The Francis Fowler mentioned on the monument is one Francis Fowler of Harnage Grange in Shropshire. Francis became the heir of Richard Leveson through his grandmother, who was the sister of Richard. The estates, name and insignia of Richard Leveson were inherited by Francis on the death of Richard in 1661, this included the estates of Lilleshall and Trentham.
The first part of the inscription on the monument mentions Richard Leveson and the inheritance to Francis.
RICHARDI LEVESON de LILLSHULL, mil:Barn
ex sororis filia nepos
ex testament adoptivus h?res
Nomenq ejus et insignia concessione Regia assecutus.
(Richard Leveson of Lilleshall, Knight of the Bath
the grandson of his sisters daughter
by testament adopted as heir
in name and insignia, achieved by Royal grant)
Interestingly, Francis is mentioned on the tombstone of Richard Leveson that is located in St Michael's church, Lilleshall (1). The large monument to Sir Richard and Katherine Leveson stands against the north wall of the chancel. Probably the work of Edward and Joshua Marshall, it was set up at the cost of Francis Leveson Fowler (2)
Francis was married to Anne Venables (daughter of Peter Venables and Frances Cholmondeley) and they had three children(3), Richard and Peter (both died in infancy) and Frances, who later became ‘Countess Huntingdon’ through her second of three marriages. A fourth child is mentioned by the name of ‘Francis’, the details are engraved on a blue stone in the Church adjacent to that of his father(4)
Francis was made High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1665(5) and is mentioned as being a Baron in a book by Arthur Collins.(6) According to the information detailing the pedigree(7) of Francis Leveson Fowler, Lady Diana was a second cousin 10x removed of Francis.
In 1666 Francis gifted a Silver Chalice and a Silver Plate to St Michael and All Angels. Both are adorned by the Leveson Arms and the inscription on both items reads “The gift of Francis Leveson Esq to ye Parish Church of Middlewich in Cheshire Ao Dm 1666”.
Francis Leveson Fowler died 17th August 1667 and is buried in the nave of St Michael and All Angels Church.
Sir John Leveson, the brother of Richard Leveson, had a daughter called Frances.
Frances married Thomas Gower thus creating the Leveson-Gower line. A few generations down the line George Leveson-Gower married the Duchess of Sutherland and as history recalls they were guilty of many atrocities on their lands during the Highland Clearances.