Ley of Devon:
Lord Chief Justice Sir James Ley, Earl of Marlborough 1550 - 1629
The manor of Ley in the parish of Beer Ferrers was long held by a family of the name Ley. Beer Ferrers, which is north of Plymouth, and near Tavistock, on the edge of Dartmoor, was once an important miners' settlement. Bere Ferrers is on a peninsula created by the rivers Tamar and Tavy in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It has gone by several names in the past, Beer Ferris, Beer Ferrers and was more generally known as Beer Town, and in the tax book of England was called Bire.The Manor was held in the reign of Edward II by Henry Ferriers, who had a castle here, which has now disappeared. William de Leigh of 'Byreferrero', Devonshire had a son Henricus de la Leigh, whose son, Henry de Ley, had a son Walter de Ley, whose son, Thomas Ley, lived in the time of Edward III, and who had a son Henry Ley, who had three sons, John Ley, who served in India and Ireland; Matthew; and Roberte Ley, his heir. Roberte had a son Henry, of Feffont Ewyas, Wilts, who died in 1580, (or 1574) and had six sons, of whom the youngest, James, served as Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He was baptised at Berford, Wilts.
His sister, Mary, married Richard Orpen, and they had a son, Robert, born 1637, who lived in Killorglin, in Kerry.
James Ley attempted to enforce the Established Church on the aldermen of Dublin city, from about 1600 onwards, by means of prosecutions for failure to attend church.
He was notorious for refusing to supply defendants with particulars of the indictments against them.
He jailed any who failed to take the Oath of Allegiance.
He was 'generally hated throughout the kingdom', and frequent petitions were sent to Dublin castle, complaining about the harshness of his administration of justice.
Attorney-General Sir John Davies and Chief Justice Sir James Ley travelled to London in the autumn of 1608 to discuss the proposed plantation of Ulster with the king, James I. The king was so impressed by Ley, that he retained him at court, and he became lord high treasurer. James later made him Lord Ley of Ley in Devon, in 1624, and Earl of Marlborough in 1626.
He married three times, and by his first wife had three sons. The eldest, Henry, was his heir, and became second earl of Marlborough, succeeded by James, Henry's son, the third earl, who was succeeded by Henry's brother, William. William died in 1679, and the title became extinct.
An unconnected title, of the Duke of Marlborough, was granted to the Churchill family.
The arms are the same as those of the Lee family of Cornwall and Devon.
- Wiltshire Notes and Queries 1 Feb 1929
- Wiltshire Notes and Queries 1 Feb 1929
Sir James Ley, Earl of Marlborough.-At the end of his Curious
gives a List of Members of the Society of Antiquaries
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and his notice of Sir James Ley is as follows:
son of Henry Ley of Teffont Evias in Wiltshire. After his removal from
THE WESTERN ANTIQUARY
Or Devon and Cornwall Note-Book. Volume 3
Edited By W.H.K. Wright - 1884.
' THE LEYS OF BEERFERRIS AND OLD PLYMOUTH.
These memoranda about the family of Ley of Beerferris are taken from a manuscript of the time of the early Stuarts, preserved at Oxford, in the possession of Professor H. N. Moseley. They contain interesting notices about Old Plymouth, its mayors, its leading families, and old mansion houses. Incidentally, the Cornish parishes of Altarnun, Lanteglos-by-Camelford, and St. Enoder occur, and some arms are described as existing in old painted windows of the churches which have probably now perished. Any additional ' information on these matters -from your readers will be acceptable, particularly with regard to the painted windows in old Cornish churches and Plymouth houses.
Exeter College, Oxford. Charles W. Boase.
The landes of Leigh within the parish of Beerferris within the hundred of Rowborrough in the countie of Devon and situated between the rivers of Tamer and Tavy, and is the westernmost parte of Devon borderinge uppon Cornwayle.
This lands descendinge in the name of the Leys from the raigne of K. H. iii. unto thend of the raigne of K. H. viii at which time Henry Ley Esquire sold the same unto John Servington, from whom it descended unto Richan Servington and from him to his sonne arid from tha aonne to his sister who married George Eveleigh who sold the same unto Sir James Ley beinge the iiiith sonne of the said Henry Ley, and Sir James Ley exchanged the sam with Charles Erie of Devon'for other lands lyenge in, Westbury and Brooke in Co. Wiltes.
i. William de Leigh lived in anno xxiiii E. 1 and is founde by Inquisition to hold his lande of Leigh by th service of half a knight's fee of Reginald de Ferrariis wh held the same and the whole tythinge of Byre of the-Erl of Cornewaile who held the same of the kinge : which Inquisition is recorded'in the booke calleds Feoda Militum in thexchequer.
It appears also by a record of the Chancerie in the Tower that in anno li H. 3 the kinge by letters patent at the request of the Bishopp of Sarum granted unto William de Leigh of the Countie of Devon that he shold not be Sheirif Escheator Coronor or put in jurys or inquisitions.
ii. Henricus de la Legh lived in anno xxxiiii. E. 1 and was one of the Enquest for findinge of an office after the death of Reginald de Ferrariis lord of Byre which was founde at Byre iiii Septem. anno xxxiiii E. 1.
iii. Henry de Ley lived in anno xx R. ii and had to wife Elizabeth.
iiii. Walter de Ley lived in anno x and xii. iiii and anno viii" H. v
of whom it is recorded in the booke of Knights Fees in the time of H. 6 remayninge
in the Exchequer, that Alexander Champernori Thomas Bonvile Richard Hoper Valter
Legh and Roberte Heath did hold one knights ree in Byreferrers and Legh which
they held severallie etwene them and none of them held a whole fowerth jarte
and that of anncient time John Ferrers did hold the mo. v. Thomas Ley lived
in anno xix H. vi and in the time of E. iiiith He enfeoffed of his land John
Champernon Esquire lord of the manner of Byreferrers who in anno ii E. iiii
gave it againe to Thomas Ley and the heires of his bodie begotten, the remainder
unto Roger Ley his brother and to the heires of his bodie begotten, the remainder
to he heires of the bodie of Johan late the wife of Nicholas Parker sister of
the said Thomas begotten.