Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Sir Richard Levett (-1711), and his family


Sir Richard Levett was a merchant who mostly dealt in tobacco, and served as Lord Mayor of London in 1699. In 1697 he bought the 'Dutch House' (now Kew Palace) in Kew, Surrey, along with other premises in Kew. Sir Richard Levett and other members of his family are buried at Kew parish church. There was a dispute between the two surviving daughters of his second marriage, Elizabeth Hulse and Mary Blackborne (later Thoroton) over the division of his estates. An agreement was finally drawn up, by which Kew was inherited by Mary and the Blackborne family, and Sutton-on-Trent by Elizabeth and the Hulse family.

Mary Levett (1689-1764) married her father's business partner Abraham Blackborne (d 1720) in around 1710. In 1723, after Abraham's death, Mary married Robert Thoroton of Screveton (1692-1751). The four children of Mary's first marriage were close to the three surviving children of her second, and as none of them had any children, most of the Levett and Blackborne fortunes came to the Thoroton family. Mary's eldest son Levett Blackborne (d 1781) was a lawyer and trustee for the Thoroton family, and left the £20,000 proceeds of sale of the Kew estate (which he sold to the Crown in 1781) in his will for his half-brother Thomas Thoroton and his heirs.



  • Father, possibly Rev. Richard Levett, vicar of Ashwell, Rutland 
    • Sarah (-1729) m Timothy Griffith 
      • Richard (1690-) 
      • ? Timothy, mentioned in deeds in the Thoroton Hildyard Collection, but perhaps in error for Richard
    • Francis (1654-1705), merchant in partnership with his brother Sir Richard Levett, married Susan Holt, daughter of Sir Thomas Holt 
      • Richard, barrister and Alderman of London 
      • Henry (-1726) 
      • Francis (-1764), representative of the Levant Company in Constantinople 
      • Catherine, m Ebenezer Ibbetson 
    • Rev. Dr William (-1694), Dean of Bristol and Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford. Married. 
      • 5 daughters 
    • Sir Richard Levett (-1711) married firstly, Mary Shipton (died c.1681-1685), daughter of Edward Shipton, grocer, of London (-1666) and Anne Shipton 
      • Richard (-1740), Alderman and Sheriff of London, bankrupt in 1730, married Anne Sweetaple, daughter of Sir John Sweetaple, goldsmith, of London, in 1694 
        • Anne (1697-) 
        • Mary 
        • Elizabeth 
        • Rev. Richard (1695-), rector of Blithfield and Leigh, Staffordshire, ancestor of the Levetts of Milford Hall, Staffordshire 
      • Anne, m William Franke of Leicester in 1695 
        • Anna Maria Franke (1691-)
        • William Franke (1693-) 
        • Katherine Franke (1696-) 
        • Levett Franke (1697-1735), rector of Screveton 1728-1735 
        • James Franke (1708-) 
        • Harry Franke 
        • Mary Franke 
    • Richard Levett (-1711) married secondly in 1685 Mary Clarke (-1722), sister of William Clarke of Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire 
      • Frances (1686-1707), married in 1706, as his first wife, Thomas Lewis (-1732) of St Pierre, Monmouthshire. No children 
      • Elizabeth (1694-1742), married in 1713 Edward Hulse (1682-1759), created 1st Baronet in 1739 
        • Levett Hulse (died in infancy) 
        • Sir Edward Hulse, 2nd Baronet (1715-1800) 
        • Mary Hulse (1716-) 
        • Westrow Hulse (1723-1746) 
        • Richard Hulse (1727-1805) 
        • Elizabeth Hulse (1732-), married John Calvert 
        • Thomas Hulse (1735-1766) 
      • Mary (1689-1764), married firstly Abraham Blackborne (-1720) in 1710, and secondly Robert Thoroton  in 1723. Children of her first marriage:
        • Susanna (1712-), unmarried 
        • Mary (1713-), m Charles Newton 
        • Levett Blackborne (-1781), lawyer and judge. Unmarried
        • Rev. Abraham Blackborne (1715-1797), vicar of Dagenham 1739-1797, vicar of Hampton, married Francis Fanshawe (1720-1795), daughter of Thomas Fanshawe of Parsloes, Essex. No children
      • n.b. Sir Richard Levett apparently had a second son, William (it is unknown whether this was from his first or second marriage), who is mentioned in the will of his uncle Dean William Levett, proved in 1694 (Staffordshire Record Office D543/C/6/1).  

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, family wills and settlements, and legal papers relating to Sir Richard Levett and his descendants, in the Thoroton Hildyard Collection (THF) held by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham. 

Published Sources

  • Myles Thoroton Hildyard. The Thorotons (privately printed, 1991) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Special Collection Oversize Not 150.V30 THO]  

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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