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Family and Education
The frequent occurrence of this name in the records makes it impossible to suggest any family links for this Member, who may or may not have been related to the Cornish family. He was presumably the man whose son was baptized at Barnstaple in 1583, but he was not elected a freeman of the town until a week before the 1593 Parliament began. He may have had some legal training, as he is found advising the town in 1600, and acting against the town in 1608. Probably it was the same man who was a servant of the Earl of Bath in 1622 and who figures in his will, and probably he was also the Richard Ley of East Devon, an estate near Barnstaple. It is not known whether or not Leye owed his parliamentary seat to the Earl of Bath. He can only have done so if the Earl was nominating both Barnstaple Members at the time. In the course of the 1593 Parliament, the burgesses for Barnstaple were appointed to two committees concerning kerseys (23 Mar. and 2 Apr.).
Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 127-9; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxxii. 257; Chanter, Lit. Hist. Barnstaple, 109, 117-19; J. Gribble, Barnstaple, 285, 290-1; PCC 93 Swann; Devon RO, Tingey 1106 (ex Roberts thesis).