Open main menu

Leigh, Charles (1662-1701?) (DNB00)

LEIGH, CHARLES (1662–1701?), physician and naturalist, son of William Leigh of Singleton-in-the-Fylde, Lancashire, and great-grandson of William Leigh [q. v.], B.D., rector of Standish, was born at Singleton Grange in 1662. On 7 July 1679 he became a commoner of Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 24 May 1683. Wood records that he left Oxford in debt and went to Cambridge, to Jesus College, as is believed. He graduated M.A. and M.D. (1689) at Cambridge. He was on 13 May 1685 elected F.R.S. When Wood wrote his 'Athenæ Oxonienses,' Leigh was practising in London; but he lived at Manchester at a later date, and had an extensive practice throughout Lancashire.

Some of his papers read before the Royal Society are printed in the 'Philosophical Transactions,' and he published the following separate works: 1. 'Phthisologia Lancastriensis, cui accessit Tentamen Philosophicum de Mineralibus Aquis in eodem comitatu observatis,' 1694, 8vo; reprinted at Geneva, 1736. 2. 'Exercitationes quinque, de Aquis Mineralibus; Thermis Calidis; Morbis Acutis; Morbis Intermittentib.; Hydrope,' 1697, 8vo. 3. 'The Natural History of Lancashire, Cheshire, and the Peak in Derbyshire; with an account of the British, Phoenic, Armenian, Gr. and Rom. Antiquities found in those parts,' Oxford, 1700, fol. This contains a good portrait after Faithorne as frontispiece. He also wrote three pamphlets in 1698 in answer to R. Bolton on the 'Heat of the Blood,' and one in reply to John Colebatch on curing the bite of a viper. His writings are of little value, and there is reason for the remark of Dr. T. D. Whitaker that 'his vanity and petulance' were 'at least equal to his want of literature.' His 'Natural History' is little more than a translation of his earlier Latin treatises.

He married Dorothy, daughter of Edward Shuttleworth of Larbrick, Lancashire, with whom he received a moiety of the manor of Larbrick, afterwards surrendered in payment of a debt owing by Leigh to Serjeant Bretland. He left no issue. His widow died before 1717.

He is said to have died in 1701, but there is some doubt on this point, as Hearne, writing on 30 Oct. 1705 (MS. Diary, iv. 222), says : 'I am told Dr. Leigh, who writ the "Natural History of Lancashire," has divers things fit for the press, but that he will not let them see the light because his History has not taken well.'

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 643, iv. 609; Fish-wick's Kirkham (Chetham Soc.), pp. 183, 189; Nicholson's Engl. Hist. Libr. ed. 1776, p. 13; Earwaker's Local Gleanings, 4to, i. 68; Ormerod's Cheshire (Helsby), i. xxxiii; Dugdale's Visitation of Lancashire (Chetham Soc.), p. 183; Malcolm's Lives, 1815, 4to; Whitaker's Whalley, 1818, p. 26; Gough's Brit. Topogr.; Corresp. of K. Richardson of Bierley, p. 25; Raines's Fellows of Manchester College (Chetham Soc.), i. 184; Derby Household Books (Chetham

Soc.), p. 119; Thoresby's Corresp. i. 390; J. E. Bailey's MSS. in Chetham Library, Bundle No. 7.]

C. W. S.