Friends of Middleton Park


The Leigh Family
aprox. 1500 until 1706...

The Leigh Family in Middleton ...

  •       Thomas Leigh (7) = Elizabeth Wentworth
    (Thomas was succeeded by his brother William, below)
  •                           William Leigh (8) = Alice (daughter of William Fenton)
    (died 1541)                            
  • |
  •                                   Gilbert Leigh (9) = Dorothy (daughter of Thomas Woodrove
                          (died 1565)                           of Wodey)        
  • |
  •                             Thomas Leigh (10) = Anne (daughter of Robert Mauleverer
                              (died 1598)           (died 1581)       of Wothersom)    
  • |
  • Sir Ferdinand Leigh (11) = Anne Clough                
      (1585-1654)           (Fourth Marriage)
  • |
  •                     John Leigh (12) = Ellen (daughter of Ralph Eure
                                            (1630-1706)         (died 1701)     of Washington, Lincolnshire)

To view a PDF of the Leigh Family Tree Please Click here.



(7) THOMAS LEIGH married Elizabeth, the daughter of William Wentworth, about 1492.

In 1506 Thomas paid relief for half a fee in Middleton [1].

Prior to 1522, Thomas founded a chantry within the Parish Church at Rothwell. Again we turn to the Certificates of Chantries for the details:

The Chantrie of Sancte Saviour in the North Side of the saide Churche [Rothwell]. John Hemesworth, incumbent. The same is of the foundacion of Thomas Leighe, esquire. To th,entente as bifor in the two precedent chantries is declared, as apperyth by a compostion dated xxvj die Februarii, anno regni regis Henrici viij., xiiij. The same is within the said paroche church. The necessitie is as above declared. The same is used accordinglie. There is no lands alienate, etc. Goods, vs ijd [5s 2d] Plate, nil. First, one mesuage with th,appurtenances, lienge in Loftehouse, in the tenure of Richard Apleyerde, xxs [20s]; one ten, with th,appurtenances lienge in Liversage in the tenure of James Ferneley, xxiiijs [24s]; one ten. with th,appurtenances lienge in Westhardeslawe in the tenure of William Goodfellowe xlvs iiijd [45s 4d]; one ten. with th,appurtenances lienge in the saide towne, in the tenure of Willyam Leigh xxs viiijd [20s 9d]. Sum of the saide chantrie, cxs Wherof Paiable to the Kinges Majestie for tenth yerlie, xs vijd. [10s 7d] ob; to the receyvor of the disolved monastrie of Wodchurche to the Kinges use, for a rent goynge furth of the landes in Westardeslawe iiijs [4s]. Sum of th,allowance xiiijs vijd, [14s 7d] ob. And so remanyth iiij li xvs. iiijd. [£4 15s 4d] Ob.

Thomas died in 1522 and left a will:

Thomas Legh, of Middilton, Esquier. To be beriede on the north side wher my auncetours ar beriede, within the paroche church of Rothwell... I will that ther be xii power folkes to pray for my saull daylye duryng an hoole yere next after my decesse withe in the parishe church of Roothwell; and every of them to have for ther labour a blake gowne & vjs. viijd [6s 8d]. I will that ther be giffyn to the church maisters of Rothwell, to the byeng of a ornamente for ther chauntre which i have maide at Rothwell, vj li. xiijs. iiijd [£6 13s 4d]. To poore folkes, the next Lent after my beriall, to pray fot my saull, & al Cristen saulles, xxs [20s]. To my cousyng, Rauf Hopton, my damaske gowne, for he will nott lightly forgett me. To my broder, William Legh, my chamlett gowne, & my best dublett. To my broder-in-lawe, Rauf Wentworth, my blake gowne lynyde with sercenet, & my gray nag. To my broder, George Wentworth, my tawney gowne furride with shankes. To my cousyng Nicholas Ellys, my dublet of cremessyn sattan, & my wodknyf whiche my cousyng Topclif gave to me. To my cousyng, Gilbert Topclif, ij [2] oxon & ij [2] kye, to be frendly to my wif. To cousyng, Thomas Gargrave, a crosse bowe with rake & arowes and all thinges pertenyng therto. To my godsone, Robert Gargrave, iij li. vjs. viijd. [£3 6s 8d] to fynde hym at the scole. The residue of all my goodes, whike & deide, to my wif Elisabeth ... she executrix: Sir Robert Nevill knyght, my broder Thomas Wentworth Esquire & my cousyng Rauf Hopton supervisors. Witnesses Thomas Gargrave of Wakfeld gentilmnn, Gilbert Topclif, Thomas Wentworth, Sir William Gamyll, Sir William Dey, parish preist of Rothwell. [2]


[1] Wakefield District Archives. Goodchild Loan. Newland MSS A1 fo 25.

