DALSTON, Sir George (1581-1657), of Dalston Hall, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 22 Jan. 1644
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)

Family and Education

b. 1581, 1st s. of Sir John Dalston† of Dalston Hall and his 2nd w. Frances, da. and coh. of Thomas Warcop† of Smardale, Westmld.1 educ. Queens’, Camb. c.1596; at Court to 1603.2 m. 11 Feb. 1605, Catherine (bur. 22 July 1614), da. of John Tamworth of Halsted, Leics. and coh. to her bro. Colby, 1s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.).3 kntd. 26 June 1607;4 suc. fa. 1633.5 bur. 28 Sept. 1657.6

Offices Held

Capt. of Carlisle Castle, Cumb. 1608-at least 1643;7 j.p. Cumb. and Westmld. 1615-44, custos. rot. Cumb. 1641-44;8 commr. oyer and terminer, Northern circ. 1615-24, 1632-41, Cumb. 1630;9 sheriff, Cumb. 1618-19;10 commr. border malefactors 1618, 1619, 1635,11 wool prices, Cumb. 1619,12 subsidy, Cumb. 1621, Westmld. 1622, Cumb. and Westmld. 1624;13 freeman, Carlisle 1623, alderman by 1634;14 dep. lt. Cumb. and Westmld. by 1627-c.1644;15 commr. Forced Loan, Cumb. 1627;16 member, High Commission, York prov. 1628;17 commr. piracy, Cumb. 1631,18 assessment 1641-3,19 array 1642,20 levying money 1643.21


Dalston’s ancestors took their name from a manor which they leased from the bishops of Carlisle by 1301, and they regularly represented the county from 1383.22 On the accession of King James, Dalston was sent to Edinburgh by his father, the deputy warden of the West March, to assure the new monarch of his loyalty and service.23 Father and son were remembered on the Borders as ‘brave housekeepers ... bravely attended’ with a dozen liveried flunkeys, and ‘great gamesters always ready to venture £100 freely on a race’, being never without two or three ‘running horses, the best in England’ in their stables.24 Dalston married an heiress whose inheritance comprised a third part of a widespread estate in the Midlands and the South.25 His stepmother, Lady Wharton, was a recusant; Dalston’s own religion was questioned as a result of his marriage and his apparent willingness to act as catspaw for Lord William Howard of Naworth.26 Nevertheless, after his death Dalston was remembered as a ‘great lover of the Church’ and generous towards the poor; also ‘a careful and provident conductor of his estate, but far from covetousness’.27

In 1608 Dalston was granted the governorship of Carlisle on an annual salary of £176 8s. 4d.28 During his shrievalty of Cumberland in 1618-19, he incurred costs of £500 over and above the usual expenses because a prisoner escaped from his custody.29 Just over a year later he was elected for the first time as the senior knight of the shire for Cumberland, with his cousin Sir Christopher Dalston acting as the returning officer. Dalston’s four appointments in the 1621 Parliament were to consider a bill concerning conveyances (10 Mar. 1621), two private bills promoted on behalf of Viscount Montague (15 and 16 Mar.), a well-known Catholic peer, and to a conference with the Lords on the Sabbath and certiorari bills (24 May).30 Re-elected to every Parliament of the 1620s, in 1624 Dalston was named to committees for bills to confirm Prince Charles in possession of Goathland manor in Yorkshire (15 Mar. 1624), and the bishop of Lichfield in a rent charge on property in Coventry (16 Apr.), besides the revived Montague estate bill (5 April).31 On 17 Mar. he spoke against an attempt to reverse a Chancery decree corruptly obtained by Lady Wharton, who had bribed Sir Francis Bacon*, pointing out that Bacon’s successor on the woolsack had already referred the dispute to Common Law.32 In response to the Commons’ efforts to rid Catholics from public offices, Dalston brazenly asserted that no Cumberland officials were recusants, though this was notoriously untrue; the religion of even his own colleague, Ferdinand Huddleston, was widely suspected.33

