LEYCESTER, George (c.1566-1612), of Toft, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
b. c.1566, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Leycester of Toft by Katherine, da. of John Edwards of Chirk, Denb. educ. Shrewbury 1574; Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1578. m. Alice, da. of Peter Leycester of Tabley, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 1589. Kntd. 1599.
Servant of the Earl of Leicester; capt. of ft. in the Netherlands 1586, of trained soldiers in Cheshire by 1587; j.p. Cheshire by 1594, q. by 1603, sheriff 1602-3.
Leycester began his career in the service of the Earl of Leicester, who in May 1586 appointed him captain of 150 foot, to serve in the Netherlands. It is not known how he fared or how long he remained there. About two years later he was appointed by the 4th Earl of Derby to be one of the captains of trained soldiers in Cheshire. Derby thought him ‘of good sumciency and account, and in religion and due allegiance to her Majesty well affected’, in consideration of which he was one of three candidates proposed by the 6th Earl in 1596 for the office of captain of the Isle of Man. The Stanleys, earls of Derby, owned the manor of Thirsk, and were presumably responsible for Leycester’s return to Parliament.
Leycester was one of the captains ordered to Flushing in 1598 or 1599 and sent on garrison duties to Bergen-op-Zoom. Upon arrival there, the captains were cashiered, whereupon Leycester and two others wrote to Essex to complain of ‘so great a disgrace’, without reason, and after all the expense they had been put to. They asked to be allowed to go with Essex to Ireland. Leycester, at least, was not disappointed. He went in 1599 and was knighted by Essex at Dublin. In the new century he turned from soldiering to county affairs. He had inherited the family seat, Toft Hall, near Knutsford, and he bought certain lands in the neighbourhood from Randle Mainwaring. He died at Lea 28 Mar. 1612, and was buried at Mobberley on 4 Apr.
Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 505-6; CSP Dom.1595-7, p. 119; Cheshire Sheaf, n.s. i. 147; Lansd. 82, f. 26; HMC Hatfield, ix. 67; APC, xxix. 391; Chester Wills, 1545-1620 (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ii), 123.