ASSHETON (ASHTON), Edmund (c.1643-95), of Chadderton, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1643, 1st s. of James Assheton of Chadderton by Catherine, da. of John Greenhalgh of Brandlesholme, Lancs. educ. G. Inn, entered 1659; St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1660. unm. suc. fa. 1651.1
J.p. Lancs. 1665-Apr. 1688, Mdx. and Westminster 1687-Apr. 1688; commr. for assessment, Lancs. 1667-9, 1689-90; freeman, Preston 1682.2
Corporal, yeoman of the guard 1668-72; gent. of the bedchamber to the Duke of York 1672-?85.4
Assheton belonged to a cadet branch of a prominent Lancashire family which had held the manor of Chadderton since the late 15th century. During the Civil War, his family had divided loyalties; his grandfather was a Royalist until 1646 when he compounded and took the Covenant and Negative Oath, while his father was a member of the Lancashire county committee. Assheton was eager to pursue a military career. He bought a commission, which he could ill afford, during the second Dutch war, and when the regiment was disbanded two months later, applied to join the King of Spain’s service, which led to rumours that he had become a Papist. He served at sea with the Duke of York in 1672, and in the same year went on a complimentary mission to Louis XIV. In court circles his excessive vanity made him the butt of literary wits, and he himself wrote verse in the manner of Rochester.5
As a friend and second-in-command to the Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) Assheton was returned for the duke’s borough of Clitheroe in 1685. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to the committees to consider the bills for the better recovery of tithes, the regulation of hackney coaches, and the reform of the bankruptcy laws. In the debate on supply of 16 Nov. he defended the necessity for a standing army on the grounds that ‘they expect the rising of a great party, and were not these forces standing to prevent a rebellion, you would have one in a few days’. In spite of earlier rumours, he was plainly a staunch Anglican in 1688, when he was removed from the commission of the peace.6
Assheton continued in the army until February 1690 when he was discharged although his pay was continued as a pension, ‘the King being well satisfied with his service’. Payment continued to be made to him until May 1694. He was killed in a duel on 1 Dec. 1695. His estate went to his brother, a clergyman, who sold it.7
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxiv), 18; VCH Lancs. v. 117.
- 2. W. S. Weeks, Clitheroe in 17th Cent. 239; Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 180.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1667, p. 181; 1673, pp. 97, 196, 462; 1685, p. 5; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 517-18.
- 4. Peek, Curialia, iii. 50; Bulstrode, 237.
- 5. VCH Lancs. v. 117; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1466; Lancs. Civil War Tracts (Chetham Soc. ii), 210; HMC Kenyon, 79; CSP Dom. 1672, pp. 164, 193, 303, 684; 1675-6, p. 47; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 1252; iv. 27, 267; CSP Ven. 1673-5, pp. 389, 400; Poems on Affairs of State, i. 339-40, 365.
- 6. HMC Kenyon, 100, 177, 177-8; Grey, viii. 366; Westmld. RO, D/Ry 3190.
- 7. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 517-18; x. 607; Luttrell, iii. 557; VCH Lancs. v. 118.