Northwich to the United States
In search of the Leftwich family roots
J.Fran Orian <firstname.lastname@example.org> emails from Hawaii
to enquire about the Leftwich family which he believes descends
from Richard De Leftwich, born 1309 in “Shipbrooke, Cheshire”.
He writes: “ I'm interested in knowing how far back the ancestry
can be traced as there are several rumours in my family about our
history that I would like to verify. Also, any information on the
current state of repair and occupancy of 'Leftwich Hall' including
its location? "
The Leftwich family was a prominent in Cheshire antiquity and through
one of their number the name is now equally established in many
parts of the United States.
The Leftwich’s known origins lie in the reign of Edward the
Confessor when they were Lords of Leftwich and holders of lands
at Shipbroke, near what is now the town of Northwich.
With the Norman Conquest, the Barony of Shipbroke passed to Richard
De Vernon who accompanied William of Normandy to England in 1066.
Later through marriage into the Winnington family, another family
of Norman origin, part of Shipbroke, and the Barony, returned to
the Leftwich’s whose ancestral home was Leftwich Hall. Richard
De Leftwich (1256-1307) was the son of Robert De Winnington and
his second wife Matilda, a daughter of the Vernons. It was Richard
who inherited the manor and was he who was the first to formally
bear the name of Leftwich.
In 1403, Robert De Leftwich fought at the Battle of Shrewsbury in
the Percy Rebellion on the side of the defeated ‘Hotspur’.
He was afterwards proclaimed to be a Rebel.
In 1658, or thereabouts, it seems that Ralph Leftwich, the son of
Thomas Leftwich of England, emigrated to the New World and in New
Kent County (Virginia) was granted 300 acres of land on the Peanketank
His son Thomas was born in Caroline County and his grandson, Joel
Leftwich, fought with distinction in many campaigns, including the
American War of Independence, attaining the rank of Brigadier General.
He served in the General Assembly of Virginia and was also Sheriff
of Bedford County.
The Leftwich family eventually spread across America, notably into
the Southern states, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North
Carolina, Tennessee, as well as Texas.
One of the most illustrious Leftwich sons of modern times was Lt
Col William G.Leftwich who was born in 1931 in Memphis. He enjoyed
an exemplary military record with the Marine Corps but was sadly
killed in a helicopter crash whilst serving in Vietnam. In 1979,
a United States’ war ship, the USS Leftwich, was named in
Little is known about the earliest Leftwich Hall, except that it
was demolished and replaced in 1493. In 1616 it passed out of the
family when Elizabeth Leftwich married William Oldfield; she being
the last in direct line of succession.
The Hall remained in the Oldfield family for about 150 years and
afterwards it was allowed to fall into decay, eventually being pulled
down about 1820.
A farm stood here until after the Second World War and the Leftwich
council housing estate now occupies the site. The only evidence
of the former ancestral home is in the name, Old Hall Road.
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