IRELAND, Gilbert (1624-75), of Hale Hall, Childwall, Lancs.

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



1661 - 30 Apr. 1675

Family and Education

b. 11 July 1624, 1st s. of John Ireland of Hutt, Childwall by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Hayes, Draper, of London, ld. mayor 1614-15. m. 26 Jan. 1646, Margaret (d. 1 July 1675), da. and h. of Thomas Ireland of Bewsey Hall, Warrington, s.p. suc. fa. 1633; kntd. 16 June 1660.1

Offices Held

Capt. of horse (parliamentary) by 1644-6; gov. Liverpool 1655-?59.2

Commr. for northern assoc. Lancs. 1645, defence 1645; elder, Walton classis 1646; j.p. Lancs. 1647-?59, Mar. 1660-d., sheriff 1647-9, commr. for militia 1648, 1651, 1655, Mar. 1660, col. of militia ft. 1650-9, commr. for assessment 1652, 1657, Aug. 1660-74, scandalous ministers 1654, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-2, 1673-d., commr. for corporations 1662-3; mayor, Liverpool 1674-d.3

Member, high court of justice 1651.4


Ireland’s ancestors had held manorial property in the parish of Childwall since 1279, and first represented Lancashire in 1337. His great-uncle and uncle sat for Liverpool, ten miles down the Mersey, in early Stuart Parliaments. Ireland himself, a Presbyterian, was in arms for Parliament in both wars, leading his militia regiment in the Worcester campaign. He bought land from the treason trustees, sat for the county under the Protectorate, and voted for offering the crown to Oliver Cromwell. The Rump deprived him of his commission in May 1659, and he was deeply implicated in the royalist rising under Sir George Booth, saving himself only by a timely change of front.5

Ireland was re-elected for Liverpool after a contest in 1660. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was added on 9 May to the committee of elections and privileges, and named to six others in the first session, including those for the indemnity bill and the confirmation of parliamentary privileges. Presumably a court supporter, he was knighted at the Restoration. But on 6 July, in his only recorded speech, he urged the House to pardon those lawyers who had served the Protector. There is no evidence that he attended the second session.6

During the Interregnum Ireland had been of assistance to the Earl of Derby, who appointed him one of his deputy lieutenants and probably supported him in another contested election in 1661. Lord Wharton listed him among his friends in the Cavalier Parliament, but he was again inactive. He was named to the elections committee in five sessions, to five private bill committees, and to only three others. In the opening session he was among those appointed to inquire into the shortfall in the revenue and to consider the bill restoring the bishops to the House of Lords. He acted as teller against a proviso to the militia bill, and was dropped from the lieutenancy in 1662, though against Derby’s own inclinations. His last committee was for the relief of loyal and indigent officers, to which he was added on 1 Dec. 1666.7

Ireland, described as ‘a man of unbounded hospitality’, with a haughty disposition and a stately demeanour, is said to have ruined both his health and his fortune at the Liverpool by-election of 1670. He was certainly much courted by the principal candidates and invited to ‘treat the town’ at their expense. He worked assiduously but without success first for the son of Humphrey Wharton and then for Ormonde’s candidate, Sir George Lane, and in the following year the Opposition listed him as a court supporter, though he defaulted on a call of the House. He was still consulted over measures of local interest, such as the Weaver navigation bill, and the corporation begged him to appear in Parliament to support complaints against the lighthouse patent; but there is no evidence that he did so. He was restored to the lieutenancy in 1673 and completed the rebuilding of Hale in the following year. In October 1674 he was elected mayor, but he had served out barely half his term of office when he died of apoplexy on 30 Apr. 1675. He was buried in Hale chapel, ‘the last of his house’ according to his epitaph, which ignored the recusant branches of the family. He left the income from lands worth between £300 and £500 p.a. to trustees for 30 years to pay off a debt of £2,500. A nephew, Gilbert Aspinall, inherited Hale, while on his widow’s death a few months later Bewsey Hall passed to Richard Atherton.8

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Wards 7/84/117; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxv), 165; G. E. Cokayne, Lord Mayors and Sheriffs of London, 71; W. Beamont, Hale and Orford, 58.
  • 2. Moore Mss (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. lxvii), 167, 207; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1369; Thurloe, iii. 359.
  • 3. Beamont, 58, 127; Lancs. RO, QSC44-72; CSP Dom. 1650, p. 505; 1651, p. 480; 1655, p. 78; 1659-60, p. 24; SP29/61/157; Moore Rental (Chetham Soc. xii), 132.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1651 p. 523.
  • 5. VCH Lancs. iii. 142-4; Cal. Comm. Comp. 643, 2625; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 24, 114, 147; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 312; D. Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy 274; Civil War in Cheshire (Chetham Soc. n.s. lxv), 164, 172.
  • 6. HMC roth Rep. IV, 116-17; Bowman diary, f. 58.
  • 7. CJ, viii. 304; SP29/61/85.
  • 8. W. Gregson, Frags. 202; Beamont, 102, 107, 122-6; HMC Lords, iii. 265-6; VCH Lancs. iii. 437.