CROSSE, Leonard (d.1610), of Wells, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

m., 3s. 2da.

Offices Held

Freeman, Wells 1562, constable 1581, mayor 1590; dep. bailiff of liberty of Wells and clerk of the market 1590-2.


Nothing has been discovered about Crosse’s origins nor is anything known about him before he received the freedom of Wells on his marriage to the daughter of a burgess. While constable he was sent to London, 12 Nov. 1581, to confer with the attorney-general about the townsmen’s wish to buy the borough from the bishop, preferably with a charter of incorporation. His small measure of success did not extend to obtaining the charter, which was granted only in 1589. Crosse was on good terms with Bishop Thomas Godwyn, through whom he obtained his clerkship of the market, at a yearly salary of £14 6s.8d., confirmed just after the bishop’s death by a deed dated 9 Dec. 1590, but he quarrelled with Godwyn’s successor, Bishop Still, over alleged defects in the accounts and finally brought a Chancery action against Still in April 1597. His name does not appear in the journals of the House, but as a Somerset borough Member he may have attended a committee for the rebuilding of Langport Eastover (10 Nov.), and another, as burgess for Wells, concerning the city of Bristol (28 Nov.).

In his will dated 3 Aug. 1609, and proved at Apr. 1610 by his son John (appointed bailiff of Wells 13 Sept. 1616), he asked to be buried in St. Cuthbert’s, Wells. The date of his death is not known.

Wells Charters (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), pp. xx, 115, 182; SC6/Eliz./2013, 2014; SC11/roll 951; C2 Eliz. C14/40; D’Ewes, 564; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 103; PCC 37 Wingfield; HMC Wells, ii. 371.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.