AISLABIE, Francis (by 1515-57), of South Dalton, Yorks.

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 1515, 1st s. of James Aislabie by Jane, da. of Sir John Gower of Stittenham. m. (1) by 1536, Maud, da. of Ralph Gray of Barton, 4s. 4da.; (2) Joan.1

Offices Held

Forester, Galtres, Yorks. Nov. 1545-d.; lt. light horse, Boulogne by 1546; marshal, Haddington by Aug. 1549; capt. Dunglass by Dec. 1549-50; j.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) 1554; commr. sewers 1555.2


Francis Aislabie belonged to a gentle family long settled in the North Riding of Yorkshire. By descent he was connected with some of the leading families in the county, and it was as a kinsman of Sir Ralph Ellerker that he first came to public notice. He served under Ellerker as lieutenant of the light horse at Boulogne where, during December 1545, his bravery in the field earned him a commendation from the Earl of Surrey to the King. Ellerker’s death five months later left Aislabie without the means to maintain his lieutenancy and with the responsibility as executor of winding up Ellerker’s affairs. Aislabie’s departure from Boulogne did not mean the end of his military career as a year later he fought with the army against Scotland. When the army was disbanded he found himself without employment, but in October 1547 Lord Grey de Wilton told the Protector Somerset about Aislabie’s predicament. Grey seems to have taken Aislabie into his own service as it was on Grey’s orders that Aislabie burnt Musselburgh in 1548. Later he held a post at Haddington, and after praise from Sir Thomas Holcroft he received a command of his own at Dunglass, which he kept until the fort was handed over to the Scots in 1550.3

Even if Aislabie lacked the means to support himself without aid at Boulogne, the wars did not impoverish him. His attempt to purchase the manor of Hampole, Yorkshire, was over-ridden by his former intermediary John Dudley, by then Duke of Northumberland, but he was able to purchase the manor of South Dalton on 29 Oct. 1552 for £902 and to lease land elsewhere. An insecure title to some of his property was only confirmed after a suit in the Star Chamber. His custody of the head of his first wife’s family during a long minority also involved him in legal proceedings but it gave him a stake in the East Riding. His local status and links with the Ellerkers were doubtless sufficient in 1555 to procure his election at Scarborough, which Sir Ralph Ellerker had sat for in 1529 and an ancestor of both, Sir Thomas Gower, in the previous century: he was perhaps also supported by the constable of the castle, Sir Richard Cholmley, as the two families later inter-married, and by his own rising kinsman Christopher Wray. All that is known of Aislabie’s part in the Commons is that he did not join the opposition headed by Sir Anthony Kingston to one of the government’s bills. Aislabie thought himself a loyal subject and it was as ‘the King and Queen’s servant’ that shortly before his death he leased the manor of Broomfleet from the crown.4

Aislabie made his will on 23 Aug. 1557. Besides South Dalton, he left various leases to his four sons. Concerning one at Watton, which he left to his eldest son, he trusted ‘that my cousin Thomas Hungate will be good unto him.’ His two unmarried daughters, Jane and Catherine, each received £100 ‘for I think £100 apiece fair for these two daughters because Margery Thweng my daughter stood me to so much and I would that they should have as much and no more.’ Another daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Thomas Curtis of Clee, Lincolnshire. Aislabie’s wife Joan, and two of his younger sons James and Francis, were appointed executors. The supervisors were Sir Ralph Ellerker, son of his old commander in France, and Thomas and Richard Gower. Aislabie died on the following 12 Oct. and was succeeded by his son Ralph, who being just 21 received a licence to enter upon his inheritance a month later.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 3-4; Vis. of the North, i (Surtees Soc. cxxii), 3; C142/111/37; York wills 15(2), f. 308.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CSP Scot. i. 177; APC, ii. 365; CPR, 1553-4, p. 26; 1554-5, pp. 109-10.
  • 3. Vis. Yorks. 3, 144; LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; York wills 29, f. 159; CSP Scot. i. 23, 118, 120, 148, 177; CSP Scot. ed. Thorpe, 1509-89, pp. 67, 97; APC, i. 365, 408.
  • 4. CPR, 1550-3, p. 411; 1557-8, pp. 210-11; 1569-72, pp. 251, 385; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxxiv. 214; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 455; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 188; St.Ch.2/27/12; 3/7/9.
  • 5. York wills 15(2), f. 308; C142/111/37; CPR, 1557-8, p. 78.