LEEK, Simon, of Leake and Cotham, Notts.
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Family and Education
Escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 10 Nov. 1413-12 Nov. 1414.
Commr. of inquiry, Notts., Derbys. Jan. 1414 (lollards at large), Apr. 1414, Dec. 1422 (illegal salmon fishing); array, Notts. May 1415, Oct. 1417, Apr. 1418; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419.
Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 1 Dec. 1415-30 Nov. 1416.
Collector of a royal loan, Notts. Jan. 1420.
J.p. Notts. 8 July 1420-9.
Simon first appears in June 1390, when he and his father, Sir John Leek, were given joint custody of land in Derbyshire held by knight service of the latter’s ward, Alice Foljambe. The two men often acted together as trustees, mainpernors and witnesses, most notably for Sir Thomas Chaworth*, Sir John Etton*, John Markham j.c.p., their kinsman, Sir Thomas Rempston I*, and their neighbour, William Sibthorpe, who, in the autumn of 1394, also made Simon one of his executors. Meanwhile, in May 1392, the latter indented to serve in the company of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, the newly appointed lieutenant of Ireland. Notwithstanding the revocation of Gloucester’s commission, Leek received £8 11s.8d. as his fee from Sir John Clifton*, under whose banner he had intended to set sail.2 Little else is known about his career before his first—and only known—return to the Coventry Parliament of October 1404, which clearly owed a good deal to the influence of his father, the head of one of the most powerful (and prolific) families in Nottinghamshire, no less than four of whose members represented the county during our period. Simon may already have married by this date, although it was not until the following January that Sir John settled the manor of Kilvington and its extensive appurtenances upon him and his bride. Through her Simon acquired land in the Leicestershire village of Swannington, perhaps, as has been suggested, because she was the daughter and coheir of Sir John Talbot. She certainly advanced a title to property in Melton Mowbray as the successor of her cousin, Walter Prest, and had eventually to fight a lawsuit in the court of common pleas to uphold her claim. By 1412 Leek was also in possession of holdings worth £30 in and around the Grantham area of Lincolnshire, so even before his father’s death, in about 1415, he could claim to be a landowner of some consequence. Indeed, he and his wife had by then already been accorded a papal indult permitting them to make use of a portable altar.3
The Leeks were a close-knit family, and Simon was constantly involved in the affairs of his various kinsmen. In January 1405, for example, he went surety for John Leek* in a dispute over the custody of land belonging to a royal ward, besides appearing frequently as a trustee for his relatives and sometimes as the holder of a reversionary interest in their estates.4 He was, in fact, much in demand as a feoffee-to-uses among the Nottinghamshire gentry as a whole; and he also performed this service for William, Lord Roos (d.1414), with whom he maintained a useful connexion. In November 1408, Roos offered sureties of £100 for Simon’s good behaviour towards the abbot of Newbo in Lincolnshire, having just a few days before made him a co-feoffee of his entire inheritance. Simon later helped to execute Roos’s will, receiving a goblet worked in gilt as his reward; and, together with his friend, Sir John Etton, he continued to assist at least one of the deceased’s sons.5 He had probably entered his own patrimony—which comprised the manors of Shelton, Leake and Cotham together with widespread farmland in the surrounding countryside—by the date of his appointment as sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in December 1415. That he encountered some resistance in asserting his title is evident from a petition addressed by him and his cousin, William Rempston, to the chancellor, Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham (whom he must have known personally as a fellow trustee of Lord Roos). In it they claimed to have been ousted from property in the Nottinghamshire villages of Epperstone and Gedling by a large force of armed men under the command of a local landowner, but the outcome of the case is unrecorded, and we do not know if they ever regained possession.6
Simon was busy during the early 1420s as a trustee of his father’s old friends, Sir John Zouche* and Sir Thomas Chaworth, the latter of whom he helped to return to Parliament for the sixth time at the Nottinghamshire elections of 1423. He probably died towards the end of the decade, leaving four daughters and coheirs who also laid claim, through their paternal grandmother, to the estates of John Vaux, and were thus much sought after as marriage partners. The eldest became the second wife of Sir Giles Daubeney† (d.1456), while her sisters married, respectively, Sir John Markham, c.j.KB (whose inheritance Simon Leek had long held in trust), Hug