LEE, Richard (?1501-57 or later), of Oxenbold, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. ?1501, 2nd s. of Fulk Lee of Langley, by Alice, da. of Sir Richard or Thomas Cornwall of Berrington, Herefs. m. by 1538, Joyce, da. of Edward Sutton, 2nd Lord Dudley, wid. of John Leighton(d. 28 Feb. 1532) of Wattlesborough, Salop.1
Yeoman of the cellar by Oct. 1532-56 or later; bailiff, Much Wenlock 1543-4, 1548-9, 1556-7.2
Of two namesakes, an uncle and a nephew, who could have been elected for Wenlock to Mary’s first Parliament, the uncle is much the more likely to have been the ‘Richard Lee esquire’ of the return: the borough had twice chosen him as bailiff, and was to do so again, whereas his nephew Richard Lee of Langley was not to inherit that property, five miles west of Wenlock, until about 1561, nor enter county administration until 20 years later. It is the older man’s omission from the pedigrees that has obscured his identification with the Member.
When Leland, writing about 1538, ranked Thomas Lee of Langley seventh in wealth among Shropshire landowners, he called Lee ‘elder brother to he that married Leighton’s wife of Wattlesborough’, and it was indeed Richard Lee’s marriage that both renewed a long-standing connexion with the powerful Leightons and established one with the noble house of Dudley. When he married, Lee was already in the royal household: he was one of the staff of the cellar who remained at home to serve the Queen when the King visited France in October 1532. He was in the same department when in December 1538 Bishop Rowland Lee, president of the council in the marches, recommended him to Cromwell for a lease of the dissolved abbey of Haughmond. Although the bishop quickly went back on this in favour of another applicant, Lee was successful in acquiring other monastic property: in 1540 he was granted a 21-year lease of the abbot of Shrewsbury’s great house at Eyton-on-Severn, and it was as ‘of Abbot’s Eyton’ that a few months later he acted as a receiver of the property of Wenlock priory, a house with which his family had long been associated and from which he already held a lease of Oxenbold manor.3
In June 1540 Lee acquired the wardship and marriage of his stepson Edward Leighton. He and his wife had occupied the Leighton manors since their marriage, and he was variously known as of Stapleton and Wattlesborough, as well as of Oxenbold. In 1544 he provided eight footmen for the vanguard of the expedition to France but is not known to have served himself, although he may this time have gone as a member of the Household. Thereafter he is glimpsed only occasionally, as defendant with his wife in a chancery case of about 1550, or attending a dinner given by Wenlock to the president of the council in the marches in 1554. He retained his post in the Household, being styled ‘yeoman of the cellar of the King and Queen’ when chosen bailiff of Wenlock for the last time in 1556. The William Lee of Oxenbold mentioned in 1568 may have been his son, but there is nothing to connect him with the men of his name appearing in the records after 1557.4
Lee’s election for Wenlock, in preference to his elder brother who was a more considerable figure in the shire, may be seen as answering to both his municipal standing and his connexions, especially his relationship to Edward Leighton, returned on this occasion as a knight of the shire: he could also have received the support of the crown which he had served so long. Unlike Leighton, he was not among the Members noted as having ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures to restore Catholicism.
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Harding
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first office and from age of elder brother at father’s i.p.m., C142/30/8. Vis Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 319; ECP, vii. 111, 147.
- 2. HMC Bath, iv. 6; Much Wenlock min. bk., ff. 154, 180, 243.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), ii. 310; xlvii. 53; C142/230/64; CPR, 1560-3, p. 149; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, iii. 66; VCH Salop, viii. 196; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xv, xvi; ECP, vii. 228.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix; ECP, viii. 3; ix. 203, 248; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. vi. 110; Much Wenlock min. bk., f. 243.