Augustus George Legge.

Notes and documents relating to the family of da Lezze. An heraldic, historical, and genealogical study online

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REYNOLDS HISTORICAL
QENEALOGY COLLECTION



llli;ilj"lll'flll'l]liT.i'i'''J^'-"^ LIBRARY



3 1833 00851 7176



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center



http://www.archive.org/details/notesdocumentsreOOIegg



NOTES AND DOCUMENTS



RELATING TO THE



iamilp of Da £ezze.



AN HERALDIC, HISTORICAL. AND

GENEALOGICAL STUDY,

BY GIOVANNI DE PELLEGRINI & CO., VENICE.




Arms : Per pale, argent and azure, a bend wavy counterchanged.



TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN BY

J. A. HERBERT, ESQ.,

JJRIXISH MUSEUM.



NORWICH ; AGAS H. GOOSE, RAMPANT HORSE STREET.
1900.



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^azso^s



THE FAMILY OF DA LEZZE.



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Introauction.



HE original descent of the Legges has long
lain in more or less of obscurity. The
Historical Manuscripts Commissioners, by
the publication of the family papers preserved
at Patshull, have added to what was already
known as to the mark which they have left
from time to time upon the pages of English
history, but of their remote descent before the time of
Thomas Legge * in the fourteenth century little has come




* It is from Thomas Legge, Sheriff of London 1343, twice Lord Mayor, namely
in 1346 and 1353, and M.P. for the City in 1349 and 1352, that the Legges trace
their pedigree in the direct line. He lent Edw. IlL ;£300 in 1338 to enable him
to carry on the war with France. He had for arms, A buck's head caboshed, on a
chief three crosses patonc€e, and was a member of the Skinners Company. In the
fourteenth century trade was as much the profession of a gentleman as was that of



ii • INTRODUCTION.

to light, so far as I am aware, beyond the fact that their
ancestors were said to be natives of Italy, dwelling in Ravenna,
Naples, Venice (where they were numbered amongst the
patricians as early as 125 1), and other Italian cities;* that
they bore the name of Traversari, that this name afterwards
took the form of Traversari della Legge, and that their origin
was most illustrious.

At this distance of time it is obviously difficult — indeed,
I fear, impossible — to discover absolute proof of this Italian
descent, or, if it could be proved, of the period at which
members of the family came over to England. In the absence
of any record we seem to be landed in the region of pure
conjecture, but it sometimes happens that probability almost
amounts to certainty. I think this is the case in the present
instance, (i) The name, Legge, is distinctly Italian. (2) The
tradition of Italian descent has existed in the English family,
as far as I am aware, from time immemorial. (3) We have

the Army or Navy. Besant in his London, pp. 158-9, says:— "The London

merchant was generally a gentleman What do we find ? . . . . This very

remarkable fact. The churches are full of monuments to dead citizens who are
armigeri .... The great merchants, the mercers, adventurers and leaders of
the Companies, were gentlemen by descent, and admitted to their close society
only their own friends, cousins, and sons .... So that when we assign a city
origin to the families of Coventry, Leigh, Ducie, Pole, Bouverie, Boleyn, Legge,
Capel, Osborne, Craven, and Ward, it would be well to inquire to what stock
belonged the original citizen, the founder of each. Trade in the fourteenth century,
and long afterwards, did not degrade a gentleman."

* Hist, tie Venise, par le Sieur Amelet de la Houssaie, t. ii.



INTRODUCTION. iii

the statement of Collins * as to what was reported in his
time — a statement for which, no doubt, he had ample reasons,
or he would not have made it. (4) In addition to this —
a matter of some importance — the arms, though necessarily
different, from the fact that they were assumed at different
times, are alike as to the heraldic tincture and metal, namely,
azure and argent.

