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Ulcombe and the St. Legers

Updated April 4, 2008

About Our Family Research


The aims of this web page is to portray the history of the St. Leger family from their origns in England in the village of Ulcombe, Kent to their settlement in Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom.

Family tradition says they are descended from a Norman knight, Sir Robertus de Sancto Leodegario who is reputed to have supported the hand of William the Conqueror when he stumbled from his ship in the waters off Pevensey in 1066. This sounds shere fantasy which was often done to establish a pedigree going back to some notable person or time in history. Sir Robert certainly existed and many of todays branches can trace their ancestry back to him but there is no proof that he was even at the Battle of Hastings, let alone supported William the Conqueror when he fell!. Sir Robert did hold lands in Bexhill in 1086 and later held the manor of Ulcombe in Kent which his descendants owned until it was sold in 1648. It is very possible that Sir Robertus Sancto Leodegario was amongst the followers of William the Conqueror who settled in Britain during the first year after the invasion as many did. He is not mentioned in any of the authoritive works on the Conquest as having been present at the Battle of Hastings.

The descendants of Sir Robert soon settled in other parts ; in the early 13th century William de St. Leger of the Kentish family settled in Kilkenny and his descendants became the St. Legers of Tullaghambrogue. In the later 16th century another Sir William St. Leger settled in Ireland and his descendants became the ancestors of the St. Legers of co. Cork and of the Viscounts Doneraile. Another descendant, James St. Leger settled in Devon. Anne St. Leger, married Thomas Digges and became the grandmother of Edward Digges, the Govenor of Virginia. There were many more St. Legers from the Kentish family who settled in London and other parts of Kent.

But NOT ALL St. Leger/St. Ledgers are descended from the Kentish family. There was a family of French Huguenots who settled in London in the late 16th/early 17th century and then there was the family of Henry Le Coq another French Huguenot who landed with William of Orange at Torbay as "Captain of Horse". He was naturalised in 1698 and assumed the name of St. Leger and settled at Charleston, Sunbury, Middlesex and at Trunkwell House, Shinfield, Berkshire.

NOTABLE ST. LEGERS
==================
In 1776 the famous classic horse race, The St. Leger, was named after of its founder, Lt. Col.Anthony St. Leger. It has been run annually at Doncaster ever since. Elizabeth St. Leger (Mrs. Aldworth) was the First Lady Freemason. And, Major Barry St. Leger, one of Lt. col. Anthony St. Leger's brothers, served in the American War of Independence fighting against the American rebels. Then there was Capt. John St. Leger, a member of the United Irishmen. John was tried for treason and embezzeling powder belonging to His Majesty. He was found guilty of the latter charge and sentenced to transportation for life.

Jane St. Leger (b.1801/2) was my husband's great, great grandmother and she was my inspiration for my interest in genealogy. Needless to say, it was trying to trace her lineage from the St. Leger's which started me off on my family history quest. I have never yet found for definite her connection but I have, through her, traced my own family history which has been just as interesting a task.

There is more information on the St. Leger family and my Staffordshire and Pembrokeshire ancestors on my sister website St. Leger-May Genealogy. You will find the link listed below. Do take a look if you are interested in the name ST. LEGER. You may well find some connections there.



Please remember that this document is not completely verified.
The information cannot be relied upon as a source.
It may however, provide clues for further research, that can be substantiated

Copyright Rosemary May 2003

 
Family Trees (viewing trees requires 4.0 or later browser)
  • THE FAMILY TREE (6289 KB)
    A family tree of all our known family and connections including the families of HEVENINGHAM, ST. LEGER, FERRIOR, ELLIOT, FEILD, ANDREW, DAVIES, ROWE, CORNOCK, THOMAS, CRANWILL, CONNORS, RUSSELL, MAY, BROOKE, COLLEY, KEEGAN and many, many more. . . .
 
Family Photos
  • Doneraile Court, Doneraile, co. Cork (86 KB)
    The Main Entrance
  • Jane St. Leger (1801/2 - 1855) (45 KB)
    This family photograph is believed to be our 3 x great grandmother, Jane St. Leger
  • Doneraile Court (33 KB)
    Built in 1725
  • St. Leger Arms (89 KB)
    The arms of the St. Leger family over the portico of the main entrance to Doneraile Court.
  • Memoir of The Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger (264 KB)
    An account of the story of Elizabeth's iniation into the Freemasons.
  • Doneraile Court (89 KB)
    Photo taken of the rear of the house in 1984.
  • Ulcombe Church, Kent (55 KB)
    The St. Leger Chapel in Ulcombe Church.
  • Monument to Sir Thomas St.Leger & Anne of York (42 KB)
    Sir Thomas St. Leger was executed at Exeter in 1483 and his body interred in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, alongside that of his wife, Anne Duchess of Exeter. No mention is made of his ignominious end on the copper plate fixed to the wall of their chantry, now called the Rutland Chapel. On a shield above his head are the St. Leger arms. The Plantagenet arms appear on the shield above his wife Anne's, head and the inscription reads : Wythin thys Chappell lyethe beryed Anne Duchess of Exetur suster unto the noble kyng Edward the forte. And also the body of syr Thomas Sellynger knyght her husband whych hathe funde wythin thys College a Chauntre wyth too prestys sy'gyng for eu'more. On whose soule god haue mercy. The wych Anne duchess dyed in the yere of oure lorde M Thowsande CCCC1xxv. The photo of the tomb is that of Sir Thomas's daughter Anne by his wife Anne Duchess of Exeter, and her husband George Manners, eleventh Lord Ros and their tomb is known as the Ros tomb. The tomb clearly displays the St. Leger arms. The St. Leger Chantry was restyled the Rutland Chapel after their descendants.
  • Doneraile Court (27 KB)
    The Dining Room photographed after restoration in 1984.
  • Monument to Sir Anthony St. Leger (1496 - 1559) (85 KB)
    This is the inscription on the monument at Ulcombe Church to Sir Anthony St. Leger, Lord Deputy of Ireland, who served the crown under Henry VIII and Edward VI.
  • Doneraile Court (47 KB)
    Photo taken 1984 during restoration of the main entrance hall.
  • Leeds Castle (52 KB)
    Photo taken from beyond the lake.
  • Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger (Mrs. Aldworth) (31 KB)
    The First Lady Freemason. This picture is in the ownership of our family.
  • Display of St. Leger Arms (121 KB)
    Details from the stained glass window in the North Chapel known as the St. Leger Chapel, All Saints Church, *******. The Chapel was built in the Tudor period.
  • The Gate House, Leeds Castle, Kent. (76 KB)
    The Gate House is part of the old original castle.
  • Monument to Sir Anthony St. Leger (1496-1559) (19 KB)
    This monument can be seen in the St. Leger Chapel at Ulcombe. There is another photo on this photo links page of the inscription.
  • Leeds Castle, Kent (86 KB)
    Leeds Castle was granted to Sir Anthony St. Leger by the Crown in 1552 and stayed in St. Leger ownership until 1618 when Sir Warham St. Leger sold it to Sir Richard Smyth, his wife's uncle. It was later sold by the daughters of Sir Richard Smyth to Sir Thomas Culpeper in 1632. This picture shows the ruins of part of the old castle.
  • Brass in All Saints Church, Ulcombe (59 KB)
    Sir Ralph St. Leger, Sheriff of Kent, and Constable of Leeds Castle, 1468 and Anne his wife.
  • All Saints Church, Ulcombe, Kent (21 KB)
    It was here at Ulcombe where the St. Leger family settled some time after 1086.
 
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