LEKE, Robert, Lord Deincourt (1654-1707), of Duke Street, Westminster.
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Family and Education
b. 9 Mar. 1654, 1st s. of Nicholas, 2nd Earl of Scarsdale, by Lady Frances Rich, da. of Robert Rich†, 2nd Earl of Warwick. educ. travelled abroad 1668. m. Feb. 1672, Mary (d. 17 Feb. 1684), da. and coh. of Sir John Lewis, 1st Bt., of Ledston, Yorks, 1da. d.v.p. summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony as Lord Deincourt 22 Oct. 1680, suc. fa. as 3rd Earl of Scarsdale 27 Jan. 1681.1
Capt. gent. pens. 1677-83, groom of the stole to Prince George of Denmark 1685-7.
Keeper, Sherwood Forest 1677-?90, ld. lt. Derbys. 1685-7, j.p. by 1701-?d.2
Capt. Lord Gerard’s Horse 1678-9, indep. tp. 1685; col. Princess Anne’s Horse 1685-7.
Lord Deincourt’s ancestors had been prominent in the North Midlands since the reign of John, and first represented Nottinghamshire in 1362. His grandfather, though no courtier, rather reluctantly supported the King in the Civil War, but his father claimed parliamentary sympathies. Deincourt began a highly successful career among the opposite sex by eloping with the daughter of a wealthy Eastern merchant, ‘a very handsome young woman’ if the Duke of York’s judgment is to be trusted. He was returned for Newark on the interest of his cousin Sir Francis Leke at the general election of February 1679. He was an inactive Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, being appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges. Shaftesbury marked him ‘base’, but he abstained from the division on the exclusion bill. On II Aug. 1679 Lord Halifax wrote to Henry Savile: ‘Your friend my Lord Deincourt will try at Newark, but saith he will not be at any charge, which maketh me doubt his success’. Instead Deincourt was called up to the House of Lords, where his father consistently voted with the country party. Father and son took opposite sides both on the second exclusion bill and the condemnation of Lord Stafford.3
Deincourt succeeded to the earldom before the next Parliament, and with the Tory reaction was made lord lieutenant of Derbyshire, where the principal family estates lay. Under James II he was given a post in Prince George’s household, and a regiment; all his officers were Protestant except two subalterns. He was dismissed from all his posts for opposing James’s policy on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and at the Revolution he took up arms against James. In the Convention he voted for a regency. He took the oaths on 1 Apr. 1690, but was arrested as a Jacobite in 1692 and refused the Association in 1696. As a High Churchman, he took part in the coronation of Queen Anne, but held no further office. He died on 27 Dec. 1707 and was succeeded by his nephew, a Jacobite, on whose death the peerage became extinct.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: E. R. Edwards
- 1. CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 477; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1526.
- 2. Savile Corresp. (Cam. Soc. lxxi), 57.
- 3. Thoroton, Notts. i. 48, 390; Clarendon, Rebellion, ii. 332-4; CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 147; 1683-4, p. 281; Savile Corresp. 118; Northants RO, Finch-Hatton mss 2893 D; Bodl. Carte 80, f. 823.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1687-9, pp. 110, 111; 1691-2, pp. 276, 319; Feiling, Tory Party, 236, 249, 319; LJ, xiv. 444; HMC Cowper, iii. 15.