Leigh Richmond was born in Liverpool in 1772, son of Dr. Henry Richmond. While a child he suffered a serious accident, falling from a wall he injured his leg which left him permanently lame. He was educated at a school in Blandford, Dorset and then entered Trinity College, Cambridge in1789.
In 1797 he was ordained Deacon and in the same year he married Mary Chambers of Bath. In November 1805 he moved into Turvey Rectory and began to write stories based on material he had collected while living in the Isle of Wight, they were simple tales about country folk. The Dairymans Daughter was the first published followed by The Young Cottager and The Negro Servant. All were originally published in the Christian Guardian between 1809-1814. In 1814 The Religious Tract Society reprinted them under the title of The Annals of the Poor. The books were very popular with The Dairymans Daughter running into several editions with an estimated sale of over two million copies with large sales in America.
Leigh Richmond was one of the first clergymen to found a village Friendly Society. The Turvey Friendly Society was formed to give wages to the poor when they were sick and could not work. He travelled great distances to preach on behalf of the Missionary Societies and in 1820 one of his tours led as far as the Scottish island of Iona.
In the 1820s he suffered a number of family tragedies, in 1821 he lost a daughter and in 1825 two of his sons Wilberforce and Nugent died. He died in the spring of 1827, survived by his wife and eight children; he was buried in his parish church.
The following books are in The Heritage Library, Bedford Central Library.
- Several editions of The Annals of the Poor , the earliest edition being 1820.
- GRIMSHAWE, T.S. A Memoir of the Rev. Legh Richmond. 1828. .
- Three Days at Turvey in Bedfordshire : the scenes of the labours of the late Rev Legh Richmond by a Clergymans Son. 1848.
- MUNBY, G. and WRIGHT, T. Turvey and The Mordaunts with some account of Leigh Richmond and his connection with Turvey. 1893.
- HOUFE, Simon. Leigh Richmond : the story of a famous Rector of Turvey. In The Bedfordshire Magazine Vol. 9 pp.3-6 1963.
- The Newspaper Cuttings Collection, Local Studies Library, Bedford Central Library
Leigh Richmond by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2011
Page last updated: 4th February 2014