Isabel Cailis or Callis. He was indebted for his education to Robert Wroth of Durants in Enfield, Middlesex, and probably to Richard Goodrich [q. v.] Though Wood places him in the ‘Athenæ Oxonienses’ (i. 428), he was not a student at Oxford. He served an apprenticeship to his father and became a member of the Drapers' Company. He appears to have taken the part of the government rather than that of the city in some political question, which had the effect of alienating him from his trade associations. Subsequently his love of study led him to become a member of the Inner Temple. He travelled in France, and in 1562 was preparing for a journey to Venice. Although vain and pedantic, Legh was certainly a man of considerable talent and of much acquired knowledge, both in languages and in various branches of science. He died of the plague on 13 Oct. 1563, and was buried on the 15th at St. Dunstan-in-the-West, where a monument was erected to his memory. He left a widow, Alice, and five daughters.
Legh's only work, entitled ‘The Accedens of Armory,’ 8vo, London, 1562 (1568, 1572, 1576, 1591, 1597, and 1612), is written in form of a colloquy between ‘Gerarde the Herehaught and Legh the Caligat Knight,’ and although put forth as an elementary treatise, is in reality a medley of irrelevant learning. Richard Argall of the Inner Temple supplied a prefatory address and probably part of the latter passages of the book. In endeavouring to explain the art, Legh is purposely obscure from fear of trenching on the official privileges of the College of Arms. Folio 228 of the work supplies what appears to be a portrait of Legh himself in the fictitious character of ‘Panther Herald.’
[Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, i. 3, 42–68, 97–118, 268–72; Moule's Bibliotheca Heraldica; Gent. Mag. August 1856, p. 216.]
LEGH, Sir THOMAS (d. 1545), visitor of the monasteries, was probably a member of the family of Legh of Lyme in Cheshire. Rowland Lee [q. v.], bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, was his cousin (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, v. 1447), and he mentions that the Bardneys of Lancashire were his relations. He may be the Thomas Legh who was educated at Eton, was elected to King's College, Cambridge, in 1509, and is described as 'of a very bulky and gross habit of body.' He proceeded B.C.L. in 1527, and D.C.L. in 1531. On 26 April 1531 a Thomas Legh resigned the canonry of the rectory of St. Sepulchre's, York, but this is probably the Thomas Legh who was chaplain to the king and a prebendary of Bridgenorth in 1513. Thomas Legh the visitor became an advocate 7 Oct. 1531. In December 1532 he was appointed ambassador to the king of Denmark (ib. v. 1646); Chapuys, writing 3 Jan. 1532-3, calls him a 'doctor of low quality' (ib. vi. 19). He returned from Denmark in March 1532-3 (ib. vi. 296), and was employed in 1533 by his cousin the bishop (ib. vi. 676). He cited Catherine to appear before Cranmer and hear the final sentence in 1533 (ib. vi. 661), and in the same year also conducted an inquiry at Rievaulx Abbey which led to the resignation of the abbot (ib. vi. 985, 1513). In January 1553-4 he went on another embassy to the Low Countries, passing to Antwerp and Lubeck (ib. vi. 1558, vii. 14, 152, 167, 433). He returned to England in April, went again to Hamburg in May, and must have returned once more in the summer (ib. vii. 527, 716, 737, 871, 1249). In October he was engaged in obtaining from the abbey of St. Albans a lease for Cavendish, one of Cromwell's servants (ib. vii. 1250, cf. 1660).
On 4 June 1535 Layton wrote to Cromwell recommending Legh and himself as visitors for the northern religious houses on the ground of their local knowledge and their devotion to the king's cause (ib. viii. 822, cf. 955). Legh, however, was first sent with John ap Rice; in July 1535 they went to Worcester [cf. under Latimer, Hugh], and thence visited, 3 July Malvern, 20 Aug. Laycock (after Malmesbury, Bradstock, and Stanley), 23 Aug. Bruton, 3 Sept. Wilton, 11 Sept. Wherwell, 24 Sept. Witney, 25 Sept, Reading, 29 Sept. Haliwell, 17 Oct. Royston, 19 Oct. Walden. Legh made a large profit out of the visitation (cf. ib. ix. 497), and complaints of his conduct were numerous. In an interesting extant letter Legh (ib. ix. 621) accounted for his 'triumphant and sumptuous usage and gay apparel,' of which Cromwell had complained. Ap Rice, who thought his treatment of the monks needlessly severe (ib. ix. 139), describes his 'ruffling,' 'intolerable elation,' 'insolent and poinpalique' behaviour, and 'satrapique' countenance (ib. p. 622). Legh was always accompanied by fourteen men in livery and his brother, all of whom had to be rewarded (ib. ix. passim, cf. p. 652). To Legh's suggestion was due the suspension of the bishops' authority during the visitation. At Cambridge Legh's changes were few. There seems to have been a previous visitation, and he merely ordered (22 Oct. 1535) the charters to be sent up to London with a rental of the university possessions, tried to pacify the strife among the nations, and established a lecture in divinity (Dixon, Hist. of Church of Engl.