LEVESON, Richard (1570-1605), of Lilleshall, Salop and Trentham, Staffs.

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. 1570, o.s. of Walter Leveson by Anne, da. of Sir Andrew Corbet of Moreton Corbet, Salop. m. 13 Dec. 1587, Margaret, da. of Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham, s.p. Kntd. 1596; suc. fa. 1602.2

Offices Held

J.p.q. Salop and Staffs. by 1594; custos rot. Salop 1596.

V.-adm. N. Wales 1593-1601; adm. of the narrow seas 1600, v.-adm. of England 1604.3


Leveson was married at the age of 17 to a daughter of the lord admiral, under whom he served as a volunteer on the Ark Royal against the Armada. At first he did little to distinguish himself, during the 1590s committing several blunders, any one of which might have ended the career of a man with less influential connexions. But in the end Leveson justified his father-in-law’s patronage and the Queen’s opinion that he was a man of ‘resolution and discretion’. In less than a year, from his attack on Kinsale harbour in December 1601 to June 1602, when, under the guns of Cézimbra fort, he captured a caravel valued at a million ducats, he brilliantly retrieved his reputation. The gibes of John Chamberlain changed to admiration for the admiral who ‘played the man when all men’s hearts failed’, and Sir William Monson, who served under him, wrote of the ‘renowned courage’ of his commander, who attacked the Spanish fleet at odds of six to one, yet avoided a repetition of the Revenge tragedy. The letters written to Cecil, to Nottingham and to his cousin John, reveal Leveson’s grasp of naval administration, and particu