[2] Testamenta Eborensia.


(8) WILLIAM LEIGH was born about 1484 and succeeded to the Middleton estates on the death of his brother, Thomas (7). He married Alice, daughter and co-heir of William Fenton of Kilnwich Percy about 1509, by whom he had children:

  • Gilbert (9) - his heir.
  • Richard.
    married Margaret Gascoigne on the 1st October 1540 at Rothwell: Ric Leigh & mariorie Gascoen was weddyd the first dai of Octob. [1]
  • Elizabeth

In 1522, William is recorded as having paid relief for half a fee at Middleton. [2]

By a statute passed in the 14th and 15th year of Henry VIII (1523/24) a yearly subsidy was granted by Parliament to the king, to be continued for four years, for the support of his army in the war against France and the Scots. This assessment was made on the lands, personal property (goods) or wages. No individual was assessed on all three, but whichever produced the most revenue for the exchequer. From the Subsidy Roll of Abrigg and Morley:

Myddilton: William Leghe for 26l 13s 4d for lands ... 26s 8d
           Elizabeth Leghe, wydow, for 10l for lands ... 10s
           Sum. 36s 8d [3]

In 1526 William grants John Hemsworth the chantry at Rothwell that his brother, Thomas, founded:

8 March 17 Hen. VIII (1526);
(1) Wm. Legh of Medylton, esq.
(2) John Hemsworthe, chaplain of chantry of God the Saviour on north side next high altar in Rothwell church.
(1) to (2) for life the chantry according to terms of deed (1523) of late Thos. Legh, the founder. [4]

On the 19th March, 1528, Margaret, the widow of Robert Fellestlyff, sold William a messuage in Middleton and some lands in the counties of Chester and York. [5]

William was to lead opposition to the enclosure of land in Rothwell, when Lord Darcy (farmer of the park at Rothwell) enclosed a large section of parkland preventing tenants of William from grazing their cattle there. William organised the opposition by persuading his tenants to raise money and to use it to appeal to the Duchy Court at Westminster. Their case was upheld in 1529 and 1532, but the court's decrees were ignored by Darcy. On a number of occasions the tenants pulled down the enclosure allowing their cattle to graze. In 1533, Sir William Tempest and Robert Challoner, Justices of the Peace, summoned and examined William and some of the tenants. The outcome is not recorded. [6]

In May 1541, William was executed at Tyburn for his part in the Wakefield Conspiracy. This event being briefly described by Hall, a 16th century chronicler:

In the begginnyng of this yere, v priestes in Yorkeshire began a new rebellion, with thassent of one Leigh a gentleman and IX temporall men, whiche were apprehended & shortly after in diverse places put in execucion in somuche that on the XXVII daie of Maie, the said Leigh & one Tatersall and Thornton, were drawen through London to Tiborne, and there wer executed. And Sir Ihon [John] Nevell, knight, was executed for the same at Yorke. [7]

This rebellion was planned only 5 years after the failure of the Pilgrimage of Grace and demonstrated that, in the North of England, opposition to King Henry VIII's break with Rome still existed. The conspirators proposed to stage an armed uprising at Pontefract, where Pontefract Castle was to be captured and then defended. They hoped to receive help from the Scots who, it was rumoured, were in revolt on the border, and who if they were to invade would have met with little resistance. Pontefract Castle would then become the centre of opposition against the King's armies which would be sent up from the South.

The plot failed when it became known. Amongst those arrested with William were John Neville, Sir John Neville, Robert Box, gentleman, Thomas Tattershall, Gilbert Thornton, John Kent, William Barker, Leonard Bates and two men named Smallpage and Smith. Also arrested were five members of the clergy: William Green, William Brumfeld, William Swynden, John and Gregory Grice.

Among the clergy, William Green was the incumbent of the chantry of St Saviour on the north part of Rothwell Church (established by Thomas Leigh) and William Brumfeld (alias Bromhede) was the priest at St Mary's Chantry at Middleton (established by Gilbert Leigh).