As to the period at which the Legges arrived in England,
I am only able to give my own view for what it is worth.
It will be observed in the following pages (p. 2) that the
brothers Tomaso and Ugolino Traversari moved to Venice
from Ravenna at a very early period, as the latter was a
notable captain in the army of the Republic about the year
1000. Between that period and 1251 the addition of della
Legge to Traversari must have taken place upon the
promotion, as it is said, by some of the family of a law which
was especially beneficial to the State,t and (to put it in English)
they became Traversari of the Law. It is as della Legge
and not as Traversari that they were numbered amongst the
patricians in 1251. Now, it is known that from about 1164
to 1 171, temp. Hen. II., two della Legges, Hugh and William,

* Historic Peerage, 5th edit., p. 294.

t The eulogy pronounced upon the tomb of Andrea da Legge (p. 11), where
he is said to have been "an invincible champion of the laws," might perhaps lead
one to suppose that the family were famous for proficiency or reputation in law,
i.e., they were eminent jurisconsults, and that on this account they took their name.
Or it may only mean that they strenuously upheld the laws of the country.



iv • INTRODUCTION.

ancestors of Thomas Legge, first Lord Mayor of London,
whom I have mentioned before, were Sheriffs in lingland,
the one of Buckinghamshire, and the other of Herefordshire.*
It seems, therefore, only reasonable to suppose that some of
the family came to this country sometime during the period
when the addition to the name took place, that is to say,
between looo and 1251. Such at least is my own impression.

As a member of this family, whose pride it has been for
generations past to aid in upholding the throne and constitution
of the country, I thought I could not do better, in its interests,
than to try if by research I might be able to obtain some
information with regard to their Italian ancestry. It occurred
to me that Venice must be possessed of archives, and
that there, if anywhere, I might meet with some success.
The occasion of a holiday spent there by one of my .
daughters gave me the desired opportunity, and the result of
her researches in the Library of the Palazzo Ducale exceeded
my most sanguine anticipations.

I am indebted for the following pages, styled an "Heraldic,
Historical, and Genealogical Study," and compiled from the
" Libri d'Oro," to the kindness and courtesy of Signor Camillo
Soranzo, the sub-librarian.



* See Fuller's Worthies. Nicholas de Lega, who died in 1261, was Rector of
Broughton, and Hugh de Lega, who died in 1499, was incumbent of the united
churches of Ekeney cum Petsoe, both in Buckinghamshire. See Lipscomb's Hist.
of Bucks, vol. iv., pp. 80, 136.



1,1



INTRODUCTION. ' v

To this valuable manuscript I have been enabled to add,
by research in the British Museum, brief histories, together
with their respective coats-of-arms, of the distinguished
Venetian families with whom, as will be seen on reference
to the pedigrees, the Legges at different times intermarried.

I owe to my daughter, Florence Lucy Legge, the under-
taking of the translation of these histories from the Italian —
a work of no inconsiderable labour, which she has well and

faithfully accomplished.

A. G. L.

Bramdean House,

February, igoo.




Contents.



Pagt
Introduction ..,..,... i

Index of Illustrated Arms

Heraldic, Historical, and Genealogical Study relating to the Family of

Da Lezze (Da Leggej ....... i

Tree of the Family of Da Legge ...... 14

Sepulchral Inscriptions of the Family of Da Legge .... 17

Notes .......... 18

A History of the noble Venetian Families with whom the Family of

Traversari della Legge contracted matrimonial alliances . . 21

Index Nominal ........ loi

Index General . . . • • • • •117



itin



Hftod



3nbex of 'Jt^mttatt^ (^xme^



Portrait of Priamo


ia Legge, Frontispiece.




Facing pages


Facing pages


Badoer ... 37


Malipiero


68


Balbi


35


Manolesso


35


Barbarigo


60


Marcello


Page 35


Barbaro


58


Michieli


54


Bari^zzi


94


Minotto


46


Belegno


24


Molin


27


Bembo


60


Moro


68


Bianca


27


Morosini





Bonomo or Buonhomo


21


Mosto


22


Bragadin or Bragardino


44


Nani


37


Buoni or Bon


96


Pisani


30


Canal or Canale


82


Priuli


40


Capello


48


Ouerini . .


