ASTLEY, Sir John, 2nd Bt. (1687-1771), of Patshull, Staffs. and Everley, Wilts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 24 Jan. 1687, 1st surv. s. of Sir Richard Astley, 1st Bt., by his 2nd w. Henrietta, da. and coh. of William Borlase, M.P., of Great Marlow, Bucks. m. 27 May 1711, Mary, da. of Francis Prynce of Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, 1s. d.v.p. 6da. suc. fa. 24 Feb. 1688.
In 1754 a compromise existed in Shropshire whereby the county representation was left to the Tory country gentlemen, and Shrewsbury to Lord Powis’s candidates. To this compromise Astley, a life-long Tory, strictly adhered,1 even in 1760, though he was on friendly terms with Lord Bath.2 His own elections for the county were unopposed. He is not in Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, but presumably voted for them. That Astley supported the Grenville Administration appears from a letter of 17 Mar. 1764,3 in which Grenville thanks him for his offer of ‘concurrence and support upon any emergent occasion’; but hopes to bring public business to a conclusion without asking friends ‘now at a distance to return to town’; and refers to Astley’s ‘constant attendance throughout the course of this fatiguing session’, and his ‘cheerful and steady zeal ... for the ease and quiet of the King’s Government’. In the summer of 1765 Rockingham listed Astley as ‘contra’; but he did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act, nor is any other vote of his recorded during his remaining years in Parliament. No speech of his in the House is mentioned during our period.
Dr. Richard Wilkes wrote in 1759 in his manuscript history of Staffordshire:4
Sir John Astley has lately pulled down the old church, house, stables, garden walls, etc. and in their stead erected those beautiful fabrics we now behold. ... It is now the most beautiful place in the county, but neither this, nor affluence of fortune, makes happiness; for his lady has long lived at her own estate in Shrewsbury, and he the life of a recluse amidst an infinity of most delightful scenes.