ASHTON (ASSHETON), Richard (1553-1611), of Mawdesley, Croston, Lancs. and Gray's Inn, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

bap. 28 Feb. or 25 Dec. 1553,1 yr. s. of Richard Ashton (d.1606)2 of Croston, and Jane, da. of Sir Robert Hesketh† of Rufford, Lancs.3 educ. G. Inn 1578.4 m. 18 Sept. 1584,5 Jane Cleyton, at least 4s. 1da.6 bur. 23 Mar. 1611.7

Offices Held

Steward, Newton, Lancs. by 1601-d.;8 freeman, Preston, Lancs. by 1602.9


Ashton’s surname was common to several ancient Lancashire gentry families, and consequently this Member is hard to differentiate from his namesakes, particularly his neighbour and kinsman Richard Ashton of Croston (d.1621).10 It was probably this Member who entered Gray’s Inn in 1578, for he fits the description of ‘one Ashton ... a Lancashire man’, in whose chambers next to Holborn High Street mass was regularly said, according to a list of suspected papists compiled in 1584.11 Ashton’s religion did not impede his return for Newton-in-Makerfield in 1601, since the borough’s patron, Sir Thomas Langton, was also Catholic.12 By then Ashton probably held the stewardship of Newton, which he retained after Langton’s death in February 1604.13 This may mean that in both 1601 and 1604 he returned himself, for later stewards are known to have served as the borough’s returning officer.

In the first Jacobean Parliament Ashton was named to the committee for Henry Butler’s land bill on 1 May 1604.14 Thereafter he left no trace in the parliamentary records, but as a Lancashire burgess he may have attended the Union conference with the Lords on 28 Nov. 1606, and private bill committees concerning Ferdinando, 5th earl of Derby (3 June 1607), Sir John Byron (21 May 1610), the Isle of Man (19 June) and Richard Orrell (20 June).15

On the adjournment of the fifth session in November 1610, Ashton returned to Lancashire and made his will. He died in March the following year and was buried ‘on Easter eve’ in his brother’s chapel at Croston. An inventory valued his goods, consisting mainly of household stuff and farming equipment, at £125 13s. 2d. Mawdesley manor passed to his son and heir, Thomas. The residue was bestowed upon his widow and other children.16 His second son, William, represented Newton in 1614.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Croston Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. vi), 13, 14.
  • 2. DL1/223, 226.
  • 3. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 80.
  • 4. GI Admiss.
  • 5. Croston Par. Reg. 128.
  • 6. Lancs. RO WCW, Richard Ashton.
  • 7. Croston Par. Reg. 187.
  • 8. E. Baines, Hist. Palatinate and Duchy of Lancaster ed. J. Croston, iv. 385.
  • 9. Preston Guild Rolls ed. W.A. Abram (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 56.
  • 10. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxiv), 11; VCH Lancs. vi. 93-4.
  • 11. SP12/168/25, f. 53v.
  • 12. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 530; J.S. Leatherbarrow, Lancs. Eliz. Recusants (Chetham Soc. cx), 107.
  • 13. Baines, iv. 385; C78/175/13.
  • 14. CJ, i. 193b.
  • 15. Ibid. 326b, 378a, 430a, 441a, 441b.
  • 16. Lancs. RO, WCW, Richard Ashton.