KIRKBY, Roger (c.1649-1709), of Kirkby Ireleth, Lancs.
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Family and Education
Freeman, Preston 1662, 1682; j.p. Lancs. 1684-?d., commr. for assessment 1689-90; dep. lt. Lancs. 1689?-96, Lancs. and Flints by 1701-?d.; col. of militia ft. Lancs. 1689-?d., sheriff 1708-d.3
Kirkby inherited his father’s debts as well as his political principles. As a magistrate he was active in enforcing the laws against nonconformity. His military career was intermittent, and it was as a civilian that he was first returned for Lancaster on his natural interest at the general election of 1685. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to four committees, of which the most important was to take the disbandment accounts. Recommissioned during Monmouth’s rebellion, ‘trusty Captain Kirkby’ declared himself enthusiastically in favour of the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. But he was probably moved neither by conviction nor loyalty, for he had had the misfortune to kill a brother officer in a duel a few days earlier, and his pardon might depend on his acceptance of the King’s religious policy.4
Kirkby was ordered to stand for re-election as court candidate in 1688, but he was defeated at the general election, and the House refused to receive his petition. Though he was compelled to mortgage Kirkby Ireleth to a London banker, he regained his seat at the by-election caused by the death of Curwen Rawlinson* later in the year. Although he was accused of ‘putting the town and country to the great charge of many hundred pounds needlessly and unreasonably at this time of great taxes for buying solders’ clothes at his own rate and by his own bespeaking’, as colonel of militia he enjoyed the support of the Gerard interest and with it the nonconformist vote. He turned to his advantage ‘a contest between the governing part of the town and the mobile about an assessment’, and ‘by his hectoring and swaggering for the mobile’ fairly drove his opponent out of the borough. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named to only three committees, including that for settling the militia, to which he was added on 4 Jan. 1690. He was not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause, but he sat in all the remaining Parliaments of William III’s reign as a court Whig. He died on 8 Feb. 1709, aged 59, and was buried in St. Martin in the Fields. He had never been able to redeem his estate, and no later members of the family entered Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Hunter’s Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxxxviii), 102; Kent Par. Reg. ii. 115.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1693, p. 31; Cal. Treas. Bks. xviii. 1184.
- 3. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 147, 190; Lancs. RO, QSC 86-130; HMC Kenyon, 411; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 138; Eg. 1626, f. 25; Luttrell, vi. 407.
- 4. HMC Kenyon, i. 172; HMC Le Fleming, 205, 206.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 276; Westmld. RO, D/Ry3442; Bodl. Rawl. D863, ff. 33-49; VCH Lancs. viii. 396; Harl. 6835, f. 31.