Leghs of Lyme

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Leghs of Lyme
Family name
Region of origin Cheshire
Language(s) of origin English

The Leghs of Lyme are a family who owned Lyme Park in Cheshire, England, from 1398 to 1946, when the house and estate were given to the National Trust. In the early days of the family there were variations of both the surname, and the usually given forename. Variations of the surname include de Legh, a Lee, Leghe and Leyghe, and the given name as Piers, Peers, and Peter.[1] In 1397 the first Sir Piers Legh was granted the family coat of arms by Richard II.[2]

In order to distinguish between the earlier generations, the convention of adding a Roman numeral to the name was often used. In this case the numbering system used in the National Trust Handbook for Lyme Park has been followed.

List of persons with the surname Legh[edit]

  • Piers Legh I (died 1399) married Margaret D'anyers in 1388 the granddaughter of Sir Thomas Danyers, who fought with the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy. Sir Thomas recovered the Black Princes' Standard and was rewarded with an Annuity of 40 Marks a year drawn on the Black Princes Cheshire Estate, his Royal Manor of Frodsham, which could be redeemed for land of an equivalent value. Sir Thomas died in 1354 and his son, also called Sir Thomas, died before him in 1353. The latter had a daughter, Margaret who became sole heiress of her grandfather. Margaret was a child when her grandfather died and as an orphan heiress she was married first to Sir John Radcliffe, who died without issue, then to Sir John Savage of Clifton with whom she had a son, John, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Blanche. She became a widow for a second time and then married Piers de Legh, second son of Robert de Legh of Adlington by his second wife, Matilda, daughter of Adam de Norley of Norley in Lancashire. They married on 4 January 1388, by which time Piers was 28 and Margaret would have been almost 40 as she was said to be 80 at her death in 1428. Margaret and her husband eventually claimed her grandfather's reward from Richard II in 1398 and received about 1400 acres at Lyme Handley near Disley in Cheshire. Piers supported Richard II when he was usurped by his cousin, Henry IV and was executed in Chester by Henry Bolingbroke[2] and later re buried at St Michael's Church, Macclesfield.[1][3]
  • Sir Piers Legh II (died 16 June 1422 in Paris).[1] He was injured at Agincourt in 1415 and died from wounds sustained in a later conflict.[2] He was also buried at Macclesfield in a chapel, the Legh Chapel, which was built to receive him.[4]
  • Sir Piers Legh III (4 June 1415 – November 1478) was knighted in 1460 by the Duke of York following the Battle of Wakefield.[1]
  • Piers Legh IV (died 1468 – before his father).[1]
  • Sir Piers Legh V was knighted following the Battle of Hutton Field. He fought at Bosworth and was rewarded by being given an administrative post for Blackburnshire. He founded a Chantry Chapel at Disley and became a priest.[2]
  • Sir Piers Legh VI (died 11 August 1527) was wounded at the Battle of Flodden.[2] He was buried at St Oswald's Church, Winwick.[1]
  • Sir Piers Legh VII (died 6 December 1589), the builder of Lyme Hall, was knighted at Leith in 1544.[2] He was buried at Winwick.[1] He was also High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1550.
  • Piers Legh VIII (died 10 August 1570 – before his father).[1]
  • Sir Piers Legh IX (died February 1636) was knighted at Greenwich in 1598 and was buried at Winwick.[1]
  • Peter Legh X (born 1587/8, died in 1624) He married about 1618, to Anne the daughter of Sir John Savile and died before his father.[5]
  • Peter Legh XI, grandson of Peter IX, was killed in a duel in 1642.[1][2]
  • Francis Legh (died 2 February 1643), who held the estate for about one year,[2] was buried at Winwick.[1]
  • Richard Legh (died 1687) was a minor when he succeeded to the estate and during the period of the Civil War. Under the Commonwealth he was elected Member of Parliament for Cheshire and after the Restoration was Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire.[2] He planted the first avenues of trees in the park at Lyme.[6] Richard was buried at Winwick.[1]
  • Peter Legh XII (died 1744) was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1694 and charged with high treason twice but acquitted on both occasions.[2] He then employed the Italian architect Giacomo Leoni to carry out a major restoration of the hall.[7] He was buried at Winwick.[1]
  • Peter Legh XIII (1706 – 20 May 1792) was a nephew of the above. He was buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.[1]
  • Colonel Thomas Peter Legh (1753 – 7 August 1797), also inherited as a nephew, was buried at Winwick.[1] In March 1794, he was commissioned as Colonel of the Lancashire Light Dragoons.[8]
  • Thomas Legh (died 8 May 1857), son of the above, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and traveled widely.[1] He carried out the first survey of Petra and wrote about the slave trade in Egypt. At Lyme he commissioned Lewis Wyatt to carry out extensive alterations to the house.[2] He was buried at Disley.[1]
  • William Legh (19 December 1828 – 15 December 1898) was a Member of Parliament and was created 1st Baron Newton for his political services in 1892.[2] He created the sunken Dutch garden and added stables and other buildings to the estate.[9]
  • Thomas Legh, 2nd Baron Newton (18 March 1857 – 21 March 1942) was also a Member of Parliament and was Paymaster-General and then Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs during the First World War.[2] Thomas and his wife were responsible for many alterations to the gardens.[6]
  • Richard Legh, 3rd Baron Newton (1888–1960) gave the house and estate to the National Trust in 1946.[2]
  • Peter Legh, 4th Baron Newton (6 April 1915 – 16 June 1992) was also a politician.
  • Richard Thomas Legh, 5th Baron Newton (born 11 January 1950) lives in East Sussex.[10]
  • Hon. Piers Richard Legh (born 25 October 1979) is the heir apparent.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ormerod, George (1882), Thomas Helsby, ed., The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester (2nd ed.), London: George Routledge and Sons, pp. iii:676–678 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Waterson, Merlin (1975), Lyme Park, National Trust, pp. 5–8 
  3. ^ East Cheshire Past and Present by J.P. Earwaker, London, 1877
  4. ^ A History of the Church, St Michael's, Macclesfield, retrieved 2008-11-02 
  5. ^ http://www.thornber.net/cheshire/htmlfiles/lyme.html
  6. ^ a b Groves, Linden (2004), Historic Parks & Gardens of Cheshire, Ashbourne: Landmark, pp. 50–57, ISBN 1-84306-124-4 
  7. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus; Edward Hubbard (2003) [1971], The Buildings of England: Cheshire, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, pp. 259–263, ISBN 0-300-09588-0 
  8. ^ Harrington, Peter, "Colonel Thomas Peter Legh, Lancashire Light Dragoons, c. 1795," Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. LXV, No. 261, Spring 1987, pp. 1-4
  9. ^ Lyme Park, The Heritage Trail, retrieved 2008-11-02 
  10. ^ NEWTON, Baron, Burke's Peerage & Gentry, retrieved 2008-11-02