In the first Caroline Parliament Dalston was appointed to only one committee, for the wool export bill (27 June 1625).34 In the debates on the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham in 1626 Bulstrode Whitelocke*, who was perhaps unfamiliar with north country speech, reported that on 24 Mar. 1626 Dalston told the Commons that he had ‘never heard any northern man give good word of the duke’.35 Dalston nevertheless acted on 9 May as teller against committing Buckingham to prison, and was later lampooned as ‘bawling Dalston’ for giving somewhat noisy vent to his loyalty to the favourite.36 After the dissolution, on 31 Aug., he wrote to (Sir) John Coke* that ‘we have prevailed with our country to give a Benevolence to the value of four subsidies’, but begged that his constituency might be ‘eased of these great burthens’.37 His only recorded speech in the 1628 Parliament consisted of the two words, ‘five subsidies’, uttered in the supply debate of 4 Apr.; and his only committee was to consider the naturalization bills of two Scottish courtiers, Sir Robert Dalyell and George Kirke* (25 April).38

Dalston succeeded to the family property in Cumberland in 1633. He represented Cumberland in both the Short and Long Parliaments until disabled as a royalist, after which he sat at Oxford; he was accompanied throughout by his son, William, MP for Carlisle, who was created a baronet in 1641.39 Together they compounded for £3,000 in 1648.40 Having already settled most of his estates upon his son, Dalston drew up his will on 9 Sept. 1657, and was buried at Dalston three weeks later.41 He was eulogized for having a ‘marvellous sweet nature ... of a meek and gentle spirit, but not too soft’, in a funeral sermon preached and later published by the eminent Anglican divine Jeremy Taylor.42

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. x. 217-8.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; Hutchinson, Cumb. ii. 454.
  • 3. Dalston Par. Regs. ed. J. Wilson, i. 109, 162; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. x. 218-20.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 142.
  • 5. C142/507/162.
  • 6. Hutchinson, Cumb. ii. 454.
  • 7. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 406; Lansd. 165, f. 49; Cumb. RO (Carlisle), D/Mus/Corr/4/16.
  • 8. C231/4, ff. 4, 6; 231/5, p. 427.
  • 9. Naworth Household Bks. ed. G. Ornsby (Surtees Soc. lxviii), 465; C181/2, ff. 237, 249, 308, 310v; 181/3, ff. 83, 106v; 181/4, ff. 25, 108, 197v; 181/5, ff. 7v, 203v.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 28.
  • 11. T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 3, pp. 38, 97; CSP Dom. 1635, p. 510.
  • 12. APC, 1617-19, p. 470.
  • 13. SP14/123/3; C212/22/21, 23.
  • 14. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca/2/27; Mun. Recs. Carlisle ed. R.S. Ferguson (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. extra ser. iv), 13.
  • 15. SP16/73/41.
  • 16. Rymer, vii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 17. SP16/123/46.
  • 18. C181/4, f. 81.
  • 19. SR, v. 60, 82, 149; A. and O. i. 90.
  • 20. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 21. A. and O. i. 147.
  • 22. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. x. 204.
  • 23. HMC Hatfield, xv. 20-1.
  • 24. E. Sandford, Antiqs. and Fams. in Cumb. 29.
  • 25. C.B. Phillips, ‘Gentry in Cumb. and Westmld. 1600-65’ (Lancaster Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1973), p. 188.
  • 26. Lowther Fam. Estate Bks. ed. C.B. Phillips (Surtees Soc. cxci), 222; Naworth Household Bks. 8, 29, 111, 256.
  • 27. Jeremy Taylor, A Sermon Preached ... (1658), Wing T392A, pp. 31, 33.
  • 28. Lansd. 165, f. 49.
  • 29. Naworth Household Bks. 458.
  • 30. CJ, i. 548b, 554a, 556b, 626a.
  • 31. Ibid. 686a, 755a, 768a.
  • 32. Ibid. 688a.
  • 33. Ibid. 776a.
  • 34. Procs. 1625, p. 252.
  • 35. Procs. 1626, ii. 358.
  • 36. Ibid. iii. 201; Procs. 1628, vi. 246.
  • 37. HMC Cowper, i. 280.
  • 38. Procs. 1628, vi. 63; CD 1628, iii. 70.
  • 39. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 151-2.
  • 40. CCC, 99, 124, 960.
  • 41. PROB 11/270, ff. 37v-8.
  • 42. Taylor, A Sermon Preached, 31.