AYSCOUGH, Edward (1589-at least 1646), of South Kelsey, Lincs. and Lincoln'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. 3/5 July 1589, 7th but 1st surv. s. of Sir Edward Ayscough of South Kelsey and Hester, da. of Thomas Grantham of Goltho, Lincs. and St. Katherine’s, nr. Lincoln, Lincs.1 educ. L. Inn 1608, called either 1615 or 1616.2 suc. fa. 1612.3 unm.

Offices Held

Sub-commr. inquiry into exacted fees 1623,4 commr. inquiry into exacted fees 1627-at least 1635,5 to levy Crown debts 1628,6 to discover and prosecute those who have concealed customs due for tobacco 1635, to investigate the misdemeanours of the alum farmers 1635-at least 1640, to compound with offenders for importing or growing tobacco 1636, to inquire into frauds in the import of deal boards and fir timber 1638.7

Ancient, G. Inn 1627.8

Commr. inquiry, exacted fees, Notts. 1634, encroachments, Palace of Westminster 1636.9


This Member has not been firmly identified. There is a slim possibility that he was the second son of Sir Walter Ayscough (d.1609) of Blyborough, Lincolnshire, and grandson of Sir Henry Ayscough (d.1611). After attending Furnival’s Inn, this man qualified as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in 1615 or 1616. Sometime before 1617 he and his elder brother Henry sold the manor of Blyborough for £9,000 to Sir George Southcote†. It seems extremely likely that it was also this man who subsequently purchased a manor in the adjacent parish of Corringham for £900. No certain trace of him has been found after November 1622, however, when he was appointed executor to his younger brother.10 It seems much more likely that the Member was either the first surviving son of Sir Edward Ayscough of South Kelsey, Lincolnshire, or the eldest son of Sir Roger Ayscough of Nuthall, Nottinghamshire.

Edward Ayscough of South Kelsey was born in 1589, entered Lincoln’s Inn in November 1608 and succeeded to his patrimony in 1612. In October 1615 either he or his Blyborough namesake was granted a licence to travel abroad for three years, and soon thereafter he was called to the bar. In May 1623 a ‘Mr. Edward Ayscough’ was appointed a sub-commissioner by the commissioners for exacted fees, and in the following month instructions were given that documents relating to the commission’s activities were to be sent to him at his lodgings in Chancery Lane, next to Lincoln’s Inn.11 It is not inconceivable that this too may have been the Blyborough man, given that the latter was also a Lincoln’s Inn lawyer. However, it is known for certain that Edward Ayscough of South Kelsey was alive at this time, as he was left money by a relative in 1625.12

There are good grounds for supposing that the sub-commissioner was the man returned to Parliament for Stamford in 1624. His official business must have brought him into contact with lord keeper Williams who, as bishop of Lincoln, seems then to have wielded some electoral influence at Stamford. Following Williams’ fall from office, Ayscough would have found it difficult to secure re-election, although he evidently continued to work for the Crown. When a fresh commission to inquire into exacted fees was established in June 1627, a man with his name was appointed to its ranks. This individual went on to become one of the commissioners responsible for the levying of old debts owed to the Crown, and as such was instructed in June 1628 to attend the Commons, which desired to examine the commissioners’ authority.13 In 1635 the fees and debts commissioner was appointed to help investigate the misdemeanours of the alum farmers. He was probably also the man who served on several other government commissions at around the same time. Sometime during the later 1630s, Edward Ayscough the commissioner complained to the king. Over the last 21 years he had abandoned his legal practice to serve the Crown, and having spent more than £5,000 of his own money in royal service he had not received any reward.14 Nothing more is certainly known of this man, beyond the fact that he was appointed executor to his brother Thomas in January 1646.

