LEGGETT of ELY, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND and WEST FARMS (BRONX), NEW YORK.

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Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Wisdom of Sirach, Chapter 44, Verses 1 and 2.

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  • ID: I1263
  • Name: Unknown
  • Sex: F
  • Birth: in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?
  • Death: BEF 20 OCT 1609 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?
  • Burial: St. Mary the Virgin, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?
  • Note:
    [Continued from the notes on Unknown Patriarch Leggett, where lack of space in the data entry field precluded further entries.]

    According to records in the Essex County Central Library in Chelmsford, Uphavering or Gobions consisted of 200 acres arable, 20 acres meadow, and two acres wood. Thomas Urswyck, the owner, died in the 16th year of Edward IV [1477], leaving as heiress his daughter Anne, wife of John Doreward (was this the same John Doreward to whom Helminglus and Alice Leget granted Black Notley in the Feet of Fines in 1408?). Next Gobions passed to Sir William Roche, who died in the third year of Edward VI [1550]. Next it passed to Thomas Legatt, who died in the fourth year of Edward VI [1551]. (Was this Thomas Helmingius’ son?) [No, great grandson. Helmingius died almost a century and a half earlier, in 1412.]

    The Essex Feet of Fines for this period contain:
    1484 Thomas Leget bought one messuage, one garden, four acres of land and six acres of wood in Lamburne (area east of London).

    1525 Antony Coke (probably Anthony Cooke, founder of the famous Cooke family_of Giddea Hall, a manor near Dagnams), Richard Ogle, and Thomas Leggett, plaintiffs. John Cawston and Agnes his wife, deforciants. One messuage, 30 acres of pasture and two acres of wood in Lachendon. Def. quitclaimed to Pl. and the heirs of Thomas. Consideration 80 lire.

    1528 Thomas Legat and Thomas Page, pl. Richard Stevyns and Joan his wife, def. One messuage, one toft, one garden and one acre of land in Barkyng (Barking, an eastern suburb of London). Def. quitclaimed to pl. and the heirs of Thomas Legat. Consideration 30 lire.

    1531 Hilary and Easter. Thomas Legatt and John Moche, pl. Alice Phillip, widow, Marin Pellys and Henry Phillip, def. One messuage, 40 acres, 20 acres pasture, 10 acres of marsh in Estham (Eastham, an eastern suburb of London). Def. quitclaimed to pl. and the heirs of Thomas.

    1532 Thomas Legat the elder and John Loggesden, pl. Richard St. Stephens and Joan his wife and James Woodland, def. 2 ½ acres land, 2 acres marsh, and ½ of messuage and 12 acres of land in Dagenham. Def. quitclaimed to pl. the heirs of Thomas.

    1544 Thomas Leggat the elder, pl. William Inglysbye alias Baker and Katherine his wife, def. One messuage, one garden, one dovecote, one barn and 3 shillings 4 pence rent in Brendwood (Brentwood).


    Hornchurch Documents, a handwritten manuscript in the Essex County Library in Chelmsford contains:

    1503 Grant from Thomas Legatt to William Porter, clerk, warder of the College of St. Mary Winton in Oxford and Fellows of the same, of a croft (a small enclosed field) of land called Bromefield in Havering (not the same Bromfield that was owned by Alice Mandeville), which land he had of the grant of John Turke of Godewyn and Havering.

    VII. Thomas Legat of Dagnams and Cockerills
    According to the 1635 pedigree, he was born in the time of Edward IV [1461-1483]. During his father’s lifetime he lived at Gyddyhall (Giddea Hall). After his father’s death he lived at the old paternal seat of Dagnams. He died in the time of Edward VI [1547-1553] and was buried at Hornchurch, with his effigy (statue) and coat of arms on his tomb (not extant in 1971). He left a son Thomas. He also hired one Anthonv Browne of Weeld Hall as seneshal (steward or major domo who managed a great estate) for 40 shillings a year. The reference to Giddea Hall is somewhat strange. The Legats never owned this large mansion, which from 1460 onwards was the property of the family of Anthony Cooke, with whom Thomas’ grandfather had some financial dealings (they are mentioned in the Feet of Fines together). The Cookes were successful merchants who became landed gentry. A Harvard PhD. dissertation by Mary Keniston McIntosh, 1966, on the Cook Family of Giddea Hall describes the life of the Legats’ neighbors and the social mobility of the times. Giddea Hall was the nearest large mansion to Dagnams.

