ASHBY, William (by 1470-1543), of Lowesby, Leics.

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 1470, 1st s. of William Ashby of Lowesby by Agnes, da. of Sir Richard Illingworth of Kirkby Woodhouse, Derbys. and Merton, Surr. m. by 1492, Agnes, da. of Sir Thomas Pulteney of Misterton, Leics., 2 or 3s. 1 or 2da. suc. fa. 14 Jan. 1500.3

Offices Held

J.p. Leics. by 1500-d.; escheator, Warws. and Leics. 1509-10, ?1526-7; commr. subsidy 1512, 1514, 1515, 1523, 1524, for suppression of monasteries 1536; other commissions 1509-41.4


The evidence for William Ashby’s Membership rests on an undated letter from him to Cromwell in which he thanked the minister for having written in his favour to the 1st Earl of Huntingdon and others ‘for the election of knights of the shire of Leicester’. The occasion, judging from the style given Cromwell, that of ‘secretary to our sovereign lord the King’, must have been either a by-election during the Parliament of 1529 or the election to that of 1536. Both the known Members in the first of these died before its end, Sir Richard Sacheverell in April 1534 and Sir William Skeffington in December 1535, and if Sacheverell had not been replaced before Skeffington’s death—or if his replacement had also died—the died the by-election could then have been described as one for both knights. Ashby, a tenant of the Greys, one of the leading families of Leicestershire, would have made a suitable replacement, especially for his kinsman Skeffington, but Cromwell’s intervention might well have been needed to gain Huntingdon’s approval. It was clearly successful as Ashby went on to explain that he was too ill ‘to ride or travel without great danger’ and to ask leave to stay at home until well enough to ‘give mine attendance according to my duty’. He recovered, but whether in time to attend Parliament it is impossible to say.5

Ashby came of a long-established family, the senior branch of which was seated at Quenby, a few miles from Lowesby. On his marriage he had settled upon him the manor of Chellaston in Derbyshire and in 1509 he sued out a pardon as ‘of Lowesby and Groby, Leicestershire and Astley, Warwickshire’. Apart from his career in local administration little has come to light about him. In 1514 he was nominated sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire but not pricked. In 1538 Cromwell appointed him to examine accusations against the vicar of Sproxton, and some two years later he wrote to the minister about an adultery case.6

Ashby made his will on 1 Feb. 1543 and died on the 27th of the same month. He asked for burial in Lowesby church with his ancestors; the monument (now lost) erected there to his memory was perhaps of alabaster from Chellaston. He gave his unmarried daughter Elizabeth 300 marks and from 40 to 200 sheep to various friends and relatives. By a codicil of 8 Feb. he left the residue of his goods to his younger son Everard ‘to help himself, his wife and his children, for I have no lands to give him’. He named his son Everard Ashby and William Bolt executors and his neighbour Francis Cave overseer. The heir, George Ashby, then aged 50 and more, survived his father by less than two years.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, x. 817 citing SP1/103, f. 251.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, ii. 334. Nichols, Leics. iii. 298-9 and Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 14 give imperfect pedigrees.
  • 4. CPR, 1494-1509, p. 646; Statutes, iii. 84, 115, 169; LP Hen. VIII, i-viii, x, xiii-xv; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xvii. 79.
  • 5. SP1/103, f. 251.
  • 6. Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xvii. 79; xxii. 250; xxxii. 48; LP Hen. VIII, i, xiii. xv.
  • 7. PCC 17, 28 Spert, 18 Pynnyng; C142/68/72; F. A. Greenhill, Incised Slabs of Leics. and Rutland, 118.