Sir George Booth, Lord Delamere, 1622-84

Cheshire Presbyterian who conspired against the Commonwealth and led a pro-Royalist uprising in 1659

Portrait of Sir George BoothGeorge Booth was the second son of William Booth and his wife Vere, of Dunham Massey in Cheshire. After the death of his father in 1636, Booth was brought up by his grandfather, also called Sir George Booth. He attended the Inner Temple in 1637 but is said to have fled to France around 1639 after quarrelling with his grandfather over his marriage to Katherine Clinton, daughter of the Earl of Lincoln. After Katherine's death in 1643, Booth married Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the Earl of Stamford, with whom he had seven sons and five daughters.

Booth returned to England on the outbreak of civil war. He played an active role in Cheshire and the northern Marches, accompanying Sir William Brereton on his advance into north Wales in November 1643 and taking command of the garrison at Nantwich when Brereton's forces were driven back. As a moderate Presbyterian, however, Booth opposed Brereton on both political and religious grounds. After fighting at the siege of Chester in 1645, Booth resigned his commission in order to stand for Parliament. Despite Brereton's opposition, Booth was elected recruiter MP for Cheshire in 1646. He was associated with the Presbyterian faction in Parliament, and was among the MPs excluded at Pride's Purge in December 1648 by soldiers under the command of his brother-in-law Lord Grey of Groby.

In 1654, Booth was elected to the First Protectorate Parliament and in March 1655, he was one of the commissioners appointed to assist the Major-Generals in Cheshire. During the elections for the Second Protectorate Parliament, Major-General Bridge intervened to substitute Booth in place of the republican John Bradshaw as candidate for Cheshire. However, Booth emerged as a critic of the Major-Generals. When he described them as "Cromwell's hangmen" during the debates over the renewal of the decimation tax, the resulting altercation with Major-General Howard almost ended in a duel. Booth was elected MP for Lancashire in the Third Protectorate Parliament in January 1659.

In May 1659, the Rump Parliament was recalled and the Cromwellian Protectorate came to an end with the subsequent resignation of Richard Cromwell. The restored Parliament was generally regarded as more radical than the Protectorate had been and Booth was active in demanding the re-admittance to Parliament of the Presbyterian MPs who had been expelled at Pride's Purge in 1648. When these demands were rejected, he became involved in a conspiracy for a Royalist insurrection and was commissioned by the Great Trust to lead the insurgency in Cheshire, Lancashire and north Wales.

Out of a series of insurrections around the country planned for the summer of 1659, Booth's Uprising was the only one that came to fruition. Although the insurgents succeeded in seizing Chester, they were easily defeated by Major-General Lambert at Winnington Bridge near Northwich on 19 August. Booth tried to escape disguised as a woman, but was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was released on bail in February 1660 after the excluded MPs were reinstated by General Monck.

In April 1660, Booth was elected to the Convention Parliament as MP for Cheshire. He was one of the twelve MPs appointed to convey Parliament's invitation to Charles II to return as King. Booth appealed for clemency on behalf of a number of those threatened with prosecution, including Oliver St John, Sir Arthur Hesilrige and even Major-General Lambert. Parliament awarded him £10,000 for his role in securing the Restoration and, at the King's coronation in April 1661, Booth was elevated to the peerage as Lord Delamere. He was active in Restoration politics in support of Presbyterianism and against Catholicism until his death in August 1684.


Christopher Durston, Cromwell's Major-Generals (Manchester 2001)

Sean Kelsey, George Booth, first Baron Delamere, Oxford DNB, 2004

J.R. Phillips, Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales & the Marches vol.i (London 1874)