    VIII. Thomas Legatt
    Held Dagnams and the Cockerills in Havering (held of the Queen), the manor of Gubbyns (Gobions), messuages called Goldsmithes, Paynes, Turkes, Pondermans (or Pondinans) and Slickstones; Cowles and Cowles meadow, 45 acres; parcel of Cockerells Manor; in New College (Oxford) a messuage called Solmes and 4 other messuages. (Material from Inquis. post Mortem, 2nd and 3rd years of Philip and Mary.) He married Parnell Planknage. He died the 18th of January 1555, succeeded by Thomas Legatt, his son and heir, 10 years and 10 months old. (Inquis. post Mortem above.)

    The following is from George Terry’s Memories of Old Romford, 1880 (Essex County Library), pp. 95-96:

    We may notice that in this year of illustrious martyrdoms, 1555, (year of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s martyrdom) died Thomas Legatt of Dagnams. Of the wealthy and influential family of the Legatts, we find no less than twelve generations living in the neighborhood of Romford, extending over three centuries and a half and occupying at one time or another many of the great houses in the Liberty of Havering. (The Liberty of Havering was created under Edward IV. It meant that inhabitants had the right to refuse to answer regarding their property holdings to any court but the royal court.)

    As early as the beginning of the fourteenth century, we find a William Legatt flourishing at Havering. The great-grandfather of this Thomas Legatt was high sheriff of Essex in 1401 and 1408, and his father, who was buried at Hornchurch, was lord of the manor of the Cockerels and Gobions, and of a considerable part of Hornchurch. This Thomas Legatt, during his father’s life, lived at Gidea Hall, and after his father’s death resided at the fine old paternal seat of Dagnams. He made his will January 16, 1555-6 and wished to be buried in Hornchurch near his father. This wish was complied with as is recorded in Henry Machyn’s Diary (a famous diary of the period, like Pepys Diary):

    "The XII day of January was bered in Essex Master Legett, justes of pesse, with ii whyt branchys and a v dozen of torchys, and iiii gret tapurs and a gret dolle, and many morners, and a gret dener; shroyff sonday was ys month myne, and ii dosen stayffes more, and a gret dolle to the pore and a ii dosen skockyons." (The twelfth day of January was buried in Essex Master Legett, justice of the peace, with two white branches and five dozen torches, and four great tapers and a great dole (gifts to the poor), and many mourners and a great dinner; shrove sunday was this month mine, and two dozen staffs more, and a great dole to the poor and two dozen escutcheons.)

    Among the various legacies of Thomas Legatt to his son John was a messuage and appurtenances in Romford, "late called Bull and now called the Angel". Angel Yard marks the site (not extant In 1971).

    There were other legacies mentioned in Thomas Legatt’s will, "To St. Mary’s College of Winchester, 5 pounds. To Sir Edward Walgrave, Knight, 4 pounds. To Lady Walgrave, his wife, 4 pounds." This Sir Edward Walgrave, having been principal officer in the household of the lady, afterwards Queen Mary, incurred the displeasure of Edward VI by refusing to forbid the celebration of mass in her house. He was taken with other officers to the Tower. At the accession of Mary [1553] he was rewarded by being sworn of the Privy Council and constituted Master of the Great Wardrobe and receiving a grant of a manor in Somerset. He was a man of great power during Mary’s reign and it was at that time, in the sunshine of prosperity, that Thomas Legatt added another cheerful ray, by a legacy of 4 pounds.

    The family of the Legatts had entirely passed away from Romford by the end of the 17th century.

    The Parish Registers of Hornchurch (now in the Essex County Record Office, Chelmsford) list Thomas Legat of Dagnams, Esq., Roman Catholic to be buried at Hornchurch, 1555, survived by his wife Parnell, and his sons Thomas, Peter, and John. After 1572 all the Leggett baptisms are at the chapel at Romford, which was more tolerant of Protestantism than was Hornchurch. This may mean that succeeding generations leaned toward Protestantism, culminating in a flight to America.