Edward Ayscough of Nuthall lived in a village just outside Nottingham. His father, Sir Roger Ayscough, was reputedly worth £500 p.a. and served as sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1602-3.15 In 1604 Sir Roger was granted the reversion to the storekeepership of the Ordnance.16 By the time this office fell in, however, Sir Roger was in deep financial trouble. In April 1609, three months before he became storekeeper, he alienated part of Nuthall manor to his kinsman, James Ayscough, to whom he sold the rest in November 1610.17 His financial situation nevertheless continued to deteriorate. In June 1612 he was forced to sell his office, and 12 months later he also parted with the reversion to another Nottinghamshire manor for £2,000.18 These attempts to rescue his finances proved unavailing, however, and in about 1614 he fled to Ireland having become insolvent, leaving what remained of his estate to his son Edward, who was then training for the law at Gray’s Inn. 19 Edward was called to the bar in May 1617, and was married eight months later. Some time between December 1618 and July 1621 two of his friends wrote to the master of the Court of Wards, Sir Lionel Cranfield*, asking for favour to be shown to the newly qualified Ayscough, who was now practising in Cranfield’s court and in need of ‘that encouragement and favours [sic] which many of his rank have’.20 In 1620-1 Ayscough was involved in a minor property transaction with Ralph Hawtrey of Ruislip, Middlesex, who subsequently went on to represent Wendover in Parliament.21

In January 1624 the corporation of Nottingham received an application for a parliamentary seat from a man named Edward Ayscough, which it rejected. Given the proximity of Nuthall to Nottingham, the man involved was almost certainly the Gray’s Inn lawyer.22 If the latter was indeed on the hunt for a parliamentary seat in 1624 then it seems likely that the parlous state of his finances was the cause. Following his failure at Nottingham, Ayscough perhaps decided to transfer his attentions to Stamford. Although his identity as Stamford’s Member cannot, of course, be proven, there is evidence that places him in and around Westminster when the Parliament was still sitting, for on 24 May he and his younger brother William entered into a bond for £200 with one Francis Baker, which transaction they registered in the capital.23

Little else is known of the Nuthall man. He was appointed an ancient of Gray’s Inn in June 1627, and although he managed to buy back around a third of Nuthall manor, he had gone to ground by October 1634 to avoid his creditors.24 He is last mentioned seven years later, when he was assessed for the subsidy at Nuthall.25 In 1650 letters of administration were taken out in the name of Edward Ayscough of St. Giles in the Fields, Middlesex,26 but whether this was the Nuthall man, his South Kelsey namesake, or yet another man who shared their name is unknown.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. 1), 65.
  • 2. LI Admiss.; LI Black Bk. ii. 175, 188.
  • 3. C142/328/163.
  • 4. Bodl. Tanner 101, no. 67.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 232; 1629-31, p. 179; CSP Dom. Addenda 1625-49, p. 510.
  • 6. HMC Rutland, i. 485.
  • 7. CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 377; 1637-8, pp. 335, 363; 1639-40, p. 394; Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 42, 226.
  • 8. PBG Inn, i. 277.
  • 9. C181/4, f. 159; CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 301.
  • 10. LI Admiss.; C2/Jas.I/S27/54; C54/2462/20; Lincs. Peds. 57.
  • 11. HEHL, Temple Corresp. Box 5, STT 877.
  • 12. PROB 11/146, f. 305.
  • 13. CD 1628, iv. 291.
  • 14. CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 70.
  • 15. C78/193/12; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 104.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 111.
  • 17. C142/654/55.
  • 18. C2/Jas.I/D4/38.
  • 19. C78/193/12. Edward was probably in possession of his estate by March 1614, when he bought some property: Notts. Archives, DD/SK/91a/3.
  • 20. Cent. Kent. Stud. U269/1/Oo40.
  • 21. C54/2462/20.
  • 22. Recs. of Bor. of Nottingham, iv. 387.
  • 23. LC4/200, f. 54v.
  • 24. Thoroton, Notts. ii. 254; HMC Cowper, ii. 70.
  • 25. E115/441/19.
  • 26. PCC Admons. I: 1649-54 (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. lxviii), 10.