90


Centani


74


Rimondo


98


Cocco


22


Sanudo


74


Contarini


32. 33


Semitecolo


68


Coppo


82


Soranzo


80


Cornaro or Cornero .


64


Tagliapietra .


96


Diedo


86


Tiepolo


76


Dolfin or Delfino


40


Traversari


21


Donato or Donado .


27


Traveisari della Legge


21


Foscari


40


Tron


76


Foscarini


29


Valaresso


98


Foscolo


74


Valier


86


Giusti


24


Vendramin


76


Gradenigo


88


Venier


44


Grimani


Page 56


Vitturi


Page 23


Gussoni


82


Zaccaria


68


Legge


21


Zancariolo


94


Lippomano or Lipamano


96


Zen or Zeno .


60


Lombardo


88






Da Lezze


Title page.




Portrait of G


ovanni da Leg


ge . To face page 6.











od



&iBt of ^uBermBerer Before ^MicAdon*



The Right Hon. the Lord Bagot, Blithfield, Rugeley, Staffordshire - i

The Lady Florence Barnardiston, The Ryes, Sudbury, Suffolk - - i

Mrs. Lawrence T. Cave, Dikham Park, Petersfield, Hampshire - - i

A. F. Coe, Esq., 14, Hart Street, Bloomsbury Square, London - • i

The Right Hon. the Earl of Dartmouth, Patshull House, Wolverhatnpton 15

Mrs. Edward H. Landon,j^, Car/Co« /?(7rtrf, P/^///^/ ... I

The Rev. Augustus G. Legge - - - 3

Charles Egerton Legge, Esq., J. P., D.L., Ashling House, Chichester - 2
Lt.-Col. the Hon. Edward H. Legge, The Holmwood Lodge, Dorking,

Surrey ... - -•- I

Lt.-Col. the Honble. Henry C. Legge, Fulvier Gardens, Slough - - I
The Lady Louisa J. C. Legge, j, Granville Place, Portman Square,

London, IV. • - - - - - - ■ '

The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Lichfield, The Palace, Lichfield 2

'W\%%'^txc^S2\, 34, Eccleston Square, London, S.W. - - - i

The Rev. Edward Samson, Armitage Lodge, Rugeley, Staffs - - i

The Right Hon. Lord Sherborne, g, St. James' Square, London, S.IV. - i
The Lady Barbara Yeatman- Biggs, Dartmouth House, Blackheath

Hill, S.E. I



copy.



copies.

copy.

copies.



copy.



copies,
copy.



, v^vSIa-^Oi



Irrelevant portions of the history in the following
pages, taken from the Cronica Veneta, are omitted
for brevity's sake. The spelling of names is
followed.



Note. — I have taken the arms of the Centani
(p. 69) from the Crollalariza, British Museum 9917,
G G 3, but no account of them is given there or
in the Cronica Ve?ieia, British Museum, Add. MS.
22,5ooj-A. G. L.



;f, n «/. ^.-. pnr-. ..rfl



ERRATA.



p. 15, near the foot— /or Almaio read Almoro.

v. 16, near the foot— /or Mario read Marco,

P. 25, isth line from top— /or Trebisonda read Trabisonda.

P. 31, 13th line from the foot— /or Leo read Leon, and on the 9th line from

the foot, for Pius read Pio.
P. 33, 6th line from the foot— /or ^[arian read Marin.
P- 35. 9'h line from top— /or Dorsodaro read Dorsoduro.
P. 39, 6th line from top— /or 881-885 read 88 1 -886.
P. 41, bottom line— /or Gerolamo read Gerolemo.
P. 5°, 6th line from top— /or Alexandro read Alessandro.
P. 55, lines 4, 5, 6, 8, and 12 from top— /or Michaeli read Michieli.
P. 64, I ith line from top— /or Pietro Conaro read Pietro Cornaro.
P. 75, 1 2th line from top— /or Raphael read Raffael.
P. 91, 2nd line from top— /or Trebisonda read Trabisonda.

