Manor of Cobham, Kent
Cobham is an historic manor in the county of Kent, England, largely co-terminous with the ecclesiastical parish of Cobham. The surviving grade I listed manor house, known as Cobham Hall, is one of the largest and most important houses in Kent, re-built in the Tudor style by William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (1527–1597). The central block was rebuilt 1672–82 by Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox (1639–1672). Today the building houses a private boarding school for girls, known as "Cobham Hall School", established there in 1962, which retains 150 acres of the ancient estate. St Mary Magdalene Church, The parish church of Cobham, contains famous monumental brasses of members of the de Cobham and Brooke families, lords of the manor, which are reputedly the finest in England. William Belcher in his Kentish Brasses (1905) stated: No church in the world possesses such a splendid series as the nineteen brasses in Cobham Church, ranging in date between 1298 and 1529. In the church also survives the sumptuous chest tomb and alabaster effigies of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558) and his heiress wife Ann Bray. To the immediate south of the church is the building known as Cobham College, now an almshouse, which originally housed the five priests employed by the chantry founded in 1362 by John Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham (died 1408), who also built nearby Cooling Castle on his estate at Cooling, Kent, acquired by his ancestors in the mid-13th century. In the former deer park survives the Darnley Mausoleum, a pyramid-topped structure built in 1786 as ordered by the will of the 3rd Earl of Darnley. Several of the holders held the office of Constable of Rochester Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the holder of the latter office being ex officio Constable of Dover Castle. The lords of the manor of Cobham were Hereditary High Stewards of nearby Gravesend and held the right to charge that town pontage in relation to the use of the landing stage, bridge or causeway on the River Thames, on the ceremonial route from the Palace of Westminster to Dover.
Cobham was not a manor in 1086 as it is not listed in the Domesday Book. In 1208 the manor was acquired by the "de Cobham" family, of unknown origin, which took their name from their seat, as was usual. The later descent of this family is as follows:
John de Cobham (d.1300)Edit
John de Cobham (died 1300), of Cobham and of Cooling, Constable of Rochester Castle in Kent and one of the Barons of the Exchequer, who married Joan de Septvans (died 1298), a daughter and co-heiress of Sir Robert de Septvans of Chartham in Kent. A monumental brass, laid down in 1320, survives in St Mary Magdalene's Church, Cobham, of Joan Septvans which displays one of the earliest known specimens of a Gothic canopy. The inscription, in Longobardic letters and Leonine verse is as follows:
Dame Jone de Kobeham gist isi,
Deus de sa alme eit merci.
Ki ke pur le alme priera,
Quaraunte jours de pardoun auera.
- ("Dame Jone de Cobham lies here, may God have mercy on her soul. Whosoever shall pray for her soul shall have forty days of pardon"). John's younger brother was Sir Henry de Cobham (d. circa 1316), of nearby Randall (anciently Rundale, Roundale, Rundell, Rundle, etc) in the parish of Shorne (given to him by his father) Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (which office was administered from Dover Castle in Kent), who by his wife Joan Pencester (bef. 1269–1314/15) (a daughter of Stephen de Pencester), was the father of Stephen de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham (d.1332) "of Rundale", which title was created in 1326.
Henry Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham (1260–1339)Edit
Henry Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham (1260–1339), son and heir of John de Cobham and Joan de Septvans. He was summomed by writ to Parliament in 1313, when he is deemed to have been created Baron Cobham ("of Kent"). In 1303/4 he was appointed Constable of Rochester Castle for life; in 1314/15 he was Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports. He married Maud de Moreville, widow of Matthew de Columbers and a daughter of Eudes de Moreville. He died at his daughter-in-law's home at Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset, the seat of the Beauchamp family's feudal barony of Hatch Beauchamp, and was buried in the Beauchamp Chapel at Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset.
John de Cobham, 2nd Baron Cobham (d. 1355)Edit
John de Cobham, 2nd Baron Cobham (died 1355), son and heir. Elected six times a Member of Parliament for Kent, served (jointly with his father) as Constable of Rochester Castle. From 1335 he was Admiral of the Fleet from the Thames westward. He married firstly Joan Beauchamp, a daughter of John Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp (1274–1336) of Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset; and secondly to Agnes Stone, a daughter of Richard Stone of Dartford. He was buried in Cobham Church, where survives his monumental brass, inscribed in rhyming French: "You who pass round this place pray for the soul of the courteous host called John de Cobham May God grant him entire pardon He died the day after the feast of St Mattew and the Almighty took him to himself in the year of grace 1354 and cast down his mortal enemies".
John Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham (d. 1408)Edit
John Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham (died 1408), son and heir by his father's first wife. He built nearby Cooling Castle on his estate at Cooling, Kent, acquired by his ancestors in the mid-13th century. In 1362 he founded Cobham College in the parish church of Cobham, a chantry employing a college of five priests. He married Margaret Courtenay (died 1385), a daughter of Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon (1303–1377) of Tiverton Castle in Devon. In 1388 he was one of the Lords Appellant who impeached various of the favourites of King Richard II, including de la Pole and de Vere. In 1397/8 he himself was impeached for his role as a Lord Appellant and was sentenced to death but pardoned on condition of his exile to Jersey. Henry IV restored the estates and he returned to England where he died in 1408, at a great age. He was buried in the Greyfriars, London, but his monumental brass survives in Cobham Church, next to that of his wife, inscribed in French: "From the earth I was made and formed and into earth and to earth am I returned John of Cobham Founder of this place which was previously named. May the Holy Trinity have mercy on my soul". He died without male issue, leaving an only child and (in her issue) sole heiress Joan de Cobham (died 1388), who predeceased her father, wife of Sir John de la Pole of Chrishall in Essex and of Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire, a first cousin of Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk.
Joan de la Pole, suo jure 4th Baroness Cobham (d. 1434)Edit
Joan de la Pole, suo jure 4th Baroness Cobham (died 1434), granddaughter and heiress of the 3rd Baron (daughter and heiress of Joan Cobham and Sir John de la Pole). She married five times: firstly to Sir Robert Hemenhale (died 1391) of Norfolk, buried in Westminster Abbey; secondly to Sir Reynold Braybroke (died 1405) who died on the Continent and was buried in Cobham Church, where survives his monumental brass; thirdly she married Sir Nicholas Hawberk (died 1407), who was buried in Cobham Church, where survives his monumental brass; fourthly she married Sir John Oldcastle, jure uxoris Baron Cobham, 1st Baron Oldcastle (died 1417), who was hanged as a heretic and traitor. Fifthly she married Sir John Harpeden (died 1458) who survived her by 24 years and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where survives his monumental brass. Joan died in 1434 and was buried in Cobham Church, where survives her monumental brass, commemorating also her second husband Sir Reynold Braybroke, and her 6 sons and 4 daughters, with 6 coats of arms (including one of Brooke). She died without surviving male issue when her heir became her only surviving daughter Joan Braybroke, the wife of Sir Thomas III Brooke (died 1439) of Holditch, Devon.
Joan Braybroke, suo jure 5th Baroness Cobham (d. 1442)Edit
Joan Braybroke, suo jure 5th Baroness Cobham (died 1442), the 4th Baroness's daughter by her second husband Sir Reynold Braybrooke. She married Sir Thomas III Brooke (died 1439) of Holditch in the parish of Thorncombe, Devon.
The Brooke family (anciently "de la Brook" or "At-Brook") originated at the estate of "la Brook" near Ilchester in Somerset, and later resided at Holditch in the parish of Thorncombe and at Weycroft in the parish of Axminster, both in Devon, both fortified manor houses. Following their inheritance the Brooke family moved to Cobham Hall in Kent.
Edward Brooke, 6th Baron Cobham (d. 1464)Edit
Edward Brooke, 6th Baron Cobham (died 1464), son of the 5th Baroness by her husband Sir Thomas III Brooke (died 1439) of Holdich, Devon. His grandfather Sir Thomas II Brooke (died 1418) of Holditch (whose monumental brass, together with that of his wife Joan Hanham, survives in Thorncombe Church) was "by far the largest landowner in Somerset" and served 13 times as a Member of Parliament for Somerset. Joan Hanham was the second daughter and co-heiress of Simon Hanham of Gloucestershire, and was the widow of the Bristol cloth merchant Robert Cheddar (died 1384), MP and twice Mayor of Bristol, "whose wealth was proverbial". She held many of Cheddar's estates after his death as her dower and died seized of 20 manors in Somerset and others elsewhere. Her son Richard Cheddar, MP, signed over his large inheritance to his mother and stepfather Sir Thomas II Brooke for their lives, due to the latter having "many times endured great travail and cost" in defending them during his minority. He married Elizabeth Touchet, a daughter of James Touchet, 5th Baron Audley, by his second wife Eleanor, an illegitimate daughter of Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent (1383–1408) by his mistress Constance of York, a daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (1341–1402), the fourth surviving son of King Edward III.
