Born at Paris and brought up at Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire in a noble family (his father was Chandos Leigh, 1st Baron Leigh from 1839), he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge.
At the age of sixteen he attempted to enlist in the British Army to serve in the Crimean War and after leaving university went on a tour with three friends of Egypt, Palestine and Constantinople before studying for ministry in the Church of England at Wells Theological College. He was ordained in 1862  and became Curate of St John the Baptist, Bromsgrove. Two years later he was appointed Vicar of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Later he held incumbencies at All Saints Leamington and St Mary's, Bryanston Square. In 1894 he was appointed to the Deanery of Hereford Cathedral and retired in 1919. He died in January 1923 aged 84.
- Dr. J. W. Leigh. An Unconventional Dean The Times Saturday, Jan 06, 1923; pg. 11; Issue 43232; col B
- Moir, Prebendary A.L. (1968). Deans of Hereford. Orphans Printing Press. p. 52.
- "Leigh, James Wentworth (LH857JW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- "Who was Who"1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
- "The Clergy List, Clerical Guide and Ecclesiastical Directory" London, Hamilton & Co 1889
- New Dean of Hereford The Rev. the Hon. James Wentworth Leigh The Times Wednesday, Apr 04, 1894; pg. 10; Issue 34229; col C
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|Dean of Hereford
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