Staveley, Thomas (DNB00)
STAVELEY, THOMAS (1626–1684), antiquary, son of William Staveley, rector of Cossington, Leicestershire, by his wife Anne, daughter of Thomas Babington of Rothley, was born at East Langton, Leicestershire, in 1626. He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, admitted of the Inner Temple on 2 July 1647, and called to the bar on 12 June 1654. He resided the greatest part of his life at Belgrave, but a few years before his death removed to Leicester; he there held the office of steward of the court of records, to which he was appointed in 1672, probably by the Earl of Huntingdon. The stimulus given to protestant opinion by the conversion of James, duke of York, to Romanism (avowed in 1669), the Declaration of Indulgence (1672), and the countermove of the Test Act of 1673, elicited from Staveley in 1674 the work by which he is best known, ‘The Romish Horseleech: or an Impartial Account of the Intolerable Charge of Popery to this Nation’ (London, 8vo). To the 1769 edition of this work is annexed an essay by Staveley ‘of the supremacy of the king of England.’
During the later years of his life Staveley studied English history and the antiquities of his native county. He left some valuable collections for the history and antiquities of Leicester, which were printed by Nichols, first in his ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica,’ and afterwards, with a curious historical pedigree of Staveley's family drawn up in 1682, in his ‘History of Leicestershire.’ He was a justice of the peace for Leicestershire, and was reputed to be ‘strictly just, abhorring bribery.’
Staveley died at Leicester on 2 Jan. 1683–4, at the age of fifty-seven, and was buried in St. Mary's Church, Leicester, on the 8th. His monumental inscription is given in Nichols's ‘History’ (i. 318), as well as an engraved portrait (ii. 678). He married, at Cossington, Leicestershire, on 31 Dec. 1656, Mary, daughter of John Onebye of Hinckley, by whom he had three sons and four daughters. His wife died on 12 Oct. 1669.
After his death were published: 1. ‘Three Historical Essays,’ published by his youngest son in 1703. 2. ‘The 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,’ 1712 (a second edition, with improvements, in 1773); a work of research and learning. Manuscript copies of ‘The History and Antiquities of the Ancient Town, and once City, of Leicester,’ are in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 15917) and in the Leicester Free Library.[Nichols's Leicestershire, i. 3, 318, 469, &c., ii. 677, 685, &c.; Hill's History of Langton, p. 23; Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, xxviii. 350.]