John Brooke, 7th Baron Cobham (d. 1512)Edit
John Brooke, 7th Baron Cobham (died 1512) was a minor at the death of his father in 1464 when his wardship was granted to Edward Neville, 3rd Baron Bergavenny (died 1476), of nearby Mereworth Castle, Kent, an uncle of King Edward IV. In 1497 together with Lord Bergavenny he defeated the Cornish Rebellion at Blackheath, where one of its leaders James Tuchet, 7th Baron Audley, his cousin, was taken prisoner. He married twice: firstly to Eleanor Austell of Suffolk, without issue, and secondly to Margaret Nevill (died 1506) (whose monumental brass survives in Cobham Church), a daughter of Edward Neville, his former guardian. In St. James Church, Cooling, survives the brass of his daughter Faith Brooke (d. 21 September 1508), inscribed: "Pray for ye soule of Ffeyth Brooke late ye daught. of Sir John Brooke, Lord of Cobham, which Ffeyth decessed the XXI day of Septeb. ye yer of or. Lord MDVIII on whose soule Jhu have mcy."
Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham (d. 1529)Edit
Thomas Brooke, 8th Baron Cobham (died 1529), son and heir by his father's second wife Margaret Nevill. He fought at the Siege of Tournai and at the Battle of the Spurs in 1513 and in 1520 was one of the Kent contingent accompanying King Henry VIII to the Field of Cloth of Gold. In 1521 he was one of the 12 barons who tried the Duke of Buckingham. He married three times: firstly Dorothy Heydon, a daughter of Sir Henry Heydon (died 1504) of Baconsthorpe, Norfolk (by his wife Anne Boleyn, a daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, great-grandfather of Queen Anne Boleyn), by whom he had 13 children; secondly he married Dorothy Southwell, a widow, without issue; thirdly he married Elizabeth Hart, without issue. He was buried in Cobham Church, where survives his monumental brass.
George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558)Edit
George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558), KG, eldest surviving son by his father's first wife Dorothy Haydon. In 1536 he was one of the 27 peers who sat in judgement on Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. He served as Deputy of Calais, a personal possession of the king, under the young King Edward VI, who appointed him a Knight of the Garter in 1549. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries he received large grants of former monastic lands, including of Cobham College founded in the parish church by his ancestor. He was one of the 4 lay peers at the trial of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (died 1552), Lord Protector of England, and was one of 26 peers who signed letters patent settling the crown on Lady Jane Grey, but he later recognised the claim of Queen Mary I. In 1554 he was besieged in Cooling Castle by his nephew Sir Thomas Wyatt during his Wyatt's rebellion against the Catholic Queen Mary's engagement to King Philip II of Spain and in support of placing her sister the Protestant Queen Elizabeth on the throne. Vastly outnumbered Brooke surrendered after eight hours of siege and the bombardment badly damaged the castle. Brooke and his son were briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of having deliberately failed to defend the castle. On 23 November 1555 he entertained at Cooling Castle Cardinal Reginald Pole, recently landed at Dover and on his way, via Canterbury Cathedral and Rochester Castle, with a following of 500 horsemen, to Gravesend and thence by barge to the Palace of Whitehall to meet Queen Mary I and to re-establish the Roman Catholic faith in England. Pole would later be responsible for many Protestant martyrdoms. Brooke's magnificent chest tomb and alabaster effigy, with that of his wife Ann Braye (died 1558), one of the two daughters and co-heiresses of Edmund Braye, 1st Baron Braye, by whom he had 10 sons and 4 daughters, survives in Cobham Church before the high altar.
William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (1527–1597)Edit
William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (1527–1597), served as Vice-Admiral of Kent. He built the surviving two brick wings forming the west court, the south wing between 1584 and 1587 and the north begun in 1591. In his will he provided funds for the establishment of 21 almshouses within the abandoned building of Cobham College near the parish church, to house poor and worthy local elderly people. The old buildings were accordingly divided up into 21 separate dwellings, each having one room on the first floor and one on the ground floor, with its own entrance door.
Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham (1564–1619)Edit
Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham (1564–1619), who married Frances Howard (c. 1572 – 1628), 2nd daughter of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham and widow of Henry FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare. He was attainted in 1603, for his part in a plot to overthrow King James I, when the peerage became abeyant instead of becoming extinct. His lands were forfeited to the crown, although in 1604 King James I granted to his wife Frances Howard a lease for her life of Cobham Hall, where she lived "in solitary state" until her death in 1628, having in the meantime taken "no notice whatever of her husband after his trial", who spent the rest of his life in the Tower of London and died in poverty. The king however granted the reversion of the estate to his third cousin Ludovic Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 2nd Duke of Lennox (1574–1624) who was never able to live there as he predeceased Frances Howard. On his death in 1624 the estate was thus inherited by his heir, his nephew James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond (died 1655).
Ludovic Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 2nd Duke of LennoxEdit
Ludovic Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 2nd Duke of Lennox (1574–1624), was the eldest son and heir of Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, 1st Earl of Lennox (1542–1583), a Roman Catholic French nobleman of Scottish ancestry who on his move to Scotland at the age of 37 became a favorite of the 13 year-old King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England), of whose father, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, he was a first cousin. In 1579/80 Esmé Stewart was created Earl of Lennox, Lord Darnley, Aubigny and Dalkeith and in 1581 he was created Duke of Lennox, Earl of Darnley, Lord Aubigny, Dalkeith, Torboltoun and Aberdour.
The founder of the French branch of the Stewart family of Darnley in Renfrewshire, Scotland, was Sir John Stewart of Darnley (c. 1380 – 1429), 1st Seigneur de Concressault, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny, 1st Comte d'Évreux, a famous warrior who commanded the Scottish army in France assisting the French King Charles VII to expel the invading English forces under King Henry V during the Hundred Years War. He was much appreciated by the French king who showered him with honours and landed estates and granted him the "glorious privilege of quartering the royal arms of France with his paternal arms". The residence of the Stewart family in France was the Château d'Aubigny, Aubigny-sur-Nère, in the ancient county of Berry.
King James I regarded all Esmé's family with great affection, and instructed his son King Charles I to do well by them. Charles faithfully fulfilled this obligation, and as a result the Lennox family had considerable influence at the Scottish and English Courts over the next two generations. In 1603 as well as being granted the reversion of Cobham Hall, he was also granted the possession of Temple Newsam Hall in Yorkshire, the birthplace of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, father of King James I and first cousin of Ludovic's father. In 1613 Ludovic Stewart was created Baron of Settrington (of Yorkshire) and Earl of Richmond (of Yorkshire) and in 1623 Earl of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Duke of Richmond. He married three times but died on 16 February 1623/4, aged 50, without legitimate issue, when all his titles, excepting those inherited from his father, became extinct. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in the Richmond Vault in the Henry VII Chapel (that king formerly having been Earl of Richmond) above which survives his magnificent black marble monument by Hubert Le Sueur with gilt-bronze recumbent effigies of himself and his wife.
Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of LennoxEdit
Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox (1579–1624), younger brother and heir, who had succeeded his father as 7th Seigneur d'Aubigny (which French title was able to be passed directly to a younger son). He died on 30 July 1624 of spotted fever, just 5 months after his elder brother. He married Katherine Clifton, 2nd Baroness Clifton (c. 1592 – 1637) of Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire, as a consequence of which in 1619 he was created Baron Stuart of Leighton Bromswold and Earl of March. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 4th Duke of LennoxEdit
James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 4th Duke of Lennox (1612–1655), son and heir, a third cousin of King Charles I. In 1624 King James I created the 12 year-old newly-fatherless James Stewart as Duke of Richmond and in 1628, following the death of Frances Howard (Lady Cobham), he gained vacant possession of Cobham Hall, which became his main residence. He was a key member of Royalist party in the English Civil War and in 1641–42 he served as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, which office was administered from nearby Dover Castle in Kent. He married Mary Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.
Esmé Stuart, 2nd Duke of Richmond, 5th Duke of LennoxEdit
Esmé Stuart, 2nd Duke of Richmond, 5th Duke of Lennox (1649–1660) was the infant son the 1st Duke. On his father's death when he was aged 6, and following the defeat of the royalist faction in the Civil War, he and his mother went into exile in France, where he died of the smallpox aged 10 in 1660 (the year of the Restoration of the Monarchy), when his titles passed to his first cousin Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, where survives his monument, a black obelisk surmounted by an urn containing his heart.
Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of LennoxEdit
Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox (1639–1672) was the only son of George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny (1618–1642) (a younger brother of the 1st & 4th Duke), by his wife Katherine Howard, a daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk. He was appointed joint Lord Lieutenant of Kent and Vice-Admiral of Kent. With the Civil War over and the Stuart monarchy restored, he re-built the central block at Cobham Hall, between 1662 and 1672, to the design of the architect Peter Mills. His "Gilt Hall" of 1672 (with marble wall decorations added in the 18th c. by James Wyatt) was considered by King George IV to be the finest room in England. He married three times but died childless.
The 3rd Duke of Richmond died with large debts, his heir being his sister Katherine Stewart, who married twice, firstly to Henry O'Brien, Lord Ibrackan (c. 1642 – 1678), an Irish nobleman, the son of Henry O'Brien, 7th Earl of Thomond. He died of disease in 1678 while in camp with his regiment in Flanders.
Secondly, within three months of O'Brien's death Katherine Stewart married Sir Joseph Williamson (1633–1701) of Milbeck Hall in Cumberland. The speed of her remarriage gave rise to unkind rumours that the pair had been lovers, and the marriage was disapproved of, even by her children, since Williamson, the son of a country vicar, was not considered a suitable match for a connection of the King. He was a civil servant, diplomat and Member of Parliament for Thetford in Norfolk, who served as Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1674–79. Katherine Stewart sold her interest in Cobham together with the rest of her estates (including the manor of Gravesend) totalling 2,345 acres, to Sir Joseph Williamson who resided at Cobham until his death, without issue. He served as a Member of Parliament for Rochester (1690–1701) and bequeathed in his will the sum of £5,000 to found at Rochester Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, teaching mathematics and navigation to the sons of freemen of that town, situated near Chatham Naval Dockyard. He also bequeathed to Rochester Cathedral his gilt communion plate, formerly the possession of the Dukes of Richmond, which he had redeemed, and a portrait of King William III to Rochester Town Hall. He died in 1701 and was buried in the Richmond Vault in Westminster Abbey. As to his succession, one third of his estate was bequeathed by Williamson to his executor Joseph Hornsby, supposed to have been his illegitimate son, whilst the remaining two-thirds descended to Katherine Stewart's grandson (by her first husband Henry O'Brien) Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, 9th Baron Clifton (1691–1713).
- Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, 9th Baron Clifton (1691–1713), was the son of Katherine O'Brien, 8th Baroness Clifton (1673–1706), (daughter of Katherine Stewart and Henry O'Brien, Lord Ibrackan) by her husband Edward Hyde, 3rd Earl of Clarendon (1661–1723), Governor of New York. Katherine O'Brien died in New York and was buried there in the Trinity Church. In 1839 during rebuilding work her coffin was re-discovered with a silver coffin-plate inscribed: Catherine, Lady Viscountess Cornbury, Baroness of Clifton of Bromswold, in the co. of Warwick, sole remaining daughter [ie. neice] and heir to the most noble Charles, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, born the 29th day of January, 1673, departed this life at the City of New York, in America, August 11th, 1706, in the 34th year of her age. Edward Hyde died unmarried in 1713 at the age of 21 due to fever, from excessive consumption of alcohol. The correspondence of Lady Strafford relates as follows the "news of poor Lord Cornbury's death": "He died yesterday morning of a fever got by a surfeit of drinking, for he and a good many more drank as many quarts of usquebath (i.e. Whisky) as is usual to be drank of wine, and was never cool after. Lady Theodosia will be now a great fortune, for Cobham is settled on her, and she is now Baroness of Clifton". Edward's heir was his only surviving sister, Theodosia Hyde, 10th Baroness Clifton.
- Theodosia Hyde, 10th Baroness Clifton (1695-1722), heiress of her brother, who married John Bligh, later created Earl of Darnley, who acquired the outstanding third part of the Cobham estate then belonging to Mary Hornsby (widow of Joseph Hornsby), thus becoming possessed of the whole. Theodosia died in childbirth in 1722.
