PRESTON, Thomas (d.1604), of Levens Hall in Furness, Lancs. and Preston Patrick, Westmld.
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Family and Education
o.s. of John Preston of Preston Patrick by Helen, da. of Sir Christopher Curwen, sis. of Sir Thomas Curwen of Workington, Cumb. m. by 1573, Anne or Margaret, da. of John Westby of Mowbrick, Lancs., 1s. John.
J.p. Lancs., Westmld. from c.1583; sheriff, Lancs. 1584-5, commr. musters, Lancs. by 1596.1
Preston’s family originally came from Westmorland. His father purchased the site of Furness abbey at the dissolution of the monasteries, and settled in Lancashire. Whether Preston was returned for Knaresborough through his local standing or by the duchy of Lancaster has not been ascertained. The only mention of his name in the proceedings of the House is to his membership of the conference, 29 Mar. 1589, asking the Queen to declare war on Spain.2
It is impossible to be certain of the dates of Preston’s employment in the local administration of Lancashire, as he was suspect on religious grounds. Certainly it is clear that it was only because of the shortage of gentlemen well disposed to protestantism in that part of the country that he was employed at all. When the question of his removal from the commission of the peace for Lancashire and Westmorland came up in 1587, a case was made for his retention in Lancashire:
This gentleman hath lived in very good order, and all his household, and was lately sheriff, and were needful to be restored, for that there is but one justice in Furness, and he but a mean gentleman.