|Ashfield of Stow Hall, baronets|
Sir John died in 1638, leaving as his heir his son Sir Richard Ashfield (c.1629-84), 2nd bt., then a boy of about nine, who was brought up by his mother at Acton. In about 1650 Sir Richard was married to Mary Rogers, the heiress of Sir Richard Rogers of Eastwood Park (Glos), who brought him that estate. In 1655 his mother remarried, and the following year he sold the Acton estate to a London alderman, John Perryn. Thereafter, he seems to have divided his time between London and Eastwood Park. By two wives he had twelve children, and when he died in 1684 his property passed to the eldest surviving son, Sir John Ashfield (1654-1714), 3rd bt. Sir John appears to have already been seriously in debt, perhaps as a result of speculations in North American property, and in the very year he inherited he sold the Eastwood Park estate to Sir Robert Jenkinson. This sale does not seem to have solved his problems, and in 1692 it was said that he had 'wasted his estate'. His wife and children predeceased him, and when he died in 1714 the little he had left passed to his sister, Elizabeth Selby. The baronetcy died with him.
Stow Hall, Stowlangtoft, Suffolk
The present Stowlangtoft Hall dates from 1859 and stands on a different site to the previous Stow Hall which was occupied by the Ashfield and D'Ewes families. Apart from its position, almost nothing is known about the Ashfields' house here, which was extensively remodelled for Paul D'Ewes in about 1625 and partly rebuilt in 1792 before being destroyed by fire in the mid 19th century. There are said to be some watercolours of the house made in 1835.
Descent: Robert de Ashfield (fl. 1455); to son, John Ashfield (fl. 1470); to son, John Ashfield (d. 1499); to son, George Ashfield (d. c.1518); to son, Robert Ashfield (d. 1550); to son, Robert Ashfield (c.1535-1613); to son, Sir Robert Ashfield (c.1555-1624), kt., who sold 1614 to Paul d'Ewes (d. 1631); to son, Sir Simonds d'Ewes (1602-50), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Willoughby d'Ewes (c.1650-85), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Simonds d'Ewes (1670-1722), 3rd bt.; sold 1716 to Thomas Norton (d. 1756); sold by his executors 1760 to Sir Thomas Rawlinson (d. 1769), kt.; to son, Sir Walter Rawlinson (1734-1805), kt., who partly rebuilt the house, 1792; to sister, wife of Sir George Wombwell (1769-1846), 2nd bt., who sold 1825 to Joseph Wilson (d. 1851); to son, Henry Wilson (1797-1866), who built a new house on a different site in 1859; to son, Fuller Maitland Wilson (1825-75); to son, Arthur Maitland Wilson (1857-1934); sold 1929 to A.J. Edwards who let it to London County Council as an evacuation centre; to daughter Joan Catchpole, who leased it as a care home from 1969; to Mr & Mrs John Catchpole.
Eastwood Park, Falfield, Gloucestershire
Eastwood Park was one of the chaces of the manor of Thornbury, and was granted with Thornbury Castle in 1554 to Henry, Lord Stafford; but in the 1560s, Eastwood was separated from this larger property and sold to the tenant, Thomas Tyndale. It is not clear whether there was a house here at that time, or if so whether it was anything more than a hunting lodge, but by the 1630s the house was evidently the residence of Sir Richard Rogers as he was described as ‘of Falfield’. From 1684 the owners were the Jenkinsons, who had their principal seat at Hawkesbury and used Eastwood only for hunting; and in 1779, Samuel Rudder reported that the house was 'a large mansion house...now converted to a farm house'. Even after the house at Hawkesbury was pulled down about 1780, the lack of a Gloucestershire seat was not a major issue for the Jenkinsons until the 1820s, when the 2nd Earl of Liverpool (Prime Minister, 1812-27) began to contemplate his retirement from politics. He married in 1822 at the age of 52, and shortly afterwards began to build a new house in Eastwood Park, but he had a severe and disabling stroke in 1827, which left him paralysed until his death eighteen months later, and the new house was abandoned unfinished.
|Eastwood Park: a Victorian photograph of the entrance front, showing the curious roof of the tower, later removed|
|Eastwood Park: garden front, c.1985. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Made available under this Creative Commons licence|
Ashfield family, baronets
Ashfield, George (d. c.1518). Son of John Ashfield (d. 1499) of Stowlangtoft and his wife Margaret, daughter of John Wentworth of Gosfield (Essex). He married Margery, daughter of John Cheeke of Bludhall, Debenham (Suffolk) and had issue including:
(1) Robert Ashfield (d. 1550) (q.v.);
(2) Martha Ashfield (d. 1549); married John Doggett of Bures (Norfk) and had issue two sons; buried at Bures, 1549;
(3) Elizabeth Ashfield (fl. 1549); mentioned in her brother's will; unmarried in 1549;
(4) Henry Ashfield (d. by 1549); referred to in his brother's will;
(5) Florence Ashfield; married Edward Brooke of Aspall (Suffolk) and had issue;
(6) Amy Ashfield; married Reinold Rous of Haddingham (Norfolk);
Ashfield, Robert (d. 1550). Son of Robert Ashfield (d. c.1518) and his wife Margery Cheeke of Bludhall, Debenham (Suffolk). He married 1st, Margaret (d. 1536), daughter of Sir Simon Le Gros, kt. and 2nd, Alice (d. 1547), daughter of Sir Thomas Jermyn, kt. of Rushbrooke (Suffk) and had issue:
(2.1) Robert Ashfield (c.1535-1613) (q.v.);
(2.2) William Ashfield (fl. 1549);
(2.3) Thomas Ashfield (fl. 1549);
(2.4) George Ashfield; educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1554);
(2.5) John Ashfield; educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1554) and Middle Temple (admitted 1561)
(2.6) [Sir?] Edmund Ashfield of Shimpling Hall (Suffk); educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (admitted 1554) and Grays Inn (admitted 1561); perhaps the man of this name who was knighted, 1570; married [forename unknown] Harvey of Suffolk;
(2.9) Anne Ashfield (fl. 1549); married, after 1549, John Sturt of Highgate (Middx);
(2.10) Mary Ashfield (fl. 1549).
He inherited the Stow Hall estate from his father in about 1518.
He died in 1550 and was buried at Stowlangtoft; his will was proved 10 May 1550. His first wife died in 1536. His second wife died 4 January 1546/7 and was buried at Stowlangtoft.
Ashfield, Robert (c.1535-1613). Eldest son of Robert Ashfield (d. 1550) and his second wife Alice, daughter of Sir Thomas Jermyn, born about 1535. High Sheriff of Suffolk, 1576-77. He married 1st, c.1553, Alice, daughter of William Clopton of Liston (Essex) and 2nd, c.1560, Frances, daughter of Robert Spring of Lavenham (Suffk), and had issue:
(1.1) Sir Robert Ashfield (c.1555-1624), kt. (q.v.);
(1.2) Anne Ashfield; married, 1577 at Stowlangtoft, Anthony Denny esq. of Norfolk but had no issue;
(1.3) Jane Ashfield; died without issue;
(1.4) Mary Ashfield; died without issue;
(2.1) John Ashfield (c.1560-1639) of Wicken in Badwell (Suffk); a Puritan in religion; married, 1612 at Stowlangtoft, Mary Cleare (fl. 1633) of Stokesby but had no issue; living in 1638; will proved 12 July 1639;
(2.2) Dorothy Ashfield (d. 1626); in youth 'a beautiful brown woman' who was fond of the finer things in life; she married, 1590 at Stowlangtoft (and had issue by), Sir Richard Ogle (d. 1627), kt. of Pinchbeck (Lincs) who ran up debts and mortgages and died in the Fleet Prison; when his creditors foreclosed and he was imprisoned for debt in 1616 she attempted suicide but was saved by the prompt intervention of a passing surgeon; lived subsequently with her brother John and died 1626;
(2.3) Thomas Ashfield (d. before 1602) of Hopton (Suffk); married Ellen, daughter of John Holditch of Ranworth (Norfk) and widow of Thomas Prettyman of Bawton. and had issue two daughters;
(2.4) William Ashfield; died in the Portugal expedition, 1589;
(2.5) Francis Ashfield; died in the Portugal expedition, 1589.
