Kirkby was a justice of the peace for Lancashire from 1663 until his death and custos rotulorum for the same county, also until death. He was elected Member of Parliament for Lancaster in 1661 for the Cavalier Parliament and retained the seat until his death in 1681.
Kirkby married thrice. His first wife was Elizabeth Murray by whom he had children Roger Kirkby (c.1649–1709), Agnes and Temperence. He married secondly Isabel Huddleston, daughter of Sir William Huddleston of Millom and had children Capt. Richard Kirkby, RN (c.1657–1703), shot for cowardice, William Kirkby (b. c.1658) and Elizabeth Kirkby. His third wife was Helen Maxey and he had children Greville Kirkby (b. 1662) and Mary Kirkby.
- "Benbow's Mutineers". Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "KIRKBY, Richard (c 1625-81), of Kirkby Ireleth, Lancs". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
|Parliament of England|
Sir Gilbert Gerard, Bt
| Member of Parliament for Lancaster