John Bligh, 1st Earl of Darnley (1687–1728)Edit
John Bligh, 1st Earl of Darnley (1687–1728), was descended from a prominent Devon family via a cadet branch which had settled in County Meath, Ireland. Following his marriage in 1713 to Theodosia Hyde, 10th Baroness Clifton (of Leighton Bromswold), a descendant of Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox, also 3rd Earl of Darnley, he was in 1725 created Earl of Darnley (a reference to his ancestors the Stewarts of Darnley of Cobham) in the Peerage of Ireland. He was the son of Thomas Bligh, the son of John Bligh of Plymouth (son of William Bligh, a prosperous Plymouth merchant), a Commissioner of Customs and Excise despatched to Ireland in search of forfeited estates. He represented Athboy in the Irish House of Commons from 1709 to 1721. In 1721 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Clifton of Rathmore, in the County of Meath. In 1723 the Darnley title held by his wife's ancestors (which had become extinct on the death of Charles Stewart, 6th Duke of Lennox and 6th Earl of Darnley in 1672) was revived when he was created Viscount Darnley, of Athboy in the County of Meath, in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1725 Bligh was further honoured when he was advanced as Earl of Darnley, in the County of Meath, also in the Peerage of Ireland. He died in 1728 and was buried with his wife in the "Hyde Vault" in Westminster Abbey, in the north ambulatory, near the steps up to Henry VII's chapel.
Edward Bligh, 2nd Earl of Darnley (1715–1747)Edit
Edward Bligh, 2nd Earl of Darnley (1715–1747); second, and eldest surviving son of the 1st Earl. He had already succeeded his mother in 1722 as eleventh Baron Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in the Peerage of England. He served as a Lord of the Bedchamber to Frederick, Prince of Wales, but died unmarried in 1747, aged 31.
John Bligh, 3rd Earl of Darnley (1719–1781)Edit
John Bligh, 3rd Earl of Darnley (1719–1781), younger brother, who served as a Member of Parliament for Maidstone and in the Irish House of Commons for Athboy. He carried out various building works at Cobham, between 1768 and 1770 he added an extra floor to the west front, to the design of Sir William Chambers. Between 1771 and 1773 he added a 2-storey corridor to the north side of the central block and began building the east court (or "kitchen court") to match the two Tudor wings. He redecorated several rooms in the classical style. By his will he left instructions for the building of the Darnley Mausoluem within the deer park, to house the embalmed corpses of his descendants, the "Hyde Vault" in Westminster Abbey (in the north ambulatory, near the steps leading up to Henry VII's Lady Chapel) having become full. He required it to be in the form of a square building with a "prominent pyramid" and surrounded by a dry moat, possibly having been inspired by the Pyramid of Cestius (12 BC) in Rome which he would have seen on his grand tour during his youth. Although the work was duly completed in 1786, to the design of the architect James Wyatt, it never received the approval of the local Bishop of Rochester to become a consecrated building and thus was never used for its intended purpose.
John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley (1767–1831)Edit
John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley (1767–1831); eldest son of the 3rd Earl. In 1828 he presented a claim as heir-general to the dukedom of Lennox, but the House of Lords did not come to any decision on the matter. He was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, the fifth Earl. He built a bridge connecting the north front to the terrace forming an entrance under a porte-cochere, to the design of James Wyatt. He added some Gothic details to the interior and added decorative detail to the hall. In 1817–18 he employed George and John Repton to effect some Tudor-style alterations.
Edward Bligh, 5th Earl of Darnley (1795–1835)Edit
Edward Bligh, 5th Earl of Darnley (1795–1835); second, and eldest surviving son of the 4th Earl, who served as a Member of Parliament for Canterbury and served as Lord Lieutenant of County Meath. His daughter Lady Elizabeth Bligh (1830-1914) (wife of Sir Reginald Cust and mother of the courtier Sir Lionel Cust) was a historian and genealogist, who (as "Lady Elizabeth Cust") was the author of Some Account of the Stuarts of Aubigny, in France, London, 1891, dedicated by permission to Queen Victoria and intended "to preserve from oblivion the gallant deeds of the Stewarts of Aubigny who commanded the Scots Guards and Scots Men-at-Arms in the great wars of France from the time of Charles VII to that of Henri IV". She also wrote Records of the Cust family of Pinchbeck, Stamford and Belton in Lincolnshire, 1479-1700, 3 vols, 1898. He died aged 39 of lockjaw after an axe injury when felling timber on the Cobham Hall estate and was buried at Cobham.
