The Chichele ( also Chicheley or Checheley) Plowdens are a cadet branch of the Plowdens of Plowden in Shropshire. They are the descendants
of Sir Edmund Plowden, of Wanstead, Hants., 1st Earl Palatine of New Albion, and Mabel, daughter and heiress
of Peter Maryner of Wanstead and other estates in Hampshire, his wife. Their great-grandson, James Plowden
of Lasham and Ewhurst (1684-1729) married (circa 1709) Sarah Chichele, daughter of Sir John Chichele, Kt.,
Lord High Admiral. Edmund of Wanstead was the second son of Francis Plowden of Plowden in Salop and Shiplake, Oxon.
Longville Castle at Cheney Longville is mentioned in Domesday Book. This is three miles from Plowden, and was in possession of the family since the year 904. Longville Castle was sold by the Plowdens in 1682 to the Honourable Thomas Talbot. The present Plowden Hall dates in the main from the 16th century. The Plowdens have had the same land for more than 1000 years (at least from A.D. 904 to 1904) ; and they have always kept the ancient faith of England, and belonged to the Western or Latin Patriarchate.
The names of the earlier Squires of Plowden are lost. The first of whom we have details is Roger the Crusader, who was at the siege of Acre in 1191, and on his return added the Plowden Chapel to the parish church at Plowden. It is said that he received the augmentation to his arms of two fleurs de lys from Philip II of France for his services in the Third Crusade. These fleurs de lys are borne by all descendants of the name of Plowden.
Ten generations after this the family produced a great lawyer in the person of Edmund Plowden of Plowden, Serjeant-at-law (1517-1584). He spent 3 years at Cambridge and 4 at Oxford. At the age of 35 he was a physician, but before 45 a Serjeant-at-law on writ of Queen Mary. (This was the highest degree of counsel at the English Bar. "By custom judges were co-opted to this order before being raised to the Bench." The title is now
extinct.) Edmund Plowden was Treasurer of the Middle Temple, and is well known for his "Reports." He was offered the Lord Chancellorship by Queen Elizabeth if he would conform to the Anglican Church. Queen Elizabeth's letter was lost in 1838, but a copy of his reply is extant. He was M.P. for Wallingford in 1553, and for Wooton Bassett in Wiltshire in 1554. The claims of Mary Queen of Scots as heir to the English throne were advocated
by Edmund Plowden. He rebuilt Plowden Hall, and is the ancestor both of the senior branch and the Chichele Plowdens.
Sir Edmund Plowden of Wanstead (1590-1659), the immediate ancestor of the Chichele Plowdens and the American Plowdens, was granted by Charles I the feudal title of Earl Palatine of New Albion in the English North-American colonies, with royal jurisdiction and royal seignory, and with express authorisation to create titles and dignities in America. Accordingly the Earl Palatine exercised this power for his sons and daughters, creating his son Francis, Baron of Mount Royal, Thomas, Baron of Rayment, and his daughters Baroness of Uvedale, Baroness of Ritchneck
and Baroness of Prince. These appear to be the only creations of colonial nobility made indirectly through a Palatine by the English Crown. The Charter was given by Charles I on July 24, 1632, and the Grant on June 21, 1634. They are set forth fully in Col. Walter Plowden's book Records of the Chichele Plowdens (Heath & Ouseley, 1914). The territory conceded to the Earl Palatine was " the greater part of the country between Maryland and
New England." The planting of the Colony commenced in 1640, but the settlements were broken up by the Dutch and Swedes. The Earl Palatine's eldest son Francis was disinherited, both from the English estates of Wanstead and Southwick and from the feudal Palatinate, and the Palatinate was devised by will to the second son Thomas of Lassam on the Earl Palatine's death in 1659. For some reason five years after (1664) a new Charter (including New Albion) was granted to the Duke of York (afterwards James II and VII). This was probably because this territory had been reconquered from the Dutch.
Francis (1612-1676), the eldest son of the 1st Earl Palatine, who was disinherited in 1640 by his father, was a good-for-nothing person, and married his mother's chamber-maid in 1653, and is said to have died in the Fleet Prison as a prisoner for debt. From the 2nd son of this Francis called George the American Plowdens of Bushwood Maryland, U.S.A.. are descended. The American Plowdens are not Chichele Plowdens, who are the descendants
of Thomas 2nd Earl Palatine. Forty-eight members of the American Plowdens are known to genealogists.
Mrs. Augusta Ellen Chichele Wardlaw (Minnie), the grandmother of Mr. Wilfrid James Plowden-Wardlaw, was 6th in paternal descent from Thomas Plowden of Lassam, 2nd Earl Palatine, and 4th from Sarah Chichele (died 1725).
Of the Chichele Plowdens noted members are:-Mr. William Chichele Plowden (1787-1880), Director of the Honourable East India Company and M.P. for Newport, I. of W. (1847-1852). William Plowden had an interview with Napoleon at St. Helena in 1816, and was present in Westminster Hall as a boy at the trial of Warren Hastings. " his father's chief and friend." Mr. William Plowden was great-uncle to Mr. Plowden-Wardlaw's grandmother, Mrs. Augusta Wardlaw.
Also Sir William Chichele Plowden (1832-1915), son of the above, who had a brilliant career in India. He was M.P. for Wolverhampton, and married Emily, sister of the Ist Lord Burton. He was father of Margaret, 2nd wife of the 7th Lord Vaux of Harrowden.
Also Sir Trevor John Chichele Plowden (1846–1905), who also had a brilliant career in India, and was father of Pamela, wife of the 2nd Earl of Lytton.
Also Sir Henry Meredyth (1840-1920), Chief Justice of the Punjaub, who married in 1887 Helen, daughter of Sir Cecil Beadon, Lieut.-Governor of Bengal. Sir Henry was in the Harrow XI in 1858, and Captain of the Cambridge University XI in 1862-63 : he won the University Challenge Racquet in 1862, and the Cambridge and Oxford Racquet in 1863.
The present head of the Chichele Plowdens (since 1909) is Mr. Plowden-Wardlaw´s first cousin, Roger Augustus Chichele Plowden, Born 1871, now resident in New South Wales. (Please contact me, E-Mail. as this information is obviously out of date: Many Thanks.Sean)
Below: Sir John Chichley circa 1640-1691 by Jacob Huysmans