|Death||16 April 1381|
Richard de Towneley, also known as Richard de la Legh, (c. 1313 – 16 April 1381) was an English landowner and politician. Richard was an early member of the Towneley family of Towneley Hall in Burnley.
Richard appears to have been the second son of John de la Legh and Cecilia de Towneley. The land at Towneley had been enclosed by the Deans of Whalley around 1200 as a hunting park. Previously, it had been common pasture land used by the people of Burnley. The land passed through the family to successive Deans of Whalley until the last male descendants, Roger and Richard, died, some time before 1295. Cecilia de Thonlay (Richard's widow) became heiress to the Towneley estates, and it was one of her three daughters (also named Cecilia) who married John de la Legh, son of Gilbert de la Legh. Around 1304, the elder Cecilia gave John de la Legh the land she held at Towneley. John’s second son Richard took de Towneley as his surname, apparently as part of his inheritance of the estate. Another source states that Richard's grandfather (not father) was John de la Legh.
Richard married a woman named Helen or Ellen, who was living in 1345. He appears to have had three sons and one daughter. John, the eldest, was born in about 1350 (as he was 31 at the time of Richard's death). John was married twice, first to Isabel Rixton, daughter of neighboring landowner William Rixton. John and Isabel had a son, Richard, who inherited Towneley hall upon John's death in 1410, and a daughter, Matilda, who married William Fleming. Isabel died and John de Towneley was remarried to Elizabeth Nagier, who herself died in about 1401.
Robert and Henry de Towneley both became priests, and Alice de Towneley married Edmond Lennard, heir of Sir Thomas Dacre.
In 1351, Richard rented the manor of St. Saviour, at Stydd, near Ribchester, and it is likely that he no longer lived at Towneley after this date.
Richard de Towneley died on 16 April 1381.
Richard de Towneley was twice selected as a Member of Parliament for Lancashire. His first appointment was to the 36th parliament of Edward III's reign, which was summoned on 20 November 1360 and assembled from 24 January to 18 February 1361. Among the acts of this parliament was to define the selection and responsibilities of justices of the peace. This act remained in effect until repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1948 and Criminal Law Act 1967.
Richard was also selected to represent the county at Edward III's 43rd parliament, which was summoned on 8 January 1371 and assembled from 24 February to 29 March 1371. Among its accomplishments was to assert parliament's right to approve indirect taxation.
In 1366 he was recorded as a witness to a property transfer in his role as the seneschal of the wapentake of Cliderow (Clitheroe). Richard was appointed by John of Gaunt to three terms as the High Sheriff of Lancashire, in 1375, 1376 and 1377.