    VIII. Thomas Legat of Dagnams
    Justice of the Peace for the Liberty of Havering, and for Essex. According to Hornchurch records, he married Catherine Wilgoos on Nov. 10, 1561 (he would have then been 17 years old) at St. Augustine’s Church, London. She was buried in 1594 at Hornchurch. He died at Dagnams 15 Jan. 1603-04 and was buried under a marble sculptured monument at Hornchurch. He left three sons: Thomas, John, and Peter, and a daughter Katherine. A map of 1603 from the library in Romford shows a large plot of land next to Hornchurch as belonging to Thomas Legate. Hornchurch Hall, the Legat manor house, was torn down in the 1960s to make room for a housing development, but one of the small Tudor cottages (perhaps the gardener’s cottage) remains beside the church.

    IX. Thomas Legget of Dagnams
    Married Elizabeth Church. He was baptized in 1566 at Romford and died in 1596. Was Justice of the Peace. Had two sons, Thomas and John. Thomas inherited Dagnams and John got Hornchurch, but he apparently moved to Chatham in Kent, a new town that arose to supply the navy.

    In January 1590-91 the Essex Sessions Rolls list Thomas Legatt, gentleman, of Hornchurch, for not coming to church from the above date for the space of six months from the next following, contrary to the statutes of the first and 23rd years of Elizabeth’s reign. (In other words, he did not attend the established church of England, and probably was a Protestant.)

    X. John Legatt of Chatham, Kent
    Lived in Rome House. A newspaper clipping of uncertain date (probably nineteenth century) in the Essex County Records Office in Chelmsford deplores the changing of the name Rome Street to Railway Street, and describes a grand house that once stood there and the funeral of Thomas Leggett in 1615. The clipping says that John left Rome House, also Gobions, to his son John. If the biographer [the Rev. Theodore A. Leggett, (1845-1906)] of the Leggetts in America (Early Settlers of West Farms, Westchester County) is right, it was this son John (listed in the pedigree of 1635 as a captain) who came to America and became a mariner in the West Indies trade. The sons [and a daughter] of John Legatt of Chatham were Charles (born and died in 1598), John (born 1599), Thomas (born 1602), Helmyng (born 1603), William (born 1604), Henry (born 1609), and Mary (born 1607). John’s widow, Susan, was buried from Rome House in 1648. If son John did go to the West Indies, he died before her in 1638 (Barbadoes) and thus did not live to inherit whatever property she may have held.

    Other Legat records in Essex

    Essex County Session Rolls:

    1601 ____________Legat imprisoned in Colchester Castle

    1604 Michael Legat of Boreham, pedlar, confessed to felony

    Harrison's Legat Pedigree, 1683:
    "Thomas Legat, Esq., of Essex died 15 April 1660 having been an excellent husband, father, friend, in the 63rd year of his age." Tomb is in Westminster Abbey, North Ambulatory of the Cloisters. (Not extant in 1971).
    According to a will of 1660, Thomas Posthumous Legatt, cousin of the John who may have gone to America, became owner of Gobions, that had been left to John.
    The Dictionary of National Biography, starting on p. 866, lists the following Legats:
    Legat, Hugh (flourished 1400)
    Benedictine of Hertfordshire, member of family holding manor at Abbots Walden. Belonged to monks of St. Albans. Studied at Oxford in 1401. Lived in Gloucester Hall, St. Albans. Studied history. Thomas Walsingham, historian, was then the abbey’s precentor. Legat prepared a learned commentary in nine books on the ‘Architrentius’, a satirical poem written at the close of the 12th century by John de Hautetille. Legat’s manuscript is extant in 15th century hand at the Bodlian Library, Oxford (Ms. Digby 64). He was prior of Redbourne in 1427, then was moved to Tynemouth.