William Brumfeld's rooms were inventoried, and since these rooms were likely to be in, or at, the chantry in Middleton, we quote:

The Inventorye of Sir William Bromheds chambre taken by Jamy's Corkar and William Watson and prased by Edmunde Parkar, Robarte Burton, John Horton and John Thackwra.
The plac wher he lay
First in the wyndowe in money ..... xiiijd
Item, a feder bedde. a bolster and a pillawe, iij blankets, ij coverlets, a pare of shetys, a coveryng of verders ..... vs xd
Item, a little counter with a pounde of waxe in it, one olde typet of clothe and the letters of his ordres.
Item, one litle copborde with a pare of harden shetys and a towell ..... xvjd
Item, a greter copborde (xviijd) with a gowne of (vs) clothe and a clocke (viijd) a say doblet (viijd), a nolde chamlet (iiijd) gerkyn and a typpet of say (vjd) ..... viiijs viijd
Item, the portar (porture) hangyd a bowte with payntede clothes ..... viijd
Item, a chare and a quyshing. Item, a tristell and one other chare .....vjd
Item, one lode of coles by estymacion ..... vjd
The chambre
Item, a mattres, a coverlet and chare .....ijs
Item, ij tristiles, a forme, a shete with a quarteron of woll by estymacion and a quishing .....xvjd
Summa .....xxiijs [8]

From the documents of the "attainted" William Leigh we have details of the way land was used in Middleton:

                  Arable       Pasture       Meadow       Demesne
      Acres 188 102 72.5 13.5

and what crops were grown:

                  Wheat     Rye       Barley   Oats       Peas       Total  
      Acres 13.5 16.25 3 15 9 56.75    [9]

What follows are summaries of a number of documents relating to William Leigh's attainment:

Bill, made 2 June 33 Hen. VIII., witnessing delivery by the Council in the North to Tristram Teshe, surveyor of attainted lands in Yorkshire, of a tablet of gold with a St. Anthony's cross thereupon of base gold, another cross of like gold, 5 gold rialles, 8s. in groats and one halfpenny, goods of Wm. Leigh, late of Midleton, Yorks., attainted, which he delivered in an old sealed purse to the wife of one Ridiall; who showed it to Ric. Leigh, son of the said Wm., and Ric. and Gilbert Leigh, sons of the said Wm., thereupon delivered it to Teshe. Not signed. [10]

Inventory indented, made 4th May 33 Hen. VIII., between Sir Robt. Nevell, sheriff of Yorkshire, and Tristram Teshe and Fras. Southwell, of the goods late of Wm. Leighe, of Midleton Hall, Yorks., at his manors of Midleton Hall, Rothewell Hall, Rodes Hall, and elsewhere; besides certain plate delivered to Sir Robert by Sir Ralph Ellercar and Wm. Babthrope, upon an inventory by them taken, and a silver bowl, etc, delivered by Annys Leighe, wife to the said William Leighe. Giving particulars and values of household stuff, apparel, &c., in the various chambers and outhouses, and of farm stock. Signed by Teshe and Southwell. [11]

Statement attached to the preceding of the amount and value of grain in the garner at Mydleton Hall, followed by a note of the receipt, 12th May 33 Hen. VIII., from John Uvedale, secretary to the Council in the North, in money, "of the goods of Leighe aforesaid," [12]

Indenture of receipt by Uvedale from Ric. and Gilb. Legh of the above-mentioned tablet, &c., 1st June 33 Hen. VIII. Signed. [13]

Bill, made 2nd June 33 Hen. VIII., witnessing delivery by the Council in the North to Tristram Teshe, surveyor of attainted lands in Yorkshire, of a tablet of gold with a St. Anthony's cross thereupon of base gold, another cross of like gold, 5 gold rialles, 8s. in groats and one halfpenny, goods of Wm. Leigh, late of Midleton, Yorks., attainted, which he delivered in an old sealed purse to the wife of one Ridiall; who showed it to Ric. Leigh, son of the said Wm., and Ric. and Gilbert Leigh, sons of the said Wm., thereupon delivered it to Teshe. Not signed. [14]

Inventory of plate "late William Leighes, of Mydleton," Yorks., attainted, viz., a bason and ewer, parcel gilt, and 13 other items. Signed: Tristramus Teshe. ii. "Playte laite Thomas Tattersall of highe treasone attayntede," viz., a salt with a cover parcel gilt, broken, and four other items. Signed: Tristramus Tesshe. [15]

We also know where William held land in Yorkshire and Chester:


Middleton, Wakefield, Rothwell, Royds in North Bierley, Carlton, Lofthouse, Gawthorpe, Ossett and Pontefract, Kildwick Percy, Beilby, Wistow and Cawood, Sherburn, Castleford, Wombwell and Leeds.


Warford, Tatton, and Warmingham near Knutsford.

