PILKINGTON, Robert (c.1560-1605), of Rivington, Lancs. and Gray's Inn, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1560, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of George Pilkington of Rivington by Anne, da. of Geoffrey Shakerley of Holme, Cheshire. educ. Rivington g.s. 1575; Staple Inn; G. Inn 1586. m. Elizabeth, s.p. suc. fa. 1597.

Offices Held

Feodary, Lancs. from 1592; farmer of the Queen’s mills at Earl Shilton, Leics. by 1592.


The Pilkingtons of Rivington were a younger branch of an old established Lancashire family. Pilkington himself, after spending Mary’s reign in protestant circles on the Continent, had a legal practice in London, maintaining chambers in Gray’s Inn at least until 1596, though there is no record of his call to the bar. He may have been engaged in legal work for the duchy of Lancaster, which would explain his return at the duchy borough of Clitheroe in 1589 and his later becoming farmer of the mills at the duchy manor of Earl Shilton. But as he was a Member for Clitheroe in the only Parliament held while Walsingham was chancellor of the duchy, and as he was a nephew of James Pilkington, the puritan bishop of Durham who died in 1575, it is possible that Walsingham saw him as a favourite candidate. No record has been found of any activities in Parliament.

Pilkington inherited debts arising from his father’s litigation, and his financial situation deteriorated still further in consequence of his attempts to enclose the waste at Rivington, and to buy up the leases of 22 tenants at a cost of £4,000. A London grocer who foreclosed on a debt of £250 received the profits from 1602, but Pilkington continued to reside there until his death, which occurred in 1605. His will directed the executors to sell the property outright to pay his debts and legacies. It was not until 1611 that a sale was arranged. His brother James received an annuity secured on the estate. His widow subsequently married Thomas Brocket of Essendon, Hertfordshire.

Pilkington, Hist. Fam. of Pilkington, 115-18, 247, 249-50; M. M. Kay, Hist. Rivington and Blackrod G.S. 194; Surtees, Durham, i. p. lxxii.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière