Staveley, Thomas, Esq.

a learned gentleman, of Cussington, Leicestershire, after having completed his academical education at Peter- house, Cambridge, was admitted of the Inner Temple, July 2, 1647, and called to the bar June 12, 1654. In 1656, he married Mary the youngest daughter of John Onebye, esq. of Hinckley, and steward of the records at Leicester, and succeeded his father-in-law in that office in 1672. In 1674, when the court espoused the cause of popery, and the presumptive heir to the crown openly professed himself a Catholic, Mr. Staveley displayed the enormous exactions of the court of Rome, by publishing in 1674, “The Romish Horseleech.” This work was reprinted in 1769. Some years before his death, which happened in 1683, he retired to Belgrave near Leicester, and passing the latter part of life in the study of English history, acquired a melancholy habit, but was esteemed a diligent, judicious, and faithful antiquary. His “History of Churches in England: wherein is shown, the time, means, and manner of founding, building, and endowing of Churches, both, | cathedral and rural, with their furniture and appendages,” was first published in 1712, and reprinted 1773. It is a work of considerable research and learning, the result of having carefully examined many books and records; and contains a complete account of the sacred furniture of churches from the earliest origin. In one respect, however, he has too hastily adopted the notion that the Saxons had no stone buildings among them, while he is forced to acknowledge that Bede’s Candida casa was one of them. Besides this work, Mr. Staveley left a curious historical pedigree of his own family, drawn up in 1682, the year before he died, which is preserved at large in the work which furnishes this article; and also some valuable collections towards the “History and Antiquities of Leicester,” to which he had more particularly applied his researches. These papers, which Dr. Farmer, the late learned master of Emanuei-college, Cambridge, intended once to publish, were, by that gentleman’s permission, put into the hands of Mr. Nichols, who gave them to the world in the “Bibliotheca Topographia Britannica,” and since in his more elaborate “History of Leicestershire.” The younger Mr. S. Carte (an able antiquary, and an eminent solicitor), who had a copy of Mr. Staveley’s papers, says of them, in a ms letter to Dr. Ducarel, March 7, 1751: “His account of the earls of Leicester, and of the great abbey, appears to have been taken from Dugdale’s” Baronage,“and” Monasticon;“but as to his sentiments in respect to the borough, I differ with him in some instances. By the charter for erecting and establishing the court of records at Leicester, the election of the steward is granted to the mayor and court of aldermen, who likewise have thereby a similar power, in respect to a bailiff” for executing their writs. But afterwards, viz. Dec. 20, 7 Jac. I. the great earl of Huntingdon bavins: been a considerable benefactor to Leicester, the corporation came to a resolution of granting to him and his heirs a right of nominating alternately to the office of steward and bailiff, and executed a bond under their common seal, in the penalty of one thousand pounds, for enforcing the execution of their grant. And as John Major, esq. was elected by the court of aldermen to succeed Mr. Staveley, in December, 1684, I infer that Staveley was nominated by the earl of Huntingdon, and confirmed by the aldermen, in pursuance of the grant above-mentioned. 1


Nichols’s Hist, of Leicestershire.