Further, for William's part in the conspiracy, all his lands (valued at £62) were forfeit to the crown. His mills and tenters in Leeds were granted to others. Nor does he answer for any profit issuing from the revenues of a cottage, with buildings and five closes in Gallowhill in Leeds, and also of two fulling mills with three fulling stocks and tenters there, on the river Aire on the Kings there, leased by copy of court roll to William Leigh, esq. lately attainted for high treason committed by him in the month of March in the 32nd year of King Henry VIII, not received because they are leased at farm amongst others to William Gascoigne, esq. at the old rent charged above amongst other things under the heading of New Rents. [16]

William's lands in Oulton were also forfeit and in 1542 were granted to the above mentioned William Gascoigne. [17]

In 1542, all other lands were returned to William Leigh's son, Gilbert.


[1] Rothwell Parish Registers

[2] Wakefield District Archives. Goodchild Loan. Newland MSS A1 fo 26.

[3] Subsidy Roll of Abrigg and Morley.

[4] DD/FJ/10/7/25

[5] PHC/299

[6] Smith. R.B. Land and Politics in the England of Henry VIII. West Riding of Yorkshire.

[7] Dickens. A.G. Reformation Studies: Sedition and Conspiracy in Yorkshire.

[8] Dickens. A.G. Reformation Studies: Sedition and Conspiracy in Yorkshire.

[9] Smith. R.B. Land and Politics in the England of Henry VIII. West Riding of Yorkshire.







[16] Reeves Account. Manor and Borough of Leeds. Thoresby Society.

[17] Dickens. A.G. Sedition and Conspiracy in Yorkshire.


(9) GILBERT LEIGH was born about 1510. He married Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Woodrove of Wodey esq., about 1531, and had numerous children:

  • William, buried at Rothwell; his death recorded in the registers: 1548 May. Willms fil Mt Gylberti Leighe de Myddylton Armig seputt fuit XXV Die [1]
  • Gilbert, who died young.
  • Thomas, his heir. (10)
  • Gilbert of Skelton. Married Jane, who is listed on numerous occasions as a recusant (Roman Catholic) and fined accordingly.
  • Francis.
  • Frances, who married Mr John Cowper of Leeds on the 21st November, 1547 at Rothwell, Yorkshire, Leeds.
  • Elizabeth, who married Mr Roger Rayney of Smethley.
  • Dorothy, who died young.
  • Margaret, who married Mr George Parker of Rothwell.
  • Mary, who married Mr Peter Skelton of Osmondthorpe.

Gilbert succeeded to his father's estates in 1542. Some of Gilbert's property transactions are listed below [2] :

           Plaintiff Deforciants Nature and Situation of Property
1545 Cuthbert Marshall Gilbert Leigh esq. amd Dorothea his Wife 2 messuages with lands in Kylnwyke Percy, near Pock, Pocklyngton
1546 Gilbert Leigh Richard Beyston, clerk, and Ralph Beyston, gent 10 messuages and lands in Middleton
1554 Oto Sager Gilbert Leigh esq. amd Dorothea his Wife Messuages with lands in Wakefelde, Castelforthe, Houghton and Acton
1556 Francis Gaunt Gilbert Leigh esq. amd Dorothea his Wife Messuages with lands in Wakefelde
1556 Edward Wilson Gilbert Leigh esq. amd Dorothea his Wife Messuages with lands in Wakefelde

In the Lay Subsidies demanded of the Wapentake of Morley in 1545, Middleton's contribution was as follows:

Gilbert Leight in terre [£40 40s ??]
Robert Walkar in bon iiijd [£10 3s 4d]
Johes Lynley in bon iijd [£3 3d]
Willms Sherpe in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Willms flansall in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Willms Walkar in bon xls ijd [40s 2d]
Adm flokton in bon [£3 3d]
Ux firth in bon jd [1d]
Johes thakroo in bon jd [1d]
Johes Wood in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Robt gren in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Ux hall in bon iijd [£3 3d]
Johes hall in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Jacabus Walkar in bon iijd [£3 3d]
Henr bens in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
Thoms Bucknell in bon xxs jd [20s 1d]
John mookson in terre Ijd [2d]       [3]

It is interesting to note the will of John Lynley of Middleton who died in 1554. He could be the Johes Lynley listed above. His will is recorded:

