Adam and Eve 

Where do I start ? The best place is usually at the beginning.  Funnily enough Adam and Eve actually appear in my family tree !!  Unfortunately I have not managed to trace my ancestors back to the origins of the human race.  My Adam and Eve were twins who were born on 14th April 1868 in the village of Kilsby in Northamptonshire. They were the children of William Leatherland and his wife Elizabeth.  Sadly both twins died in infancy.

When I first created this website I felt able to claim that my Leatherland ancestry may have been traced back ten generations to the mid-seventeenth century. Now I am not so certain. There are a couple of uncertain and unproven links. But given the rarity of the surname, I am reasonably confident in my claim that most of the following are my ancestors, even though not all the branches of the tree fit as neatly as I would like.  

                                                            Leatherland Overview

My Leatherland ancestors came from several villages in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, all within five to ten miles of Rugby. As you will read on the Leatherland Surname page, the name is probably a variant of Litherland, and the earliest ancestors probably came from Lancashire. 

My ancestors were in Northants by the mid 17th century. They lived in the neighbouring Northamptonshire villages of Clay Coton, Yelvertoft, Crick, and Kilsby.  My branch had moved to Pailton, Monks Kirby, and Stretton-under-Fosse, in Warwickshire, by the 1820s. Then my direct ancestor, Samuel, moved to Churchover. By the early twentieth century many of the family dispersed. 

Another Leatherland branch remained in Kilsby during the nineteenth century.  There was also a Leatherland branch in the Northamptonshire villages of Guilsborough and Hollowell, indeed some of their descendants still live in the area today. 

From the 17th to mid 19th century Rugby was a small rural market town much smaller than today with a population of between one to two thousand. The main regional centre was Coventry.

This is my possible direct male ancestral line which covers ten generations, although a couple of links are not certain. line

                                               Edward Lytherland of Clay Coton (1624? - 1686)

The family has possibly been traced back to Edward Leitherland and his wife, Elizabeth, who lived in Clay Coton, Northants in the second half of the seventeenth century.

I have not managed to trace Edward and Elizabeth's marriage or their origins. But the Clifton upon Dunsmore (Warwickshire) parish register has the baptism of an 'Eadmund Lytherland', son of John Lytherland of Newton (1624) and this might be him. Two other possible baptisms are : 

Edward Litherland baptised 1628 in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire son of Humphrey and Marie Litherland

Edward Litherland baptised 1635 in Wallasey, Cheshire

There were two Litherlands (John and Thomas, probably brothers) buried in Clifton-upon-Dunsmore in 1628 and 1635 which may indicate that the family originated there.

Edward and Elizabeth Lytherland had eight children all baptised in Clay Coton, although three died in infancy.  

Edward was buried in 1686, Elizabeth in 1699. In the burial register she was described as a "poor widow". 


         The former Andrews Church, Clay Coton where the children of Edward and Elizabeth Lytherland were baptised (Photo © David Richards)

                              Christopher Leatherland (1654 - 1731) : Sheep Farmer 

The family line continues with Edward and Elizabeth's second son, Christopher, who was baptised in 1654 in Clay Coton. 

Christopher was a sheep farmer. We know this because the parish register for Yelvertoft where he lived includes a list of local sheep farmers and their stock of sheep between 1705 and 1710. 

When he was 32 years old, he married Sarah Watson/Walton in Yelvertoft on Easter Day, April 1686. They had nine children baptised there between 1686 and 1705.

Christopher died in 1731 at the age of 77. The parish register described him as “poor”. Sarah died two years later.


                                            The churchyard of All Saints Church, Yelvertoft (photo ©David Richards)

                                      Edward Leatherland of Crick (1700 - 1763 ) : Servant Man

Edward Leatherland was the sixth son of Christopher and Sarah Leatherland. He was baptised in 1700 in Yelvertoft

In 1726 he married Esther Watts in West Haddon. Their marriage licence describes him as the servant man of Jeremiah Bullock, a schoolmaster. 

They had three sons baptised in Crick between 1732 and 1739.  Edward was described as a labourer in the baptism entries. 

Edward died in 1763.  He was buried in Crick.  Esther died in 1786. Both left wills. 

                                                     Thatched roofed house in Crick (photo ©David Richards)                 

                                            William Leatherland (1737 - 1820) : Philanderer ? 

William Leatherland was the second son of Edward and Esther. He was baptised in 1737 in Crick.  I have found no evidence that he ever married. But in 1764 he fathered a child, William, whose mother was Eliza Clark.  It is not clear whether the child was brought up with the name Clark or Leatherland, although there is some evidence suggesting the latter. 

This is one of two uncertain links in my family tree which depends on the theory that his son, William, was brought up as a Leatherland. But if not, there is some evidence which suggests that my ancestors were also descendants of Edward and Elizabeth of Clay Coton via a different line.






                                                Grand Union Canal in Watford, Northants

                                       William Leatherland of Kilsby (1764 - 1830) : Labourer 

William was baptised in 1764 in Crick, Northants  as “William son of Wm. Leatherland & Eliz Clark”. This shows that his parents were not married so he was illegitimate. Indeed the Crick Overseers of the Poor records show that his father was forced to financially support his mother for many years.

