Leech, David (DNB00)

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LEECH, LEICH, or LEITCH, DAVID (fl. 1628–1653), poet, was probably a native of Cheshire, and younger brother of John Leech [q. v.], the epigrammatist. He was appointed regent of King's College, Aberdeen, in 1628, and sub-principal in 1632 (Kennedy, ii. 403, 405), and became minister of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, in 1638. He declined to take the national covenant, and fled to England, but returned to Aberdeen in 1640, preached two 'penitentiall' sermons, the first being found unsatisfactory, and 'gave obedience to the kirk' (Spalding). He was at Ellon till 1648, when he went to England as chaplain to the Scottish army, became chaplain to Charles II, and returned to be minister of Kemnay, Aberdeenshire, in January 1660. In 1653 he was created D.D. by Aberdeen University, and in October of the same year was deprived of his living for deserting his parish, the presbytery of Edinburgh reporting (16 May) that he 'had a church on the roadway, not far from London' (Presbytery Records). No known record of his death exists.

In 1648 the church of Scotland officially expressed a wish to have certain versified additions to the Psalter, and the commission of assembly' desired Mr. Johne Adamson to revise Mr. David Leitch's papers of poecie, and give his opinion to the commission thereof (Minutes of Commission, p. 806; Baillie, Letters, iii. 664). Shortly after this the commission informed the presbytery of Ellon that Leech was 'employed in paraphrasing the songs of the Old and New Testaments' in Edinburgh (Minutes, p. 362). His sonzs do not seem to have been printed. In April 1636 he pronounced a Latin funeral oration on the death of Bishop Patrick Forbes of Aberdeen, and this, with a Latin poem, is printed in the Spottiswoode Society's edition of Forbes's 'Funeral Sermons.' &c. In 1637 he published an academical oration, 'Philosophia Ulachrymans.' and in 1667 a volume of Latin poetry, entitled 'Parerga' (London, 12mo). He is described as ' a most fluent poet in the Latin tongue, an exquisite philosopher, and a profound theologian (Urquhart).

[Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot., Synod of Aberdeen, pp. 587, 602; Baillie's Letters and Journals, ed. Laing, iii. 554; Presbytery Records of Aberdeen; Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, ii. 403, 405; Sir Thomas Urquhart's Discovery of a Most Exquisite Jewell, &c, Edinburgh, 1774, p. 124; Funeral Sermons, &c., on Bishop Patrick Forbes (Spottiswoode Soc), p. 235; Spalding's Hist. of the Troubles (Bannatyne Club); Scottish Notes and Queries, ii. 41.]

J. C. H.