DALLISON, Sir Roger (c.1562-1620), of Laughton, Lincs.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1562, 1st s. of William Dallison of Laughton by Anne, da. of Robert Dighton† of Lincoln, Lincs. and Little Sturton, Lincs.1 educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1575; G. Inn 1577.2 m. (1) aft. 1588 (with £1,200),3 Anne, da. of Sir Valentine Browne† of Croft, Lincs., s.p.;4 (2) Elizabeth, da. of Marmaduke Tyrwhitt†, of Scotter, Lincs., s.p.;5 (3) by 1592, Elizabeth, da. of William Tuthill of Newton, Norf. 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.6 suc. fa. 1587, aged 25;7 kntd. 23 Apr. 1603;8 cr. bt. 29 June 1611.9 bur. 13 May 1620.10 sig. Roger Dalyson.

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) by 1593-1616, Mdx. by 1610-at least 1614;11 steward, Kirton manor, Lincs. 1597-1608;12 commr. subsidy, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1599, 1600, 1608,13 sheriff, Lincs. 1601-2;14 bailiff, former chantry lands, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1604;15 commr. sewers, Gt. Fens by 1604-9, Lincs. 1608, Lincs. and Notts. 1610-19, Mdx. 1610-20, preservation of ditches, Gt. Fens 1605,16 Admlty. causes, Lincs. 1608,17 annoyances, Surr. 1611, Mdx. 1613.18

Recvr. ordnance by 1602,19 lt. 1608-16;20 farmer, currant duties (jt.) 1604-9;21 commr. duchy of Cornw. lands 1607, provisions for the Navy 1613.22

Esq. of body by 1605-at least 1608;23 gent. of the privy chamber by c.1615.24


The Dallisons, who derived their name from a Norman town, had been settled in Lincolnshire since at least the fourteenth century.25 Suffering mixed fortunes, by the 1530s Leland wrote of them as ‘men of very fair lands many years since, but of later days they were not of any great lands, not passing £100 or 100 marks’.26 Apart from his great-uncle William, who was returned for Lincolnshire in 1553, none of Dallison’s ancestors sat in Parliament.27

In 1590 Dallison inherited his father’s estate, concentrated at Laughton in north-west Lincolnshire, to which he added a generous dowry from his first wife and the remaining years on a lease of three Norfolk manors from the third.28 Like his cousins Sir Bassingbourne Gawdy* and Sir Thomas Monson*, Dallison attached himself to Henry Howard, earl of Northampton by the beginning of the reign of James I. Northampton was probably responsible for obtaining for Dallison, in December 1603, the wardship of William Bassett’s† daughter, Elizabeth, which had been forfeited by Northampton’s attainted rivals (Sir) Walter Ralegh† and Henry Brooke†, Lord Cobham. It was certainly Northampton who, in the following May, procured the re-grant of his office of steward of the duchy of Cornwall manor of Kirton, Lincolnshire for life, which he had previously held at the monarch’s pleasure.29

Dallison also became associated with Northampton’s nephew, Thomas Howard, earl of Suffolk, whose son Henry* was subsequently to marry Elizabeth Bassett. It was undoubtedly Suffolk who nominated Dallison at Malmesbury in 1604. The former had inherited a substantial estate nearby from his father-in-law Sir Henry Knyvet, who had himself represented the borough four times under Elizabeth.30 Dallison was named to 13 committees in the 1604-10 Parliament but is not recorded as having made any speeches. In 1604 he was appointed to consider measures concerning the fens (12 May), for the maintenance of husbandry (25 May) and to confirm his cousin Sir Thomas Monson’s exchange of property with Trinity College, Cambridge (26 May 1604).31