Trent (first word on p. 68). There must be an error here. The Council
of Trent sat from 1546 to 1563. Kredrigo Cornaro is said to have died
during the sitting. He cannot, therefore, have been Cardinal in 1588.




Da £ezze (Da Eeage).

. X a. i4^.u>.t

^^^^^""^HE ancient family of Traversari was famous and illustrious

A fft^^ throughout all Italy in bygone times, as having held for

VteL^ centuries the free princedom of Ravenna, that noble city,

the metropolis of Flaminia and ^Emilia. It derived its most

exalted origin from the nobility of Rome, as Girolamo Rossi affirms in

book iii. of the History of Ravenna * in these words : — " The family of

Traversari is said to have drawn its origin from the time when colonies

(as many erroneously think) of Romans were established at Ravenna. But

I incline rather to the opinion of those who hold that it sprang from a

Roman family indeed, and a most noble one, which came to settle in

Ravenna, but neither in the manner nor with the title of a colony." Some

writers actually name the Gens Attia as that from which the family is

descended ; and this same Rossi adds that the surname of Traversari was

taken from the castle of that name in the territory of Ravenna, near the

RJver Anemone, which was built by Teodoro Traversari, Prefect of Ravenna

' • See Note A.

6



cuonJ-'fiMi



ni
ei



2 DA LEZZE (DA LEGGE).

until 476 under Odoacer the Herulian, King of Italj'. But Girolamo Fabri
in his Sagre Mentorie de Ravenna, maintains that the castle received its
name from the said Teodoro. Importune Traversari, son of Teodoro, was
likewise Prefect of Ravenna in 496, and also Secretary to Theodoric the Goth,
King of Italy. Sergio Traversari, his grandson, who was living in 543,
was a monk and a saint; Giovanni Traversari became Archbishop of Ravenna
in 898 ; and so since then from time to time men of distinction and power
have sprung from this house. Hence it advanced to such greatness that
often kings and sovereign princes intermarried with it, as may be seen in
Lucas de Linda; and in 11 80, in the person of Pietro, surnamed the Great,
one of the most glorious members of the house, it attained the absolute
lordship of the State, which, after remaining with his descendants for a long
series of years, was taken from them and finally, after many revolutions,
seized by the family of Polenta. Thus they were robbed of their ancestral
lordship ; but no one could take away from them the glory of their birth,
nor the lustre of the doughty deeds of their ancestors.

The Traversari being thus despoiled of the seigniory and compelled
to go into exile, some of them betook themselves to Constantinople, others
to Ferrara, and many to Tuscany ; one branch of the last, having taken
refuge in Portico, a castle in the territory of Forti, near the Apennine
Mountains, were reduced to such distress that to make a living they were
obliged to follow the craft of blacksmiths, whence their descendants took
the surname of Fabbri. But the brothers Tomaso and Ugolino, who moved
on to Venice, passed the remainder of their lives in more dignified rank; for
Ugohno became a captain of some note in the army of the Venetian
Republic, which by about the year 1000 had, as Casimir Freschot relates
in the Pregi della Nobilta Veneta, distinctly received among its patricians
some persons who belonged to this house, and who were the ancestors
of the Venetian senatorial family of Da Legge.



DA LEZZE {DA LEGGE). 3

In this connection we may mention the fact that Pietro Traversaii
was one of the witnesses, in 11 17, to a privilegium granted by the Emperor
Frederick at Venice, and printed by the Abbe Ughelli in vol. v. of his
Italia Sacra. Whence the subsequent change of surname arose, is un-
certain ; it seems probable that some of the family were called dalla Legge
by antonomasia, because they proposed or suggested some law of general
profit and utility, and that this surname was adopted by their successors.
\Vc read in an ancient chronicle that this house came from Cabria to
Ravenna, then to Buran de Mar, and from there to Venice ; and Cesare
M.-i!fatti and other chroniclers affirm that its admission into the patrician
nobility of Venice took place in 125 1. It was afterwards confirmed in that
estate in 1297, as Freschot records, at the closing of the Great Council.
The said Malfatti states, agreeing with other manuscripts and trustworthy
documents, that the Legii were ancient tribunes and of good position ;
hence the antiquity of their arrival in Venice is argued, seeing that the
dignity of tribune was only in u.se in veiy remote times.

