Sir Geoffrey Shakerley, MP

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Sir Geoffrey Shakerley, MP

Also Known As: "Shackerley"
Death: October 17, 1696 (77)
Immediate Family:

Son of Peter Shakerley of Hulme and Margaret Shackerley
Husband of Katherine Shakerley and Jane Shakerley
Father of Peter Shakerley, MP and Geoffrey Shakerley

Managed by: Leoné Gardner
Last Updated:

About Sir Geoffrey Shakerley, MP

Family and Education

b. 20 Apr. 1619, 1st s. of Peter Shakerley of Hulme by Margaret, da. of Philip Oldfield of Bradwall, Cheshire. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1638; G. Inn 1640. m. (1) Katherine (bur. 4 Apr. 1673), da. of William Pennington of Muncaster, Cumb., 2s. 2da.; (2) Jane (d. 16 May 1707), da. of John Dolben of Segrwyd, Denb., 2s. suc. fa. 1624; kntd. 4 Mar. 1662.

Offices Held

Lt.-col. of horse (royalist) 1643-6; gov. of Chester castle 1663-82.

J.p. Cheshire July 1660-Apr. 1688, Chester 1673, Lancs. 1676-Apr. 1688, Cheshire and Lancs. 1689-94; commr. for assessment, Cheshire Sept. 1660, Cheshire and Lancs. 1663-80, Cheshire and Denb. 1689, loyal and indigent officers 1662; dep. lt. Cheshire 1665-Apr. 1688, Denb. 1685-Feb. 1688; commr. for recusants, Lancs. 1675; freeman, Preston 1682.


Shakerley’s ancestors had held the Lancashire manor from which they took their name since the 13th century but had no record of parliamentary service. Shakerley fought for the King in the Civil War, principally in North Wales, and compounded for his delinquency in 1646 with a fine of £784. But his estates were again sequestrated in 1651, and he was involved in the rising of Sir George Booth in 1659.

Shakerley was returned at the general election of 1661 for Wigan, where his brother-in-law Roger Bradshaigh I had the strongest interest. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to 80 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in five sessions, and acted as teller in two divisions. In the first session he was appointed to the committees for the uniformity, regicides and militia bills and to 22 others. But in August 1663 he was appointed governor of Chester Castle at the instigation of Sir Henry Bennet, and he was absent from Westminster for long periods. He maintained a regular correspondence with Joseph Williamson whom he supplied with information concerning unrest and sedition in the north-west. He was particularly zealous in hounding nonconformists during the second Dutch war. In 1665 he broke up a conventicle in Chester composed not merely of Anabaptists, but of ‘the worst stamp of sectaries’, and complained that the city swarmed with ‘cardinal nonconformists’. Experience, he told Williamson, proved that ‘those great pretenders to piety and religion who will not conform to the prince’s ecclesiastical power only submit to the civil until they have power to refuse it’. He took a more lenient view of Catholic recusancy, dismissing rumours of a Popish Plot in 1666 as ‘the old Presbyterian design revived to disturb the kingdom’s peace through the Papists’ sides’. He wished that ‘the same penal laws were executed against all who will not take the Oath of Supremacy, yet pretend so much against Popery’; but a hunting party of Lancashire recusants was deemed innocent since it was made up of ‘those who have spent their estates and ventured their lives for his Majesty’. As governor he was concerned to keep the castle in a constant posture of defence, paying for part of the repairs out of his own pocket. His duties kept him away from Westminster at this juncture, and in any case he preferred cock-fighting. On hearing of a call of the House he hoped that Bennet (now Lord Arlington) would ‘make his excuses’. He was reckoned one of Ormonde’s friends, and listed by Sir Thomas Osborne among the independent Members who usually voted for supply. On 2 Mar. 1670 he was appointed to the committee on the second conventicles bill, and a week later acted as teller against the motion to defer the third reading. He continued his activity against the Cheshire dissenters and his unpopularity among the ‘fanatics’ is attested by an anonymous letter reminding him that ‘in the grave there is no repenting’ and adjuring him ‘to look before he leapt’. After the issue of the Declaration of Indulgence he deplored the granting of so many licences to dissenting ministers in Cheshire, complaining that ‘their assemblies are already grown so full that our episcopal congregations look very thin’. His name appeared on the Paston list of court supporters, and he received the government whip in September 1675, which he seems to have obeyed, being named to three committees in the autumn session, including the elections committee. By now he was classed among the court dependants, and in 1677 he was marked ‘thrice vile’ by Shaftesbury. The author of A Seasonable Argument credited him with a pension of £500, but in fact he received only £154 p.a. On the government list of court supporters drawn up in the spring of 1678 he was marked as being ‘in the country’, and on 18 Dec. he was named a defaulter at the call of the House.

As a member of the ‘unanimous club’ it is unlikely that Shakerley stood in 1679. In the autumn of 1682, when the Duke of Monmouth made his progress in the north-west, his commission as governor was renewed, and the ‘disloyal and rotten-hearted’ population was kept in order by the ‘loyal and vigilant’ governor. Shortly thereafter he volunteered to supply information which would lead to the forfeiture of Chester’s charter if the King decided to bring quo warranto proceedings. In November he surrendered the governorship to his son, but remained active in the town. In 1685 he was concerned to secure the return of two Tories at the week-long election for the county, an election so boisterous that he lost his hat and wig in a scuffle. In 1696 he was described as ‘ancient and living in Denbighshire’ where he had acquired an estate. He died on 17 Oct. and was buried at Nether Peover. His son Peter had been arrested in May 1689 and briefly imprisoned in the Tower, but sat as a high Tory for Wigan from 1690 to 1698 and for Chester from 1698 to 1715.

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