Mary Cholmondeley

Mary Cholmondeley (1563 – 1625) was a Cheshire girl born in Great Budworth.

By the time she was 19 she was on her second marriage to Sir Hugh Cholmondeley in 1581 and had 8 children with him.

She came to prominence during her lifetime as a result of one of the longest legal battles in history over the estate of her father George Holford who died in 1581.

Property rights for women in the 16th and 17th century were circumscribed and she had refused to give up the property rights her father had left from his estate and continued to fight her brother for over 40 years.

Eventually in 1620 she agreed on a satisfactory settlement and was given her father’s property of Holford Hall just west of Plumley.

She then went on to become a property owner in her own right and purchased the Vale Royal Abbey estate where she rebuilt parts of it then entertained the monarch King James I and his court for 3 days.

King James called her the “bold lady of Cheshire” after she turned him down when he said he could advance the political careers of her sons.

She continued to live at Vale Royal Abbey until her death in 1625.