Stiff Leadbetter was a carpenter, builder, surveyor and architect active, particularly in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, England and in London, in the early- to mid-18th century.
His designs for country houses were often Palladian in character while others were Georgian Gothic revival. He is in fact credited with designing the first of the new houses to be built in the latter style.
In addition to his own buildings Leadbetter also carried out the designs of other architects, including Robert Adam and James Stuart.
Leadbetter was born around 1705, possibly the eldest son of William Leadbetter, a tailor at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. In 1731 he married Elizabeth Hill (born around 1709, died 1737), daughter of a London timber merchant. Together they had 5 children.
Leadbetter died on 18 August 1766 at his house at Eton College wharf in Buckinghamshire, his principal home and workshop since 1744. He was survived by his eldest son, Henry.
Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 3rd edition (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 603-604.
Worsley, Giles, ‘Leadbetter, Stiff (c.1705–1766)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008) <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/64179> [accessed 9 January 2008]
-'Stiff but not Dull', Country Life, 25 July 1991, pp. 90-93.