The following autumn, acting on behalf of Suffolk, and more covertly the 1st earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil†), Dallison, together with Richard Wright*, obtained a lease of the duties on currants, which included the notorious unparliamentary impositions that were to be the focus of Bate’s case.32 By the following year he was esquire of the body, presumably thanks to Suffolk, now lord chamberlain of the Household, and in the same year he accompanied Northampton to Windsor for the latter’s investiture as a knight of the Garter.33

Dallison received two committee appointments in the second session. He probably had a personal interest in the first, for considering the bill to prevent the erection of weirs on navigable rivers (7 Feb. 1606), as he owned a ferry at Wildsworth on the Trent, which earned him £300 per year.34 In addition he was added to the committee for the Marshalsea Court bill on 21 March.35 In the third session he was twice named to consider the revived Marshalsea measure, when it was committed on 10 Dec. 1606 and again on 21 Feb. 1607. His only other appointment concerned the encouragement of husbandry in Herefordshire (4 Mar. 1607).36

In 1608, on the promotion of Sir George Carew I*, Dallison was appointed lieutenant of the Ordnance Office, a position whose official remuneration was just £72 p.a.37 When the first Jacobean Parliament reconvened two years later his new position presumably explains his appointment to two committees concerning the export of artillery, (16 Mar. and 30 May 1610), and perhaps also his membership of the committee concerned with purveyance (26 February).38 In addition he was again named to measures concerning the Fens (26 Mar.) and the Marshalsea (29 March).39 His other appointments concerned measures for the naturalization of the Scottish courtier James Maxwell (10 Mar.) and to allow the debtor John Pleydell to sell certain Wiltshire estates (14 June), the last being the only one of his appointments related to his constituency.40 He made no impression on the scanty records of fifth session.

In 1611 Dallison purchased one of the earliest baronetcies, but he was only able to pay £365 of the £1,095 asking price. That November Chamberlain listed him among those ‘as well baronets as bare knights’ who had to ‘walk under [royal] protection’ against arrest for debt.41 Since his estate at Laughton alone was taxed at £30 in 1610, it looks as though the extravagance of his life at Court was the primary cause of his financial difficulties.42

It was presumably his growing debts that led Dallison to embezzle large sums from the Ordnance. As lieutenant he was the department’s principal financial officer, responsible for receiving money from the Exchequer and paying bills and wages. The full extent of his corruption is unknown, but it seems that he was appropriating official funds to his own use from the start of his tenure as lieutenant. By 1614 things had reached crisis point; the pay of officers and workmen had fallen so far into arrears that they went on strike. Nevertheless, after Suffolk became lord treasurer in July of that year Dallison persuaded his patron to pay him £6,500. This sum also went towards the payment of his debts, but even that was not enough. In early 1616 Dallison granted a reversion of the lieutenancy to Sir Richard Moryson*, and at the end of that year he surrendered his office entirely, presumably for a tidy sum. A subsequent audit of his accounts revealed that he owed the Crown at least £13,000. This figure was probably something of an under estimate, as nearly £25,000 had ultimately to be paid to Moryson to settle Dallison’s accounts.43

By April 1618 Dallison was in custody.44 He petitioned for his release in the following July, claiming that he would sell his properties to repay the Crown. However he was found to have settled his estate on his son and consequently in July 1619 was committed to the Fleet, where he died intestate the following year. He was buried in St. James Clerkenwell, administration of his estate being subsequently granted to a creditor.45 Despite his attempts to preserve his estate his lands were seized by Crown and in July 1620 Laughton manor and other properties were leased to an Ordnance clerk.46 Lord Treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*) subsequently acquired control of the properties. During the impeachment proceedings against him in 1624 it emerged that Middlesex had browbeaten Dallison’s widow and younger son, Thomas, into accepting an annuity of £200 in exchange for their claims to the estate, and had overturned the rights of two creditors, Sir Richard Smythe* and Sir John Davy, to one of Dallison’s manors in Lincolnshire.47