William married twice : Ann Hall (1783) and, after her death, Jane Daniel (1801). William and Ann had two, possibly three children, William and Jane had nine children, all baptised in Kilsby Independent (Congregational|) chapel. 

William died in 1830 and was buried in Kilsby 

Of course this ten generation family line of descent depends on whether William was brought up as Leatherland or Clark. But if he was a Clark, then there was still undoubtedly a William Leatherland who lived in Kilsby, married twice and had about twelve children. And given the rarity of the name he is likely to be a descendant of the seventeenth century Edward Lytherland. 

                                         Samuel Leatherland of Pailton (1791 - 1880) : Ag Lab

One of William and his first wife Ann's children was Samuel. He was baptised as Samuel son of William and Ann Lealon in Kilsby on Christmas Day 1790. Lealon is a very unusual variant of Leatherland but I am reasonably confident this was him.

He married Elizabeth Langton in Claybrooke, Leicestershire in 1818. They had eight children, but I have not traced down any of their baptisms, possibly because the family was nonconformist. The census shows that the family lived in Pailton. 

Unfortunately - from a family historian's point of view - tracing their descendants is made harder by the fact that they only had two sons, but alas one daughter married a Smith and another married a Jones !

Samuel was an agricultural labourer. Both lived to an old age although sadly Elizabeth ended her days in an asylum with dementia.

You can read more about them in Pailton Leatherlands.  

                                        Samuel Leatherland of Churchover (1836 - 1910) : Roadman 

Samuel was the last born child of Samuel and Elizabeth. He was probably born around 1836 although no baptism has ever been found. Samuel appears in the 1851 cenus as a a farm servant in Lutterworth in 1851 and as a shepherd in Coleorton, Leicestershire in 1861.  

In 1866 he married Susanna Foster, a 15 year old servant in Churchover. They lived there for the rest of their lives and had thirteen children. 


                                                                        Samuel and Susanna in the 1900s

Samuel worked as a farm labourer until the 1900s  when he became a county council road maintenance worker.  He probably gave his name to a building called 'Leatherland's Barn' in the fields behind Churchover.  

He died at the age of 75.  Susanna lived until 1927.  Both are buried in the churchyard in Churchover with one of the few family gravestones.

                                      John Leatherland, Bandmaster (1870 - 1945)

John Edward Leatherland was born in Churchover, Warwickshire in 1870. He joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at a young age  and served in India, Ceylon and Afghanistan during the 1880s and 1890s. The family believed that he was an army bandmaster, although his service records make no mention of this. In 1897 he married Elizabeth Abbis in Birmingham. She was a blacksmith's daughter.

He had various jobs after the army :  bandmaster at an Industrial School for young offenders,  gardener at a truant school, valet and domestic servant, and finally working for Cadburys as a joiner and packing case maker.

John's wife died at the age of 34 leaving him with four young sons to bring up. He advertised for a housekeeper and later married the lady who got the job, Rosina Atkins, a Londoner and daughter of a portmanteau [suitcase] maker. They had one daughter, Rosa.

John Leatherland died in Essex in 1945 at the age of 74.  Rosina died 5 years later.

                                Charles Leatherland : Journalist and Politician (1898 - 1992)

My grandfather, Charles Leatherland, was born in Birmingham in 1898. He left school at 14 and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the outbreak of the First World War, becoming a Company Sergeant Major. 

After the war he became a journalist in Macclesfield, Cheshire. In 1922 he married Mollie Morgan. In 1924 he moved to London to work at Labour Party head office as a Parliamentary Correspondent. Five years later he became a Politicial Sub-Editor on the Daily Herald newspaper where he worked for over 30 years becoming Assistant Editor. 


                                                                         Charles Leatherland

He was active in local politics and in public life becoming a district and county councillor, a magistrate, and a writer on local government affairs in the national press. Following his retirement from the Daily Herald, he became a Labour peer in the House of Lords. He died at the age of 94. 

For more information on Charles Leatherland's life, have a look at my site 

                                               John Leatherland (1930 - 2018)



My uncle, John Leatherland, continued the family tradition of serving in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Intelligence Corps including a spell in Trieste Austria where he interrogated German prisoners.  Later he worked as an advertising rep. His carried out all of the early research into the Leatherland family history. He married Esther Steckmann in 1954. They have two daughters and three grandsons. John died in 2018 aged 88. 

                                             Irene Richards (nee Leatherland) (1923 - 2015)


My mother, Irene Leatherland, served in the Women's Royal Auxiliary Air Force (the WAAF) during World War Two. She then worked at Labour Party head office in Westminster for 15 years as a shorthand typist, secretary and conference officer. She married Douglas Richards in 1961. She had two children and two grandsons. She died in 2015 at the age of 91. 


So, there we have it.  A family traced back ten generations to the mid-seventeenth century. Or is it ? All family trees make assumptions and mine is no different.  There are gaps and uncertainties and a few educated guesses.  I am hoping that further research will fill in the gaps but in my experience the more you find out, the less clear everything becomes !

For detailed family trees please see my tribal pages site

David Richards :