PRESTON, Thomas I (1600-79), of Holker, Cartmel, Lancs.
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Family and Education
bap. 2 Mar. 1600, 1st s. of George Preston of Holker by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Ralph Assheton of Great Lever. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1617, BA 1619. m. Catherine, da. of Sir Gilbert Hoghton, 2nd Bt., of Hoghton Tower, 3s. suc. fa. 1640.1
Commr. of array, Lancs. 1642, j.p. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-2, 1663-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662; freeman, Preston 1662; sheriff, Lancs. 1663-4, commr. for recusants 1675.2
Preston’s family dated their importance in Furness from the dissolution of the monasteries, when they acquired some of the Cartmel Priory estate. Nevertheless Preston’s father died a Catholic recusant. But Preson himself was a sound Protestant who remained faithful to the church of his baptism, even when offered a legacy of £3,500 p.a. to become a Roman Catholic. A royalist commissioner at the outset of the Civil War, he submitted to the forces of Parliament in 1643, and actively supported them during the Scottish invasion in 1648. He appears to have evaded subscription to the Covenant, and, after settling Cartmel Rectory on trustees, his fine on property in Lancashire and Westmorland, valued at £643 p.a., was reduced to £764; but it was later asserted that his loyalty had cost him £14,000 in all. He took no part in royalist conspiracy, though Roger Whitley included him among the Lancashire sympathizers.3
At the Restoration Preston was recommended for the order of the Royal Oak, with an income of £2,000 p.a. The Earl of Derby made him a deputy lieutenant, though (Sir) Roger Bradshaigh I and Richard Kirkby objected that he was ‘too near allied and too much ruled by Sir Richard Hoghton’, the leader of the local Presbyterians. On the other hand he showed no vestige of sympathy for the Quakers, and committed George Fox to prison at Lancaster in 1663. He became the first of the family to enter Parliament when he succeeded Derby’s brother, Edward Stanley, as knight of the shire in the Cavalier Parliament at an uncontested by-election in 1665. ‘He is a gentleman of known loyalty and fidelity to his King and country,’ wrote a journalist, ‘and has particularly evidenced the same by his services and affections to and under the Earls of Derby.’ But he was completely inactive in Parliament, both as committeeman and speaker. On the working lists he was included among those to be influenced by the chancellor of the duchy, Sir Robert Carr; but Sir Richard Wiseman noted that he had failed to attend the autumn session of 1675, ‘and Sir Roger Bradshaigh doubted whether he should ever be able to come up’. Shaftesbury listed him as dead in 1677, but he probably survived till the final prorogation. He was buried at Cartmel on 9 Jan. 1679. His epitaph proclaims his rigid hostility to Popery and his readiness to rise against it, even from the dead.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxviii) 235; Cartmel Priory (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xxviii), 27, 157.
- 2. Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. lxxii), 88; Lancs. RO, QSC 63-82, Cavendish mss. 9/1-4; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 483; 1672-3, pp. 598-9; SP29/61/157; Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 150.
- 3. VCH Lancs. viii. 255, 257, 259, 270-2; Stockdale, Annals of Cartmel, 43, 75-76, 414; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 169; Royalist Comp. Pprs. 88-90; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1163, 3268.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1661-2, pp. 483, 495, 524; 1663-4, p. 69; The News, 26 Jan. 1665; SP29/61/85; HMC Le Fleming, 32; Fox, Jnl. (1852), i. 367; ii. 12; Cartmel Priory (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xcvi), 154; Stockdale, 84, 85.