    Legate, Bartholomew (1575-1612)
    Born in Essex. Probably of the family of Robert Legate, merchant at Emden, East Frieiland (Holland), in 1549. No formal education. Was a dealer in cloth lists (borders or strips). This work took him to Zealand (Netherlands) where he became a preacher among the "Seekers"; an offshoot of the Mennonites. "Expecting a new revelation, ‘by miraculous apostles,’ he held that meanwhile there was no true church or true baptism now to be found, nor any ‘visible Christian.’ By 1604 he had reached the opinion that Christ was a mere man as were Peter, Paul and I; only borne free from sinne, and termed God, in scripture, not from his essence, but from his office." Rejected the invocation of Christ but retained the doctrine of his propitiatory sacrifice. Described in 1608 by Henoch Clapham as a representative sectary, the ‘Legate-arrian.’ In 1611 proceedings against Bartholomew Legate and his brother Thomas were held in consistory court of London and both were committed to Newgate for heresy. Thomas died in prison. Bartholomew brought suit for false imprisonment and this no doubt hastened his execution. James I interested himself personally in the case. "Fuller relates that an one occasion, finding that Legate no longer prayed to Christ, the king in choler spurned him with his foot: ‘away base fellow, it never be said that one stayeth in our presence who hath never prayed to our Saviour for seven years together.’" In 1612 he was convened before the consistory of London and charged with 13 articles of heresy. He was the last heretic burned at West Smithfield, 18 March 1612, age 40 years. "He was comely and swarthy, fluent and confident, excellently skilled in the scriptures, and in character very unblameable."

    See:
    Strypes’ Cranmer, 1812, ii Ap. 50 (for Robert Legate).

    Clapham’s Error on the Right Hand, 1608, p. 28ff.

    Calendar of State Papers, 1612.

    Truth Brought to Light: A Historical Narrative of the first 14 years of King James, 1651, pt. IV.

    Fuller's Church History of Britain, 1655, x625q.

    Greenshields’ Brief History of the Arian Revival, 1711, pp. 1 sq.

    Brooks’ Lives of the Puritans, 1813, i. 66.

    Howells’ State Trials, 1816, ii 727 sq.

    Diary of Walter Yonge, 1848, pp. 25 sq.

    Wallace’s Antitrinitarian Biography, 1850, ii 530.

    Barclay’s Inner Life of Religion Society of the Commonwealth., 1876. pp. 173.

    Christian Life, 26 Feb.1887, pp. 103 sq.

    Notes and Queries, 1st series 1 483.

    Miss Florence Gregg’s Bartholomew Legate, 1866. (romanticized biograph

    Dictionary of National Biography also lists:

    John Legate (died 1620)
    Printer to Cambridge University. Freeman of the Stationers Company, 11 April 1586. Left Cambridge 1609. Married 1588 Alice Sheirs. In 1612 lived on Trinity Lane between Old Fish Street and Bow Lane, London.

    John Legate the younger (1600-1658)
    Printer at Cambridge. Married Elizabeth Grimes in 1642.

    Other Leggett Ancestors
    Thaney, Tany, or Thani family, Barons of the Realm.

    I. Godric, who lived in the time of Edward the Confessor [1042-1066]
    II. Robert, time of William the Conqueror [1066-1087]
    III. Hasculf
    IV. Reginald or Rainald
    V. Gruel or Grailand
    VI. Sir Peter, Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1236, 1239
    VII. Sir John, owned Theydon Bois (near London and Hornchurch)
    VIII. Sir Richard, died 1271. Sheriff and Keeper of the Peace in 1260, 1261, 1263. Married Margery, daughter of William Fitz-Richard
    IX. Sir Richard, died 1296
    X. Sir Roger (or Robert), died 1301
    XI. Laurence (died) Margaret, who married John de Drokensford, c. 1331.
    XII. Thomas Drokensford, son of John and Margaret (Thany)
    XIII. Anne de Drokensford, married Sir Thomas Mandeville and carried the ancestral Thany property of Stapleford Thany along with her. Usually spelled Stapleford Tawney, in line with its pronunciation.

    Mandeville Family

    Arms: Argent (silver), an a chief indented gules (red), 3 martlets (birds, without beaks or feet, generally assumed to be martins) couped (out off smoothly) at the legs, or (gold).

