DANNETT, Leonard (by 1530-91), of Dannett's Hall, Bruntingthorpe, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. by 1530, 1st s. of Sir John Dannett by Anne, da. and h. of Thomas Ellinbridge of Merstham and Croydon, Surr. educ. M. Temple, adm. 11 May 1551. m. (1) Frances Clopton; (2) Christiana; s.p. suc. fa. 6 Apr. 1542.1
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. Jan.-Nov. 1561; j.p. Leics. 1561-84/87, Warws. 1573/74-82; commr. eccles. causes, dioceses of Lincoln and Peterborough 1571.2
Leonard Dannett came of a family long established in Leicestershire. His grandfather and father both served in Henry VIII’s household and both made advantageous marriages, Gerard Dannett to a sister and coheir of Sir Edward Belknap and John Dannett to a Surrey heiress; the first of these yielded lands in Warwickshire and elsewhere, as well as kinship with (Sir) William Shelley, and Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, who married Mary Belknap’s sisters, and with Sir Anthony Cooke, while the second brought the three Surrey manors of Albury in Merstham, Chaldon, and Croham in Croydon. Dannett’s uncle Thomas Dannett also married into a Surrey family, and his aunt Elizabeth was the second wife of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne.3
Dannett was about 12 years old when his father died. If he was brought up by his mother at Merstham he may well have received his schooling with his cousin Thomas Copley, a grandson of Sir William Shelley, who lived at nearby Gatton. Dannett was to follow Copley at the inns of court, his admission to the Middle Temple coming three-and-a-half years after Copley’s at the Inner Temple. It was undoubtedly to Copley that Dannett owed his return to the second Edwardian Parliament; Lady Copley’s life interest in Gatton allowed her to choose whom she wished, and on this occasion she used it to return, with Dannett, her son-in-law Richard Southwell alias Darcy.
Dannett is not known to have supported the Duke of Northumberland in the summer of 1553, but he and Thomas Dannett were among those who helped the Duke of Suffolk to stage his brief and futile rising in Leicestershire in the following January. For the two Dannetts, as for most of those involved, this was a family affair; the duke was a grandson of Sir Robert Wotton, their uncle and great-uncle respectively, and another of his supporters was his half-brother and their cousin George Medley. For their part in the proclamation made at Leicester against the Spanish marriage Thomas and Leonard Dannett were indicted there in February and committed to the Tower; both were released after a month and subsequently pardoned, Leonard on 5 May and Thomas in October.4
Dannett did not enter upon his inheritance until after the death of his grandmother in 1558. Under Elizabeth he played some part in local administration and sat in one further Parliament. He died childless in 1591.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: S. R. Johnson
- 1. Date of birth estimated from age at grandmother’s i.p.m., C142/121/166. Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 64; Nash, Worcs. i. 347;