Thomas Leighton (Governor)

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Tournshield with coat of arms of Sir Thomas Leighton

Sir Thomas Leighton (c.1530–1610) was an English soldier and politician. He served as the Governor of Guernsey and Jersey from 1570 to 1609. He and his wife are common ancestors of the current Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, being 12th great-grandparents of William, and 11th great-grandparents of Catherine, which would make them 12th cousins, once removed.[1][2]


Sir Thomas was knighted in 1579 during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. He was from Feckenham, Worcestershire, England, born to John Leighton of Wattlesborough and Joyce Sutton, daughter of Edward Sutton, 2nd Baron Dudley.[3]

Leighton was unpopular as governor. He developed the defensive capabilities of Castle Cornet, but to do so he imposed heavy taxes on the islanders.[2] In 1588 he was sent as a diplomat to Henry III of France, and then served at the camp at Tilbury in the defensive moves against the Spanish Armada. For some years from 1595 he employed Thomas Cartwright as chaplain.[3]

Leighton served as Member of Parliament for Worcestershire in 1601. He died in Guernsey.[3]


Leighton married Elizabeth Knollys (cousin once removed of Elizabeth I) in 1578. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne Leighton, and one son, the father's namesake Thomas Leighton (born 1584), who married Mary, daughter of Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche.[3]


  1. ^ Top Secret, Above. "". Lineage of Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge. ATS Ltd. Retrieved Dec 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d Ogier, D. M. "Leighton, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68015.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)