Thomas Preston of Holker (1647-1697) succeeded his father, also Thomas, to the Holker Hall estate in 1679 and then secured another large Furness estate which his family had lost because of recusancy. He himself was firmly Protestant and related to the Presbyterian Hoghtons; he was cousin to Sir Charles who he helped win election as MP for Lancashire in 1679. He himself was elected MP for 1689 and represented the city until his death. He had previously been urged to oppose Edward Rigby in the contest for Preston in 1685 but declined; he had been a freeman of the town since 1662
He was a county magistrate and deputy lieutenant by 1687, being removed from both posts when Molyneux took over as lord lieutenant of the county at James II’s instigation. He resumed both roles following the Glorious Revolution, of which he was an active supporter. On his death his estates passed to the Lowthers by the marriage of his daughter by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Roger Bradshaigh, of Haigh Hall.