DANNETT, Leonard (c.1530-91), of Dannetts Hall, Bruntingthorpe, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. c.1530, 1st s. of Sir John Dannett by Anne, da. and h. of Thomas Ellinbridge of Merstham and Croydon, Surr. educ. M. Temple 1551. m. (1) Frances Clopton; (2) Christiana; s.p. suc. fa. 6 Apr. 1542.
Servant of the Duke of Suffolk by 1553.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. Jan.-Nov. 1561; j.p. Leics. 1561-c.87, Warws. 1574-c.82.
Dannett’s grandfather, Gerard, squire of the Household to Henry VIII, married Mary, daughter and coheir of Sir Edward Belknap, acquiring estates in Warwickshire, Kent and Surrey. His son Sir John Dannett also married an heiress, so, on the death of his grandmother in 1556, Leonard Dannett came into a valuable inheritance. Licensed to enter on his lands in 1559, he added to his estates considerably by purchase, but towards the end of his life mounting debts forced him to sell or mortgage a number of his manors.
Dannett had some legal training but was not a practising lawyer. He probably retained the connexion with the Grey family that had got him into trouble in 1554, and his seat at Marlborough in 1563 was, no doubt, obtained through Lady Catherine Grey’s husband, the Earl of Hertford. On 15 Nov. 1566 he was licensed to be absent from the House ‘for his great affairs’.
Little more is heard of him after this date, apart from lawsuits relating to his lands and debts. Though in 1564 ‘classified earnest in religion’, he was removed from the commission of the peace before 1587. He died four years later, a nuncupative will of 10 Feb. 1591 being proved in the Leicester archdeaconry court in the following January. He left small legacies to servants, ordered his principal manors to be sold to pay his debts, and left the residue of his goods to two servants or friends, Edward Cowlie and his wife. This will does not seem to have been executed, and on 23 Feb. 1593 letters of administration were granted to Leonard’s brother John, heir to his lands and his debts.
Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 169-70; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), ix. 180, 182-195; Nash, Worcs. i. 347; VCH Surr.iii. 216, 259; CPR, 1553-4, p. 400; 1558-60, pp. 75, 150; APC, iv. 399; CJ, i. 77; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 30; PCC admon. act bk. 1592-8, f. 6; PCC 28 Huddleston.