John Bligh, 6th Earl of Darnley (1827–1896)Edit
John Stuart Bligh, 6th Earl of Darnley (1827–1896); eldest son of the 5th Earl, who in about 1840 altered the dining room, the last significant alteration until the house was converted into a school. In 1875 he paid for the restoration of the magnificent monument in Westminster Abbey of Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond (1574–1624), Seigneur d'Aubigny, the childless uncle of James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 4th Duke of Lennox, the first Stewart owner of Cobham Hall. He served as a deputy lieutenant of Kent from 1847 and in 1848 was commissioned a Captain in the Cobham Troop of the West Kent Yeomanry.
Edward Bligh, 7th Earl of Darnley (1851–1900)Edit
Edward Henry Stuart Bligh, 7th Earl of Darnley (1851–1900); eldest son of the 6th Earl. As "Lord Clifton" he played first-class cricket for Kent 1871-9 and "spent money like water", greatly reducing the wealth of his family. On his death without male issue the barony of Clifford of Leighton Bromswold separated from the Irish titles when it devolved upon his only child and sole heiress, the ten-month-old Lady Elizabeth Bligh, who became the seventeenth holder of the barony by writ of summons. He was succeeded in the Irish titles by his younger brother the 8th Earl.
Ivo Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley (1859–1927)Edit
Ivo Francis Walter Bligh, 8th Earl of Darnley (1859–1927), younger brother of 7th Earl. A talented and successful cricketer who captained MCC, he met his Australian wife Florence Morphy when visiting that country playing cricket. During the First World War he and his wife set aside the state apartments of Cobham Hall to accommodate 50 Australian officers. After the War in the 1920s he let Cobham Hall and in 1925 sold the collection of paintings and the outlying estate and converted the eastern deer park into a golf course. He sat in the House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer from 1905 to 1927. On his death in 1927 the titles passed to his only son, the ninth Earl.
Esme Bligh, 9th Earl of Darnley (1886–1955)Edit
Esme Ivo Bligh, 9th Earl of Darnley (1886–1955), eldest son of the 8th Earl. In 1937 he succeeded his first cousin Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold (who died unmarried) in her ancient English barony, being her heir-general, as 18th Baron Clifton of Leighton Bromswold.
Peter Bligh, 10th Earl of Darnley (1915–1980)Edit
Peter Stuart Bligh, 10th Earl of Darnley (1915–1980) eldest son of the 9th Earl. In 1959 following the death of his father and facing heavy inheritance tax demands, he sold the house, gardens and part of the park to the "Land Fund", which sold them on in 1963 to the Westwood Educational Trust Limited (a charity in the form of a private company limited by guarantee without share capital, formed in 1961) which established and operates the school which still occupies the site today. In 1968 the 10th Earl resided nearby at Puckle Hill, Shorne, near Gravesend, Kent, "a large, robust Arts and Crafts house constructed in 1923".
Adam Bligh, 11th Earl of Darnley (1941–2017)Edit
Adam Ivo Stuart Bligh, 11th Earl of Darnley (1941–2017), half-brother and heir of the 10th Earl (2nd son of the 9th Earl by his 3rd wife). In 1968 he resided at Meadow House in Cobham. In 1985 he founded the "Cobham Hall Heritage Trust" with the aim of "protecting the gardens, grounds and garden buildings of the Cobham Hall estate and to educating the public in their historical significance". From 1991 he served as vice-chairman of the governors of Cobham Hall School, where his sister Lady Harriet was educated. In 1997 Cobham Hall was owned by "more than a dozen private and commercial owners and three charitable trusts".
- Six Wills Relating to Cobham Hall, Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol. 11, 1877, pp. 199–304  (1. William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham; 2. Frances Countess of Kildare; 3. Frances Duchess of Richmond and Lenox; 4. Charles Stuart Duke of Richmond and Lenox; 5. Sir Joseph Williamson; 6. Lady Catherine O'Brien).
- Waller, J.G., The Lords of Cobham, their Monuments and the Church, Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol. 11, 1877, pp. 49–112  & Vol. 12, pp. 113–166;
- Stephens, P.G., On the Pictures at Cobham Hall, Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol. 11, 1877, pp. 160–188.
