RAWLINSON, Curwen (1641-89), of Cark Hall, Cartmel, Lancs.

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



17 Jan. - 29 Aug. 1689

Family and Education

b. 3 June 1641, 1st s. of Robert Rawlinson of Cark Hall and Gray’s Inn by Jane, da. of Thomas Wilson of Haversham Hall, Westmld. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1657. m. lic. 9 Feb. 1672, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Nicholas Monck, bp. of Hereford, 2s. suc. fa. 1665.1

Offices Held

Steward, manor of Cartmel Aug.-Oct. 1660; j.p. Lancs. 1670-Apr. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., commr. for assessment 1673-80, 1689, dep. lt. 1673-87, Oct. 1688-d., capt. of militia by 1680-Apr. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.2


Rawlinson’s ancestors had been established in northern Lancashire since the reign of Henry VIII. It was claimed for his father, a barrister, that he was ‘a great sufferer for his loyalty to King Charles I’, but this is unlikely, since he never compounded, and was nominated a Presbyterian elder of the ninth classis in 1647. He was recorder of Lancaster in 1661, and probably conformed in 1662, when the Earl of Derby appointed him vice-chamberlain of Chester in succession to Edward Rigby.3

Rawlinson seems to have proposed to a daughter of Thomas Gabetis, the long serving returning officer of Westmorland, in 1669, but though articles were drafted for a settlement, the engagement was broken off. Rawlinson’s marriage to Elizabeth Monck three years later was far more hopeful for a political aspirant; her cousin, the second Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) enjoyed extensive patronage. Meanwhile Rawlinson recommended himself locally as an enthusiastic militia officer, though his conduct as justice of the peace was much criticized. Not only was he said to be lax in the prosecution of nonconformists, but it was alleged that he ‘takes fees upon the bench, argues for his client, and afterwards in the same cause gives his opinion as judge’, and the Earl of Derby thought it was only the protection of Albemarle that prevented his dismissal. Derby rather unskilfully tried to foment rivalry between Rawlinson and his friend and neighbour Thomas Preston II over their seniority in the militia, but apparently without success.4

Rawlinson supported the country candidates at the Lancashire election of September 1679, and in 1685, when he was recommended to the electors of Lancaster by Albemarle, he stood down in favour of the Whig leader Lord Brandon (Hon. Charles Gerard). He returned a decided negative to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and in December 1688 he and Preston called out the militia and disarmed the local Papists. With Preston he defeated Brandon’s candidates at the general election and became the first and only member of his family to enter Parliament as a moderate Tory. He is not known to have spoken or to have sat on any committees in the Convention. He died at Warwick on 29 Aug. 1689; his sons died without issue, and the property was divided by the heirs of his sisters.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. J. Stockdale, Annals of Cartmel, 442, 446.
  • 2. Sir Robert Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 135; CSP Dom. 1673, pp. 106, 121; Lancs. RO, QSC 80-98.
  • 3. VCH Lancs. viii. 385; Stockdale, 459; Mins. Manchester Classis (Chetham Soc. n.s. xx), 12; Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 60-61.
  • 4. Stockdale, 446; HMC Kenyon, 172; HMC Ormonde, n.s. vii. 229.
  • 5. HMC Fleming, 162, 206, 229; Stockdale, 447, 458.