ASSHETON, Richard (by 1529-79), of Whalley and Downham, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1529, 3rd s. of Ralph Assheton of Great Lever, Middleton, and bro. of Ralph. m. Jane, da. of Ralph Harbottle of Northumb., s.p.1

Offices Held

Dep. receiver, ct. augmentations, northern counties ?by 1550; receiver 1552-4, Exchequer 1554-?72; j.p. Lancs. by 1561-?d.; commr. eccles. causes, Chester diocese 1562, rebels’ lands 1570, Houghton lands 1572.2


Richard Assheton made his career as a financial official. By November 1550, when he and others were appointed to make inquisitions post mortem in Yorkshire, he was probably deputy to Sir Thomas Newenham, the recently appointed receiver of augmentations in the north, and when Newenham was dismissed in 1552 Assheton was allowed to succeed him, being bound in September in £8,000 for the collection and payment of the year’s revenues. In spite of occasional complaints of his delay in making payments, Assheton remained receiver for some 20 years, probably relinquishing the office in 1572.3

While the future of the receivership had been under consideration in 1552 both Newenham and Assheton had been forbidden ‘to meddle with the office’, and in August 1552 Ralph Assheton had been bound in £200 to ensure that his brother Richard, ‘being now sick at the house of the said Ralph’, should repair to the Privy Council as soon as he recovered. His kinship with Ralph Assheton both serves to identify the receiver and helps to explain his parliamentary record, for Aldborough, to which he transferred in 1559, belonged to the duchy of Lancaster, for which Ralph Assheton had recently become receiver in Lancashire and Cheshire. At Carlisle it may have been the influence of the 3rd Baron Dacre, warden of the west march and captain of the town, which procured Richard Assheton’s election to the last of Mary’s Parliaments and the second of Elizabeth’s. No evidence has been found for the claim sometimes made that Assheton was a servant of William Cecil.4

In June 1553 Assheton and John Braddill purchased the lordship and manor of Whalley for £2,132, but when he appeared on the pardon roll in 1559 it was as late of Whalley. He also bought Downham in 1558 from Ralph Greenacres and acquired leases in Northumberland, Caernarvonshire (although here the identification is less certain) and the Isle of Man. Together with his nephew, another Ralph, and his partner in the Whalley purchase John Braddill he was judged ‘unfavourable’ in religion in 1564. He had no children and at his death in January 1579 his lands passed to his nephew Ralph.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. cx), 207; (lxxxi), 28.
  • 2. APC, iv. 112, 122; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 280-1; 1569-72, p. 421; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 260.
  • 3. W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 231; APC, iv. 122, 207, 296, 355; vi. 370, 375; vii. 56, 134, 199; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 153; Lansd. 14, f. 8; CPR, 1569-72, p. 421.
  • 4. APC, iv. 30, 112; VCH Lancs. v. 166; vi. 382; Somerville, Duchy, i. 496; Chetham Soc. xiv. p. iv.
  • 5. CPR, 1553, pp. 80-81; 1558-60, p. 169; 1563-6, pp. 242, 336, 345-6; VCH Lancs. vi. 554; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 77-78; Cath. Rec. Soc. iv. 188-9.