Vernon family

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The Vernon family was a wealthy, prolific and widespread English family with 11th-century origins in Vernon, France.

Vernon of Shipbrook, Cheshire[1][edit]

William de Vernon arrived in England at the time of the Norman conquest and was granted lands in the County Palatine of Chester under the patronage of Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester. His son Richard was created a medieval Baron and settled at Shipbrook, near Northwich, Cheshire.[1]

Warine Vernon, elder son of the 4th Baron, had no male heir and his extensive estate was divided between his daughters and his brother Ralph, Rector of Hanwell. Ralph's son, also Ralph b 1241, was reputed to have lived so long he earned the soubriquet The Old Liver. His heir was Sir Richard, son of his second marriage to Matilda Grosvenor of Kinderton, Cheshire. The Barony expired when his grandson Sir Richard, was captured after the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 and executed for treason.[1]

Branches of the family flourished and its influence spread beyond Cheshire over the following centuries, partly as a result of judicious intermarriage.

Vernon of Nether Haddon and Tong[edit]

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire: photograph by Eirian Evans
St Bartholomew's church, Tong, shrine church of the Vernon family.

Sir Richard de Vernon (d. c. 1215) acquired the manor by his late 12th century marriage to the heiress of Nether Haddon and Haddon Hall, Alice Avenell, daughter of William Avenell.[2] His son, Sir William Vernon, a High Sheriff of Lancashire and Chief Justice of Cheshire 1229–1236, married Margaret, the heiress of Sir Robert de Stockport.[3] His son Richard was Chief Justice in 1249. A subsequent descendant, also Richard, married Juliana, daughter of Sir Fulk de Pembrugge, the heiress of Tong Castle, in the mid-1300s.[2]

Sir Richard Vernon (1390–1451)[2] of Haddon and Tong married his distant cousin and sole heiress Benedicta de Ludlow, daughter of Isabella de Lingen and Sir John de Ludlow of Hodnet.[4] Benedicta's mother, Lady Isabella Pembrugge (née Lingen) founded the chantry and college at Tong, Shropshire in memory of her three departed husbands. Tong Church contains many of the Vernon tombs. Benedicta de Ludlow, as well as the Lingen and Pembrugge Arms, are depicted in the chapel's stained glass window at Haddon Hall.[4] Sir Richard Vernon was High Sheriff of Staffordshire for 1416 and 1427 and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for 1422 and 1425. He also represented Derbyshire and Staffordshire in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of which he was Speaker in 1426. He was Treasurer of Calais in the last year of his life (1450–1451). He was buried at Tong.[4]

His son Sir William[4] was Constable of England and succeeded him as Treasurer of Calais and MP for Derbyshire and Staffordshire, while other descendants became the Vernons of Hodnet.[4] Sir William's son Sir Henry Vernon KB (1441–1515) became governor and treasurer to Arthur, Prince of Wales, married Anne Talbot daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury and rebuilt Haddon Hall.[2][5]

Sir Henry's grandson, Sir George Vernon, the last of the Haddon Vernons, owned a vast acreage and was locally styled King of the Peak.[6][7][8] He died in 1565 without a male heir and his estates passed to his daughters. Haddon passed to Dorothy Vernon who married Sir John Manners and became ancestors of the Dukes of Rutland, present owners of Haddon Hall.[6][7]

Vernon of Lostock and Haslington[edit]

Sir Thomas Vernon, the second son of Sir Ralph, The Old Liver was excluded from the main succession of Shipbrook of 1325 in favour of his younger stepbrother. He married Joan Lostock, heiress of Lostock Gralam and settled at Haslington Hall.[9]

Eleven generations of Vernons lived at Haslington until Muriel daughter and heiress of Sir George Vernon, Judge of Common Pleas, married her distant cousin Sir Henry Vernon (1616–1658) of Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire [3] and their estates merged. For further and later detail see Vernon of Sudbury and Hilton below.

