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Repository Cheshire Record Office
Level Collection (Fonds)
Reference DCO
Title Davies-Colley family of Newbold, records
Date 16th century-20th century
Description The records include family papers, accounts, inventories, etc and some deeds of the Davies-Colley and related Clubbe, Denton, Nevitt-Bennett and other families with property in Churton Heath, Chester, Shotwick and Saughall, Kingsley and Weaverham and elsewhere. The family papers include extensive correspondence, papers relating to schooling and to the Davies family medical practice. Included within the collection are also records of the Chester Humane Society and relating to Freemasonry. There is also a collection of 19th century photographs.
Administrative History The surname Colley in first documented for the northern Welsh Border in the early thirteenth century. In 1356, a John Colle was sheriff of Chester for the first time. Several branches of the family existed in Cheshire but the ancestors of the Church Heath line appear to have lived in Malpas parish. Under the Tudors, this family acquired several properties in the Chester area, some positions at court (perhaps via a link with the Breretons) and ex-monastic land such as the manor of Ince and the college at Banbury.

William Colley I (1579-1647) founded the Churton Heath line. He became the steward of the Grosvenor of Eaton. In 1626 he leased the farm at Churton Heath (Churchen Heath) and bought the Hoversion in 1632. The estate of 120 acres lay about six miles from Chester but with poor road links.

The connection with the Davies family of Paradise green, Church Minshull came in 1807 with the marriage of Mary Colley to John Davies. Their only child, Thomas Davies, was born in 1812 and in 1865 obtained a royal licence to use the name Colley with his own, in order to comply with the will of Hugh Colley, his uncle, and thus receive £40.000. He lived at Whitefriars, Chester, married Sarah Ann Schofield in 1837, had eight children, inherited a large sum from his parents and ran a medical practice of "a very trifling character", dying in 1892. He performed a number of public duties and was a keen antiquarian.

In 1800, Jonathan Colley married Ann Denton, daughter of Alexander Denton, a local surgeon. In 1817, Jonathan's brother John married Mary Gamon of Coddington and, the following year, William Colley, another further, married Mary Nevitt Bennett of Great Saughall.

The Clubbe family of Huntington and Nowbold became linked with the Colleys in 1817 with the marriage of John Colley and Mary Gamon, the oldest daughter of William Gamon of Coddington and his wife Alice (nee Clubbe).

The Davies - Colley families produced a number of medical personnel - John Davies (d 1837), Thomas Davies - Colley (d 1892), John Neville Colley Davies - Colley of Guy's Hospital (d 1900) and his daughter Eleanor Davies - Colley (d 1934), the first female fellow of the Royal College of surgeons. Several members of the family were talented draughtsmen.

For further details on the above, see "The Family of Churton Heath…" by T. H. Davies - Colley and W. F. Irvine (1931).
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