Dallison’s son Thomas, who became heir to the estate after his elder brother’s death shortly before their father’s, had obtained a royal warrant in December 1623 returning to him goods worth £602 and discharging two bonds of £730 due to the Exchequer.48 In May 1624 Thomas’s claim to his father’s baronetcy was jeopardized when it emerged that, by a clerical error, the seal for the original grant had been omitted from the register. Secretary of state Sir Edward Conway I* reported the king’s concern that Thomas’s reduced estate ‘might be prejudicial to the orders of the institution’ but that he ‘would be glad to satisfy him if he could in justice.’49 Thomas was therefore created baronet by a special grant in the following October. A royalist during the Civil War, he was killed while still unmarried at Naseby in June 1645, having never sat in Parliament.50

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Ben Coates



  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 286-7.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
  • 3. PROB 11/73, f. 271.
  • 4. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 181.
  • 5. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1017.
  • 6. PROB 11/77, f. 385; IGI.
  • 7. W. Boyd, ‘Dalison Notes’, Misc. Her. and Gen. (ser. 2), ii. 187.
  • 8. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 103.
  • 9. CB, i. 221.
  • 10. St. James’s Clerkenwell (Harl. Soc. Reg. xvii), 148.
  • 11. Hatfield House, ms 278; C231/4, f. 13v; C66/1822; 66/1988.
  • 12. C66/1761/21.
  • 13. E179/139/618; 179/139/624; SP14/31/1.
  • 14. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 80.
  • 15. E315/310, f. 30.
  • 16. C181/1, 117v.
  • 17. HCA14/39/217.
  • 18. C181/1, ff. 75, 117v; 181/2, ff. 74v, 83v, 119, 128, 142, 199, 353; 181/3, f. 18v.
  • 19. Add. 28685, f. 2v.
  • 20. C66/1761/26; E403/1727, unfol. (17 Feb. 1621).
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1604-10, p. 161; F.C. Dietz, English Public Finance, 1558-1641, p. 347.
  • 22. C181/2, ff. 34, 180v.
  • 23. E115/117/50; E179/70/122.
  • 24. SP15/40/28.
  • 25. J. Burke, Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 148.
  • 26. Itinerary of John Leland, ed. L. Toulmin Smith, ii. 10.
  • 27. HP Commons, 1508-58, ii. 5.
  • 28. PROB 11/77, f. 385.
  • 29. Boyd, 241-2.
  • 30. HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 275.
  • 31. CJ, i. 207b, 226a, 226b.
  • 32. P. Croft, ‘Fresh Light on Bate’s Case’, HJ, xxx. 529.
  • 33. Add. 34218, f. 87.
  • 34. CJ, i. 265a; Boyd, 259.
  • 35. CJ, i. 288a.
  • 36. Ibid. 329a, 339b, 347b.
  • 37. E351/2644; 351/2649.
  • 38. CJ, i. 400a, 412b, 434a.
  • 39. Ibid. 414b, 416a.
  • 40. Ibid. 438b.
  • 41. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 314; SCL, EM 1284(a).
  • 42. E179/139/681; C. Holmes, Seventeenth-Cent. Lincs. 70.
  • 43. R.W. Stewart, English Ordnance Office, 25-6, 52-3; ‘Star Chamber Procs. against the Earl of Suffolk and others’ ed. A.P.P. Keep, EHR, xiii. 717-18; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 346; Carew Letters ed. J. Maclean (Cam. Soc. lxxvi) 22.
  • 44. APC, 1618-19, p. 99.
  • 45. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 562; Eg. 2592, f. 232v; PROB 6/11, f. 1.
  • 46. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 163.
  • 47. HMC Buccleuch, iii. 237, 240, 242; LJ iii. 299b, 300a, 317b, 374b, 381a; M. Prestwich, Cranfield, 399, 442, 452; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 192.
  • 48. SO3/7, unfol., Dec. 1623.
  • 49. SP14/164/38.
  • 50. 47th DKR, 131; CB, i. 221-2.