LEGH, Thomas (?1793-1857), of Lyme Hall, Cheshire.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Apr. 1814 - 1832

Family and Education

b. ?1793, 1st illegit. s. of Thomas Peter Legh*. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 15 June 1810, aged 17. m. (1) 14 Jan. 1828,1 Ellen (d. 17 Jan. 1831), da. and h. of William Turner of Shrigley Park, Cheshire, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) 3 Oct. 1843, Maud, da. of Gorges Lowther of Hampton Hall, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1797.

Offices Held


Legh was about four years old when his father died, having settled on him the extensive family estates in Cheshire and Lancashire. After leaving Oxford he travelled to Greece and from there to Egypt, returning to England in November 1813.2 In April 1814, presumably of age, he came in for the family pocket borough, which he represented until it was disfranchised. He was in Naples in February 1815, was at Westminster to vote with government on the civil list accounts, 8 May, but soon afterwards went to Brussels, volunteered to carry messages at Waterloo and spent ‘all day looking at the battle’.3 He voted with government on the civil list, 6 and 24 May 1816, the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb., the Admiralty secretary’s salary, 17 Feb., and the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817, but cast a vote in favour of Admiralty reductions, 25 Feb. 1817. He voted against Catholic relief, 9 May, and in August 1817 went to Vienna and Constantinople.4 He voted with ministers on the Duke of Clarence’s marriage allowance, 15 Apr. 1818, and against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819, but divided against them on the motion to add Brougham to the Bank committee, 8 Feb., and the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. He voted for the banishment clause of the blasphemous and seditious libels bill, 23 Dec. In December 1819 and January 1820 he exchanged several testy letters with Lord Liverpool, who refused to allow his brother-in-law Thomas Claughton. preferential treatment in the purchase of some royal manors in Cardiganshire.5 He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820, when Croker, dismissing as ‘nonsense’ a story that he was to be made a peer if he married Lady Elizabeth Conyngham, daughter of the King’s mistress, recalled that two years before George had told him ‘he wished to make Legh a baronet’, because he was then flirting with a cousin of Lady Conyngham’s other daughter.6 As it turned out, he married the heiress who was abducted by the Wakefields in 1826 and whose forced marriage to Edward Gibbon Wakefield was annulled by Act of Parliament in 1827; his nephew and successor, William John Legh, was created Baron Newton in 1892. Legh died 8 May 1857.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1828), i. 80; Earwaker, E. Cheshire, ii. 306.
  • 2. T. Legh, Narrative of a Journey in Egypt (1816), 1, 5, 143.
  • 3. NLW, Aston Hall mss 4203; Creevey Pprs. ed. Maxwell, i. 233; Creevey’s Life and Times, 79; W. Beamont, House of Lyme, 194.
  • 4. Aston Hall mss 4210.
  • 5. Add. 38281, ff. 240, 362; 38282, ff. 84, 192, 229, 280, 360.
  • 6. Croker Pprs. ed. Jennings, i. 173.