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Sir John Leveson (21 March 1555 – 14 November 1615) was an English politician. He was instrumental in putting down the Essex rebellion of 8 February 1601.

Sir John Leveson
Born21 March 1555
Whornes Place, Cuxton, Kent
Died14 November 1615
Whornes Place, Cuxton, Kent
BuriedCuxton, Kent
Spouse(s)Margaret Manwood
Christian Mildmay
Sir John Leveson
Richard Leveson
Francis Leveson
two other sons
Rachel Leveson
seven other daughters
FatherThomas Leveson
MotherUrsula Gresham



John Leveson, born 21 March 1555 at Whornes Place, Cuxton, Kent, was the eldest son of Thomas Leveson (1532–1576), second son of the London mercer Nicholas Leveson (d.1539) by Denise or Dionyse Bodley (d.1561), youngest daughter of Thomas Bodley (d.1493) and Joan Leche (d. March 1530).[1] His mother was Ursula Gresham (1534–1574), one of the twelve children of Sir John Gresham, Lord Mayor of London.[2]

Leveson had a younger brother, William Leveson (d.1621), one of two trustees used by William Kempe, Thomas Pope (d.1603), Augustine Phillips (d.1605), John Heminges (bap. 1566, d. 1630) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616) to allocate shareholdings in the Globe Theatre in 1599.[3]


Leveson matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, on 10 January 1576, and studied for a time at Gray's Inn.[2]

According to Wisker, Leveson was an efficient estate manager and 'an excellent public servant'. He was a close associate in Kent of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, and eventually one of the executors of his will. He was also a captain in Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby's 1589 expedition to France. He was knighted in 1589, and helped raise volunteers for three of Sir John Norris's expeditions in 1589, 1596 and 1601.[2] He was a cousin of Sir Richard Leveson, and with him was involved in the shipment of 2000 soldiers sent to Ireland in 1601.[2]

While riding to his house at the Blackfriars, London, on 8 February 1601 Leveson inadvertently became instrumental in suppressing the rebellion of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, taking command of a force on Ludgate Hill and placing a barrier across the street. Within half an hour Essex's men tried to force their way through, and in the resulting skirmish Essex's stepfather, Sir Christopher Blount was injured, whereupon Essex withdrew with his men to Essex House.[4]

Leveson was a Member of Parliament for Bossiney in 1586, Maidstone in 1597 and 1601, and for Kent in 1604.[5]

He died at Whornes Place on 14 November 1615, and was buried in the parish church at Cuxton on 22 November.[2]

Marriages and issueEdit

Leveson married firstly, on 27 April 1579, Margaret Manwood (d. 26 April 1585), the daughter of Sir Roger Manwood,[2] by whom he had three daughters who died in the lifetime of their father.[5]

Leveson married secondly, on 9 July 1586, Christian Mildmay (d. February 1627), widow of Charles Barrett by whom she was the mother of Edward Barrett, 1st and last Baron Barrett, and daughter of Sir Walter Mildmay,[2] by whom he had five sons, three of whom died within the lifetime of their father, and five daughters, four of whom died within the lifetime of their father.[5]

Among Leveson's children who lived to adulthood were:



  • Cokayne, George Edward (1936). The Complete Peerage, edited by H.A. Doubleday and Lord Howard de Walden. IX. London: St. Catherine Press. p. 554.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1953). The Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White. XII, Part I. London: St Catherine Press. pp. 531–2.
  • Corrigan, Brian Jay (2004). Playhouse Law in Shakespeare’s World. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. pp. 64–71. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  • Honigmann, E.A.J. (1998). Shakespeare: The 'Lost Years'. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 87–9. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  • Hotson, Leslie (1937). I, William Shakespeare Do Appoint Thomas Russell, Esquire... London: Jonathan Cape. pp. 160–8, 218–19, 228, 231. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  • Leveson Gower, Granville (1883). Genealogy of the Family of Gresham. London: Mitchell and Hughes. p. 21. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  • McKeen, David (1986). A Memory of Honour; The Life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham. 2. Salzburg: Universitat Salzburg. pp. 424–9, 702, 752. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  • Overall, W.H. (1875). "Notes on Two Monumental Brasses in the Church of Saint Andrew-Under-Shaft, Leadenhall Street". Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. London: J.B. Nichols and Sons. pp. 287–96. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  • Sutton, Anne F. (1994). "Lady Joan Bradbury (d. 1530)". In Barron, Caroline M.; Sutton, Anne F. (eds.). Medieval London Widows 1300-1500. London: Hambledon Press. pp. 209–238. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  • Wisker, Richard (2004). "Leveson, Sir John (1555–1615)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/46972.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External linksEdit