m. 31 Jul 1617
Facts and Events
His father was Sir Francis Leigh; his mother was Mary, daughter of Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley. He was born, and eventually buried, on the family estate at Newnham Regis, Warwickshire. In 1613 Leigh attended Oxford University and was admitted to Lincoln's Inn two years later.
Coinciding with his fortuitous second marriage, he was knighted by 1618, and was created a baronet by the King on 24 December 1618. In 1621 he became MP for Warwickshire in the by-election following the elevation of the incumbent, Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, to the peerage. In 1625 he subsequently became MP for Warwick. He remained close to Lord Brooke and, under King Charles I, was himself raised to the peerage as Baron Dunsmore in July 1628.
He opposed the King during the 1640 Short Parliament and actively campaigned for the summoning of the second (Long) parliament later that year. Despite this he was appointed to meet the Scottish commissioners at Ripon in autumn 1640 and his opposition was further softened by both the militancy of the King's enemies and personal encouragement from Charles. His appointment as a privy councillor confirmed to all his defection to Charles' side. In March 1642 he was one of five lords to protest against the Militia Ordinance. At the commencement of the First English Civil War he financed a Royalist troop of forty horse.
In August 1642 his Warwickshire estate was looted by Parliament forces from Coventry (ironically, under the command of the new Lord Brooke). In 1643 he succeeded The Earl of Salisbury as Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners. In July 1644 the King further rewarded his loyalty creating him Earl of Chichester.
In November 1645 he was assessed to contribute £3,000 ( a figure comparable to his pre-war yearly income) by the Committee for the Advance of Money and given a year to pay. By January 1647 he had paid £1,000 and given security for £1847 more so his sequestration was suspended. Under the Ordnance of 30 October 1646 parliament annulled the honours granted to him since 20 May 1642. And finally, in 1650, the committee for compounding assessed a fine of £3,594 on him. Leigh died at Apps Court in Surrey in 1763.