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The Domvilles of Lymm, Cheshire

Lymm Hall
Lymm Hall
in the early 18th Century
(see last two paragraphs)

The Domvilles of Lymm, Cheshire, traced their descent from one of William the Conqueror's Norman followers (see Burke's 'Peerage and Baronetage' under Domvile and Domville). Ormerod's Cheshire says they were most probably a 'younger line of the barons of Montalt, under whom they held their lands, and whose arms and crest they adopted with a slight variation'.

An account of the family in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries appears in 'The Domvilles of Brimstage and Oxton', vol 103 of the Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society series. In the person of Hugh de Domville, the family first appears holding the lordship of Oxton in the middle of the 12th century. In about 1215 or 1216 the manors of Brimstage and Oxton were held by Sir Robert Domville, and his name appears as witness to a couple of Cheshire deeds and as witness to one for Eggleston priory in Yorkshire.

The activities of the later Sir Roger Domville are documented in much more detail. He occupied a leading position among the gentlemen of the county, and his name is often found on the Bench at the county court. But his presumed grandson John was

a litigious man who appears to have had a cavalier disregard for the forest laws … In 1351 he, with many other landowners of the district, was amerced heavily for alleged trespasses in Wirral forest, The magnitude of these amercements, promulgated on 24th March, shews that the offences were regarded as very serious; they were: John Domville, senior, £200; John Domville, junior, 133s 4d; Matthew Domville his brother, 100s; William de Bradburn his son-in-law, 66s 8d Such large sums were not to be paid without protest: the Domvilles and many other delinquents amerced at the same time pleaded poverty and offered £66 13s 4d between them for a general pardon.
The Black Prince, then Earl of Chester, replied on 13th June that those who would not pay were to be imprisoned and their goods distrained upon; the offer of £66 13s 4d must, said the Prince, have been intended as a jest. With the typical mediaeval attitude, however, that it is better to get any money under any conditions than none, we find him writing to the justice of Chester on 4th July that in view of the repentance of the delinquents, the fines might be suitably mitigated. On 18th July, the reduced scale of fines was promulgated: John Domville, senior, was to pay £66 13s 4d and the other three members of his family 133s 4d between them, …

Roger's son John who succeeded him as Lord of Brimstage and Oxton was probably about 85 when he died in 1394, but he left no surviving male issue. The estates passed in marriage to Sir John Troutbeck (slain at the Battle of Blore Heath in Henry VI's reign), The Manor was then invested in the Earl of Shrewsbury, by descent from Sir John Troutbeck.

John's son Robert married, in or before 1342, Agnes, daughter of Thomas de Legh, and became the ancestor of the Domvilles of Lymm, and Denys Barry Domvile (born 1921), the present-day holder of the Arms of Domvile of Loughlinstown, County Dublin.

Lymm Hall, a fine mansion dating from about 1600 AD, but with a great deal of subsequent rebuilding, still stands in Lymm, but is in private ownership and not freely accessible to the general public. It was the home of the Domvilles for over three and a half centuries.

When the estates of the Rev Mascie Domville Taylor were sold in 1846, their extent included 564 acres, 2 roods and 8 perches, together with the Hall, 18 cottages, 2 public houses (The Fleece and The Spreadeagle), 4 farms, a corn mill, a slaughter house and a smith's and wheelwright's shop. Within the grounds of the Hall … are a pair of restored cockpits and an old ice house, used for the storage of ice, needed to keep food fresh in the days before mechanical refrigeration was introduced in the Nineteenth Century. ('Look at Lymm' by E M Highes and G H Thomas, Lymm & District Local History Society, 1978)

Edward Alan Domville wrote a fascinating book about the Domvilles: 'We Came With The Conqueror', published in 1994 by the Limited Edition Press (ISBN: 1 85988 006 1). His update of the book is well on the way to completion and will be crammed with additional information and new pictures.