    I. Geoffrey de Mandeville and Adelaide (or Athalais)
    Named from town in Normandy. Lord and chieftain who accompanied the Conqueror into England, 1066. Rewarded for his bravery in the great and decisive battle by a grant of 118 lordships, 40 of which were in Essex. This powerful and illustrious man fixed his residence at Walden (now Saffron Walden, named for the crop of saffron crocuses once grown there), where are still the ruins of his castle (an ugly and uninteresting heap of rubble in 1971). [Still a heap of rubble in 1983, when I visited it with my sister Martha Louise Leggett (Robbins), see A Tour of Leggett Houses and Churches in Essex, England, 29 January 1983.] Lies buried with his wife in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey (tombs not visible in 1971).

    II. William de Mandeville
    Little inferior to his father in bravery. In addition to other honors was made Constable (Keeper) of the Tower of London. Married Margaret, daughter and heir of Eudo the Dapifer. Sewer (an officer) in the household of King William, Steward of Normandy, Viscount, etc. More eminently distinguished by the succeeding monarch, William Rufus, [William II, reigned 1087-1100] who loaded him with honors. (He the son of Lord Hubert de Rie a relative of William the Conqueror.) William had two sons, Geffrey and Walter.
    III. Sir Walter de Mandeville
    Held Black Notley. Walter is recorded in Henry II’s reign [1154-1189] to hold four knight’s fees (the amount of land the holding of which imposed the obligation for knight service) in Black Notley of his brother Geffrey. Geffrey, the elder son of Sir William, held the Earldom of Essex and had 97 knight’s fees. Walter married Gunnilda the daughter of Maurice Fitzgilbert, who was the Sheriff of Essex.

    IV. Sir Thomas de Mandeville and Rose
    Held four knight’s fees in Black Notley, and in Bromfield and in Great Waltham.

    V. Sir John de Mandeville
    Had license in the 48th year [1264] of Henry III’s reign to hunt in the County of Essex.

    VI. Sir Thomas de Mandeville
    Held four knight’s fees in the Black Notley in 1302 (Inquis. Post Mortem, 30th year of Edward I). Married Ismena de Roos, daughter of Sir John de Roos.

    VII. Sir Walter de Mandeville
    Married Agnes Barrington, daughter of Nicholas Barrington.

    VIII. Sir Thomas de Mandeville
    Living in 1372 (Inquis. 46th year of the reign of Edward III) Died in 1399. Had married by 1372 Anne de Drokensford, the heiress to the Thaney estate at Stapleford Thaney.

    IX. Sir Thomas de Mandeville
    Married Elizabeth Wanton. Children were Thomas, Alice, and Joane. Thomas died in 1399 under-age. The two sisters then became co-heirs. (Under English law, all went to the
    eldest son. If no sons survived, all the daughters then divided the property equally). Alice had for her share Black Notley, Stapleford Thaney and Bromfield. She married first Helmingius Legate, Esq., Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1401 and 1408, and had by him Thomas who did not succeed to any of her estates. Morant's History of Essex, says, "Most probably he died before his mother, as I observe under Bromfield (another of Alice’s estates)." This manor of Black Notley, with that of Chatham Hall were intailed upon Alice and the heirs of her body by H. Legat (Inquis. 8 Henry V). The arms of Legat were ermine, a lion rampant gules. Alice’s second husband was Roger or Richard Spice. He died March 11, 1459 and lies buried in the church of Black Notley (no tomb in 1971). She died in 1420. Spice married Tyffany.

    Joane Mandeville, Alice’s sister, first married John Barry, then William Pirton of Ipswich. Alice’s property was Bromfield, Black Notley, Chatham Hall in Great Waltham, Eastwick in Hertfordshire, and the advowson of the Stapleford Tanv church. All this property went to Roger Spice and her son Clement Spice, without any notice of Thomas Legat.
    For more information about the Mandevilles, see Genealogist, New Series XXIX (1912-13), under Geoffrey de Mandeville and Black Notley.

