LEYCESTER, William (1541-89), of Toft, Cheshire.

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

b. 1541, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Ralph Leycester of Toft by his 1st w. educ. ?G. Inn 1562.1 m. (1) Katherine, da. of John Edwards of Chirk, Denb., 2s. inc. George 5da.; (2) aft. 1572, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Worsley of Booths, Lancs., s.p. suc. fa. 1572.

Offices Held


Leycester’s family was declining in importance and his own life was undistinguished. He played no part in local administration, nor did he have a military career such as earned both his father and son knighthoods, the one in Scotland and the other in Ireland. In 1578 he sold the Northamptonshire lands which had come to the Leycesters through his Harington great-grandmother, and it is perhaps significant that three of his five daughters did not marry, possibly because he was unable to provide sufficient dowries. Still, he was well connected and his mother’s family secured his election for Wigan in 1589, through their own influence with Sir Gilbert Gerard. Sir Peter Legh took the senior seat in this Parliament. Leycester had two other relatives in the House in 1589: his father-in-law Robert Worsley and his nephew Edmund Trafford.

Leycester died in November 1589, being buried in the family tomb at Mobberley. He was succeeded by his second son George, the elder having pre-deceased him, or, according to one account, having been disinherited because he had been born before his parents married.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Possibly this was the 3rd s. of Peter Leycester of Nether Tabley. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. lix), 145-6.
  • 2. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 139-41; Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 503, 504, 505; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills (Chetham Soc. li), 244; C142/182/31; Lansd. 20, f. 97.