The Leader Family

    The Leader Family Tree
    [click on the picture for a larger view]

  • Thomas Leader

  • The story of the Leader family in Newmarket starts with Thomas Leader from Wiltshire. The son of Stephen and Mary (neé Cook), Tom was born in Wroughton in 1847.

    Tom moved away from the village for a short while and on the 1871 census can be seen living in lodgings with his younger brother William at Vine Cottage, Station Road, Ely, Llandaff in Wales, both working as grooms - for the Lord of the Manor - former solicitor and mine-owner William Sheward Cartwright.

    Shortly after he was asked to help at former jockey 'Black Tom' Olliver's Fairwater Stables back in Wroughton High Street. Following the death of Olliver in January 1874 Leader took over as trainer. One of his most important tasks was to continue training the bay stallion 'George Frederick' (G.F.), who went on to win the Derby in that same year, just as Black Tom had predicted.

    Actually, W. S. Cartwright was the horse's owner, and he liked to name some of his horses after Queen Victoria’s children; and G.F. in particular was named after her grandson, the future King George V (Tom clearly followed suit with this and named one of his sons George Frederick).

    After the race, when G.F. and Tom returned to Swindon Railway station they were escorted back to Wroughton by a brass band playing "See the Conquering Hero Comes" and the village received them with full honours and declared all of its public houses be opened, providing free beer for the occasion. The church bells rang-out in Wroughton and the village was decorated with Cartwight's scarlet and black colours.

    Freeman's Journal , Dublin
    Tuesday 09 June 1874

    DERBY WINNER AT HOME. There have been great rejoicings at Swindon and in the village of Wroughton, where the now celebrated horse George Frederick was trained. With the trainer, Tom Leader, and his stable companion Volturno. he arrived at Swindon Station about four o’clock.
    There was a large crowd of people to welcome his arrival, with band of music, and on his alighting from the station the band struck up, See the Conquering Hero Comes.

    Riding Recollections and Turf Stories
    By HENRY CUSTANCE [the jockey that rode George Frederick]
    Published 1894

    What makes me say ‘ George Frederick ’ was a good horse when he won the Derby is this : On the Tuesday night before the Derby of 1874 I went to see Mr. Cartwright at Epsom. Mr. Tom Heathcote, Mr. Billy Williamson, and Count Talon were there, and he said : "Custance, I think you are sure to win the Derby to-morrow, and you are on a 'monkey.'" ....

    .... I never saw anyone so certain of winning a race, and, as a rule, Mr. Cartwright was not a sanguine man. On the Derby day he had over thirty telegrams written to his friends to say that ‘ George Frederick ’ had won. I have no doubt my friend Tom Leader, who trained ‘ George Frederick ' - poor Tom Olliver having died in the January before- will bear me out in what I say.

    (Cartwright also named one of his horses after the village of 'Ely' in his manor in Wales - where Tom & William were working in 1871.)

    In 1878 Tom married Rosa Jane Mathews from Devizes, and in that same year was initiated into the Freemason's Gooch Lodge at Swindon.
    On the 1881 census he can be seen living at Wroughton, working as a trainer, employing his brother William as foreman.

    W.S. Cartwright died on 2nd May 1880, but success in Tom's career continued and in around 1889 he moved to Newmarket (he's not shown here in the 1888 trade directories, but his son Stephen was born in Newmarket in 1889), where he set up stables in Upper Station Road (now Old Station Road) and called his new home Wroughton House - now No.37 Old Station Road.

    Wroughton House - No.37 Old Station Road

    His five sons eventually moved to or were born in Newmarket and each of them had success in their own right as trainers. Tom died in Newmarket on 5th February 1920, aged 72.

  • Thomas Richard Leader

  • Old Tom's eldest son was another Tom - Thomas Richard Leader - born in Wroughton in 1879. On 1st February 1900 T.R. followed in his father's footsteps and was initiated into the Freemason's Gooch Lodge at what was then called New Swindon. On the 1911 census he was still training back at Wroughton, but on 18th December 1919 he joined the Freemason's Etheldreda Lodge here in Newmarket. After their father's death in 1920 T.R. took over as trainer at his Wroughton House stables.

    T.R.'s son, born at Wroughton on 9th May 1902, was Thomas Edward Leader, better know as Ted Leader (see below).

    T.R. died on 24th June 1945, leaving Wroughton House to his youngest brother Harvey. In December 1950 Harvey went of vacation in Switzerland leaving his assistant trainer, Tom Waugh, in charge of Wroughton House. Waugh eventually took over there fully in 1956.

    Thomas Richard Leader died in Newmarket on 24th June 1945.

  • George Frederick Leader

  • The next eldest son was George Frederick 'Fred' Leader - born in Wroughton in 1881.

    He started riding and then became assistant trainer to his uncle William, at Barcelona House in Wroughton, under the care of the Hon. Francis Lambton. He also did a stint with the American Andrew Joyner and when he returned to the USA, Fred set up on his own. Further details can be found about him on both the pages for John Dawson's Warren House, where he was the last trainer there and also at Primrose Cottage Stables - No.38-40 High Street, where he ended his training career.

    Sadly though the end to Fred's career was not a natural one; as hours after his horse Gainslaw had won the Ascot Gold Vase, Fred and his wife were killed on their way back home from the meeting, when their car hit a stationary lorry on the brow of a hill near Knebworth - 13th June 1933.

  • Colledge Leader

  • Colledge was born in Wroughton in 1883 and came to Newmarket with his father.

    He trained for Lord Harewood, Mr. J.B. Leigh and others at Machell Place in Old Station Road (where he's shown in the 1926 Newmarket Street Directory), and in late 1933 / early 1934 he took over from George Lambton to became private trainer to Lord Derby at Stanley House Stables in Bury Road. Hyperion became his new charge but the horse's subsequent performance was disappointing, though Hyperion went on to become a very successful sire at stud.

    Colledge died on 9th December 1938 at Fairway, part of the Stanley House Stables complex on the Bury Road (the house is now owned by John Harry Martin Gosden).

    Colledge's son; David Thomas Boret Leader, became another casualty of WWII when he was killed in a flying accident at Saskatchewan, Canada on Friday 30th July 1943.

  • Stephen Barrow Leader

  • Stephen Barrow Leader was born in 1889, not long after his father came to Newmarket. Named after his grandfather, it's thought that Stephen stayed training at his father's Wroughton House yard, though he seems to have been quite restless during his time here in the town - in 1928 he was living at Haddon House - No.50-52 Bury Road.

    In 1929 he'd moved into Rous Road, though the phone books don't list which house.

    In 1933 he'd moved to Beach View in Cardigan Street (which must have been a fairly new house at that time; as it's not listed in the 1926 Newmarket Street Directory). He's still shown there in the 1936 Newmarket Directory. Then by 1939 he'd moved back to Bury Road at Marchetta (it's spelt Marchetter in the phone books), now called Heathway - No.41 Bury Road.

    Between 1946 and 1950 he was living at Wroughton House, but by 1953 he'd moved back to Rous Road and was living at Fern Villa - No.13 Rous Road., where he stayed until his death in 1972.

  • Harvey Cliff Leader

  • Harvey was born on 16th September 1892 in Newmarket and was the youngest son of Thomas Leader. Further details about him can be found on the page for Bedford Lodge, where he was the trainer at Shalfleet Stables.

  • Thomas Edward Leader

  • Thomas Richard's son; Ted Leader. was born on 9th May 1902 at Wroughton. He started his racing career as a jockey and became Champion National Hunt Jockey in 1925-26. His biggest success though was in 1927 when he rode the Grand National winner Sprig.

    Between 1931 and 1932 Ted lived at Paddock cottage in Natflatman Street, before moving to Aragon - No.28 Rous Road in 1933.

    He became apprenticed as a trainer to his uncle Harvey and when his other uncle Colledge left Machell Place Ted took over there and the very next year won the 1934 Cambridgeshire with Wychwood Abbot.

    Wychwood Abbot winning the Cambridgeshire in 1934
    [click on the play button above to start the video]

    He served in the R.A.F. during WWII and afterwards resumed training at Machell Place. He stayed there until 1953, after which he moved to Sefton Lodge - No.8-12 Bury Road.


    Newmarket urban district council is to inform the Jockey Club that unless they are prepared to sell the council 40 acres of land required for housing in the Houldsworth Valley at a price recommended by the District Valuer, they will seek compulsory purchase powers. Mr Ted Leader, the racehorse trainer, said he was unhappy and worried about the whole scheme on financial grounds. He estimated that each house would cost at least £1,300 excluding sewerage and roadworks. In addition proper horse tracks would cost £9,000. "By the time we have built these houses we shall have defeated our own object for we want houses at rents which the public can afford", he said

    Ted is shown in the phone books at Sefton Lodge until 1964, but by 1968 he's back in his father and grandfather's previous stables at Wroughton House, presumably taking over from his uncle Harvey. After 56 years in racing as jockey and trainer, both he and Harvey retired in 1971. Ted outlived Harvey though and died in Newmarket on 10th February 1983, aged 80.

  • William Leader

  • Before we finish this page about the Leader family, let's go back to find out a bit more about Old Tom's brother William. He was born in Wroughton in 1851. William married Agnes Armstrong, daughter of Shepherd John and Ann from Riggburn, near Westerkirk, Dumfriesshirein in Scotland. On the 1881 census, while William was working down at Wroughton, Agnes is shown with their youngest daughter; Annie Armstrong Leader, living with her parents at Riggburn.

    Agnes sadly died fairly young, aged 44, in 1899 and on the 1901 census William is shown at Barcelona House in Wroughton with 7 of his children.

    In 1902 he came to Newmarket along with the Hon. Francis Lambton to work as a trainer for Sir Ernest Cassel, at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket (further details about him can be found on the page for the Memorial Hall - No.144 High Street).

    William died in Newmarket on 30th March 1909.

    Sheffield Evening Telegraph
    Tuesday 30 March 1909
    W. Leader Succumbs

    William Leader, trainer under the Hon. F. Lambton to Sir E. Cassel, of Moulton Paddocks Newmarket, died: early this morning.
    Deceased had apoplectic seizure week ago, and this and subsequent complications caused his death.
    He was fifty-eight years old, and had been at Moulton Paddocks about seven years.
    He formerly trained at Wroughton, Wilts. was a brother of Tom Leader, the well-known Wroughton House trainer.
    Deceased leaves seven daughters / two sons. His wife predeceased him.

  • One of William's sons, who was born in Wroughton in 1893, also came to Newmarket, but had a rather sad ending during WWI - William John 'Jack' Leader. He died of his wounds on Friday 20th April 1917 following the 2nd battle for Gaza.

    [Note from webmaster - my Granddad (another Jack) served in the 1/5th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and also fought in the three battles of Gaza, finally entering Jerusalem in November 1917 .... fortunately for me he survived.]

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