DALSTON, John (c.1556-aft.1609), of Dalston Hall, nr. Carlisle, Cumb.

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.1556, o.s. of John Dalston of Dalston Hall by Catherine Tolson of Bridekirk. m. (1) Frances, da. and coh. of Thomas Warcop of Smardale, Westmld., 1s. 1da.; (2) aft. 1589, Catherine, da. and h. of Thomas Tirrell of Burbicke, 2da. suc. fa. 10 Dec. 1580. Kntd. ?1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Cumb. from 1573, sheriff 1583-4, 1586-7, 1594-5, 1596-7, 1604-5; j.p. Westmld. from 1601; steward of Burgh barony by 1582; capt. Carlisle castle from 1589; eccles. commr. York province 1599; dep. warden west march Jan. 1603.


Belonging to a family closely connected with Carlisle and seated about three miles from the city, Dalston inherited several manors in the county as well as other property in Westmorland and Yorkshire and was fitted by both birth and aptitude to take a prominent part in the administration of his county and in peace-keeping operations—often of a most war-like kind—on the west border. As a local man, a justice of the peace, a former sheriff, and steward of one of the border baronies, he must have been to the city and the warden, Lord Scrope, who resided there, an obviously suitable person to send to Parliament as fellow-Member to the warden’s young son, Henry, on his first appearance at Westminster. On 13 Nov. 1589 Dalston became captain of Carlisle castle for life, in place of his father-in-law Thomas Warcop, deceased.

Apparently unaffected by the uncertainty in the wardenry between the death of Lord Scrope in 1592 and the appointment of his heir, Thomas Scrope, as warden in 1593, Dalston again became sheriff in 1594. The references to him are few yet sufficient to indicate his undiminished activity. As sheriff he signed the return for Cumberland and Carlisle elections in 1597. He was one of four gentlemen appointed by Scrope to have charge of the wardenry during the first fortnight of the warden’s absence in February 1601, one of eight gentlemen appointed in May to arbitrate between English and Scots, and deputy warden in the early months of 1603.

On the accession of James I he immediately sent his son to offer his congratulations and proclaimed the new King at Carlisle, probably being knighted soon afterwards or in any case before beginning his fourth term as sheriff on 5 Nov. 1604. For some years he had been as friendly with the Grahams on the other side of the border as his duty would allow, so it could have caused little surprise when in 1606, at a meeting of the justices, he refused to contribute to the expenses of transporting them to Ireland, though it was thought that he had ‘much forgotten himself’ in making his protest in public. The last known mention of him occurs in a report on the manor of Carlisle, 30 Dec. 1609.

Vis. Cumb. (Harl. Soc. vii), 5; C142/192/6; Nicolson and Burn, Cumb. and Westmld. ii. 316-17; Border Pprs. i. 89; ii. 733-4, 751, 814, 817; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 290; HMC Hatfield, ix. 397; xii. 613; xv. 20-1; xviii. 214, 216; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 576.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: H.G.O.