George Anthony Legh Keck

Last updated

George Legh-Keck
George Anthony Legh Keck.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Leicestershire
Leicester (1797-1831)
Succeeded by Charles March-Phillipps
Thomas Paget
Personal details
Stoughton, Leicestershire
Died4 September 1860
Bank Hall, Bretherton, Lancashire
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Legh-Keck (née Atherton) (18021837)
Relations Anthony James Keck, MP (father)
Sir Anthony Keck (great-grandfather)
Lord Lilford (brother-in-law)
Lord Newton (cousin) via the Leghs of Lyme
Residence Stoughton Grange, Leicestershire
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Occupation Landowner
Profession Army officer and politician

Colonel George Anthony Legh-Keck JP DL (1774–1860) was a British MP in the Georgian era who owned landed estates in Leicestershire and Lancashire.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Georgian era period of British history encompassing the years 1714–1830 (or –1837)

The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to c. 1830–37, named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The sub-period that is the Regency era is defined by the regency of George IV as Prince of Wales during the illness of his father George III. The definition of the Georgian era is often extended to include the relatively short reign of William IV, which ended with his death in 1837.

Historically, an estate comprises the houses, outbuildings, supporting farmland, and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is the modern term for a manor, but lacks a manor's now-abolished jurisdictional authority. It is an "estate" because the profits from its produce and rents are sufficient to support the household in the house at its center, formerly known as the manor house. Thus, "the estate" may refer to all other cottages and villages in the same ownership as the mansion itself, covering more than one former manor. Examples of such great estates are Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, England, and Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, England, built to replace the former manor house of Woodstock.


Early life

Legh-Keck was born at Stoughton Grange, Leicestershire, the only surviving son of Anthony James Keck, MP for Newton, and Elizabeth (née Legh), [1] second daughter and co-heiress of Peter Legh, MP, of Lyme Hall, Cheshire. His wife, Elizabeth Atherton, inherited Bank Hall in Bretherton, Lancashire, which he renovated with help from the architect George Webster in 1832-33.

Stoughton Grange was a country house in the parish of Stoughton in Leicestershire and the family seat of the Farnham and Beaumont family. The house dated back to 15th century but was demolished in 1926, after being a successful family home for over five hundred years.

Leicestershire County of England

Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the English Midlands. The county borders Nottinghamshire to the north, Lincolnshire to the north-east, Rutland to the east, Northamptonshire to the south-east, Warwickshire to the south-west, Staffordshire to the west, and Derbyshire to the north-west. The border with most of Warwickshire is Watling Street.

Anthony James Keck was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1765 to 1780.


Legh-Keck was returned to parliament five times as MP for Leicestershire between 1797 and 1831. [2]

The House of Commons is the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada and historically was the name of the lower houses of the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Kingdom of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland. Roughly equivalent bodies in other countries which were once part of the British Empire include the United States House of Representatives, the Australian House of Representatives, the New Zealand House of Representatives, and India's Lok Sabha.

Leicestershire was a county constituency in Leicestershire, represented in the House of Commons. It elected two Members of Parliament (MPs), traditionally called Knights of the Shire, by the bloc vote system of election, to the Parliament of England until 1707, to the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 until 1800, and then to Parliament of the United Kingdom until 1832.

Commissioned as an officer in the Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1803, he later served as Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the regiment until his death in 1860. [3] Legh-Keck, in a portrait from 1851, held a broad-topped shako sporting a 12-inch white plume held in place by bronze chin scales. [4] [5]

Leicestershire Yeomanry

The Leicestershire Yeomanry was a yeomanry regiment of the British Army, first raised in 1794 and again in 1803, which provided cavalry and mounted infantry in the Second Boer War and the First World War and provided two field artillery regiments of the Royal Artillery in the Second World War, before being amalgamated with the Derbyshire Yeomanry into forming the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry in 1957. The regiment's lineage is currently perpetuated by E Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry.

Commandant is a military or police rank. In the French, Spanish, Irish and Monegasque armed forces it is a rank equivalent to major. In South Africa for most of the second half of the 20th century, commandant was a rank equivalent to lieutenant-colonel.

Regiment Military unit

A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the country and the arm of service.

In 1805 Legh-Keck bought the lordship of the manor of Houghton-on-the-Hill which remained in the Lilford family until 1913. [6]

Houghton on the Hill Village near Leicester, England

Houghton on the Hill is a village and civil parish lying six miles to the east of Leicester in the Harborough district, in Leicestershire, East Midlands in England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 1,524.