Vernon of London and Nacton[edit]

Ralph Vernon second son of Robert Vernon (b1520) and Isabella Levensage of Haslington settled in London.[3] His great-grandson James Vernon (1646–1727) was a Secretary of State to William III. He was the father of James Vernon (d1756) who settled in Suffolk and of Admiral Edward Vernon (1684–1757). James' son Francis Vernon (1715–1783), Member of Parliament for Ipswich, was created Baron Orwell of Orwell Park, Nacton, Suffolk in 1762, Viscount Orwell in 1762 and Earl of Shipbrook in 1777. The Earldom was extinct on his death in 1783.

Vernon of Hodnet, Shropshire[edit]

Humphrey Vernon (d1542), 3rd son of Sir Henry Vernon (d1515) of Haddon, married Alice Ludlow heiress of Hodnet, Shropshire and settled there.[10] His greatgrandson Henry Vernon was created the first of the Vernon Baronets in 1660.[10] The Baronetcy expired on the death of the third Baronet in 1725.

Vernon of Houndshill[edit]

Thomas Vernon the second son of Humphrey Vernon (d1542) of Hodnet died in 1556 and his son Walter (1552–1592) settled at Houndshill, Staffordshire.[11] His grandson Sir Edward Vernon (1584–1657) married his cousin Margaret Vernon thus combining the Houndshill, Haddon and Hilton estates.[11]

Vernon of Clontarf[edit]

John Vernon, (d1670) the third son of Sir Edward Vernon (1584–1657) of Houndshill settled at Clontarf Castle and a branch of the family existed there until the mid 20th century. The writer Cyril Connolly was of this line through his mother Muriel Maud Vernon.

Vernon of Sudbury and Hilton[edit]

Sudbury Hall

Sir John Vernon (d 1545)[citation needed] was the fourth son of Sir Henry Vernon (d 1515) of Haddon and Tong. He was a member of the King's Council for Wales, High Sheriff of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in 1528 and Custos Rotulorum of Derbyshire.[12] He married Ellen Montgomery, one of the three heiress daughters of Sir John Montgomery (d 1513) of Marchington and Sudbury, Derbyshire;[12] the Sudbury estate thereby passed to the Vernon family.

Their only son Henry Vernon (d1569) married Margaret Swynnerton, co-heiress of Humphrey Swynnerton of Hilton Hall, Staffordshire thus combining two substantial estates.[12] They had two sons, John (dsp1600) and Henry (d1592); neither had a male heir, but the family wealth was preserved by the marriage of Henry's only child, Margarett, to her third cousin Sir Edward Vernon (1584–1658) of Houndshill, Staffordshire.[12]

Their eldest son Henry Vernon (1615–1659) married a distant kinswoman Meriall Vernon, only surviving daughter of judge Sir George Vernon of Haslington, Cheshire;[13] the extensive Sudbury, Haslington and Houndshill estates were inherited by their elder surviving son, George, with the Hilton estate passing to the younger one, Henry.

George Vernon the elder son (1636–1702) continued the Sudbury line.[13] His son (by his third marriage, to Catherine Vernon, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Vernon, merchant of London) Henry Vernon,[14] Member of Parliament for Stafford, married Ann Pigott, niece and heiress of Peter Venables the last Baron Kinderton.[15] Their only surviving son George (1709–1780),[16] Member of Parliament for Lichfield and Derby, changed his surname in 1728 to Venables-Vernon and was created the first Baron Vernon of Kinderton in 1762.[15]

A younger son Edward changed his name to Harcourt on marriage and later became Archbishop of York. See Earl Harcourt.[17] The Vernon Barony remained in the family until 2000 when the 10th Baron died and the Barony passed to a distant Vernon-Harcourt fifth cousin.[18]

For the continuation of the Hilton line see below.

