LEIGHTON, Edward (by 1525-93), of Wattlesborough, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. by 1525, 1st s. of John Leighton of Wattlesborough by Joyce, da. of Edward Sutton, 2nd Lord Dudley; bro. of Sir Thomas. educ. G. Inn 1541. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of one Edwardes, wid. of one Meverell; (2) by 1553 Anne, da. of Paul Darrell of Lillingstone Dayrell, Bucks., 4s. inc. Thomas 3da. suc. fa. 28 Feb. 1532. Kntd. 1591.1
Sheriff, Mont. 1549-50, 1591-2; Salop 1567-8, 1587-8; steward of the barony of Caus 1562; j.p. Salop by 1561; custos rot. 1587; escheator, Salop 1563-4; commr. musters, Shrewsbury 1563, Salop 1577-91; member, council in the marches of Wales by 1570; dep. lt. Salop 1588.2
Elected once as knight of the shire in this period, Leighton was appointed to the committee considering the Queen’s marriage and the succession question, 31 Oct. 66. On 16 Nov. he was given leave of absence.3
Leighton was a kinsman, through his mother, of the great houses of Dudley and Devereux. In May 1584 Shrewsbury paid £3 12s. for a hogshead of wine to be ‘given to Mr. Leighton against my lord of Leicester’s coming’. Leicester was accompanied by Essex, who had been at Wattlesborough earlier in the year, and Leighton entertained them both in the council house at Shrewsbury with a lavish banquet and long orations by scholars of the free school. Leighton played a dominant role in Shropshire during the 1580s. His letters to Shrewsbury reveal how thoroughly he supervised the county musters; the Privy Council frequently employed him in its affairs, and the Earl of Pembroke described him as ‘employed ordinarily’ on the business of the council in the marches. During the last decade of his life, he engaged in a lawsuit with All Souls, Oxford, over lands at Alberbury. This was heard by the Montgomeryshire sessions, the council in the marches, the Privy Council and in Chancery. In 1587 he wrote to Whirgift, defending his conduct, and the archbishop advised him to compromise. Next year he received similar advice from the chancellor, but it was not until 1593 that the case was decided by arbitration.4
Apparently Leighton owed the office of custos rotulorum to a deal with Sir Christopher Hatton by which Hatton’s relative Francis was made clerk of the peace. When in 1591 Leighton sought to displace him, his reinstatement was ordered by the Privy Council. In 1590 Leighton was appointed a collector of the subsidy, but in the same year, when new deputy lieutenants were appointed for Shropshire, he was described as ‘old and sickly’. He died 10 Sept. 1593, ‘bearing great fame and countenance all Shropshire over’ and was buried a month later.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 324; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xi. 39; C142/53/2, 239/109.
- 2. Mont. Colls. ii. 418-19; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), ii. 231, 246; iii. 100; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, i. 333.
- 3. D’Ewes, 127, 129; CJ, i. 77.
- 4. H. Owen and J. B. Blakeway, Shrewsbury, i. 300, 375; Early Chrows. Shrewsbury, ed. Leighton, 74; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), iii. 93-147; APC, xiii. 386; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 143, 223; C. T. Martin, All Souls Archives, 14.
- 5. APC, xx. 23; xxii. 166; Williams, 140.