Hamon I Massey was born circa 1056 in La Ferté-Macé, Orne, Normandy, France to William, Vicomte de la Ferte-Mace (c1034-) and Unknown de Conteville (c1035-) and died circa 1101 in England of unspecified causes. He married Margaret de Sacie (c1077-) .

"The first Hamon de Massey was the owner of the manors of Agden, Baguley, Bowdon, Dunham, Hale and Little Bollington after the Norman conquest of England (1066), taking over from the Saxon thegn Aelfward according to Domesday Book. His probable birthplace was La Ferté-Macé or Ferté de La Macé, a recently constructed fortress in Normandy. Hamon was made a baron by Hugh Lupus, by his right as Earl of Chester, from 1071.[2]

The name of Hamon de Massey was passed on to his descendants for several generations. There are several different ways of spelling the name, including "de Masci", "de Mace", "de Macei", "de Mascy", "de Massy" and "de Massie"." --

"Hamo de Mascy is thought to have been the illegitimate, or "natural" son of William de La Ferte, viscount of the powerful Belleme (Bellamy) family of Normandy. The seat of his holdings was the town of La Ferte Mace (fur-tee ma-cee) located in the present day Orne district. William's oldest son (legitimate) was Baron Mathieu de La Ferte Mace. His youngest (legitimate) was Hugue de Macey. All three sons were present at the Battle of Hastings, 1066, and as a result were given land grants in England. At Hastings, Mathieu's rank was Baron, Hugue's rank was knight, and Hamo served as Mathieu's squire. Mathieu would not live to enjoy his English possessions, as shortly after Hastings he was killed in battle in Shropshire. Hamo received his grants in Chesire and founded the Mascy (Massey) family. The seat of his holdings was the village of Dunham and his family lived at Dunham Massey Hall. His title was Baron de Dunham, and his descendants would continue to live at Dunham Massey Hall until 1458 when it came into the possession of the Booth family by marriage to a Massey heiress. In 1085 the Masseys held nine lordships in Chesire.

Dunham Massey Hall, at the time the Masseys lived in it, was a three winged manor (in the shape of a squared off U) surrounded by a moat. The extensive grounds outside the moat contained a deer park, orchards, a river, and fishing ponds. Later owners made many changes and it bears little resemblance to the old Massey homestead. It now belongs to the British National Trust and is open to the public. It is located four miles spouthwest of Altrincham, which is a suburb of Manchester. "

Sites obtained by Hamon l, in addition the the house in Chester and land in Wirrall peninsula, were Ullerton or Owlarton. It is located approx. two miles south-southeast from the town of Knutsford. Going northwest to the Mersey River, Northeast to Bramhall or Bromhale, which is those days would have been two miles s/w from Stockport, Thence below Stockport to the Mersey River. With these two lines denoting the s/e/ and s/w/ boundary and the Mersey River being the northern boundary of an area having a triangular shape. At about the midway point of the northern boundary on the Mersey River would be the river crossing to the City of Manchester original location in Lancaster, which lies to the north of Chester.

This probably marks the area with the greatest holdings of the Barons de Mascy in Cheshire. With these lands Hamon de Mascy had lesser Lords who held portions thereof for him or under his 'right'. Examples would be Adae de Carrington and Alano de Tatton. Both constituted Estates granted to Hamon.

In 1092 King William Rufus was a guest at the Court of Hugh Lupus in Chester. at least two of his Barons attended the King, Hamon de Mascy and William Venables. They along with their entourage of adherents and servants of Hamon's, accompanied the King on a hunting expedition in the Wirrall Peninsula. This probably took place on lands which had been set aside as a hunting preserve of the King and treated as his possession, which had not been the subject of a grant, not even to Earl Hugh Lupus. No doubt it was a consequence of some occurrence on this hunting expedition that a new estate was given to Hamon I, in fee of Hugh Lupus.

Pontington, the area which is called today the village of Puddington,was granted by the King him self, so that there after the de Mascy Cheshire Barons held it in fee of the King rather than in fee of the Earl. For that reason Pontington was in later years especially prized.One can only speculate why King William Rufus made this generous grant. However, as soon as the hunting party returned to Hugh Lupus' Castle at Chester, Hamon sought out a scrivener, possibly a Monk whoes duties were appropriate to the purpose of recording as follows:

"I, William, King of England do give onto Mascy all my right, interest and title to the hop and hopland(valley land) from me and mine with bow and arrow, when I shoot upon yerrow(the place), and in witness to the sooth(action or statement) I seal with my wang tooth."

Inscribed as witness was William Venables "fratre suo". In the consideration given to the first Hamon de Mascy it should be remembered that he was a part of the court and governing body of nobles in Cheshire at a time when it was a county Palatinate under Earl Hugh Lupus. What this means is, that it's rule was like that under a country under martial law. At least Earl Hugh Lupus was not hampered by either King William the Conqueror or King William Rufus and he reigned in Cheshire as King. The Barons and their Lords were almost constantly put to defend against the Welsh on Cheshire's western border and to maintain control over the Saxons who made up the bulk of the population.

Hamon Massey, the first Baron of Dunham-Massy, held the towns of Dunham,Bowden, Hale, Ashley and half of Owlerton in Bucklow Hundred, under Hugh Lupus, Earl of Cheshire in the reign of William the Conqueror. All of which one Edward held formerly, as appears by Domesday Book.So it appears this Edward was dispossessed of his right herein and these lands given to Hamon by Hugh Lupus. Hamon also had land in Maxfield Hundred,Bromhale and Puddington in Wirrall Hundred and other places, at the same time." -- History of Cheshire, by Sir Peter Leycester


Offspring of Hamon I de Massey, 1st Lord of Dunham-Massey and Margaret de Sacie (c1077-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Hamon II Massey (c1100-c1140) 1100 England 1140 England Eleanor Beaumont (c1103-)

Robert de Massey (c1102-aft1124) 1102 England 1124 England
Margaret de Massey (c1104-)
John de Massey (c1106-)




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Footnotes (including sources)

Ω Birth
  • Had to be old enough to hold properties by the time of the Domesday Book (1086)