ASHBURNHAM, John II (1656-1710), of Ashburnham, Suss. and Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 15 Jan. 1656, o. s. of William Ashburnham (d.1655) of Chiswick, Mdx. by Elizabeth, da. of John Poulett†, 1st Baron Poulett of Hinton St. George. educ. Eton 1668-70; Peterhouse, Camb. 1670-1. m. 22 July 1677, Bridget, da. and h. of Walter Vaughan of Porthamel, Brec. 3s. 2da. suc. gdfa. John Ashburnham I 1671, gt.-uncle William Ashburnham 1679; cr. Baron Ashburnham 20 May 1689.
Commr. for assessment, Suss., Brec., Carm. and Glam. 1679- 80, 1689; j.p. Suss. and Brec. 1679-87, 1689-d.; dep. lt. Suss. 1685-May 1688, Brec. 1689-?d.; custos rot. Brec. 1702-d.
Ashburnham was returned for the family seat at Hastings at the first opportunity after succeeding to the estate. He was listed as ‘base’ by Shaftesbury, but was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill, and served on no committee in either the first or the second Exclusion Parliament. He lost his seat to Thomas Mun in 1681, but regained it in 1685. He was one of the supporters of the canopy at the coronation of James II, and an active Member of his Parliament. Of his 12 committees, those for the general naturalization of Protestant refugees in the first session, and for computing the yield of a tax on French wines in the second, were the most important. He introduced into the House the Cheshire election petition of Sir Robert Cotton, 1st Bt. and gave evidence discrediting the chief prosecution witness at the trial of Lord Delamer (Henry Booth). Two speeches in the supply debate in November have been attributed to him, but were more probably delivered by Herbert Aubrey. Danby, however, listed him as a member of the parliamentary Opposition, and in 1688 he absented himself from the lord lieutenant’s questions on the Tests and Penal Laws. He quickly rallied to the new regime after the Revolution as an active member of the Convention and the principal representative of the Cinque Ports at the coronation. During his four months in the Lower House, he was appointed to five committees, including those for the toleration bill and for managing a conference on the same subject. It was probably his support as a Court Tory for this key item in William’s programme that earned him his peerage. He signed the Association in 1696, but voted as a Tory under Queen Anne. He died on 21 Jan. 1710 in his house in Bloomsbury and was buried at Ashburnham.
Suss. Arch. Colls. xv. 193, 209; State Trials, xi. 573; Grey, viii. 357, 370; Jones, Hist. Brec. 333.