Baron Lilford

Baron Lilford, of Lilford in the County of Northampton, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1797 for Thomas Powys, who had previously represented Northamptonshire in the House of Commons. His grandson, the third Baron, served as a Lord-in-waiting from 1837 to 1841 in the Whig administration of Lord Melbourne. He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Baron. He was an ornithologist. On the death of his younger son, the sixth Baron, in 1949, the line of the eldest son of the second Baron failed. The late Baron was succeeded by his second cousin once removed, the seventh Baron. He was the great-great-grandson of the Hon. Robert Vernon Powys, second son of the second Baron. As of 2010 the title is held by his only son, the eighth Baron, who succeeded in 2005. The family seat from 1711 until the 1990s was Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire. The current Baron Lilford retains ownership of land in Jersey, South Africa and West Lancashire including the Bank Hall Estate, which were inherited in 1860 by Thomas Atherton Powys, 3rd Baron Lilford upon the death of his wife's cousin George Anthony Legh Keck.

His younger cousin was William Legh, 1st Baron Newton, who previously served as a Member of Parliament.

William John Legh, 1st Baron Newton, was a British Conservative politician.

Personal life

The Legh-Keck arms at Bank Hall Bank Hall Coat of Arms April 2009.jpg
The Legh-Keck arms at Bank Hall

In 1802, Legh-Keck married his cousin Elizabeth Atherton, second daughter and co-heiress of Robert Atherton, MP, of Atherton Hall, Lancashire [7] and Henrietta Maria Legh of Lyme. In 1832, he engaged the architect, George Webster to design extensions and renovate Bank Hall, her ancestral mansion at Bretherton, Lancashire, also installing box pews at St Mary's Church, Tarleton, where he was patron of the living. His wife, Elizabeth Legh-Keck, died at Bank Hall in 1837 as did he aged 86 on 4 September 1860, being buried at Stoughton Church. [8]

The Legh-Kecks had no children, so the Bank Hall estates passed to Thomas Atherton Powys (3rd Baron Lilford) and the Stoughton estate to his wife's nephew, Major the Hon. Henry Littleton Powys-Keck. Thomas Littleton Powys, 4th Baron Lilford, who inherited Bank Hall from his father, the 3rd Baron Lilford, on 15 March 1861 auctioned its contents in April 1861 to cover death duties.

Lord Lilford then removed to his family seat at Lilford Hall, Northamptonshire, leaving Bank Hall empty and leasing it out.


Legh-Keck heraldic crests at Bank Hall. Legh Keck Symbols.JPG
Legh-Keck heraldic crests at Bank Hall.

Legh-Keck collected stuffed animals and birds and sets of horns from species worldwide. He also owned a collection of classical-style statuettes and casts of figures by the sculptor Antonio Canova.

In 1830, the artist Thomas Phillips painted a portrait of Legh-Keck which now is at the Leicester Arts and Museums Service Collection. [9]

A large mural painted on the wall of the drawing room at Bank Hall, subject unknown was lost when the roof of the west wing collapsed in the 1980s.

There is a collection of Colonel Legh-Keck's accoutrements held by the Leicestershire Yeomanry Association. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Leicestershire Yeomanry Association, (2010) "Pre 1900 - G. A. Legh-Keck"
  2. "THE LATE COLONEL LEGH KECK" . Leicester Journal. 14 September 1860. p. 14. Retrieved 3 June 2016 via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. Sir William Skeffington, Bart. as Colonel of The Leicestershire Yeomanry, c. 1794. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 43 iss. 173, p.27. March 1965.
  4. Morgan-Jones, G. (2008) "The Prince Albert's Own Yeomanry - Leicester Yeomanry"
  5. Morgan-Jones, G. (2008) "The Prince Albert's Own Yeomanry - Leicester Yeomanry"
  6. JM Lee, RA Mckinley (1964) Victoria County History - A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5: Gartree Hundred , pages 157163
  7. "Family Homes". Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. Leicestershire Rural Partnership, (2008) "Stoughton - George Legh Keck"
  9. Public Catalogue Foundation (2011) "Thomas Phillips - George Legh-Keck"
  10. Leicestershire Yeomanry Association (2011) "The Prince Albert's Own Yeomanry"
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Pochin
George Legh-Keck
Member of Parliament for Leicestershire
With: Sir Edmund Cradock-Hartopp, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Leicestershire
With: Sir Edmund Cradock-Hartopp, 1st Baronet 1798–1801
Lord Robert Manners 1806–1818, 1820–1831
Succeeded by
Charles March-Phillipps
Thomas Paget