Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire, England / Leigh family
Stoneleigh Abbey, a former Cistercian Monastic Abbey, was purchased by Thomas Leigh, a London merchant, in 1571. His son, Thomas, was made a Baronet in 1611 and his grandson, also called Thomas, was created Baron in 1643 for his services to Charles I. By the early eighteenth century, the estate was worth about £6000 per annum, rising to £19,000 by the turn of the nineteenth century. This placed the Leighs amongst the wealthiest families in the county, but they were politically inactive, either nationally or locally. Edward, the third Lord Leigh, built an impressive west range onto the house in the 1720s and his grandson, also called Edward, refurbished much of the house in the 1760s. Both Edward and his sister, Mary, died unmarried and childless and the estate passed to a junior branch of the family, the Leighs of Adelstrop, whilst the title became extinct. James Henry engaged in another round of refurbishment in the 1810s and his son, Chandos, made improvements in the 1830s, connected with his elevation to the peerage.