LISTER, Christopher (c.1656-1701), of Thornton Park, Craven, Yorks. and Enfield, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - by 1 Nov. 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1656, o. s. of Christopher Lister† of Thornton by Katherine, da. of Sir Thomas Norcliffe of Langton, Yorks. unmsuc. fa. 1668.1

Offices Held


A younger son of the Listers of Midhope, Yorkshire, Lister’s father settled at Thornton, which had been in the family since the mid-16th century. He sat for Westmorland in the Protectorate Parliaments, but Christopher jnr. harboured electoral ambitions at Clitheroe, with which the Listers had very close links. He first stood at a by-election in 1694 in opposition to the Whig Hon. Fitton Gerard*, being promoted as ‘a bachelor of £2,000 p.a. . . . [and] a fierce Church of England man’. Before the polls, he ‘entertained his friends nobly’, but the contest ended in a double return. Accordingly, he went up to London to support his petition, ‘resolved to the utmost of his endeavours to serve the corporation’ when there were rumours of a bill to disfranchise the borough. He was not seated, but was successful in 1695, a victory which an observer later credited to the influence of a distant relation, Thomas Lister of nearby Arnoldsbigging. Although Lister was an inactive Member, a Tory observer described him in January 1696 as voting with the Court, but he was nevertheless forecast as likely to vote against the government on 31 Jan. in the divisions on the proposed council of trade. He signed the Association, both at Westminster and Clitheroe, and during the next session showed greater support for the Court with his vote on 25 Nov. for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. Of more personal significance, a petition was presented on 4 Jan. 1697 on behalf of the heirs of the late Lady Elizabeth Finch, claiming that Lister, as her guardian, had retained control over her Yorkshire estates and received their rents, and exercised his parliamentary privilege against a decree in their favour in the courts. He appeared the next day to make his defence, but to no avail since the House ordered that the plaintiffs should gain possession of the properties.2

Successful at Clitheroe in 1698, Lister was subsequently classed as a Court supporter and placeman, in recognition of the crown grant he received as keeper of one of the walks in Enfield Chase. The following year he received a 94-year lease in the Chase, but such responsibilities led to another hearing before the committee for privileges after Edward Chandler, his under-keeper, was twice arrested by Sir Basil Firebrace*, the ranger, for killing deer. Lister claimed a breach of privilege against Firebrace and ten others for the arrests, but following the committee’s report on 9 Apr. 1700 the House cleared his opponents of any infringement. Beyond such adverse publicity, he made little impact in the Commons. Unopposed at the first election of 1701, he was listed in February as a likely supporter of the Court over continuing the ‘Great Mortgage’. He died at his Enfield home on or before 1 Nov. 1701 and was buried on 12 Nov. at Almondbury, Yorkshire, leaving his estate to his cousin Thomas, second son of Sir John Kaye, 2nd Bt.*, on condition that he assumed the name of Lister. Some of his lands were later sold under an Act of Parliament of 1708 to pay for his outstanding debts and legacies, amounting to over £300.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Perry Gauci


  • 1. IGI, Yorks.; H. L. Lyster-Denny, Memorials of an Ancient House, 187–8.
  • 2. Lyster-Denny, 178; HMC Kenyon, 284, 396, 411; Lancs. RO, Kenyon mss DDKe/27, Roger Kenyon* to [–], 19 Feb. 1693–4; Cheshire RO, Shakerley mss, George Kenyon* to Peter Shakerley*, 24 Jan. 1712–13; W. S. Weeks, Clitheroe, 219.
  • 3. CJ, xii. 617; xiii. 379; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 106; PCC 38 Herne; Lyster-Denny, 188; HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 543–4.