John Leigh

Little is known about John Leigh, Sadler of Wolverhampton who died and left a will probate 1609. Here are the salient features and remarks about the will.

John Leigh names his wife as Joanne, who got half the estate for her life time. No marriage record exists.

His only daughter Elizabeth is the wife of Henry Gough, a wealthy Wolverhampton draper. We know from the Marriage Settlement the marriage took place about 1600.

John Leigh’s brothers are Richard (deceased) and Walter. Walter Leigh, also a Sadler of Wolverhampton, leaves a will probate 16 May 1628  that shows considerable wealth. He owns property in Saffron Walden in Essex and Bridgnorth in Shropshire. His son John Leigh, grocer, is involved in property transactions in the 1650s with Henry Gough. Henry Gough’s brother Richard Gough (d 1609) had been Clerk to the Grocers’ Company in the City of London.

His late brother-in-law is named as Richard Maxlowe.

His son-in-law Henry Gough is named as sole executor.

The family’s wealth is considerable and suggest that he is connected to other Leigh families with strong roots in the Tudor gentry or Livery Companies. A Sir John Leigh, for example, left an enduring charitable bequest in 1506 to the poor in Wolverhampton. He is somewhat strangely described as a “priest of Wolverhampton” but Sir John Leigh’s Dole was part of a number of early sixteenth century benefactions such as Wolverhampton Grammar School. Significantly all the benefactors seem to have been involved in the important Wolverhampton cloth trade and part of the Guild tradition. John Leveson, uncle to Sir Walter Leveson (1558 Dole) and Sir Stephen Jenyns are two more prominent examples. Although designated as a Sadler one would imagine that this trade too was founded in the mediaeval Guild structure with links to the City of London. (More Research needed)

Another occurrence of the Leigh family name comes when Ralph Wedgwood marries Alice Leigh in about 1600. Ralph Wedgwood and Alice Leigh were the parents of Elizabeth Wedgwood, who married John Gough in about 1630. John Gough was John Leigh’s only grandson. This may be significant in the story, repeated on this site, about Henry Gough’s encounter with Charles I. This allegedly took place at the house of Madame St Andrew in Wolverhampton 1642. It is stated that Madame St Andrew was either a sister or an Aunt of Henry Gough. Elizabeth St Andrew was the sister of Ralph Wedgwood and would therefore make her the sister in law of Alice Leigh. Could Alice Leigh be another child of John Leigh? This would indeed make Elizabeth St Andrew the sister-in-law of Henry Gough.

Selected Sources

  • Will of John Leigh, Sadler of Wolverhampton, Probate 17 Nov 1609, National Archives PCC
  • An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Collegiate Church of Wolverhampton, George Oliver 1836
  • Will of Elizabeth St Andrew, Probate 4 Dec 1650, National Archives
  • Grant previous to marriage of Henrye Goughe and Elizabeth Leighe. National Archives : MS 3145/258/19 1599-1600