de Verduns / Wrottesleys of Wrottesley
The de Verdun (Verdon) family of Wrottesley, Tettenhall, Staffordshire
- the Wrottesleys of Wrottesley, Baronets and Barons Wrottesley
(Note: this section is currently uncompleted,
but will be updated in due course)
There is another branch of the de Verdun family who settled at Wrottesley in Tettenhall Parish, Staffordshire and became the Wrottesley of Wrottesley family, Baronets and Barons Wrottesley. Their direct connection with the de Verduns of Alton is strongly hinted at, but not yet conclusively established, but there is no doubt at all that they were members of the same extended family.
In an old history of Tettenhall there is some helpful information about the family including the following brief early family tree:
William de Verdon of Wrottesley above is the same person as 'William de Wrottesley' whose coat of arms appears in the same book, as shown below:
At the bottom of the coat of arms is an inscription that reads:
SIR WILLIAM DE WROTTESLEY
Married Joan, daughter of Sir Roger Bassett, son of Ralph,
Lord Bassett, of Drayton
Some old seals from old deeds at Wrottesley, including one for Sir William and his son Hugh displaying their original de Verdun coat of arms are also shown in the Tettenhall book:
A devastating fire on the night of 16th-17th December 1897 gutted the older Wrottesley Hall. Sadly, many priceless and historically important manuscripts that had been in the family's muniments room were lost in the fire, but thankfully a member of the family who was an enthusiastic historian and antiquarian had already transcribed and recorded many of the medieval deeds and charters, and these were published by him. This 'saviour' of de Verdun / de Wrottesley of Wrottesley heritage was Major-General The Hon. George Wrottesley, whose 'A History of the Family of Wrottesley of Wrottesley, Co. Stafford' was published in The William Salt Archaeological Society's 'Collections for a History of Staffordshire' (New Series, Volume VI, Part 2, published 1903), reprinted from the pages of 'The Genealogist' (New Series, Volumes XV-XIX). The General recounts that he first began to study the Wrottesley deeds in 1860, they comprised a complete series of family documents identifying the successive owners of the property from the reign of Henry II down to the above date (1897). The Wrottesleys, historians of Staffordshire, the de Verdun family and others owe the Major-General a huge debt of gratitude for having delved into the old muniments at Wrottesley and rescued them from obscurity before the originals were destroyed.
The deed by which Adam the Abbot and monastery of Evesham enfoeffed Simon, the son of William of Coctune with the manors of Wrottesley and Levinton, in Staffordshire was dated sometime between 1160 and 1167. The witnesses to this deed were: Pagan the clerk, Philip the steward, William de Tywe (tenants of the monastry), Enguerrand de Humez, his brother Jordan de Humez, Bertram de Verdun, Alexander de Claverley, Robert Pincerna, Walter Bret (or Brito), Ralph de Meilnil, Roelend de Verdun and Gwiot or Wido de Verdun. Wido was the name of one of the de Verduns of Norfolk and had a son called William who married a daughter of William de Valeines (see Dugdale's Monasticon), but this 'Wido' may have been another 'Guy' de Verdun.
The de Humez brothers were the sons of Richard de Humez, Hereditary Constable of Normandy. Bertram III de Verdun had been brought up in the household of Richard de Humez, as his Ward. Jordan and Bertram accompanied King Richard I on crusade - Jordan became constable to Richard's army and Bertram was made castellan of Acre when the King advanced towards Jerusalem.
Much later a Wrottesley was made a Baronet and then Sir John Wrottesley Bart was elevated to become the 1st Baron Wrottesley of Wrottesley. His coat of arms (shown below) illustrates how the Wrottesleys changed their arms to those of Bassett, with the same core design as shown above impaled with de Verdon, but with a different colour combination.
Sir Walter Wrottesley of Wrottesley was made a Baronet in 1642. In 1838, his descendant Sir John Wrottesley, 9th Baronet was made Baron Wrottesley, thereby becoming the founder of a third baronial branch of the de Verdun family in England. The Wrottesleys successfully retained their estate of Wrottesley from the 12th to the 20th century, up until Richard Wrottesley, 5th Baron Wrottesley sold the estate including Wrottesley Hall in 1963, when he moved to live in South Africa. The grounds around the Hall have been the home of Wrottesley Golf Club since 1965, when it was opened by the 5th Baron. The Hall that was built in 1696 and destroyed by a fire in 1897 was rebuilt in 1923 as a smaller but still impressive and elegant Georgian style by Victor Alexander Wrottesley, 4th Baron Wrottesley.
After the estate was sold in 1963, the ownership of the Hall became separate from that of the club, and it was later divided into three properties, owned by the same family. All three were sold in 2016, having been advertised for sale in 2014 - 'Historic hall on market' (Shropshire Star, 29 September 2014: link).
The Barony and Baronetcy continues in the current head of the family, Clifton Hugh Lancelot de Verdon Wrottesley, 14th Baronet and 6th Baron Wrottesley.