LEE (LEIGH), Thomas III (by 1523-56), of St. Bees and Calder Abbey, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1523, 1st s. of William Lee of Frizington. educ. ?M. Temple. m. by 1553, Frances, (?illegit.) da. of Sir Thomas Wyatt I of Allington Castle, Kent, 1s. Henry Leigh 1da.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cumb. 1553-4; bailiff, Egremont, Ennerdale, Harrington and Kelton, Cumb. Sept. 1555.2


Among several namesakes, including at least one Yorkshireman, Thomas Lee of Calder seems the most likely to have been returned for Thirsk to Edward VI’s second Parliament. Of a cadet branch of the Lees of Isel, Cumberland, he was a nephew of the monastic visitor Sir Thomas Lee, who in March 1544 bequeathed him a lease of Calder (on condition that he paid 100 marks a year to the widow Joan Lee and 20 marks to the testator’s friend Dr. John Rokeby to the use of Lee’s own younger brother William) and the reversion to two-thirds of the lands left to the widow for life, as well as all his books: the nephew was also to become an executor if the widow died before the will was proved, being joined in this capacity by his uncle’s kinsman (Sir) Edward North and Joan Lee’s brother-in-law Thomas Gargrave. The interest of these arrangements lies in the fact that several of the early Members for Thirsk owed their seats to the council in the north, of which both Rokeby and Gargrave, who like the younger Thomas Lee may have been educated at the Middle Temple, were members. Joan Lee’s second husband (Sir) Thomas Chaloner did not join the council until September 1553, but he too may have been of assistance earlier in the year.3

Although his father was still alive as late as April 1555, Lee was of sufficient standing to be pricked sheriff of Cumberland in the autumn of 1553 (after being nominated in the previous year) and during his year of office he returned his kinsman John Lee II as knight of the shire to the two Parliaments of 1554. Described as of St. Bees when he became sheriff, Lee sued out a pardon in the following year as of Calder and another in 1555 after incurring outlawry over a debt of some £100 to a London goldsmith. He died on 21 Aug. 1556, only a few months before his uncle’s widow, and in October 1560 the wardship of his infant son Henry was granted to his distant relative Thomas Warcop.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xxv. 135, 137-8 and ped. bet. pp. 242 and 243 according to which Lee’s wife was legitimate; M.T. Recs. i. 103.
  • 2. CPR, 1555-7, p. 47.
  • 3. Glover’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 45; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 100-1; PCC 45 Pynnyng.
  • 4. CPR, 1553, pp. 108, 386; 1553-4, p. 464; 1554-5, pp. 140, 238; 1557-8, pp. 49, 132; 1558-60, p. 327; C142/113/2; Wards 9/368/83. CPR, 1558-60, p. 327 and C142/113/2 are clearly mistaken in identifying Henry as Lee’s brother.