LEECHE, Richard (d.1596), of Fletching, Suss. and Coleman Street, London.

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

1st s. of John Leeche of Smeeth, Kent. m. (2) Charity or Catherine (d.1618), da. of Robert White of Christchurch, Hants, 1da. suc. fa. 1542.

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1589-95, Kent from c.1592; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1595-6.


Leeche was an ironmaster, assessed at £40 for the Armada loan in 1588. He held his ironworks from Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckburst, to whom he was related through Buckhurst’s marriage to Cecily, daughter of (Sir) John Baker, of Sissinghurst. Buckhurst was his neighbour, always ‘most loving and kind’ to Leeche and his wife, and it is to Buckhurst, with his many court connexions, we must look for an explanation for Leeche’s return to Parliament for Camelford in 1593. In the event the return was challenged by (Sir) Edward Hoby, who alleged that it was false and that Sir George Carew was named on the true return. Leeche offered to yield his place to Carew, but the Speaker was instructed by the Commons ‘to move the lord keeper in the said case’, either to allow the return of Carew or else to issue a new writ. The lord keeper decided that the return of Leeche was to ‘stand and continue ... without taking notice of any matter of fact therein, or in the election at all’.

Leeche’s will and inquisition post mortem mention property in Sussex and Kent. He possessed the manors of Barkham, Plumpton and Netherhall, and lands in Fletching and Cuckfield, which he left to his wife Charity, the sole executrix, and to his brother William, who also received his lands in Kent. His uncle John Baker, his friend Ralph Hare, and his brother-in-law Thomas Churcher, were overseers, and each received £20. He left £100 to Lord and Lady Buckhurst, begging them to continue their kindness to his wife, and £40 to Henry Sackville, the only one of Buckburst’s children to whom he had not yet given anything. He left £100 each to his brother William and to a sister, and £20 each to several godchildren. £200 was provided for the purchase of a lease, the profits of which were to be distributed annually to the poor of Fletching and Smeeth, 40s. went to each of five parishes adjoining Fletching, and 40s. to each of his household servants. Leeche also gave £60 for the repair of the highways between Lewes and Sheffield bridge, and £40 for those between Sheffield bridge and Godstone.

Leeche died suddenly 23 Dec. 1596. He was buried, according to his own wishes, in the south chancel of Fletching church beside his first wife and child. His second wife Charity erected a costly monument ‘to her husband posthumously and to herself prospectively’, showing them both recumbent under a canopy.

Kent RO, PRO 17/22/249, ex. inf. Dr. J. J. Goring; Lansd. 8, f. 81; Suss. Arch. Colls. iv. 232; xi. 8; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 108; (lxxv), 127; Mousley thesis, 568 seq.; D’Ewes, 489, 494-5; C142/249/71; PCC 89 Drake.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.