AYSCOUGH (ASKWITH), Sir William (1614-95), of Osgoodby Grange, Thirkleby, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



6 Oct. 1645

Family and Education

b. 31 July 1614, 1st s. of William Askwith of Osgoodby Grange by w. Anne. m. 9 Mar. 1641, Judith (d. 21 July 1688), da. of Sir John Burgoyne, 1st Bt., of Sutton, Beds., 2s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1635; kntd. 1 Dec. 1660.2

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) 1645-9, 1653-July 1660, (E. Riding) 1653-Mar. 1660, Ripon Mar. 1660; commr. for northern assoc. (N. Riding) 1645, assessment 1647-9, 1657, Jan. 1660-1, 1689-d., scandalous ministers 1654, militia, Yorks. Mar. 1660.3

Commr. for exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.


The Yorkshire Ayscoughs were not of the same stock as the Lincolnshire family, though in Elizabethan times some of them were persuaded to change the spelling of their name. They had been tenants at Osgoodby, four miles from Thirsk, since monastic times, and they continued to reside there even after acquiring extensive freehold property in the neighbourhood. Ayscough, who inherited a strong Protestant family tradition, was returned to the Long Parliament as recruiter for Thirsk, where he was lessee of the rectory. Doubtless a Presbyterian, he abstained from sitting after Pride’s Purge, but resumed local office during the Protectorate. To secure himself against the enemies he had made in this capacity, he thought it necessary at the Restoration to obtain through Sir Ralph Verney, a close friend of his father-in-law, a knighthood as well as a pardon. But he was removed from all local office and remained under suspicion, and in November 1661 the Duke of Buckingham gave permission to the postmaster of Boroughbridge to open his mail because he might be involved in ‘very dangerous plots and designs contrived by several persons disaffected to his Majesty’.4

After a lapse of 35 years, Ayscough was again returned for Thirsk in 1681, probably with the support of his neighbour Sir William Frankland. He left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament, but he was clearly a Whig, and his house was among those searched for arms after the Rye House Plot. He reappeared on the North Riding assessment commission after the Revolution and was buried at Thirkleby on 12 Oct. 1695, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament. His estate was divided between his two granddaughters.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Abstained after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. C142/531/77; T. Gell, Vallis Eboracensis, 339-40; W. Grainge, Vale of Mowbray, 195-6, Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 134, 207, 240.
  • 3. N. Riding Recs. iv. 244.
  • 4. Yorks. Deeds (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. set. cxi), 131; Vis. Yorks. ii. 104; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxii. 212-13; xxxi. 275; VCH N. Riding, i. 580; CSP Dom. 1656-7, p. 144-5; HMC Var. ii. 116-17.
  • 5. HMC Var. ii. 174; information from Rev. J. H. B. Douglas; VCH N. Riding, ii. 44.