Vernon of Hilton[edit]

Henry Vernon (1637–1711) second son of Henry Vernon of Sudbury, resided at Hilton Hall.[13] His eldest son Henry (1663–1732) largely rebuilt the moated Hilton Hall in the 1720s; he married (1717) Penelope Phillips (d.1727). Their eldest son, another Henry (1718–1763), married Henrietta Wentworth (1720–1786), youngest daughter of the earl of Strafford; she was a lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess Amelia, sister of King George III.

Their eldest son Henry Vernon (1748–1814) of Hilton was a page at the Coronation of George III. He married an heiress, Penelope Graham. Their eldest son, Major-General Henry Charles Edward, substantially extended Hilton Hall in the 1830s. The family remained in occupation until the mid-20th century.

Vernon of Hanbury[edit]

The Vernons of Hanbury descend from the ancient Cheshire family of Shipbrook and Whatcroft. In 1584 Richard Vernon of Audley, Staffordshire married Frances Wylde the heiress of Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire and in 1701 Thomas Vernon rebuilt the house in grand style.

In 1885 Harry Foley Vernon of Hanbury,[19] Member of Parliament for Worcestershire East 1861-68, was created the first of the Vernon Baronets of Hanbury. The Baronetcy was extinct in 1940 and the family relinquished the estate in 1953.

Vernon of Great Budworth, Gawsworth and Shotwick Park[edit]

The Vernons descended from the ancient Cheshire family and from William Vernon (1434–1507) of Cogshall, Great Budworth, Cheshire who was a grandson of Richerd Vernon of Lostock.

Thirteen generations of the family resided in Great Budworth and then Mutlow, Gawsworth.

In 1914 William Vernon[20] Chairman of W Vernon & Son (Millers) of London and Liverpool was created the first of the Vernon Baronets of Shotwick. The title is taken from Shotwick Castle built in Cheshire in the 11th century by Hugh Lupus benefactor of the early de Vernon family. The Baronetcy remains extant.


  1. ^ a b c Collins's Peerage p396
  2. ^ a b c d "Haddon Hall: History and Virtual Tour; Owners of Haddon Hall",, accessed 15 November 2012
  3. ^ a b c Collins's, p. 399
  4. ^ a b c d e Collins's, p. 400
  5. ^ Collins's, p. 401
  6. ^ a b Trutt, David. "Haddon Hall's Dorothy Vernon". 2006, accessed 6 September 2011
  7. ^ a b Collins's, p. 402
  8. ^ Mosley, vol. 1, p. 1102 and vol. 3, p. 3996; Lundy, Darryl. "Sir George Vernon",
  9. ^ Collins's, p. 398
  10. ^ a b Collins's, p. 404
  11. ^ a b Collins's, p. 405
  12. ^ a b c d Collins's, p. 403
  13. ^ a b c Collins's, p. 406
  14. ^ Mosley, vol. 3, p. 3997; Lundy, Darryl. "Henry Vernon",, accessed 15 November 2012
  15. ^ a b Collins's, p. 407
  16. ^ Mosley, vol. 3, p, 3997; Lundy, Darryl. "George Venables-Vernon, 1st Baron Vernon",, 15 November 2012
  17. ^ Collins's, p. 408
  18. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Anthony William Vernon-Harcourt, 11th Lord Vernon",, accessed 15 November 2012
  19. ^ Mosley, vol. 2, p. 1716; Lundy, Darryl. Sir Harry Foley Vernon, 1st Bt.",, accessed 15 November 2012
  20. ^ Mosley, vol. 3, p. 3994; Lundy, Darryl. "Sir William Vernon, 1st Bt.",, accessed 15 November 2012


  • Brydges, Edgerton. Collins's Peerage of England Vol. VII (1812)
  • Knott, Cherry Ann. "George Vernon (1636–1702) ‘Who built this House’ Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire", 2010, Tun House Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9565240-0-3.
  • Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, (2003)

External links[edit]