PRESTON, Thomas II (1647-97), of Holker, Cartmel, Lancs.
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Family and Education
bap. 20 June 1647, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Thomas Preston I. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1665, BA 1669. m. (1) Mary, da. of George Dodding of Conishead, s.p.; (2) bef. 1685, Elizabeth, da. of Roger Bradshaigh I of Haigh Hall, Lancs., 1da. suc. fa. 1679.1
Freeman, Preston 1662; commr. for assessment, Lancs. 1673-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1677-87, Oct. 1688-d., capt. of militia ft. by 1680, maj. by 1685, dep. lt. 1685-7, Oct. 1688-d.2
Preston supported the country candidates at the Lancashire election of September 1679, one of them being his cousin Sir Charles Hoghton. The next few years of his life were spent chiefly in London, in pursuit of the estates of a Roman Catholic kinsman who had bequeathed them to the Jesuits. As the next male heir he was granted a crown lease of Furness Abbey, which brought him £177 p.a., and an interest in iron mines said to be worth £1,300 p.a. When he returned to the county in agovernment agent had hopes of him as ‘a kind and well-meaning gentleman of the best family hereabouts’ who might be induced to take a firm line with conventicles. In 1685 his brother-in-law (Sir) Roger Bradshaigh II urged him to oppose Edward Rigby at Preston, but he refused on learning that the townsmen would prefer a courtier. As a militia officer he commanded one of the two companies at Lancaster during the borough election to curb ‘the animosity of the rabble’.3
After Bradshaigh’s death in 1687, Preston seems to have moved back into opposition. His lease of Furness was cancelled by James II, though it still had three years to run, and he was removed from the commission of the peace. To the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws he replied that he was in favour of abrogating the sanguinary laws only. Lord Molyneux would not accept this qualified answer, saying that everyone must either consent or refuse; and so Preston was set down as refusing. He declined to serve under the recusant Molyneux as deputy lieutenant in 1688, and with his neighbour Curwen Rawlinson actively supported the Revolution, calling out the militia and arresting Papists. He and Rawlinson defeated the Gerard candidates at Lancaster in the general election of 1689. In the Convention he was appointed only to the committee for the sale of the Duke of Buckingham’s estates, and made no recorded speeches, but he retained his seat till his death. Though his lease at Furness Abbey was renewed on very favourable terms, he seems to have been regarded as a member of the Opposition under William III, but he signed the Association in 1696. He died on 31 Jan. 1697, and was buried at Cartmel. His daughter, who inherited the estate, was said to have brought a fortune of £30,000 to her husband Sir William Lowther, MP for Lancaster 1702-5.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxviii), 235; Cartmel Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xxviii), 107.
- 2. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 150; Lancs. RO, QSC 84-113; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 165; 1690-1, p. 378; HMC Le Fleming, 202.
- 3. HMC Le Fleming, 162, 205, 206; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 169, 541, 842-3; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 218, 293; July-Sept. 1683, p. 187; Rylands Lib., Legh mss, Bradshaigh to Legh, 8 May 1685; Westmorland RO, D/Ry 2904, Preston to Fleming, 13 Apr. 1685.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 980, 992-3; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 323; HMC Le Fleming, 229; Cartmel Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xcvi), 179; VCH Lancs. viii. 271.