William Henry Leatham

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William Henry Leatham (6 July 1815 – 14 November 1889) was a British banker, poet and Liberal politician.


He was a member of a Yorkshire Quaker family. His father was William Leatham, a banker from Heath, near Wakefield and his mother was Margaret née Walker of Leeds.[1]

Leatham entered banking, working in Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster from 1836 to 1852. In 1839 he married Priscilla Gurney of Upton, West Ham. He was a justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and in 1870 was deputy chairman of the West Riding quarter sessions. He made his home at Hemsworth Hall, Pontefract.[1]

Leatham was a poet and author, writing a collection of Poems in 1840, and Tales of English Life and Miscellanies.[1]

Politically, he was described as an "advanced Whig", and first stood for election to parliament in at Wakefield in 1852, but failed to win the seat.[1] He was subsequently elected as MP for Wakefield in 1859, but was unseated on petition.[2] Six years later, he was again the Liberal candidate at Wakefield, and was elected as the town's member of parliament. He left the Commons in 1868. In 1874 he was again a parliamentary candidate, this time for the two-seat Southern Division of the West Riding, but failed to be elected. Six years later, in 1880, he was successfully returned to parliament for the constituency. In 1885 the seat was abolished, and Leatham left parliament.

His younger brother, Edward Aldam Leatham, was MP for Huddersfield.

W H Leatham died on 14 November 1889, aged 74.


He married in 1839 Priscilla, daughter of Samuel Gurney of Upton, Essex, and then settled at Sandal, near Wakefield, the subject of his poem, 'Sandal in the Olden Time.' A few years after their marriage, Leatham and his wife formally joined the church of England, purchasing in 1851 Hemsworth Hall, which passed into the possession of their eldest son, Samuel Gurney Leatham.[3]


  • Leatham, William Henry (1837). Poems (PDF). London: Longman. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  • Leatham, William Henry (1840). A traveller's thoughts; or, Lines suggested by a tour on the continent (PDF). London: Longman. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  • Leatham, William Henry (1838). The victim, a tale of the "Lake of the four cantons." (PDF). London: Longman. Retrieved 22 May 2009.


  1. ^ a b c d Mair, Robert Henry (1881). Debrett's Illustrated House of Commons and the Judicial Bench (PDF). London: Dean & Son. pp. 136–137. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  2. ^ "Election Petitions". The Times. 27 July 1859. p. 6.
  3. ^ Smith 1892.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, Charlotte Fell (1892). "Leatham, William Henry". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Charlesworth Dodgson-Charlesworth
Member of Parliament for Wakefield
May 1859 – July 1858
Writ suspended until Feb 1862
Title next held by
John Charles Dalrymple-Hay
Preceded by
John Charles Dalrymple Hay
Member of Parliament for Wakefield
Succeeded by
Somerset Beaumont
Preceded by
Walter Spencer-Stanhope
Lewis Randle Starkey
Member of Parliament for West Riding of Yorkshire South
With: Henry Wentworth-FitzWilliam
Constituency abolished