LEGH, Peter (1669-1744), of Lyme, Cheshire.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 22 Aug. 1669, 1st s. of Richard Legh, and bro. of Thomas Legh. educ. G. Inn, entered 1673. m. lic. 21 Dec. 1686, Frances (d. 8 Feb. 1728), da. of Piers Legh of Bruche, Poulton, Lancs., and h. to her half-bro. Piers, 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1687.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Preston 1682, Liverpool 1686, dep. lt. Cheshire Nov. 1688-9; j.p. Lancs. 1689-94, 1702-15; commr. for assessment, Cheshire and Lancs. 1689-90.2


Legh was elected for the family borough at the age of 15 owing to his father’s unwillingness to sit again. When James II’s Parliament assembled, his uncle Sir John Chicheley wrote:

This morning we met and took the oaths, after which I carried my nephew into our House, where I found several Members took notice of his youthfulness; but to keep us the better in countenance the Lord Plymouth’s son [Thomas Windsor] appeared, whose looks did not so well qualify him for a law-maker as Peter’s.

Lord Willoughby de Eresby (Robert Bertie II) was prompted to move for the expulsion of minors from the House, but no action was taken, and Legh remained, circumspectly avoiding attention by total inactivity.3

Legh politely refused to serve under Lord Molyneux, the Roman Catholic lord lieutenant of Lancashire. He never stood for Parliament after the Revolution, though his younger brother Thomas sat for Newton from 1701 to 1713. The leading spirit of the Cheshire Club, a society of Jacobite country gentlemen, he was arrested in 1694, at the time of the Lancashire Plot, and again in 1696, but on each occasion the prosecution broke down for lack of witnesses. He was buried at Winwick on 16 Jan. 1744. His heir was his nephew, who sat for Newton as an opposition Member from 1743 to 1774.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Croston, Lancs. iv. 388-9; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 830.
  • 2. Preston Guild Roll (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 191; Wahlstrand thesis; Lancs. RO, QSC103-13, 130.
  • 3. E. C. Legh, Lady Newton, House of Lyme, 330-1.
  • 4. Legh, Lyme Letters, 153; House of Lyme, 354, 360-7; CSP Dom. 1694-5, pp. 214, 322; HMC Kenyon, 361, 363-6.