    What happened to the Earldom of Essex (from Morant’s History of Essex)
    Geoffrey de Mandeville, grandson of the first Geoffrey, inherited the earldom, but forsook King Stephen for the Empress Maude, who made him hereditary Sheriff of Middlesex, Essex, and Hertfordshire. King Stephen arrested and tried him at St. Albans, in 1143 and he had to surrender the Keepership of the Tower of London and his castle at Walden. He then plundered the abbey of Romsey in Huntingtonshire in revenge, and was excommunicated. He died beseiging the king’s castle at Burwell in 1144. The Knights Templars took his body, put it in a leaded coffin, and hung it on a crooked tree in their orchard in the Old Temple, London, but his excommunication having been taken off, they buried it privately in the churchyard of the New Temple. He had founded the abbey in Walden (now ruined). He had three sons: Ernulph, Geffrey, and William. Ernulph fought against King Stephen, and was banished by him. Geffrey was restored to the earldom, but was divorced by his wife Eustachia "for want of due affection". and died without issue. William spent most of his time warring in Normandy, and had two wives, but died without issue. The lands passed to his aunt, from whom they went to her son-in-law, Geffrey Fitz-Piers, who then called himself earl, though not appointed by the king.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    A Tour of Leggett Houses and Churches in Essex, England, 29 January 1983
    David John Leggett and Martha Louise Leggett

    DURING my days at Washington and Jefferson College, I traveled every January. W&J operates on what is called the 4-1-4 system, in which one intensive course is taken during the January intersession. In 1983, during my senior year, I took a such a course, traveling to Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania and Italy. My sister attended Earlham College, and at the time was spending a term abroad in London. I decided to visit her on the way back home, and we spent a week or so driving all over southern England, racing back to London in the evening for concerts and theatre. We spent our first day looking at various family sites in Essex, using a map and photographs our Cousin Dorothy (Dorothy (Corbett) Wertz, born 1937) and her mother, our Aunt Helen, (Helen (Leggett) Corbett 1899-1982) had taken when they visited these same sites in June of 1981. Dorothy had done extensive research on this in 1971. The following is my brief journal account of the pertinent part of our day:

    I got up at 7:30 and went to breakfast at 8. Martha came over at 9 and we went to the bank to change money in order to rent the car. We drove off for the Leggett houses and Cambridge at 10 a.m. The first stop was Horn Church, the Leggetts’ church in the 16th century, and the house next to it, owned by Thomas Leggett in the 1550s. We saw Aunt Helen’s and Cousin Dorothy’s signatures in the guest book for June 16, 1981, and we added ours. At the peak of the East gable of the church is a horned steer’s head rendered in stone—Horn Church. We looked at the half timbered house next door, and I decided to knock. The picture I had of the house, taken by Dorothy in June 1981, shows it for sale. It was finally sold four months ago to one Clive D. Wild, who was surprised to see us. He is a builder and is renovating a few of the rooms. The house is in very good shape, and Mr. Wild’s family was thrilled to learn of our connection to the house. They had done some research on the deed and had got back as far as 1921, and now someone was telling them of the 1550s! We got a complete tour and great hospitality--it kept us busy from 11:45 to 12:30.

    Next we saw Broomfield Church and Chatham Hall. Chatham was owned by Helmingius Leggett and his wife Alice (de Mandeville) in 1400.

    At Black Notley, we saw the church and manor house right next door where Helmingius would have stayed. This is the main house on the estate.

    Stanton’s Farm, on the other side of Black Notley, was owned by Helmingius in 1400. It is on the National Trust, and must be shown to visitors upon notice. I had tried to give notice, but Mrs. Stanton has an unlisted telephone number. When we got there, she was not at home and would not be for several hours, and we could not wait. The original part of the house, at first a chimneyless hall, with a hole in the roof to let smoke escape (chimneys not having yet been invented) was built around 1300 and the barns around 1250. Dorothy has pictures of the interior.

    Further north, we stopped at the church at Saffron Walden, the original founded by Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1100. There were bobbies all over the place—we had stumbled across an important occasion. We were searched as we went in; a service was in progress. Lord Butler, late Lord High Sheriff of Essex, was a Knight of the Garter. He died last year sometime, and his widow was presenting the garter to the church in a special ceremony. We saw the presentation. Many MPs were there, and the BBC was providing coverage, hence the anti-IRA security precautions. It was funny to run across this, as Helmingius Legat was Lord High Sheriff of Essex from 1400 to 1412. There is a museum next door, as well as the ruins of Geoffrey de Mandeville’s 11th century castle.

