Sir Francis LEAKE

Born: 1542, Sutton Scarsdale, Derbyshire, England

Died: 4 Ago 1626, Norwich, Norfolk, England

Buried: All Saints Churchyard, Norwich, Norfolk, England

Father: Francis LEKE of Sutton Scarsdale (Sir)

Mother: Elizabeth PASTON

Married 1: Frances SWIFT (d. 1610) (dau. of Robert Swift and Eleonor Wickersley)

Children:

1. Mary LEKE

2. Francis LEAKE (1° E. Scarsdale)

Married 2: Mary EGIOKE (d. 19 Jan 1631) (dau. of John Egioke and Anne Huband) (m.2 Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet)

Children:

3. Richard LEAKE


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born ABT 1542, son and heir of Sir Francis Leke of Sutton Scarsdale by Elizabeth, dau. of William Paston of Norfolkeduc. St. John’s, Camb. 1555; L. Inn 1556. Married first Frances, dau. of Robert Swift of Rotherham; and secondly with Mary, dau. of John Egioke of Egioke, Worcs., 1s. Suc. family 1581. Kntd. by 13 Oct 1601.

J.p. Derbys. from c.1579, q. from c.1593, sheriff 1586, 1604, dep. lt. by Sept. 1603.

The knight of the shire for Derbyshire in 1601 is styled ‘esquire’ in the election return, but Leake was entered as a knight in a list dated 13 Oct 1601, only 13 days later. Leake had a son Francis, a little more than 20 at the time of the election, but it is less likely that it was he who was returned as the senior of the two knights of the shire than that there was confusion over the date of the father’s knighthood, or a simple mistake as to the father’s style. It is therefore assumed that it was the father who sat. Although he is not mentioned by name in the journals of the House in 1601, his position as knight of the shire entitled him to attend the main business committee (3 Nov) and the monopolies committee (23 Nov). He was one of the largest landowners in the Scarsdale hundred of Derbyshire. At the dissolution of the monasteries, his father had acquired extensive properties and built up a sizeable estate. Leake was a forceful landlord and even for his time he seems to have been particularly ruthless in his dealings in property and with his tenants. At one stage he had instituted so many proceedings against tenants, in the courts of Star Chamber, requests, Chancery and common pleas, that the Privy Council was persuaded to intervene to seek ‘a final and neighbourly end’ to the litigation.

Neighbouring landlords and relatives too found Leake difficult. He quarrelled with his kinsmen, the Foljambes, with his cousin Henry Leake, with John Zouche of Codnor, to whom he lent money, and with his cousin, the influential lord of Haddon, John Manners, whose increasing power in the county in the 1580s apparently excited Leake’s jealousy. At the musters held at Chesterfield in 1586, Leake openly defied Manners, declaring that he was ‘as good as he’. George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Manners’s relative and close friend, tried to reconcile the two men, but Manners was not easily mollified, and the quarrel continued for over a year.

Leake seems to have become more temperate as his influence in Derbyshire increased. In the late 1590s he was more prominent in county administration, and in 1603 he achieved his particular ambition of parity with John Manners when he was appointed a deputy lieutenant. The old antagonists seem to have worked together in harmony. Despite an early dispute, Leake was also on friendly terms with the lord lieutenant, Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury.

Towards the end of his long life, Leake retired to Newark, where he was the centre of a contest between his second wife, Mary, and his son (by his first wife) Francis, concerning some of his property. This continued right up to his death in May 1626. He was buried at Newark. Francis succeeded to the estate. Knighted in Mar 1604, he was created a baronet in 1611, Baron Deincourt of Sutton in 1624 and Earl of Scarsdale in 1645. He was married to Anne, daughter of Edward Carey of Aldenham and Catherine Knyvett, Baroness Paget.

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