DALSTON, John (1611-92), of Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, Westmld. and Milrig, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 15 Oct. 1611, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Christopher Dalston of Acorn Bank by Anne, da. of Sir William Hutton of Penrith, Cumb. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1631; G. Inn, entered 1631. m. settlement 20 Oct. 1634, Lucy (d.1682), da. and h. of Richard Fallowfield of Great Strickland, Westmld., 6s. 5da. 10 other ch. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1634.1

Offices Held

J.p. Westmld. ?1642-4, July 1660-d.; sheriff, Cumb. c.1643; commr. for assessment, Westmld. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, corporations 1662-3, charitable uses 1670, recusants 1675, dep. lt. by 1685-Feb. 1688, Nov. 1688-d.2

Lt.-col. of ft. (royalist) ?1642-4.3


Dalston’s ancestors took their name from a Cumberland manor where the senior branch of the family had resided at least since the 13th century, first representing the county in 1383. The Westmorland branch was established on the grant in 1543 of the former property of the Hospitallers in Temple Sowerby, some seven miles from Appleby. During the Civil War Dalston accepted a commission as second-in-command to his wife’s cousin Sir John Lowther I in the royalist army ‘for fear of losing his estate and not for any desire he had to oppose the Parliament’, and the county committee testified that he had never been in actual service in the field. A further point in his favour was that he had apprehended a seminary priest and committed him to the common gaol. He declared an income of £96 p.a. with reversions totalling £140, and was fined £290. But with only the first moiety paid, he engaged in the second Civil War, and incurred a further penalty of £315. He was not involved in royalist conspiracy, but at the Restoration he was recommended for the order of the Royal Oak, with an estate valued at £600 p.a.4

At the general election of 1661 Dalston was returned for Appleby, together with Lowther’s son, on Lady Pembroke’s interest. Lord Wharton listed him as a friend, and he may have been a country Cavalier, but he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to only ten committees, of which the most important was for the border bill (22 Nov. 1666), and he left no trace in the Journals after the fall of Clarendon. Together with Daniel Fleming he was the subject of a complaint to the Treasury from the excise farmers in 1669. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677, but he had probably ceased to attend, for his epitaph credits him with only 15 years as ‘envoy to Parliament from the borough of Appleby’. To the lord lieutenant’s questions in 1688, he stoutly replied in writing

I do not (in my weak judgment) think that the taking away of the Penal Laws would be for the general good of the nation, these laws being the great security and support of the Government; and therefore I cannot in conscience either vote [for] the taking of them away, or give any vote to the electing such Members as would take them away. ... To live peaceably under the Government with my fellow subjects of what persuasion soever is a duty which I owe both to God and the King, and I am steadfastly resolved (Deo volente) to perform it accordingly.

He was removed from the lieutenancy, and signed the petition sponsored by Sir John Lowther III for a free Parliament on 1 Dec. 1688. He died on 13 Apr. 1692, and was buried at Kirkby Thore. His memorial describes him as

especially fit for public affairs; but he preferred to confine himself to private life, taking the lead in promoting hospitality among his neighbours, enlarging his estate, and attaining knowledge of himself and his household.

His great-grandson sat for Westmorland from 1747 till his death in 1759.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


  • 1. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. n.s. x. 242-5; SP 23/186/414.
  • 2. SP23/186/408; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. n.s. x. 245; Westmld. RO, Appleby memo. bk. 1662-85, D/Ry 1124, 3314.
  • 3. SP23/186/408.
  • 4. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. n.s. x. 204; Nicolson and Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. i. 382-4; SP23/186/396-412.
  • 5. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. Soc. n.s. x. 245; Westmld. RO, D/Ry 1055, 3363.