For additional proof of the fact that this family is a branch of the

illustrious trunk Traversari, let me refer to the authority of Rossi,* who in

book vii. of his history discourses thus : — " For we have written that when

the Traversari were driven from Ravenna by the Polentani, some of them

migrated to Venice ; and that there were descendants of the same

Ravennese family there, called Legii, who had been made patricians and

elected to the Senate for nearly two hundred years past." Fabri, too, says

the same, and Freschot does not hesitate to make the Legii descend from

the Traversari ; moreover, Malfatti and all other authorities locate the

beginning of the Leggi family in Ravenna, and this is a virtual admission

of what we have said. The arms of the ancient Traversari were a Pine

tree on an azure field, crossed from the roots to the branches by three

• See Note B.
B 2



4 DA LEZZE {DA LEGGE).

bends argent. The Legii nowadays bear, in A field party per pale, azure
and argent, a bend wavy counterchanged ; with which they preserve some
relics of the ancient bearings, and of the past lordship of their ancestors.
This noble house flourishes, however, in Venice (where its name has been
corrupted into Lezze) with sustained dignity ; having produced as yet seven
Procurators of S. Mark, besides a copious supply of Senators and dis-
tinguished citizens. It possessed a most sumptuous palace, built with regal
magnificence in the neighbourhood of San Margiale, and it enjoyed the
countship of Santa Croce in the province of Treviso. It assisted the
building of the church of SS. Rocco and Margherita, and it has altars,
sepulchres, and imposing memorials in the church of S. Maria de'
Crocicchieri, and in other churches in Venice and elsewhere.



1297. LUCA DA Legge — the head and source of the family — was confirmed
patrician, with all his posterity, at the closing of the Great Council
in 1297; and it is with him that genealogists begin the family
tree.

1342. Marco da Legge, Senator, and in 1342 one of the electors of the
Doge Andrea Dandolo.

1355. LuCA DA Legge, son of Donato, a very great Senator and a
member of the High Council of Ten, showed splendid zeal in 1355
on the occasion of the conspiracy headed by the Doge Marino
Faliero.

1 361. GlACOMO DA Legge, brother of Luca, was one of the ambassadors
sent in 1361 to meet Lorenzo Ceisi, and escort him to the city,
after he had been elected Doge while absent; and again in 1367 he
discharged the same office for Andrea Contarini, who had likewise
been elected Doge of Venice in his absence.



DA LEZZE {DA LEGGE). 5

The following noblemen of this house are enrolled as having contributed

in 1379 to the public expenses of Venice: —

Ducats.

1379. Francesco da Legge, of S. Giovanni Nuovo - - - 900

GlACOMO DA Legge, of S. Bamaba 400

Leonardo da Legge, of S. Geminiano . . . . 500

The Heir of FRANCESCO DA Legge, of S. Giovanni Nuovo - 1500

1380. GiACOMO DA Legge, son of Luca, was about this time Proveditor of

the Venetian army.

1446. Francesco da Legge, son of Donato, was Podesta and Captain of
Treviso in 1446.

1450. Andrea da Legge, brother of Francesco, was at this period
Podesta of Ravenna, where he built a tower called Legia after him.

1456. Marco da Legge, brother of Andrea, was Podesta and Captain of
Feitre, according to Bertondelli.

1459. Giovanni da Legge, son of Francesco, was New Auditor in 1459.

1463. Luca da Legge, son of Donato, a great Senator, employed by
the State in various capacities, and sent as Ambassador to divers
princes, returned home with the title of Knight ; he was afterwards
Captain of Padua in 1463, and on June 29th, 1464, he was created
Procurator of S. Mark for the Procuracy of Citra. He contested
the Dogeship in 147 1, and died in 1475. A short inscription marks
his tomb in San Stefano.

