BANKS, William II (c.1658-90), of Winstanley, Lancs.

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



Oct. 1679
1689 - 10 Jan. 1690

Family and Education

b. c.1658, 1st s. of William Banks I. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1676; G. Inn 1676. m. 31 Mar. 1687, Lettice, da. of Richard Legh of Lyme, Cheshire, s.p. suc. fa. 1676.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lancs. 1679-80, 1689-d., j.p. 1683-Apr. 1688, 1689-d.; bailiff, Liverpool 1685-Oct. 1688; dep. lt. Lancs. Nov. 1688-d.2


Banks was first returned as a country candidate for Wigan, three miles from his home at the second general election of 1679, probably with the support of the Stanley interest, with which his family had long been associated. He was moderately active in the second Exclusion Parliament, in which he was appointed to the committees to consider the bill for the encouragement of woollen manufactures, to investigate the conduct of Sir Robert Peyton and to report on the abuses in the Eye election. He was active in Wigan municipal affairs, opposing the crown nomination of a town clerk in 1682, but was surprisingly nominated to the Liverpool corporation under the new charter. He refused to consent to the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, was removed from the commission of the peace in April 1688, and commented sardonically on the proceedings. He regained his seat at the general election of 1689 and attended both sessions of the Convention, reporting frequently on parliamentary proceedings to Roger Kenyon, Lord Derby’s political manager, and not concealing his Whiggish antipathy to the bishops. On 14 Feb. he wrote:

It is said that the great men will find it an easy matter to turn this Convention into a Parliament. I hear the lawyers engage to find law, so there is like to be a dull time for the poor alehouses that expected new treating of parties.

His only possible committee was to inquire into the education of children overseas as Roman Catholics. During the recess he desired Lord Derby to be assured that ‘I am the same man (whatever he may think to the contrary) both to him and his family that I always professed myself’. But in fact he had probably gone over to Lord Delamer (Henry Booth). He remained in London for the Christmas recess, despite a family wedding in the country. But he was absent from the divisions on the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and died after a short illness on 10 Jan. 1690, aged 31. He was buried at Wigan, the last of his family to sit in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Croston, Lancs. iv. 306-7; E. C. Legh, Lady Newton, Lyme Letters, 149.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 57.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 525-6, Cumb. RO, Fleming mss 3190, Kenyon to Fleming, 16 Apr. 1688; HMC Kenyon, 189, 216, 226, 227; Legh, 179; W. J. True, Ramble Round Wigan Par. Church, 84.