Leeds, Edward (1695?-1758) (DNB00)

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LEEDS, EDWARD (1695?–1758), serjeant-at-law, born about 1695, was only son of Edward Leeds (1664–1729), citizen and mercer of London, and a prominent dissenter at Hackney (will of E. Leeds the elder, registered in P. C. C. 311, Abbott; Addit MS. 5734, f. 69). On 2 May 1710 he was admitted of the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar on 29 June 1718 (Inner Temple Register and Bar Book). He became eminent as a case lawyer, and enjoyed a large chamber practice. In February 1742 he was summoned to take the coif, and in Trinity term 1748 was made a king's serjeant. During vacation he lived chiefly on his estate at Croxton, Cambridgeshire. He retired from practice in 1755, and died on 5 Dec, 1758. In 1715 he married Anne (d. 1757), third daughter of Joseph Collett of Hertford Castle, formerly governor of Fort St. George, by whom he had issue two sons, Edward and Joseph, and two daughters; Henrietta (1716-1766), who on 26 April 1768 became the second wife of John Howard (1726?-1790) [q. v.] the philanthropist, and Anne, married on 31 May 1764 to John Barnardiston, solicitor (will registered in P. C. C. 374, Hutton). Cole (Addit MS. 6820, f. 66) describes Leeds as 'a heavy, dull, plodding man, but a great lover of antiquity.'

His eldest son, Edward Leeds (1728-1803), master in chancery, born on 30 Nov. 1728, entered the Inner Temple on 22 Dec. 1743, and was called to the bar. In 1765 he was appointed sheriff for Cambridgeshire (Gent. Mag. 1708, p. 46). He owed much to the patronage of Lord Hardwicke, by whom he was made a master in chancery on 21 Jan. 1773 (Hardy, Cat. of Lords Chancellors, &c, p. 101). According to Cole (loc. cit.) Leeds was a 'most impertinent, pragmatical mortal,' and so bitter against the clergy that Cole had to remind him that his family had acquired their property entirely from the revenues of the church. Greatly to his disappointment his party persistently refused to nominate him M.P. for Cambridge, of which town he was sub-deputy-recorder. He was a candidate for the deputy-recordership, but was defeated by Charles Nalson Cole [q. v.] At length, on 31 March 1784, he was elected M.P. for Reigate, but vacated the seat in 1787. He died unmarried on 22 March 1803, and was succeeded at Croxton by his brother Joseph (Gent Mag. 1803, pt. i. pp. 294, 379).

[Woolrych's Serjeants-at-Law, ii. 539-41; Lysons's Magna Britannia, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 174; Addit. MS. 6808, ff. 44, 45.]

G. G.