LEGH, Edward I (c.1540-1617), of Rushall, Staffs. and Shawell, Leics.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1540, 1st s. of Henry Legh of Rushall and Shawell by Catherine, da. and coh. of Sir John Dudhan of Kirklington, Notts. m. Anne, da. of Sir John Fermor of Easton Neston, Northants., 1s. 6da. suc. fa. 1561. Kntd. 13 June 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Leics. 1579-87, j.p.q. Staffs. by 1587; sheriff, Leics. 1573-4, Staffs. 1584-5, 1602-3.1


Legh belonged to a cadet branch of the Leghs of Ridge in Cheshire, which had been settled in Shropshire until Edward’s grandfather gained the Rushall estate by marrying Elizabeth, co-heir of Robert Harpur. The yearly income from his two manors of Rushall and Shawell, with their appurtenances, the advowsons of Rushall and Shawell, and the rectory of Walsall, amounted to £1,000. Legh was thus of sufficient standing to take a turn as knight of the shire. In the event he was pricked as sheriff for Staffordshire on the day of the election. He took his seat in the House, but on 2 Dec., about a week after the beginning of the session

Mr. Lee, now sheriff elect, desireth that his attendance in the House may be borne with, in respect that he is to attend upon his office, which was granted, and that notwithstanding he should continue a burgess.

And, two days later, it was

ordered by this House that the said Edward Legh may with the good leave of this House have liberty to absent himself in and about his necessary charge and service in the said office of sheriffwick.

It is not known whether he returned later in the session.2

As a justice, Legh was active against Catholics. In 1586 he was one of the commissioners to search for the concealed goods of recusants. He was instrumental in bringing Richard Stone, who was suspected of being ‘evilly affected’ to the government, to trial in 1590, and was active after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. After 1606 Legh’s name appears less frequently in the quarter session records, and his last years must have been spent in retirement, with his son administering the estates. He died 6 Nov. 1617.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. C142/132/39; Vis. Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. v. pt. 2), 201-2; SP12/145/26; Lansd. 121, f. 69; Staffs. Q. Sess. Rolls, i (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), 221; PRO Lists and Indexes, iii. 75, 128.
  • 2. Erdeswick’s Surv. Staffs. 405; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 377; D’Ewes, 335; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 1.
  • 3. APC, xviii, 187; xx. 289-90; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 503, 529; C3/280/1; C142/368/121.