LEIGH, Sir Francis II (1590-1644), of Addington, Surr. and East Wickham, Kent
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Family and Education
bap. 6 Sept. 1590, o.s. of Sir Oliph Leigh of Addington and Jane, da. of Sir Thomas Browne† of Betchworth Castle, Surr. educ. Trin., Oxf. 1607; I. Temple 1610. m. (1) 5 June 1610, Elizabeth (d. 1 Dec. 1615), da. and h. of William Mynterne of Thorpe, Surr., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) by 1619, Christian (d. c.1660), da. of Sir John Thynne* of Longleat, Wilts., 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1612;1 kntd. Jan. 1613.2 d. 13 Dec. 1644.3
Gov. of Lewisham g.s. Kent 1613;4 j.p. Surr. 1616-at least 1642, Kent 1627-at least 1642,5 Mdx. 1630-9;6 sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1621-2;7 commr. subsidy, Surr. 1622, 1624,8 sewers, Kent and Surr. 1624-5, 1632, Surr. 1632, Kent 1632, 1639-40;9 dep. lt. Surr. by 1627-at least 1631;10 commr. Forced Loan 1627,11 oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1630-42,12 array, Kent and Surr. 1642.13
Gent. of the privy chamber by 1625-at least 1643.14
Leigh needs to be distinguished from Sir Francis Leigh I* and the latter’s son of the same name, who were members of an apparently unrelated Warwickshire family. This Member’s ancestors are first recorded living at Addington, on the border between Kent and Surrey, in the fourteenth century. They bought the manor in 1446, holding it in return for an obligation to prepare a dish at the coronation.15 One of the family sat for Plympton in 1478. Leigh’s great-grandfather represented Bletchingley in the Reformation Parliament, doubling his inheritance after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.16
After studying at Oxford, Leigh was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1610, when pledges were made for him by two Surrey barristers, John Hawarde* and the future attorney-general Robert Heath*. Leigh’s uncle Sir John was an official of the royal Household, who rose to become clerk comptroller by the time of his death in 1624. Leigh also became a courtier, becoming a gentleman of the privy chamber early in the reign of Charles I.17 Elected junior knight of the shire in 1625, he left no mark on the records of the first Caroline Parliament. Shortly afterwards he was assessed to contribute £20 towards the Privy Seal loan.18 There is no evidence that he sought re-election. However, in November 1627 a Kentish neighbour wrote to the duke of Buckingham accusing Leigh of stating, in the course of a dispute over a grant of free warren, that ‘there would be a Parliament shortly’, and that ‘before he would lose the least part of his freedom, he would spend the best blood in his body, and that if ever there were Parliament he knew what to do’. Nothing further is known about this dispute.19
In 1638 Leigh was committed to the Fleet for petitioning the king against a Chancery decree settling a disputed inheritance in which he had an interest as a result of his first marriage.20 He was appointed a commissioner of array in 1642 for both Surrey and Kent and, by his own admission, attended the king at Oxford, for which offence the parliamentarians sequestered his estate. By February 1644 he was trying to make his peace with Parliament, petitioning the Commons to the effect that he had refused to assist the royalist cause and had only attended Charles I in his capacity as a gentleman of the privy chamber. The committee of compounding estimated his income at £2,000 a year and initially recommended a fine of £3,000, on the grounds that, contrary to his denial, he had been in service against Parliament. Leigh managed to negotiate a reduction to £1,000, which was accepted by the committee on 1 Nov., but he died before the Commons confirmed the agreement. He made his will on 20 Nov. and, after adding an undated codicil, died at Westminster on 13 December. He was buried four days later at Addington. His eldest son, Wolley, who had joined the royalist garrison at Oxford, survived him by only a few days. His grandson, another Sir Francis, sat for Kent in 1702.21
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates
- 1. G. Leveson-Gower, ‘Leighs of Addington’, Surr. Arch. Colls. vii. 94-7, 101-3, 125; Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
- 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 152.
- 3. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 384.
- 4. E. Hasted, Kent (1886) ed. H.H. Drake, 268.
- 5. C231/4, ff. 17, 228; ASSI 35/84/6; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 421.