RIGBY, Alexander (1620-94), of Middleton in Goosnargh and Preston, Lancs.

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



Apr. - 20 June 1660

Family and Education

bap. 22 Aug. 1620, 1st s. of Alexander Rigby of Middleton by 1st w. Lucy, da. of Sir Urian Legh of Adlington, Cheshire; bro. of Edward Rigby. educ. Wigan (Mr William Rathband) 1630; Macclesfield g.s. 1631; Emmanuel, Camb. 1637. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Herrys of Shenfield, Essex, 1s. da. d.v.p.; (2) his cos. Margaret, da. of Thomas Legh of Adlington, 1s. d.v.p.; (3) Margaret, da. of Sir Gibert Hoghton, 2nd Bt., of Hoghton Tower, Lancs., 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1650.1

Offices Held

Lt.-col. of ft. (parliamentary) 1643-7; col. of horse 1648.

Commr. for defence, Lancs. 1645; elder, Preston classis 1646; commr. for militia, Lancs. 1648, 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment Jan. 1660-80, 1689-90, dep. lt. 1689-d.2


The Middleton estate, of modest dimensions, was acquired by Rigby’s grandfather. His father was a successful and well-connected lawyer, an Independent in religion, who sat for Wigan in the Long Parliament, until he was made a baron of the Exchequer in 1649. Rigby enjoyed a strictly puritan education, and served under his father, one of the most active parliamentary commanders in the north, during the Civil War. Unlike his father he was a Presbyterian, and held no office after the execution of the King, though he represented the county in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. But the Alexander Rigby listed as a royalist sympathizer by Roger Whitley in 1658 was probably his cousin of the Layton family.3

Rigby, who lived in one of the largest houses in Preston, was returned at the general election of 1660 by the corporation; but he lost his seat when the election was declared void without having taken any active part in the Convention. He does not seem to have conformed to the Anglican Church. He emerged from retirement to contest Wigan in February 1679, but without success. With his brother he was arrested at the instance of the Earl of Derby during Monmouth’s rebellion. After the Revolution, Lord Brandon (Hon. Charles Gerard) made him a deputy lieutenant, probably in recognition of his brother’s political services. Rigby was buried at Goosnargh on 4 Mar. 1694. His immediate descendants seem to have been Quakers, and none of them entered Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Palatine Note Bk. iii. 168, 218; HMC Kenyon, 40-41, 47; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxviii), 245-6.
  • 2. Discourse of the War in Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxii), 43; Mins. Manchester Classis (Chetham Soc. n.s. xx), 11; Palatine Note Bk. iii. 168; Lancs. RO, QSC 62; Sir Robert Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 105.
  • 3. VCH Lancs. vii. 197; Keeler, Long Parl. 323; Palatine Note Bk. iii. 169.
  • 4. VCH Lancs. vii. 76; Discourse of the War in Lancs. 130; H. Fishwick, Preston, 146.