LEIGH, Francis (c.1579-c.1625), of Newnham Regis, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. c.1579, 1st s. of Sir William Leigh of Newnham Regis by Frances, da. of (Sir) James Harington I of Exton, Rutland. educ. M. Temple 1597. m. by 1601, Mary, da. of (Sir) Thomas Egerton I, 2s. 3da. KB 1603.2
Member, Antiq. Soc. c.1600; gent. of privy chamber to James I; master of requests 1614; sheriff, Warws. 1618-19, j.p.q. by 1621.3
Leigh’s mother, in addition to being sister to John Harington II, later Baron Harington of Exton, was a cousin of Mary Sidney, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke’s third wife. It is this relationship, as well as Pembroke’s antiquarian interests, which suggests that the ‘Francis Ley, esquire’, whom Pembroke nominated at Weymouth and Melcombe Regis in October 1597 was the young (in fact under age) Warwickshire gentleman whose particulars appear above. Leigh acquired a powerful patron when he married the lord keeper’s favourite daughter. In 1601 and 1604 Egerton was high steward of Oxford and brought Leigh into Parliament for the city. The burgesses for Oxford were appointed to the committee concerning the parsonage at Rothenstone on 2 Dec. 1601.