AYSCOUGH, Sir Edward (1650-99), of South Kelsey, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1685 - 1687
1689 - 20 Oct. 1699

Family and Education

bap. 19 Nov. 1650, 1st s. of Sir Edward Ayscough† of South Kelsey by Isabel, da. of Sir John Bolles, 1st Bt., of Scampton, Lincs.  educ. Melton, Lincs.; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1667; Padua 1671; G. Inn 1671.  m. (1) Bridget (d. 1684), da. of Edward Skinner of Thornton College, Lincs., 1s. d.v.p. 2da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 1 Aug. 1685, Mary (d. 1715), da. and h. of William Harbord*, 1s. 7da. (3 d.v.p.)  suc. fa. 1668; kntd. 17 Jan. 1672.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincs. 1683–4; high steward, Gt. Grimsby 1686–Oct. 1688.2

Commr. prizes 1689–June 1699, drowned lands 1690.3


Although a very late convert to the ranks of Revolution supporters, after 1689 Ayscough adapted to the role of Court placeman. His family’s tenure of the lordship of Stallingborough had secured his ancestors’ electoral success at nearby Grimsby since 1529, and in 1690 he gained his third successive victory there. At the outset of the new Parliament he was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Whig, but was not a prominent Member. In the spring of 1691 Robert Harley* marked him as a Court supporter. He was nominated to two drafting committees on 31 Oct. 1691, for bills to secure the rights of corporations, and to regulate parliamentary elections, he being doubtless familiar with corruption in his own notoriously venal constituency. In the fifth session he was granted a leave of absence on 11 Jan. 1694, but on 12 Jan. 1695 a motion was tabled that he should be placed into custody of the serjeant-at-arms for non-attendance. It was defeated, and instead the Speaker was ordered to write to him to require his presence. In 1693–5 his name appeared on several lists of placemen (as a commissioner of prizes) and Samuel Grascome classed him as a Court supporter.4

Ayscough gained an unopposed victory at Grimsby in 1695, and remained loyal to the Court. He was classed as a probable government supporter for a division on the proposed council of trade in January 1696, signed the Association, and in March voted to fix the price of guineas at 22s. However, he was prepared to invest £3,000 in the abortive land bank scheme, which was promoted by enemies of the Whig Junto. In the next session he supported the ministry with his vote on 25 Nov 1696. in favour of the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. During the summer of 1698 he was twice identified as a placeman, and, following another unopposed return at Grimsby, was classed in about September of that year as a Court man. His backing for the government ensured his survival on the prize commission, but he and his colleagues could not escape close scrutiny by Parliament in the 1698–9 session. Although he managed to avoid censure himself, the commission was finally revoked on 10 June 1699. He died on 2 Oct. 1699 at Grasby, Lincolnshire, and was buried at Stallingborough. His only surviving son Charles did not long survive him, and his estates were shared by his daughters, to whom he had made bequests amounting to over £10,000.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 66–68.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1686–7, p. 223; 1687–9, p. 264.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 146; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 794; xiv. 401.
  • 4. J. C. Walter, Ayscough Fam. 9–10.
  • 5. NLS, Advocates’ mss, Bank of Eng. pprs. 31.1.7, f. 95; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 465; Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 401; Lincs. Peds. 67; PCC 1 Noel.