LAYTON, John (d.1588), of West Layton, nr. Richmond, Yorks.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Ralph Layton of West Layton by Margery Green of Lamouth, m. Beatrice, da. of Richard Sedgwick of Walburn, 3s. 3da.1
A large and ancient family, the Laytons had established several branches in Yorkshire, mainly in the Cleveland district of the North Riding. One branch settled at Sexhow, near Stokesley, and held the manor of East Layton. The neighbouring West Layton, which had become a separate manor in 1494, was held by another branch of the family, while a third lived on the same estate. Yet another lived at Snape Low Park, presumably as tenants of the Latimers. By the Elizabethan period, these branches were only distantly related, though they lived nearby and intermarried.2
It is not absolutely certain which of three namesakes was returned for Appleby in 1571. The man whose particulars appear at the head of this biography has been chosen on the balance of probability. A cousin, John Layton of Snape, younger and of lower status, was (probably) the auditor to John Nevill, 4th Lord Latimer, and the defendant in a Chancery action brought by Latimer for the recovery of documents proving the Nevills’ title to Snape. Another cousin and namesake of East Layton has been discounted because he was a cripple ‘never able to go or stand alone by himself’.3
Assuming that the West Layton man was the MP, he would probably have been returned through the influence of the Earl of Sussex, who controlled Appleby during the Earl of Cumberland’s minority and the aftermath of the northern rebellion. The return of three members of the family to the Parliament of 1571 may be seen as a reward for their services during the rebellion. The Mr. Layton who served on committees in this Parliament was probably Thomas Layton I. John Layton died in December 1588, William, his eldest and heir—a son John had died 11 years previously—being then aged 50.4