

1666: Great Fire of London

Robert Cotton, knighted in 1660, created a baronet

1688: The Glorious Revolution – James II fled and was replaced by William of Orange

King William III of Orange stayed at the Abbey on his way to Ireland to fight what became known as The Battle of the Boyne

1707: Act of Union between England and Scotland

1745: Jacobite Rebellion, followed by the Battle of Culloden (1746)

Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton sold the Lleweny estate to Thomas Fitzmaurice, brother of the first Marquess of Landsdowne. The Cotton family continue to live there as tenants

Birth of Stapleton Cotton, late first Viscount Combermere, at Llwenney

Dr Samuel Johnson at Combermere. He described the house; “Combermere is the best house I ever saw of its kind. It is spacious but not [too] magnificent”.

1793 – 1820
Two-part military career of Stapleton Cotton

1795 – 1797
Some re-modelling of the house under Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton

1805: Battle of Trafalgar

1807: Slavery abolished by the British parliament

Stapleton Cotton inherited and became the sixth baronet. Made Combermere his principal seat

Sir Stapleton Cotton Bt. created Baron Combermere

1814 – 1821
Abbey extensively re-modelled in the Gothick style

1815: Battle of Waterloo

Visit of the Duke of Wellington to the Abbey. New armoury entrance hall built, and new wing with dining room built to the north east. New Wellington Lodge built at the Whitchurch entrance (destroyed during WW2)

Baron Combermere created Viscount Combermere of Bhurtpore. Changed his name to Stapleton Stapleton-Cotton by royal license

Stone Lodge built at the Nantwich road entrance, designed by Morrison. Two re-modelling schemes commissioned – from Edward Blore and Morrisons; neither actioned

1831: Charles Darwin sets sail in The Beagle

Stable block built to the design of Edward Blore

1840: Victoria married Prince Albert

Death of the first Viscount Combermere

1837: Coronation of Queen Victoria

Birth of Kenneth Irwin Crossley, son of engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Crossley

1881, 1882
Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, rented the Abbey over the hunting seasons

Combermere rented by Sir Richard and Lady Constance Sutton. Sir Richard died shortly after and Lady Constance lived at the Abbey as a widow, with her posthumous baby son

Combermere estate offered for sale but did not find a buyer

1895: First car seen on a British road

1901: Death of Queen Victoria, accession of King Edward VII

1900 – 1917
The estate was rented by Katherine, Dowager Duchess of Westminster. She paid for the construction of The Glass House in The Walled Garden

William Crossley created baronet

1912: Sinking of the Titanic

1914 – 1918 First World War

Fourth Viscount Combermere offered the estate for sale and the contents were auctioned at a three-day sale. The estate was bought by the Manchester industrialist and engineer, Sir Kenneth Crossley

1922: Foundation of the British Broadcasting Corporation

1936: Abdication crisis – coronation of King George VI

Death of Sir Kenneth’s son and heir, Anthony Crossley

1939 – 1945
Combermere used firstly as a convalescent home and then as a school

1939 – 1945: Second World War

1948: Establishment of the National Health Service

Abbey added to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural and historical merit as Grade I. North Wing abandoned

Death of Francis Crossley, son of Anthony Crossley and heir to Sir Kenneth Crossley

1952: Death of King George VII, Queen Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne

Death of Sir Kenneth Crossley. Combermere inherited by his grand-daughter Penelope Callander (later Lady Lindsay)

1962: The Beatles release their first record

1966: England beat Germany in the football World Cup

A scheme for the re-modelling of the house was commissioned from Raymond Erith and Quinlan Terry but not built

1973: Britain joins the Common Market

Wellington dining room demolished, south wing lowered from three storeys to two

1976: Concorde’s first flight

Estate passed from Lady Lindsay to her daughter, Sarah Callander Beckett

1992 –
Restoration of various estate buildings, including The Glasshouse and The Game Larder

1993 – 1994
Victorian stable block converted into luxury holiday cottages

Wedding venue established

2014 –
Restoration of the North Wing and The Library fully restored