He inherited the Stow Hall estate from his father.
He died in 1613; his will was proved 2 September 1613. His first wife died before 1560. His second wife survived him but her date of death has not been traced.
Ashfield, Sir Robert (c.1555-1624), kt. Only son of Robert Ashfield (d. 1613) and his first wife Alice, daughter of William Clapton of Lyston (Essex), born about 1555. Knighted in Dublin, 24 September 1598. He married, 1588, Anne (d. 1637?), daughter of Sir John Tasburgh of Flixton (Suffk), and had issue including:
(1) Sir John Ashfield (c.1597-1635), kt. and 1st bt. (q.v.).
On his marriage he received a dowry of £1,000. He inherited the Stow Hall estate from his father in 1613, but sold it in 1614 to Paul D'Ewes and according to the Visitiation of Suffolk went to live in Ireland.
He died about October 1624. His widow may be identifiable with the Anne Ashfield buried at Ixworth (Suffk), 2 September 1637.
Ashfield, Sir John (c.1597-1638), kt. and 1st bt. Only child of Sir Robert Ashfield (d. 1624), kt. and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir John Tasburgh, kt. Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Charles I. Knighted by King James I at Theobalds House, 3 June 1615; and created a baronet by King Charles I, 20 June 1626 (being the first person so honoured by the king after his accession). He married, 1627 (licence 30 April), Elizabeth (b. c.1600), daughter and heir of Sir Richard Sutton, kt. of Acton (Middx) and widow of Sir James Altham of Oxhey, kt., and had issue including:
(1) Anne Ashfield (c.1625?-98); married, 6 March 1644/5 at St Bartholomew-the-Less, London, Thomas Tresham of Lyveden (Northants); died about 1698; will proved 1 December 1698;
(2) Sir Richard Ashfield (c.1629-84), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(3) Mary Ashfield;
(4) Sutton Ashfield (fl. 1683); living in Westminster (Middx), 1674-83;
(5) Dorothy Ashfield.
He inherited Nether Hall, Harkstead and Fosters, Acton (Middx) in right of his wife.
He was buried at Acton (Middx), 3 November 1638; administration of his goods was granted 30 November 1638. His widow married 3rd, 12 November 1655 at St Giles-in-the-Fields, London, Sir Richard Minshull (d. 1667) of Ongar Park (Essex); her date of death has not been traced.
Ashfield, Sir Richard (c.1629-84), 2nd bt. Elder son of Sir John Ashfield (c.1597-1638), kt. and 1st bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Sutton, kt., and widow of Sir James Altham, kt., born about 1629. Sheriff of Gloucestershire, 1668-69. He married 1st, c.1650, Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Rogers, kt. of Eastwood Park (Glos) and 2nd, 20 February 1673/4 at St Mary Magdalen, Old Fish St., London, Dorcas (d. c.1687), daughter of James Hore esq., goldsmith and Comptroller of the Mint, and widow of [forename unknown] Burchett, and had issue including:
(1.1) Richard Ashfield (1651-56), baptised at Acton (Middx), 26 February 1651/2; died aged 5 and was buried at Thornbury (Glos), 27 May 1656 where he is commemorated by a monument;
(1.2) Sir John Ashfield (1654-1714), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(1.3) Richard Ashfield (c.1657-93), born c.1657; educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (matriculated 1673/4 aged 17) and Middle Temple (called to bar 1682); barrister-at-law; married c.1677 (licence 26 December), Mary Gunning of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London but had no issue; died 1693 and was buried at the Temple Church, London;
(1.4) Thomas Ashfield (d. 1661); buried 15 April 1661;
(1.5) Mary Ashfield; married, 3 August 1678 at St Mary Magdalen, Old Fish St., London, William Howell of Lincoln;
(1.6) Elizabeth Ashfield (b. 1659; fl. 1716), baptised at Thornbury (Glos), 28 July 1659; married, 1710 (licence 23 May), William Selby (fl. 1716) of the Inner Temple;
