Gerard, Charles – Lord Brandon

Charles Gerrard (c1659-1701) was the first son of the Earl of Macclesfield, who he succeeded in 1694, until then being referred to by his courtesy title, Lord Brandon: ‘A man of strong opinions and a fiery temper, Brandon was undoubtedly the most controversial figure in Lancashire politics between the Revolution and the death of William III.’ He was MP for Lancashire from 1679 to 1681 and again from 1689 to 1694. He was made a freeman of Preston in 1682.

Both within the county and nationally Brandon was seen as an extreme Whig and in 1685 was implicated in the Rye House plot. Later he became a supporter of James II, backing his attempts to repeal the Penal Laws and Test Acts and bringing his regiment to his side when William invaded in 1688. After the Revolution he changed sides, being appointed lord lieutenant when the Earl of Derby declined the office, an appointment that set him at odds with the county’s Tories such that ‘attitudes towards him became the decisive factor in the conduct of Lancashire politics in the 1690s.’ [1]

[1] Eveline Cruickshanks and Richard Harrison, ‘Gerard, Charles, Visct. Brandon (c.1659-1701). | History of Parliament Online’, accessed 19 January 2017,