In Dei noie Amen: I John Lynley, of Midleton within the pishe of Rothwell, of a hole mynde and good Rememberaunce, maketh this my last will and testament the xxviijth [28th] daie of Auguste in the yere of our Lord god mlivcliij after this maner and forme folowinge. Firste I bequeath my soule to almightie god and to our Lady Sancte Mary and to all the celestiall company in heaven, and my body to be buried within the churhe yerde of Rothwell. Alsi I bequeath unto my wife my fermholde, all my goods moveable and unmoveable, after my discease. Item I bequieth unto Anne Lynley a quye styrke of thre yere olde and a gymer lame. Item I bequeath to Willm Lynley all my best cloise to be arrayed cleane ouer. Item I habe boughte of Willm Bushope a quarter and a half and five strokes of Rye and paid for and to be deliu'ed betwixte this all halowines. Item I bequeath unto euery one of my god children iiijd [4d]. Item I bebeqieith to the churche to bye anowrnaments iijs iiijd [3s 4d] Item I bequeath to my mother iij [3] yerds of marbyll clothe. Alsi I make Jenet my wife my full executrix of this my last will and testament. These being wittenes, Willm Walker, James Walker, Willm Lynley, Henry Hall, wth other. [4]

Gilbert Leigh died in 1565, his burial being recorded in the Rothwell Parish Registers:

1565: April. Mr Gylbert Leyghe esquire was buried the xvj [26] day. [5]

He is further recorded in the Rothwell Testamentary Burials:

Died 1565. 14 April. Gilbert Legh of Mydleton. Will proved 8th June 1565. Buried in chancel called St Saviours, founded in the north part. [6]


[1] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[2] Feet of Fines. Vol: 2. Yorkshire Archaeological Society. Record Series.

[3] Thoresby Society publications. Volume 11 and 12.

[4] Batty J. History of Rothwell.

[5] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[6] Rothwell Parish Registers.


(10) THOMAS LEIGH was born about 1517. On the 26th October 1542, at Middleton, he married Anne, daughter of Robert Mauleverer of Wothersom, Arncliffe in Yorkshire.

By this marriage he had a number of children, among them:

  • Gilbert, who lived at Thorpe-on-the-Hill. Wife unknown. Had four recorded children [1] :

    • Anne, who was born in June 1602:
      Anna filia Gilberti Leigh de Thorpe sup monte(gener) 22 die.

    • Gilbert, who was born in June 1603:
      Gibertius filius Gilberti Leigh de Thorpe sup monte, gener, 6 die.

    • Alice, who was born in November 1603:
      Alicia filia Gilberti Leigh de Thorpe sup monte (gener) ultimo die.

    • John, who was born in January 1604:
      Johannes filius Gilberti Leigh de Thorpe sup monte (gener) 8 die.

    Gilbert was buried at Rothwell on the 9th May 1606.

  • Thomas, who first married Isabel Copley of Batley on the 23rd November 1573 at Batley, Yorkshire, England. Secondly he married Anne Elizabeth, a daughter of the noble house of Stanley, Earls of Derby. Anne Elizabeth was a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I. She bore Thomas three children [2] :

    • Ferdinando Leigh (11), who eventually succeeded his grandfather Thomas (10).

    • Jane Leigh. Born August 1587.
      Jana filia Thome Leigh junioris ar' sexto die.

    • Elizabeth Leigh. Born October 1589.
      Elizabetha filia Thome Leigh junioris ar' decimo quarto die.

    Thomas (junior) died in 1594, four years prior to Thomas (senior) his father and was buried at Rothwell :
    1594: June; Thomas Leigh, junior, fillius Tho. Leigh de Middleton armig. vice simo primo die. [3]

Within four years of inheriting the family estates Thomas (senior) became caught up in the events later known as the Rising of the Northern Earls. Led by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, the object of this rebellion was to remove Elizabeth I from power and to replace her with her sister, Mary. Thomas, it would appear, was suspected of being in sympathy with the rebellion through making careless remarks. He was summoned to appear before Sir Thomas Gargrave, Governor of Pontefract Castle. It is to Sir Thomas's report that we now turn:

I have also sent you the examynation of Thomas Leyghe for suche words as he shold speke in Cheshyre. Surely Sir, he ys a yonge man moche gyffyn to huntyng, and of myn awne knowlege i do know that in the heate of the troble when Christopher Danbey and others of the rebells with 200 horsemen came to Ledes within lesse than ij [2] myles of his howse, he kepte hym frome them and came to me to Pontfrett castell, to serve the Quenes Majestie, and because he dyd dwell ny Ledes and on the southe syde of the water of ayer [Aire] that comyth by Ledes I joinyd hym in commyssion with divers others to fortefye and defende that bryge lest the rebells shold ther passe over the water southeward, where he servyed well and also he dyd send and sett furth to the Lord leutennant here bothe horsemen and fotemen to serve the Quenes majestie. So that in all the tyme of Rebellyon so farre as i could here he servyed the Quenes majestie accordyng to his deuty. He hayd a yonger brother that servyd therle of Northumberland, whoo hayth submyttyd hym selfe and payd his fyne, the sayd Thomas Legh hayth ben syckle moche of this somer. I beseche Your Honor yf this case may bere yt to be his good master for this time.
Your Honors over humble to command
Thomas Gargrave.