1476. Marco da Legge, son of Francesco, was Proveditor of Modon in
the Morea in 1476.

1476. Antonio da Legge, son of Benedetto, celebrated in all the
chronicles as a brave and skilful captain, earned the title by his
memorable defence of the city of Scutari in Albania, which he
saved with prodigious valour from the grasping hands of the Turks,
who had laid siege to it in 1476 with an enormous army. Padre



6 DA LEZZE {DA LEGGE).

Luigi Contarini adds in his Giardino that Antonio wrote to the
Senate, during the siege, that the city was perishing for lack of
victuals and ammunition ; and that afterwards, this having been
found not to be true, he was condemned to pay a heavy fine,
deprived of office for ever, and confined for ten years in Istria.
1483. GiROLAMO DA Legge, brother of Antonio, was Captain of Vicenza

in 1483.
1488. MiCHELE AND FRANCESCO DA Legge, sons of Donato, in con-
junction with Francesco r"aliero, built the church of SS. Rocco and
Margherita in 1488.
1498. Andrea da Legge, son of Benedetto, was Podesta of Verona in

1498 ; he was also a Senator of high reputation.
1500. Marino da Legge, son of Priamo, was Captain of a galley in 1500,

under the command of Antonio Grimani.
1506. Priamo da Legge, son of Andrea, a great and illustrious Senator,
was Podesta and Captain of Belluno in 1506; in 1520 he was
Podesta and Captain of Treviso, in which city there remain to this
day various and striking memorials of his munificence. He was
Captain at Padua in 1530; and after enjoying a long and brilliant
succession of honours, he contested the Dogeship in 1554, against
Girolamo Priuli. Finally, on April 6th, 1556, he was created
Procurator of S. Mark for the Procuracy of Citra. He died on
September 7th,* 1557, at the age of 88, and was buried in the
church of S. Maria de' Crocicchieri, where his memory is preserved
in the following noble eulogy : —

To Priamo da Legge, son of Andrea, Procurator of S. Mark,
whose incredible uprightness of life, and whose extraordinary wisdom
in the management of affairs of State, all posterity will so proclaim

* See Note C.



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GIOVANNI DA LEGGE.



IllQstratiDu tn iIik Family Lit I In Lh/,x,h,

To face p. 7.



BA LEZZE {DA LEGGE). 7

for ever that it will be easier to admire than to imitate him ; this
tomb was erected by his son Giovanni, Knight, Count, and
Procurator. He lived 88 years, and died on the 6th Ides* of
September, 1557.

1508. DONATO UA Legge, son of Michele, a Senator illustrious for the

rule which he exercised in Cyprus and Soria, and for his

devotion to the study of history, was sent in 150S, during the war

against the Emperor jNIaximilian, as Proveditor to the Cividale del

Friuli.

1522. Giovanni da Legge, brother of Donate, a brilliant and generous

Senator, having contributed 8000 ducats to the Republic for the

emergencies of the time, was created Procurator of S. Mark for

the Procuracy of Supra on October 19th, 1522.

1532. GiROLAMO DA Legge, son of Francesco, was Podesta and Captain

^of Feltre in 1532. In 1553 he was Captain of Verona; in 1559,

Captain of Padua. He was also Podesta at Bergamo in 1539.

1532. Giovanni da Legge, son of the Procurator Priamo, was a most

distinguished Senator and a remarkable ornament of the family.

In 1532, at Bologna, the Emperor Charles V. made him a Knight

Palatine and Count of Santa Croce, a place on the river Piave,

with other ample privileges which Guazzo . records in his history,

announcing with pomp the high prerogatives of this great Senator.

On July 1st, 1537, he was created Procurator of S. Mark for the

Procuracy of Supra, in recognition of the generous aid of 14,000

ducats, which he presented for the necessities of the State. He

erected a stately sepulchre in the church of S. Maria de'

Crocicchieri to the Procurator Priamo his father, and embellished

• See Note C.



8 DA LEZZE {DA LEGGE).

the church of S. Mark with pictures in mosaic ; it was under
his auspices, moreover, that the magnificent building, in which


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

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