ASSHETON (ASHTON), Sir Ralph II, 2nd Bt. (1652-1716), of Middleton, nr. Manchester, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Feb. 1652, 1st s. of Ralph Ashton of Middleton by Anne, da. of Sir Ralph Assheton, 1st Bt., of Great Lever. educ. privately; Brasenose, Oxf. 1668; travelled abroad 1673. m. (1) Mary (d. 11 Nov. 1694), da. and h. of Thomas Vavasour of Spaldington, Yorks., 1s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) 30 July 1696, Mary, da. and h. of Robert Hyde of Denton, Lancs., s.p. suc. fa. 28 Apr. 1665, maternal uncle Sir John Assheton, 4th Bt., in Whalley Abbey estate 1696.1
Freeman, Preston 1662, 1682; j.p. Lancs. 1675-87, 1689-d., commr. for assessment 1677-80, 1689-90, lt.-col. of militia ft. by 1680-?7, col. by 1697-?d., dep. lt. 1682-7, Oct. 1688-?d.2
Assheton’s ancestors had been landowners in Lancashire since the 12th century, first entering Parliament as knights of the shire under Richard II. The estates of the Middleton branch lay entirely in the south of the county. Assheton’s grandfather commanded the parliamentarian forces in Lancashire during the Civil War. His father, also a prominent Presbyterian, received a baronetcy at the Restoration. Assheton himself was brought up as a Presbyterian by his formidable mother, together with Peter Bold, but conformed to the Church of England soon after returning from his travels. He was returned for Liverpool at a contested by-election in 1677. Shaftesbury marked him ‘vile’, but Danby only noticed his absence from a debate. His one committee was for a local estate bill promoted on behalf of Lord Morley, and he did not speak, nor does his name appear on either list of the court party in 1678. Nevertheless he was probably a court supporter, for he was not re-elected in 1679, and he was out of Parliament for 15 years. He was removed from the commission of the peace in 1687, which suggests strong Anglican sympathies. Under William III he voted with the Whigs, subscribing to the Association in 1696. He died on 3 May 1716 and was buried at Middleton. His brother Richard, who sat for Lancashire from 1703 to 1705, was the last of this branch to enter Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 19-22; E134/31 Chas. 11 Mich. 32; Rylands Lib. Legh mss, Anne Assheton to Richard Legh, 29 Mar. .
- 2. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 139, 180; HMC Fleming, 202.
- 3. Baines, Hist. Lancs. ii. 306; Keeler, Long Parl. 92; Life of Adam Martindale (Chetham Soc. iv), 196.