3rd GENERATION OF LEIGHS
LEIGH (before 1608 - 27 Oct 1672 St Peter's, Carm).
Father: 2. RALPH LEIGH
David Edwardes’ pedigree gives the five children of RICHARD (II) and his wife DOROTHY OAKLEY, but we were also able to find other children (such as this Rees GRIFFITH the younger and Francis LEIGH, a brother to the five children below) through various kinds of documentation including wills and estate appraisals. Edwardes lists the spouses of those five children of RICHARD and DOROTHY, and we were able to confirm some of them with the church record of their marriage.
We know little of HONORA in this first couple, but REES GRIFFITH signed the estate inventory of THOMAS HAWKER, apothecary and late husband of HONORA’s niece URSULA LEIGH on 20 Feb 1663 (NLW SD/1663/25 I). At that time he was called "Rees Griffith the Elder," so presumably he and HONORA had a son to be Rees Griffith the younger. This son was probably the Rees Griffith who appraised URSULA LEIGH's estate in late 1690 or early 1691 (NLW SD/1690/26 1). Also signing the first inventory in 1663 was "Thomas Griffith, alderman," apparently mayor in 1645 and likely a relative. Thus, the family of HONORA's husband, like the other early LEIGH spouses, was important in Carmarthen city and county government. The PUGH family of the younger Rees’s wife had only a few members in St Peter's records (mainly burials), and we found nothing more on her. This couple may have had a son named "Rice Griffith" who christened children in St Peter's church in 1700 - 1711.
RICHARD LEIGH (II) (before 1608 - ?), mercer?, "haberdasher of hats".
Father: 2. RALPH LEIGH
10. ABIGAIL LEIGH
11. URSULA LEIGH
15. OAKLEY I LEIGH
Less is known about RICHARD LEIGH (II) than about his father RALPH. If he was a mercer, he may have exported general goods like his grandfather RICHARD NASH, or perhaps his chief product was cloth, particularly wool from Welsh flocks. If his grandfather RICHARD (I) was a clothier, as said in the David Edwardes pedigree, RICHARD (II) likely inherited the cloth trade and passed it on to his descendants who became dyers and clothiers as well as mercers.
Either RICHARD (II) or his son RICHARD (III) was among the four men who founded the Carmarthen Fraternity of Hatters or Feltmakers in 1652, as shown by Derek Williams from the second Carmarthen town council Order Book. The other three petitioners (William Lloyd, John Jones, and Thomas Phillipp Matho) were identified as trained skillful felt hat makers, but RICHARD was called a "haberdasher of hats." So the LEIGH part in the guild was likely organizational to stabilize hat production by others and thus improve their own position as sellers of hats. I should like to believe our men were not hatters, because the process of making hats involved so much mercury that hatters often became insane from mercury poisoning, hence the phrase mad as a hatter! In any event, various hat makers seem to have remained close to the LEIGHS for at least a generation.
Like ELIZABETH NASH with RALPH LEIGH, DOROTHY OAKLEY's family must have contributed to the career of RICHARD LEIGH (II). Her brother George Oakley was a well-known mayor (often cited for his support of the beleaguered King Charles I during the Civil War), and the LEIGHs and OAKLEYs gave bequests and signed each other's wills for three generations. It seems likely that some of our unidentified wives may come from this family interaction. The major study of the long OAKLEY line by descendants Derek Williams and Gene Heatherington reveals fascinating connections to the SEVERNE family, the SHELDON tapestry family, the Catesby family of Gunpowder plot fame, and William Shakespeare and his father in Stratford-upon-Avon, and much more.
Sources: parish records of St Peter's in Carmarthen, Collocation of Names (Film no.104504); original Bishop's Transcripts in Latin (Film no.105132); Llanarthney Bishop's Transcripts (Film no.105151); wills, inventories, administration bonds, etc of the following: Catherine Oakley Knight 1660 (NLW SD/1660/132 W); EDWARD OAKLEY 1662 (Film no.105231); George Lewis 1673 (Film no.105232); Maria NN Oakley widow 1676 (NLW SD/1677/19 W and Film no.105232); Jonathan Oakley 1677 (Film no .105232); Thomas Phillips 1678 (Film no.105234); John Oakley 1688 (Film no.105235); Carmarthen council Order Book 2 (CRO MUS 155, also published by Alcwyn Evans in Local History Lore in 1914).
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Rudinsky 1999, 2011