LEGH, Thomas (1636-97), of Blackley, Lancs. and Lyme, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
b. 6 Oct. 1636, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Thomas Legh, DD, and bro. of Richard Legh. educ. Winwick g.s. unm.
Commr. for assessment, Cheshire Aug. 1660-1, 1663-80, Lancs. and Cheshire 1689-90; freeman, Liverpool 1662, Preston 1673; j.p. Lancs. 1672-83, receiver of taxes 1673-4; steward, Newton by 1679-at least 1689; sheriff, Lancs. 1682-4; dep. lt. Cheshire 1689-d.1
Legh spent most of his life managing the family estate, though he inherited the manor of Blackley and property in Liverpool. He was instrumental in obtaining the new charter for the borough in 1677, and acted as returning officer at Newton from 1679 to the end of the period. He supported the Tory candidate at the Macclesfield mayoral election in 1682, and although the Gerard interest was too strong for him, he managed to persuade the townsmen to confer the freedom of Macclesfield on Judge Jeffreys, whom he then entertained at Lyme. In the following year he obtained a loyal address from the corporation of Liverpool, congratulating the King on his escape from the Rye House Plot.2
In the election of 1685, Legh stood for Liverpool, with the support of Lord Derby, against Thomas Norris and the ‘fanatical party’. Returned after a contested election, he became a moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, serving on nine committees, of which the most important was to recommend expunctions from the Journals. Although a devoted Royalist, Legh was also a staunch Protestant and opposed James II’s attempts to undermine the Anglican Church. After the second session he rejoiced that the Test had been ‘vigorously and bravely adhered to by the House of Commons to their immortal fame’, commenting that ‘had we suffered such a breach in the mounds of our Church, a spring-tide of Popery would have raged, for the oaths of allegiance and supremacy are already sweetened to go delicately down, but the Test cannot be dispensed with’.3
Legh did not sit again, but devoted himself to his duties in the country. He accepted the Revolution, and on several occasions advised his nephew, Peter Legh, to abandon his extreme Jacobite position and take the oath to the new regime. He died on 22 Sept. 1697 and was buried at Macclesfield.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 148, 191; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 102, 108; Lancs. RO, QSC 79-113; SP44/335/509.
- 2. PCC 108 Brent; E. C. Legh, Lady Newton, House of Lyme, 248; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 458-9; July-Sept. 1683, p. 105.
- 3. Rylands Lib. Legh mss, Thomas to Richard Legh, 9 Mar., 103; Legh, 5 Dec. 1685; Picton, Liverpool Municipal Recs. 240; HMC Kenyon, 103; Leigh, Lyme Letters, 137.
- 4. Croston, Lancs. iv. 388-9.