- Cobham and its Manors 
- Glover, Robert (Somerset Herald), Memorials of the Family of Cobham, Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, Vol.7, 1841, Chap. XXVII, pp. 320–354 
- John Gough Nichols, Sepulchral Memorials of the Cobham Family, 1841: project never completed/published 
- F. C. Brooke, Sepulchral Memorials of the Cobham Family (1836–74), completion of Nichols' work.
- Esme Wingfield-Stratford, The Lords of Cobham Hall, London, 1959.
- Good Stuff. "Cobham Hall (Including Kitchen and Stable Court), Cobham, Kent". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "Cobham Hall Heritage Trust". Cobham Hall. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- William Belcher. "Kentish Brasses, Preface, Vol.2". archive.org. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "re the will of Sir Joseph Williamson" (PDF). Kent Archaeological Society. 29 October 2016. p. 285. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- re will of Sir Joseph Williamson, p.286
- Listed building text
- For an explanation of how, particularly during the reign of King Edward I (1272–1307), "men were commanded to assume unto themselves local names", see Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.249 re the Speccot family of Speccot in Devon
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol.3, 1913, p.343
- GEC, III, p.343
- Belcher, William Douglas, Kentish Brasses, Vol.1, 1881, no.59, p.31
- Hasted, Edward, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, 1798
- GEC, III, p.351
- GEC, III, p.344
- "Cobham St Mary Magdalene". themcs.org. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- Page, William (ed.), Victoria County History, History of the County of Kent, Vol. 2, London, 1926, pp. 231-2, "Colleges: Cobham"
- Good Stuff. "Cobham College, Cobham, Kent". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- , see File:Brass SirJohnDeLaPole and JoanDeCobham c.1375 ChrishallChurch Essex.jpg[dead link]
- GEC, III, p.345
- Collinson, Rev. John, History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, Vol.3, Bath, 1791, pp.302-4 
- Biography of "Brooke, Sir Thomas (c. 1355 – 1418), of Holditch in Thorncombe, Dorset and Weycroft in Axminster, Devon", published in History of Parliament: House of Commons 1386–1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993 
- History of Parliament biog of son 
- "CHEDDAR, Richard (1379-1437), of Thorn Falcon, Som". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- GEC, III, p.346, where he is called "Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent", but correctly called Edmund in Vol. VII (Earl of Kent), p.161, note (h)
- GEC, VII, pp.161-2, (Earl of Kent), note (h)
- Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Mereworth', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5 (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 70-90 
- GEC, III, p.346
- GEC, III, p.347
- D'Elboux, R.H., The Brooke Tomb, Cobham, published in Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol.62, 1949, pp.48-56, esp. pp.50-1 
- GEC, III, p.348
- Gairdner, James, Reginald Pole, Dictionary of National Biography, vol 46, 1896, pp.35-46 
- The attainder was removed in 1916
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol.3, p.349
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol.3, p.349, note (g)
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol.7, p.605, note (g)
- Cust, Lady Elizabeth, Some Account of the Stuarts of Aubigny, in France, London, 1891, pp.12-14 
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol. VII, 1929, p.603
- GEC Complete Peerage, vol.7, p.606
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911
- "Ludovic, Frances & Esme Stuart". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- Correspondence of Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Volume 2[dead link]
- Edward Hasted, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Vol.1, 1778, pp. 448-9, re manor of Gravesend 
- Kent Archaeological Society, re will of Sir Joseph Williamson, p.291
- Kent Archaeological Society, re will of Sir Joseph Williamson, p.287
- Kent Archaeological Society, Vol XI, re will of Sir Joseph Williamson, p.289
- "No. 5977". The London Gazette. 29 July 1721. p. 2.
- "No. 6135". The London Gazette. 2 February 1723. p. 4.
- "No. 6378". The London Gazette. 1 June 1725. p. 2.
- "John Bligh, Earl of Darnley". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- Wynne-Thomas, P. & Griffiths, P. (2002) Ivo Bligh, Famous Cricketers Series – No. 67, ACS Publications: Nottingham, po.7
- "Personal". Argus: 6. 1 March 1917.
- Historic England. "Cobham Hall, Cuxton (1000182)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "Sorry, an error has occurred". cityark.medway.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "COBHAM HALL". Overview (free company information from Companies House). Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p.322
- "Lord Darnley - News Blog". Cobham Hall. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- Kidd, Charles, Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage 2015 Edition, London, 2015, pp.320-1