Wednesday 25 June 2008

Letters Patent; Baron Kingsdown 1859

Not a grant of arms, although described as such, the Letters Patent of Thomas Pemberton-Leigh, Baron Kingsdown are presently being offered for sale on eBay. 


The seller provides the following information on the grantee and there is of course a Cheshire connection:

"Thomas Pemberton Leigh, Baron Kingsdown (11 February, 1793–1867), the eldest son of Thomas Pemberton, a chancery barrister, was born in London.

He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1816, and at once acquired a lucrative equity practice. He sat in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Rye (1831–1832) and for Ripon (1835–1843). He was made a King's Counsel in 1829. Of a retiring disposition, he seldom took part in parliamentary debates, although in 1838 in the case of Stockdale v. Hansard he took a considerable part in upholding the privileges of parliament.

In 1841, Pemberton accepted the post of attorney-general for the Duchy of Cornwall. In 1842 a relative, Sir Robert H. Leigh, left him a life interest in his Wigan estates, amounting to some £15,000 a year; he then assumed the additional surname of Leigh. Having accepted the chancellorship of the Duchy of Cornwall and a privy councillorship, he became a member of the judicial committee of the privy council, and for nearly twenty years devoted his energies and talents to the work of that body.

His judgments, more particularly in prize cases, of which he took especial charge, are remarkable not only for legal precision and accuracy, but for their form and expression.

Between 1854-1858 the Thomas Pemberton Leigh acted as the law officer representing the Duchy of Cornwall in the Cornish Foreshore Case - a case of arbitration between the Crown and the Duchy of Cornwall. Officers of the Duchy successfully argued that the Duchy enjoyed many of the rights and prerogatives of a County palatine and that although the Duke of Cornwall was not granted Royal Jurisdiction, was considered to be quasi-sovereign within his Duchy of Cornwall. The arbitration, as instructed by the Crown, was based on legal argument and documentation which led to the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act of 1858.[1]

In 1858, on the formation of Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby's administration, he was offered the Great Seal, but declined; in the same year, however, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Kingsdown.

In 1861 he was instrumental in the passing of the Wills Act 1861 (later known as Lord Kingsdown's Act), by which a will made out of the United Kingdom by a British subject is, as far as regards personal estate, good if made according to the forms required by the law of the place where it was made, or by the law of the testator's domicil at the time of making it, or by the law of the place of his domicil of origin. Primarily this had ramifications for members of the British armed forces (see also Legal history of wills)

He died at his seat, Torry Hill, near Sittingbourne, Kent, on 7 October 1867. Lord Kingsdown never married, and his title became extinct. Torry Hill stayed in the family, later known as the Leigh-Pembertons. Torry Hill was rebuilt to a Georgian design in the 1960s and only a Victorian gate-house remains on the estate. It is now a home to a new Lord Kingsdown, a life peer who is also a lawyer, country gentleman and former governor of the Bank of England."

A quick look at Burke's General Armory and the arms of (the original) Lord Kingsdown are revealed:

Kingsdown Burke’s

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