CHOLMLEY (CHOLMONDELEY), Sir Hugh (by 1513-97), of Cholmondeley, Cheshire.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1513, 2nd s. of Richard Cholmley (d.1517/18) of Cholmondeley by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Randall Brereton of Malpas; bro. of Ralph. m. (1) Amy or Anne (d.1571), da. of Sir George Darman or Dorman of Malpas, 3s. inc. Hugh 1da., (2) Mary, da. of Sir William Gruffydd of Penrhyn, Caern., wid. of Sir Randall Brereton of Malpas, s.p. suc. bro. 1539. Kntd. 11 May 1544.2

Offices Held

Commr. musters, Cheshire 1544, 1569, 1570, Denb. 1550, chantries, Cheshire, Lancs. and Chester 1548, relief, Salop and Cheshire 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Cheshire 1553, eccles. causes, diocese of Chester 1562, piracy, Cheshire 1565; other commissions 1570-86; j.p. Cheshire 1547, q. by 1562, Salop 1582; sheriff, Cheshire 1547-8, 1554-5, 1565-6, 1572-3, 1588-9, Flints. 1582-3; member, council in marches of Wales 1560, v.-pres. 1569-71; dep. lt. Cheshire 1569, 1585, 1587; custos rot. 1579-d.3


Cholmley had a long, but colourless career; little of a personal nature has come down about him and most of the other references to him are workaday. He was a second son but his elder brother died childless in 1539 leaving him the inheritance when he was in his mid twenties. Called upon in 1544 to supply 50 men (only two of his neighbours had to furnish more) for the Scottish war, he himself commanded double that number and so bore himself during the attacks on Edinburgh and Leith that he was among those knighted at Leith by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.4

When he was preparing to set out for the north in March 1544 Cholmley had written to Hertford’s right-hand man John Thynne, who was already at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, ‘if you lie upon a bottle of hay that you will be content to let me have part with you like as it hath pleased you to do all times when we have been together’. How and when the friendship between the two had originated can only be guessed at: Thynne’s family home at Church Stretton in Shropshire was perhaps too far from Cholmondeley for it to have begun in their boyhood and no other early connexion between them has been found. For Cholmley to have known Thynne thus well, however, could have contributed towards his return for the shire to the Parliament of 1547, especially if, as is likely, his election was followed almost immediately by his being pricked sheriff: true, he belonged to the small group of leading gentlemen who claimed the knighthood of the shire in turn, but nearly all of them had also served with Hertford in Scotland and they may have been content to take their lead from him. Of Cholmley’s part in the proceedings of this Parliament nothing is known, but since it was to be the only one he attended in the course of a long life he perhaps neither took to the Commons nor made any mark there.5

Outside Parliament Cholmley was to render the crown lengthy and varied service. In 1557 he renewed his experience of border warfare by joining the army led against the Scots by the 3rd Earl of Derby. Under Elizabeth he became a member of the council in the marches, of which he was made vice-president in 1569 when (Sir) Henry Sidney went to Ireland: he was discharged from the council after 1571 but reinstated in 1575, and according to the council’s historian ‘there is no evidence that he played any very remarkable part in its history’. A like passivity seems to have characterized his religious outlook: having evidently conformed under both Edward VI and Mary, he was reported by his bishop in 1564 to adhere to the Anglican settlement, and 15 years later his religious disposition drew the comment, ‘No man knoweth, but obedient’. After his son and namesake’s knighting in 1587 it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two, but in view of the father’s age it was probably the son who was discharging the duties then associated with the name. The father’s monumental inscription in Malpas church, however, makes it clear that it was he who was once again pricked sheriff in 1588. Cholmley was well into his eighties when he died at his home on 16 Jan. 1597.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at younger brother Ralph’s i.p.m., C142/135/41. Ormerod, Cheshire , ii. 633-4, 638; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 64; (lix), 62; DNB which gives Cholmley’s daughter-in-law Mary Holford and grandson Robert as his wife and son.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xix, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1548-9, p. 1553, pp. 358, 360, 417; 1560-3, pp. 280, 444; 1563-6, p. 28; B. Coward, ‘Stanley fam. c.1385-1651’ (Sheffield Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1968), 200, 201; APC, vii. 284, 375; viii. 40; xi. 243, 255; xii. 140, 159; xiii. 64; xiv. 9; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, pp. xiv, 256, 344-5; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 216; HMC Foljambe, 25.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII , xix; HMC Bath , iv. 59, 66, 69.
  • 5. HMC Bath , iv. 117; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot , ii. 300.
  • 6. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 76; K. R. Wark, Eliz. Recusancy in Cheshire (Chetham Soc. ser. 3, xix), 51; Ormerod, ii. 614, 634.