Lechmere, Nicholas (1613-1701) (DNB00)

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LECHMERE, Sir NICHOLAS (1613–1701), judge, third son of Edmund Lechmere of Hanley Castle, Worcestershire, by Margaret, daughter of Sir Nicholas and sister of Sir Thomas Overbury [q. v.], was born in September 1613, and educated at Gloucester School and "Wadham College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. He entered the Middle Temple in October 1634, was called to the bar in 1641, and elected a bencher of his inn in 1665. On the outbreak of the civil war he sided with the parliament, and was present at the siege and surrender of Worcester in June and July 1646. He was returned to parliament for Bewdley on 4 July 1648 in the place of Sir Henry Herbert [q. v.] He was also one of the militia commissioners for Worcestershire and a member of a special commission appointed in June 1651 for the trial of the Welsh insurgents. On the occupation of Worcester by the king of Scots in the following August a troop of one hundred and fifty Scotch horse was quartered in Lechmere's house, Hanley Castle, by General Massey, who threatened extirpation to him and his posterity. The battle of Worcester, at which he was present, relieved him of the intruders. Lechmere sat for the county of Worcester in the parliaments of 1654, 1656 (in which he supported the Petition and Advice), and 1658–9. On the partial revival of the court of the duchy of Lancaster in 1654 he was appointed its attorney-ffeneral. Cromwell granted him, 16 July 1655, a license (equivalent to a patent of king's counsel) to practise within the bar in all the courts at Westminster, and this was renewed by Richard Cromwell, 23 Oct. 1658. He walked in Oliver's funeral procession in his capacity of attorney-general to the duchy of Lancaster. In the debates of 2 March 1658–9 on the question whether the House of Commons should 'transact with the other house as another house of parliament,' Lechmere spoke at length for the affirmative, maintaining the validity of the Petition and Advice, and the power of the Protector to summon parliament by virtue of it. After the dissolution of 22 April he sat as a member of the resuscitated Rump, one of the last acts of which was to revive the ancient jurisdiction of the duchy of Lancaster in its full extent with Lechmere as its attorney-general. Through the influence of Viscount Mordaunt he obtained from Charles II, while still at Breda, a full pardon. He did not, however, sit again in parliament, though he continued to practise at the bar. Pepys mentions a consultation with him at the Temple on 21 Oct. 1662, and his name is frequently found in the reports. He was reader at his inn in Lent 1669, and on 4 May 1689 was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law, and at once raised to the exchequer bench. On 31 Oct. following he was knighted. On the first hearing of the celebrated 'bankers' case' [see supra Holt, Sir John], January 1691–2, he gave judgment for the crown. By the time it reached the lords, January 1699–1700, he was too ill to attend in person to support his judgment, but transmitted a note of it (Howell, State Trials, xiv.) He resigned, by reason of age and increasing infirmities, on June 1700, and died at Hanley Castle on April 1701. There is a good print of his regular and refined features from an original picture in Nash's ' Worcestershire.' i. 560. He was one of the founders of Greenwich Hospital. Lechmere married in 1642 Penelope, fourth daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys of Northbourne, Kent, by his fourth wife, Catherine, fourth daughter of Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris, father of Thomas, viscount Bulkeley of Cashel [see Bulkeley, Richard]. By her he had two sons, Edmund and Sandys. The former succeeded to the baronetcy, and is now represented by Sir Edmund Anthony Harley Lechmere, bart.; his second son, Nicholas, is noticed below.

[Nash's Worcestershire, i. 560, ii. App. c. ci. cvi.; Collins's Peerage (Brydges), ix. 431; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. 299 et seq.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650 p. 488, 1651 pp. 94, 96, 266, 332; Comm. Journ. vii. 291; Scobel's Pretended Acts, 1654, c. 26; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1656-7, p. 251; Burton's Diary, ii. 136, 526, iii. 582; Pari. Hist. iii. 15-18; Whitelocke's Mem. p. 698; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 529, 598; ii. 347, iv. 606, 661, 702; Evelyn's Diary, ed. Bray, 4 July 1696 n.; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.