LEVESON, Richard (1659-99), of Wolverhampton, Staffs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 12 July 1659, 1st s. of Robert Leveson (d.1709) of Wolverhampton by Sarah, da. of John Povey of Hounslow, Mdx. unm.; 2s.1
Groom of the bedchamber 1685-Dec. 1688.2
Capt. R. Dgns. June 1685, Queen’s Dgns. (3 Hussars) Aug. 1685, lt.-col. 1687, col. Dec. 1688-94; gov. Berwick-on-Tweed 1691-d.; brig, of horse 1691; col. of horse (later 2 Dgn. Gds.) 1694-d.; maj.-gen. 1696.3
Commr. for assessment, Staffs. 1689.
Leveson’s ancestors had held property in and around Wolverhampton since the reign of Edward I, first sitting for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1432, but since Elizabethan times they had been overshadowed by a vigorous cadet branch, the maternal ancestors of William Leveson Gower. His grandfather, the royalist governor of Dudley during the Civil War, nevertheless enjoyed a rent-roll of over £1,000 a year. He died in exile in 1651, and his unsettled property was sold by the treason trustees. His father succeeded to a diminished estate of £600 or £700 a year; ‘loyal, orthodox, active, stout and of very good parts’, he was proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak at the Restoration.4
Either Leveson or his father appears to have contemplated standing in 1679, but was defeated by the determination of Thomas Thynne I ‘to keep out Lord Danby’s friends’. Through his mother he was related to Thomas Povey, treasurer to the Duke of York from 1660 to 1668. He was appointed groom of the bedchamber when the Duke succeeded to the throne, and approved as court candidate for Lichfield. He was returned after a contest but appointed to no committees in James II’s Parliament. On Monmouth’s invasion he was commissioned in the army and given leave to go into the country on 19 June 1685, doubtless to recruit. It was reported that he would not concur with the King’s religious policy, but his father, a deputy lieutenant for the county, freely consented to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and he was himself ordered to stand for re-election in 1688. On the pretext of searching for Percy Kirke and other deserters he went over to William of Orange at Warminster during the Revolution, and was excepted from amnesty by James II.5
Leveson remained a professional soldier under the new regime, serving with distinction in Ireland and sitting for an Isle of Wight borough as a placeman. He died in March 1699, and his father, the last of the family, sold the property soon afterwards.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Wolverhampton Par. Reg. (Staffs. Par. Reg. Soc.), i. 234; PCC 148 Lane; Vis. Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. v. pt. 2), 202-3; Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. 161.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 144.
- 3. Luttrell, ii. 215.
- 4. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 167, 169; Cal. Comm. Comp. 89, 511, 2483-6; Gentry of Staffs. (Staffs. Rec. Soc. ser. 4, ii), 22.
- 5. Foxcroft, Halifax, i. 179; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 121; 1687-9, pp. 277, 361; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 62; Clarke, Jas. II, ii. 224, 435.
- 6. Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. 161; Shaw, ii. 163.