(1.7) Ann Ashfield (fl. 1698); involved in a legal action with her brother Richard against her stepmother and brother John concerning an inheritance dispute, 1689; residuary legatee and executrix of her aunt, Anne Tresham in 1698, when she was unmarried;
(2.1) Thomas Ashfield (b. 1675), baptised at St Giles-in-the-Fields, 22 February 1674/5;
(2.2) Charles Ashfield (1676-94), baptised at St Giles-in-the-Fields, 9 September 1676; buried at St. Giles-in-the-Fields, 14 September 1694;
(2.3) James Ashfield (b. 1677), baptised at St Giles-in-the-Fields, 27 December 1677;
(2.4) Frances Ashfield (d. 1755); married, 10 July 1705, John Isham (1659-1746) and had issue a daughter; died 3 April 1755; will proved 5 June 1755;
(2.5) Dorcas Ashfield (fl. 1728); married, 1698/9 (settlement 27 February), Maurice Kendall (d. by 1716) and had issue.
He inherited Nether Hall, Harkstead and Fosters from his father in 1635 and Eastwood Park (Glos) in right of his first wife. He sold Fosters to Alderman John Perryn in 1656.
He was buried at Thornbury, 8 August 1684; his will was proved 1684. His widow died at Thornbury, c.1687; her will was proved at Gloucester, 1687.
Ashfield, Sir John (1654-1714), 3rd bt. Elder son of Sir Richard Ashfield (d. 1684), 2nd bt. and his first wife, baptised 8 December 1654 at Hillesden (Bucks). He succeeded his father as 3rd baronet, August 1684. Described as Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King William III in 1694, although he does not appear in lists of the appointees to that office. In 1675 he had a grant of 10,000 acres in New Jersey (USA), and this may be evidence that it was property speculation that caused the reputed ruin of his estate. He was evidently in debt in the mid 1680s when he mortgaged and subsequently sold his estate at Thornbury. He married, by 1675, Anne (d. 1702), daughter of James Hore esq., goldsmith and Comptroller of the Mint, the sister of his stepmother, and had issue:
(1) James Ashfield (b. 1677), baptised at Thornbury (Glos), 17 March 1677; probably died young;
(2) Charles Ashfield (b. c.1678; fl. 1699); educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge (admitted 1694); living in 1699 when he was mentioned in his great-grandmother's will, but died in the lifetime of his father.
He inherited Eastwood Park (Glos) from his father in 1684 but mortgaged and later sold it to Sir Robert Jenkinson shortly afterwards. At his death the heir to his remaining property was his sister, Elizabeth Selby.
He was buried 9 March 1713/4, when the baronetcy became extinct. His wife was buried at St. Giles in the Fields, London, 13 December 1702.
Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, pp. 16-17; J.O. Halliwell, The autobiography and correspondence of Sir Simonds d'Ewes, 1845, vol 1, pp. 283-87; N.W. Kingsley & M.J. Hill, The country houses of Gloucestershire, vol. 3: 1830-2000, 2001, pp. 116-18; https://heritage.suffolk.gov.uk/Data/Sites/1/media/parish-histories/stowlangtoft.pdf;
Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive. There are a few family papers among the records of the Portman family of Buxton Place (Sussex) [East Sussex Record Office, SAS]
Coat of arms
Sable, a fesse between three fleurs-de-lys argent.
Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
- Can anyone supply images of the original Stow Hall at Stowlangtoft before its destruction by fire in the 1850s?
- Does anyone have an illustration of the 'large mansion house' in Eastwood Park which had declined into a farmhouse by the 18th century, or of the unfinished replacement house begun by the Earl of Liverpool in the 1820s?
- The genealogy of this family, especially for the 16th century, is sadly incomplete, and I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who can add further details from deeds, wills, parish registers or other sources.
Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 8th February 2016.