LEIGHTON, Thomas (c.1554-1600), of Wattlesborough, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1554, 1st s. of Edward Leighton of Wattlesborough by his 2nd w. educ. Shrewsbury 1566; I. Temple 1571. m. Elizabeth (d.1626), da. of Sir William Gerard, 4s. 3da. suc. fa.1593.
Capt. of trained bands, Salop 1589, j.p. from c.1592, dep. lt. 1596; commr. for poor 1598.1
As a young man Leighton followed the example of his uncle, Sir Thomas, governor of Guernsey, and became a soldier. He may have accompanied his uncle to the Low Countries in 1577. By 1588 he was in Shropshire, helping his father in the mustering of the shire, and soon afterwards he became captain of the county trained bands. He was made a j.p. shortly before his father’s death, and was returned for the county to the first Parliament after succeeding to his estates. The Parliament met on 24 Oct.1597, and the knights for Shropshire were appointed to committees concerning enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.). However, on 18 Nov. ‘having been much visited with sickness since his coming up to this session of Parliament’ Leighton was ‘for the better hope of recovery of his health licensed by the Speaker to depart home into his country’. The next year he lost some taffeta in Shrewsbury, and wrote to the bailiffs, ‘if I find it in any man’s keeping after your publishing thereof, I will make their necks to crack ... I would not procure any man’s trouble if I may have the stuff by way of courtesy, otherwise I will use all the extremity I can, but I will have it’.
Leighton died 17 May 1600, described as ‘a worthy stout gentleman and well beloved of the whole shire’. He was buried at Alberbury, the funeral being attended by the Shropshire trained bands, who ‘most valiantly shot off their pieces at the burial and, returning thence in mourning array, departed according to the usual order of their champion and captain, most pitiful to behold’. His will, dated 20 Aug. 1596, provided for the ‘preferment’ of his children, and for the payment of debts left by his mother and father, as well as his own. His daughters received generous portions, the eldest £1,000, and the two younger 1,000 marks each. An inquisition post mortem was held in 1601.