Attached to the above was a document headed:

The xamynation of Thomas Leighe of Middleton esquire takyn at Nostell, the ..... daye of Auguste 1570 begore Sir Thomas Gargrave Knight upon the Interrogatories hereunto annexed.

Extracts from it include:

To the third interrogatory he saith that he herd not of any Musters in Yorkeshire untill the daye or ij before his comyng awaye homewards and then one came to hym frome his owne house in Yorkeshire and said he muste on the Mundaye followinge be at a Muster at Rothwell Haigh in Yorkeshire before Sir Thomas Gargrave, and have a horseman furnished there.

To the fourth he saithe that upon a Sondaye he was with his cosyn Mr Leighe aforesaid ....... at a bearebaytinge at after none, where the dogge that did best wonne a bell for a prize, and in ridinge home toeards Mr Leighes house in a towne he se hym that kept the dogge that wonne the bell goo into a house with the dogge, who called this examynate and prayed hym to drinke, and so he came to the dore, and was desired to light, and so he did and went within the house dore into the entrie and thider came to hym the aforesaid man who he thinketh was called Coppell, and with hym dyvers others whome he knew not and they brought this examynate a selybube to drink and this examynate dronke thereof, and in communycation he said he was sent for home to be the next daye at a muster, & he wolde ride home to it, and he further saith some in that companye asked hym where the Erle of Northumbreland was, and what was become of hym, and he said he thought the said Erle was in Loughlebyn in Scotland, and that the said Erle before his last offence was verie well beloved of all gentlemen, an he this Examynate, if the said offence had not bene, shulde have bene his servante. Then some of ye campany asked hym what newes in the northe, and he said he knewe none, but said forasmuche as there is a muster appoynted, it maye chaunce that some of our men may be put awaye, or that thother parte is comynge towards us, whereof i wolde be sorye for itwolde greve me to drawe my sworde againste the said Erle that had so muche bene his frend. And yet he saith he then said he wold adventure hymself as furr in the service of the Quenes Majestie as any man will do; examyned why he said wolde not drawe his sworde against the said Erle, and he saith he never said nor mentt so, but that he wolde be sorie to do it for the good will before he ought hym. And he said it is well knowne that when the said Erle and his complices were upp, and a good sorte of their horsemen came within two myles of this examynates, he kept hymself frome them and served the quenes majestie to his charges, bothe with sendeinge horses and footemen to Yorke to my L. lieutenants, and also hymself was one that had charge to kepe the bridge at Ledes that the Rebells shulde not passe over sowthward. And he said he was in Ponntfrett Castell with me the said Sir Thomas for advise howe to kepe the said bridge. And althoughe he wolde be sorie to drawe his sworde againste the Erles person, yet if he came agaynste the quene and Realme, he saithe he wolde be as readie to resiste hym as any man wolde, and this above confessed is all (he saith) that he can saye or remember towchinge the premisses. And he saithe he never ment evill, but the next daye, he saith, he repaired home, and went to the place appoynted of musters in Yorkeshire, and carried a light horseman with hym as he was appoynted and there he founde before Sir Thomas Gargrave a good number of horsemen, both launces and light horse, and there he undrestode it was no common muster, althoughe it was by the people so termyed, but was a viewe appoynted to so that men had their furnyture of horse and armor accordinge to the Statute.
Exd. per me.
Thomas Gargrave. [4]

Thomas, it would seem, was able to convince the authorities of his loyalty as he was still resident at Middleton in 1586 when he and his son, Thomas, are recorded in a property transaction: [5]

           Plaintiff Deforciants Nature and Situation of Property
1586 Robert Kyllyngbeck, Christopher Morton and John Mawson Thomas Leigh senr esq. and Thomas Leigh junr, his son and heir apparent 3 messuages etc. in Leedes

In 1588, Thomas is mentioned in the returns of further Lay Subsidies:

Thomas Leighe terre..xiij. li. vjs. viijd [£13 6s 8d] ..xxxvs vijd [35s 7d]
Willmus Horne bon....iiij. li ..............vjs viijd [£4 6s 8d] [6]

In 1581 Thomas's wife died and was buried at Rothwell:
Oct, Ane Leigh the wife of Thomas Leigh of Middleton the xxijth day. [7]

Thomas married for a second time to Elizabeth, the daughter of Nicholas Strelley. Thomas died in 1598:
Oct, Thomas Leighe de Midleton armiger eode die. [8]


[1] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[2] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[3] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[4] Diary of Sir Thomas Gargrave.