    The sun was sinking fast, so we hastened to Cambridge. After a lot of running around, we parked in a garage and walked along the streets and through the gothic quadrangles of the University. We reached King’s College Chapel about 5 p.m., in time for Evensong at 5:30....

    On 4 February, my last day in England, we drove to the site of the Battle of Hastings, the Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral. On the way back, we drove through a tunnel under the Thames to Stanton’s Farm, to see whether we could catch Mrs. Stanton at home:

    We waited from 3:30 to 5:30, but no one came, and we had none but her animals for company. Her cat climbed into the car. From the ground nearby I gathered some broken terra cotta roof tiles of the old hall as souvenirs. I left a note with Martha’s phone number, and Mrs. Stanton called before we got back, leaving a message with Mrs. Mason (Martha’s landlady). I should have left the note on our first visit, but I did not think of it. Well, we have looked in the windows and have Dorothy’s pictures of the interior.

    It was only a few years later, in 1985, that Dorothy returned to England and performed research that for the first time positively established an actual connection of our family to historical records pertaining to particular persons in England. We had never been sure exactly how we were related to the Leggett family occupying the sites we saw in January 1983. There was a long family tradition that said that the family did come from southeastern England, Essex in particular. I do not know if this tradition was held since the arrival of the family on these shores, or if it was established in the late 19th century when Theodore A. Leggett gathered records for the compilation of his Leggett genealogy, Early Settlers of West Farms, or at some other time altogether. The connection to the Essex line was claimed probably because it was the only line found, due to its prominence. Dorothy’s research establishes the connection somewhat further north, in Cambridgeshire, the town of Ely. See The English Origins Of The Gabriel Leggett Family, Early Settlers of West Farms, Westchester County, New York, researched by Dorothy Corbett Wertz, compiled by the Rev. John Milton Leggett, in 1986.

    In September of 1995, my father and mother, John Milton and Ellin North Ratcliffe Leggett, visited Ely and met the current owners of the Leggett house, a converted 12th century chapel, which they leased from Clare College, Cambridge beginning in 1565. Roger and Yvonne Runciman, brother and sister, showed them around the property and they took at least eight photographs, copies of which have been in my possession since January of 1996. The images show the Runcimans and my father posing before the exterior of the building, obviously a converted chapel with bricked-up gothic arched windows and doors. Interior shots also show arches, columns and bosses of the old chapel, along with two of the added fireplaces the Leggetts would have used. It has been some time since this structure was used for human habitation. The roof leaks, plaster has fallen, and it seems largely vacant except for some storage. Yet, being "off the beaten track" it has survived for the time being, unlike much newer, 18th and 19th century, Leggett houses in New York City.

    These Leggetts were much more humble folk than those of the Essex line, owning but little land, although they were literate and did have the wherewithal to buy land when they arrived in the New World. The information is sketchy and only goes back a few generations, to 1565, before being lost, but indicates a close relationship to the events of the English Civil War and to Oliver Cromwell himself. See the work English Origins mentioned above for detailed information on these connections. I would like to believe that these Leggetts are somehow connected to the Leggetts of Essex. Their close proximity would seem to militate for such a connection, even in medieval times, when travel by most people was so limited. The distance was still not that great, and the name not that common.

    David Leggett
    2408 N. Quantico St.
    Arlington, Virginia
    July 1999




    Marriage 1 Unknown Patriarch Leggett b: BEF 1525 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?
    • Married: BEF 1545 in Ely? Children not necessarily in birth order; 2, 3 & 4 may not belong in family.
    Children
    1. Has Children Gabriel Leggett b: BEF 1545 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?; In Ely, 1565, leased house (former chapel) from Clare College Cambridge
    2. Has No Children John Leggett b: in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England?
    3. Has Children Richard Leggett b: in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England? Member of Holy Trinity, Ely, with brothers? John and Adam
    4. Has Children Adam Leggett b: in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England? Member of Holy Trinity, Ely, with brothers? John and Richard

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