Lega-Weekes, Ethel Clelia

Miss Ethel Clelia Lega-Weekes

Ethel Lega-Weekes by Lafayette
half-plate film negative,
17 March 1927
NPG x41746
License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


Text published in DA Transactions, 1949.

MISS ETHEL CLELIA LEGA-WEEKES, F.R.HIST.S., died at Varnello, her home in Exeter, on 7th April, 1949, after a very short illness, aged 85. Born in London to an American father, Ansel Weekes, master mariner, by an English mother, Clelia Lega, née Fletcher, Miss Lega-Weekes, through her maternal grandparents, was descended from William Fletcher and Antonio Zombelli, the faithful servants of Lord Byron in Italy and Greece. Educated at Aramattapoisett, Mass., she came to England as a student in the art schools. Domestic influences, mainly those of her Italian grandmother, fostered her intense interest in mediaevalism. From genealogical research she gradually turned to the detail of local history. She settled with her mother (who kept her in perpetual tutelage) in Exeter, and made a close study of the civic and ecclesiastical history of the city.

Her best-known work is The Topography of the Close of Exeter. Of the “dry-as-dust” school, she was well acquainted with all relevant mediaeval writings, and was at all times a diligent investigator of minutiae. Perhaps the most valuable of the causes which she furthered was the preservation of the remains of Polsloe Priory. Behind the whole of her work was an elaborate slip-index of references. Herein lay both strength and weakness, since nothing was to be published except what could be proved as fact. In consequence she was often defeated by the deficiencies of the historical record. Much of her own work, then, she rejected as unsatisfactory, though such MSS. probably only needed reconstruction by a young fresh mind. We await a continuation of her valuable work.

One who knew her well describes her as an unconscious Platonist. Her life was Spartan; her mental activity never ceased; nor did the heart with which she fought against adverse circumstances ever flag.

She joined the Association in 1900, became a life member in 1902, and was a member of the Council for forty-five years. Her first contribution to the Transactions was The Old Mansion of North Wyke, 1900, and her last The Earliest-known Landholders of Throwleigh, 1940.

Papers published in DA’s Transactions

Year  Vol.Pages
1900Miss Lega-WeekesThe Old Mansion of North Wyke32195-206
1901Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesNeighbours of North Wyke33399-468
1902Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesNeighbours of North Wyke. Part II34578-647
1903Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesNeighbours of North Wyke. Part III35497-538
1904Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesNeighbours of North Wyke. Part IV36415-444
1905Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesNeighbours of North Wyke. Part V. Ash and South Zeal in South Tawton37325-374
1906Miss E. Lega-WeekesThe Accounts of the Head and Subsidiary Wardens of South Tawton38496-528
1907Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesThe Churchwardens’ Accounts of South Tawton. Introduction (continued)39302-336
1908Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesChurchwardens’ Accounts of South Tawton. Part III40306-312
1909Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesCounty Armaments in Devon in the Sixteenth Century [extracts from South Tawton Churchwardens’ Accounts]41339-355
1909Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesIntroduction to the Churchwardens’ Accounts of South Tawton. Part IV.41361-367
1912Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesAn Account of the Hospitium de le Egle, Exeter, some Ancient Chapels in the Close, and some Persons connected therewith44480-511
1912Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesWilliam Wykes, ‘First Recorder of Exeter’, and Wykes, Sheriff of Devon44561-567
1913Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesThe Freemans of Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Bovey Tracey, etc.45450-454
1915Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesPrudom, Prodom, etc., of Exeter: and the First City Seal47248-256
1920Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesSaint Loye’s, East Wonford, Devon52360-366
1929Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesGallants Bowers [Dartmouth]61237-248
1932Miss Ethel Lega-WeekesThe Bishop’s Chapel of St. Faith at Exeter64415-416
1934Ethel Lega-WeekesThe Pre-Reformation History of St. Katherine’s Priory, Polsloe66181-199
1935Ethel Lega-WeekesThe History of St. Katherine’s Priory, Polsloe, Part II67349-359
1937Ethel Lega-WeekesHistory of St. Katherine’s Priory, Polsloe. Part III [continues 1935 paper]69447-470
1938Ethel Lega-WeekesThe History of St. Katherine’s Priory, Polsloe. Part IV. Polsloe Tithes70423-432
1940Miss E. Lega-WeekesThe Earliest Known Landowners of Throwleigh72185-190