[5] Feet of Fines.

[6] Thoresby Society. Vol: 15.

[7] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[8] Rothwell Parish Registers.


(11) SIR FERDINAND LEIGH was born about 1585, the eldest son of Thomas Leigh and Ann Elizabeth Stanley. Upon the death of his grandfather (Thomas Leigh, senior) in 1598 he "eventually" succeeded to the Middleton estates:

The wardship and part of the patrimony of Ferdinand Leigh, of Middleton, Yorkshire, has been given to his mother, Elizabeth Leigh, who has taken advantage of her position as guardian to interfere with the disposition of the rest of his lands held by free socage, petitioner being the tenant of these lands. She has married a certain Richard Houghton, a man of very small ... [1]

Ferdinand was to marry four times. His first wife was Margery, the daughter of William Cartwright, Clerk of the Peace for the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were married in 1601. His second wife was Mary, the daughter of Thomas Pilkington, who was buried in June 1609: Mariera uxor Ferdinandi Leighe eodem die. [2]

On the 11th - 12th April 1617, Ferdinando was knighted at York. [3] About this time he married for the third time to Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Tirwhit, from which marriage there were four children:

  • Thomas. Christened May 1619:

    Thomas filius Doi Fardinando Leigh de Middleton militus 30o die. [4]

  • Another son who died young.

  • Annie

  • Elizabeth. Christened 21st June 1618:

    Elizabetha filia doi Fardinando Leigh de Middleton militis baptizata fuit 21 die. [5]

    Elizabeth married Francis Burdett in 1632.

In 1621, Ferdinando's wife's name appears with his on a document of purchase of land in Middleton: Easter Term. 1621. Henry Gascoigne, esq. quer. Ferdinand Leigh, knt. and Elizabeth his wife, def. Messuages and land in Middleton juxta Rothwell. [6]

Within a short time of this document being signed, Elizabeth died and Ferdinando married for the fourth time to Anne, daughter of Edmund Clough of Thorpe Stapleton, near Leeds. Five children were to result from this marriage:

  • Frances. 4th November 1628:

    Francisca fil Ferdinand Leigh de Midleton militis bapt quarto die. [7]

    Frances died 1654.

  • Dorothy. She was born in 1629 at Bubworth, Yorkshire, England. She married Thomas Vasavour in 1662.

  • Catherine. She was born the 16th February 1631:

    Febxvj Katherina fil Fardinand Leigh mil.

    Catherine died the 30th September 1634:

    Katherina fil Fardinand Leigh mil tricesimo die. [8]

  • John, his son and heir. He was born in 1639 in Lincolnshire. He married Eleanor Eure of Lincolnshire about 1663.

  • Francis, who was born on the 9th September 1640.

From 1622 - 1625 Ferdinando served as Governor of the Isle of Man. He was later a Gentleman of the King's Privy Chamber.

On the 20th October 1632, Sir Ferdinando Leigh, sold the manor of Middleton, including his coal mines, pits and deposits to Robert, Earl of Kingston and then rented it back for £104-0s-0d a year. [9]

In 1642, King Charles finally broke with Parliament and headed north. Upon being refused entry to Hull, Charles assembled the gentry of Yorkshire at York to gather their support. Amongst those there was Ferdinando, who gave £100 to the king's cause.

During the ensuing civil war Ferdinando fought as a Colonel of a troop of horse, his son John serving under him as a Captain. The war ended for Ferdinando as one of the royalists besieged at Skipton Castle. He was amongst those who signed the surrender papers on the 21st December 1645:

Skipton Castle Articles agreed upon
Between Col Richard Thornton, Commander-in-Chiefe of the forces before Skipton Castle, on the one party, and Sir John Mallory, knight, Col and Govenour of Skipton Castle on the other party about The Surrender and Delivery of the said castle ...................................................... These Articles are agreed of us who were appointed to treate for the rendition of Skipton Castle, in behalfe of Sir John Mallory, Govenour of Skipton.
     Ferdinand Leigh      Fran Cobb
     John Tempest         Micah Tompson [10]

In the previous year (1644) Parliament, being in great need of money, had agreed to make the royalists (termed "delinquents") pay for the cost of the war. This money was to be raised by the "compounding" of the royalist estates. In 1646 we find, amongst others, case number 475, Yorkshire:

Sir Ffardinando Leigh of Middleton, Knt.
Report: His delinquency he was in arms against the Parliament and upon the surrender of Skipton Castle about 21st Dec 1645 to the Parliament; he petitioned here 20th March 1646, took the Covenant and Oath before Sir John Saville, Knt., and Charles Ffairefax, esq. two of the Committee of the County 8 Feb 1846. He is seized in fee of the manors of Middleton of the yearly value of 60li [£60], of sundry tenements and lands and a "colemyne" in Middleton of the yearly value of 359li [£359] per annum. He craves allowance of an annuity of 300li [£300] per annum granted to George Pyrepoint and his heirs long before these troubles and it is said that Mr William Pyrepoint, a member of the House of Commons will testify as such, and of an annuity of 40li [£40] per annum granted to Jane Clayton, widow, during her life. 24th March 1646 - R. Gurdon

Then follows the details of Ferdinando's estate:

Particulars of Estate: A manor house with the demesnes containing about 120 acres at a yearly value of 10s an acre, total 60li [£60], tenements and colemyne, 350li [£350] [ 11]

Whatever Ferdinando was fined, two years later he had not paid it and he was claiming that he could not remember the events of the civil war:

Sir Ferd. Leigh: 9 July 1650: He certifies that about 13 Feb 1643 he was in York ill, and with such pains in his head that he knew not what he did. That he does not remember the Yorkshire Engagement, nor any bonds, nor as anything been demanded of him. Asks what sums he is charged with, and time to make his answer, on account of his age and infirmities.
31 July: He not appearing, his estates to be seized and sold till the portion his paid.
12 Nov 1652: Summoned to show cause for non-payment of 100li [£100] on the Yorkshire Engagement. [12]

Ferdinando died on the 19th January 1654 and was buried in the ruined church at Pontefract.


[1] Calendar of the Manuscript of the Most. Hon. Marquis of Salisbury ... Vol: 23

[2] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[3] Shaw. Knights of England.

[4] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[5] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[6] Yorkshire Fines 1614 - 1625. Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

[7] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[8] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[9] Coalmining at Middleton Park: An Archaeological Survey. Martin Roe. (West Yorkshire Archives. WYL 1602)

[10] The Articles of Surrender of Skipton Castle.

[11] Royalist Composition Papers.

[12] Calendar Committee of Advance of Money. Vol:2.


(12) JOHN LEIGH was born in 1639. He married Ellen, daughter of Ralph Eure of Washington, Lincolnshire, by whom he had a daughter, Anne.

Upon the death of his father he succeeded to the Middleton estates. As earlier mentioned, John served as a Captain in the civil war. Both he and his wife were Roman Catholics for which John was convicted, for recusancy, in 1663 and 1669; and Ellen in 1679.

At the end of the civil war, Parliament abolished all standing armies and replaced them with a militia. Those landowner's who held property or personal estate to the value of £600, or earned £50 per year, were bound to pay for one pikeman. For Middleton we find:

Middleton-cum-Thorpe: William Casson; chargeable for a pikeman. Francis Proctor; chargeable for a pikeman. [1]

In the 1672 West Riding Hearth Tax Returns for Middleton-cum-Thorpe, John paid tax for 8 chimneys.

Ellen died in 1701: Elinor, wife of John Leigh, Esq. buried, May 1st. [2]

Upon his death in 1706, John was buried at Rothwell Parish Church, along with his wife who had died five years earlier. A freestone monument was erected by their daughter, inscribed with the Leigh-Eure coat of arms and the following memorial:

Hic jacet Corpus Johis Legh de Middleton, Armri. qui obitt xvii Die Martii Anno Dni 1706. Adjacet Corpus Helenae uxoris ejus, filiae Rondulphi Eure de Washingbrough in Com Lincoln Armri quae obiit xxix die Aprilis A.D. 1701. Requiescant in pace & omnis spiritus laudet Dominum. [3]

In 1715 John's brother, Francis, was also interred and a further inscription added:

Prope jacet corpus Francisci Legh de Middleton, arm filii Ferdinandi Legh Militis qui obiit 23 Die Novenbris A.D. 1715. Cujus animae propitietur Deus Aman [4]

Anne, his heir, had married Ralph Brandling, of Felling in County Durham, on the 16th November 1697.


[1] Muster Rolls of Sir Michael Wentworth's Regiment 1680

[2] Rothwell Parish Registers.

[3] Whitacker 1816.

[4] Whitacker 1816.

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