Leigh Family Deeds

  • Reference
      GB 133 LEI
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.3 linear metres; 22 items.
  • Location
      Collection available at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate.

Scope and Content

This small collection of Lancashire and Cheshire deeds and allied documents relates to properties in Elton in Thornton parish, Cheshire (LEI/1); Roby in Huyton parish, Lancashire, including Roby Hall (LEI/2-13); and Warrington, formerly in Lancashire and now in Cheshire (LEI/14-22). They concern the Ogle family of Whiston in Prescot parish, Lancashire (LEI/2-5); the Davie or Davy family of Frodsham, Cheshire (LEI/8-12); and the Leigh family of Warrington and Liverpool (LEI/14-22).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster states that the neo-Classical Roby Hall was built by John Williamson of Liverpool (mayor in 1761), who had three daughters and co-heiresses. In the early nineteenth century Roby Hall was purchased by William Leigh, a Liverpool merchant, son of William Leigh of Lymm in Cheshire.

According to Joseph Gillow's A Literary and Biographical History, or Bibliographical Dictionary, of the English Catholics, William Leigh, the Liverpool merchant, and his wife Catherine had a son, William Leigh III (1802-1873), who was educated at Eton and Oxford, although he did not take a degree. In 1828 he married Caroline Cotterell, fifth daughter of Sir John Geers Cotterell, baronet. Under the influence of the Oxford Movement he converted to Catholicism in 1844. In the following year he purchased from the Ducie family the Woodchester Park estate in Gloucestershire. Between 1858 and 1870 he constructed the neo-Gothic Woodchester Mansion although the house remained unfinished at the time of his death. He also generously endowed the cathedral and bishopric of Adelaide in South Australia, where he held property. In 1939, William Leigh's granddaughters, Blanche and Beatrice Leigh, sold the house and the remaining estate to a mental health charity.


Frank Taylor arranged the collection geographically under the placenames of Elton (LEI/1), Roby (LEI/2-13) and Warrington (LEI/14-22). Within this arrangement, the items were organised chronologically and numbered consecutively. This arrangement has been preserved.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The archive was deposited in the John Rylands Library by Messrs Penley & Milward, solicitors of Dursley in Gloucestershire, on behalf of Miss (Blanche or Beatrice) Leigh of Scar Hill, Woodchester Park, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, in September 1941.

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The archive was in the possession of the Leigh family until it was deposited in the John Rylands Library by Miss Leigh of Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire, granddaughter of William Leigh (1802-1873).


No further accruals are expected.


Joseph Gillow, A Literary and Biographical History, or Bibliographical Dictionary, of the English Catholics from the Breach with Rome, in 1534, to the Present Time, 5 vols (London: Burns & Oates, 1885-1902), iv, 196-8.

The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster, ed. William Farrer and J. Brownbill, 8 vols (London: Victoria County History, 1906-14), iii, 176.

Woodchester Mansion Trust website, https://www.woodchestermansion.org.uk/history/ [accessed 25 July 2020].